This time of year comes with lots of anticipation for the new year ahead. New hopes and resolutions, new adventures and,--you guessed it–new products to keep the curls looking lovely. Now is the perfect time to reinvent your look and test that one product you’ve been meaning to try, or re-up on your dependable favs in preparation for future styling.
For curlies with tight ringlets and coils in need of a 2022 product overhaul, look no further. We’ve sorted the top styling products for natural hair as voted by YOU, the NaturallyCurly community. These are the NaturallyCurly Best of the Best award winners according to Type 3 Curly voters and Type 4 Coily voters. If you have a looser, wavy curl pattern, check out our top wavy picks here.
What do the hair "Types" mean?
The categories "Type 2 Wavy," Type 3 Curly," and "Type 4 Coily" are ways to describe the size of the curl pattern. We know that the term "curly" is too broad to describe all of the different shapes, sizes, and varieties of curls. If you want to learn more, try our Texture Typing Quiz. Understanding your curl pattern (whether you're wavy, curly, or coily) is only one facet of your hair type. There's also your hair's porosity, density, and width, and you can learn about all of it by taking the quiz.
Best Styling Creams
Best Styling Cream for Type 3 Curls:
Price: $7.99 on Amazon
SheaMoisture’s classic curl cream has been bringing an amazing amount of moisture and definition to the natural community for years, with organic shea butter, neem oil, and silk protein. The super rich formula is made without harsh ingredients and with thick curls in mind, but just a small amount is enough to soften and clump hair while maintaining the proper volume, which keeps it on the top of everybody’s must-have list.
Best Styling Cream for Type 4 Coils:
Price: $16.99 at Ulta
Need something light? The Melanin Haircare Twist-Elongating Cream is hydrating and reduces knots, and it’s buildable. Whether dealing with thick or thin hair, wet or dry, this vitamin-rich product will set you up for some high-quality twist-outs. The clean list of ingredients and vegan formula is the cherry on top.
Best Hair Gels
Best Gel for Type 3 Curls:
Price: $4.70 on Amazon
When it comes to reliable gels that create a soft hold without the annoying flakes, there’s no surprise why Eco Styler gel is the top contender for both Type 3 and 4 hair.
A tip: try starting out with a small amount of this gel and build it up as needed. Immediately going in with a ton of gel on fine hair is a recipe for residue and visible buildup.
Best Gel for Type 4 Coils:
Price: $7.74 on Amazon
The main difference between these two Ecoco Eco Styler Gels is the type of oil in each product. The olive oil gel may be a bit more moisturizing for dry kinky curls, but either product will leave your style looking shiny with a hold that lasts from morning ‘til night.
Best Hair Butter
Best Hair Butter for Type 3 Curls and Type 4 Coils:
$16.97 on Amazon
This sweet-smelling butter was voted the Best of the Best award winner for all hair types. The soft texture of the butter itself transfers well to tight curls and coils, especially if they’re on the dry side. Treat your hair to a cocktail of pumpkin, macadamia, and olive oil mixed into an almond milk-base to set off your wash-and-go or twist-out. Or simply apply it as a leave-in for added moisture.
Best Edge Control
Best Edge Control for Type 3 Curls:
Price: $6.89 on Amazon
It’s far from necessary, but there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of smoothing your edges to complete a look. Kind of like adding some garnish to an already-perfect meal, it just works every time. And, ironically, as much as we love styling it, the hair around our edges is often the most fragile, making Mielle’s biotin-infused gel a prime choice for laying baby hairs while also nourishing and strengthening them. Add shine and hydration while promoting healthy hair growth.
Best Edge Control for Type 4 Coils:
Price: $5.90 on Amazon
The Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges promises a strong hold and sleek shine not only for edges, but for smoother sculpting of the hair. Try this to smooth out wayward fly-aways for any ponytail or sculpted style.
Best Stylers for Twists and Braids
Best Stylers for Type 3 Twists and Braids
Price: $8.80 on Amazon
If you’re a protective style aficionado, you know keeping frizziness at bay helps to ensure you can keep your braids or twists in as long as possible. Ampro’s gel offers a non-greasy and alcohol-free hold that's ideal for Type 3 curls.
Best Stylers for Type 4 Twists and Braids
Price: $17.50 on Amazon
The next time you install a protective style, try adding a bit of Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Twisting Soufflé from root to tip (especially at the roots!) for a super polished finish. Mielle’s twisting cream provides a moisturizing soft hold using natural and organic ingredients, created specifically for thick Type 4 hair.
Best Hair Sprays
Best Hair Spray for Type 3 Curls:
Price: $17.99 on BounceCurl.com
With only two or three sprays of Bounce Curl Hair Spray, you’ll have an even, medium-strong hold that won’t budge even on the most humid summer days. It’s infused with oils and extracts (black seed oil, sage extract, panax ginseng root extract) and a non-harmful, man-made fragrance derived mostly from plants.
Best Hair Spray for Type 4 Coils:
Price: $11.37 on Amazon
The hold of Got2b Glued products is still unmatched, with the brand’s hairspray making the top of our list. Your hair won’t budge, and the style will last until the next wash.
Best Mousse for Type 3 Curls
Price: $8.99 at Ulta
Give your wash-and-go a little extra help with a defining mousse. The Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Curl Activating Mousse enhances your curl pattern and puts a stop to frizziness, even in pesky moist weather conditions–but keeps it light. No crunchiness, sulfates, silicones, parabens, alcohols, protein or gluten.
Best Mousse for Type 4 Coils
Price: $16.99 on Amazon
The Doux Mousse Def Texture Foam defines curls and preserves your smooth and sleek styles. Using natural humectants and silk protein, this product can be applied evenly on wet curly styles or to blown out styles prior to blow drying for extra shine, hold, and humidity resistance.
Best Volumizer for Type 3 Curls:
Price: $28 on Amazon
The weightless AG Hair Natural Cloud Airtight Volumizing Mousse will guarantee that your styles never fall flat. With 98% plant-based ingredients, it offers instant volume (natural cornstarch, tilia tomentosa bud extract, sugar cane extract), heat protection, frizz prevention, and detangling ability (sweet almond oil, linseed, olive leaf, and arnica extracts).
Best Volumizer for Type 4 Coils:
Lift and add body to your curls with a pick to the roots of your hair. This Pattern Beauty pick features extra long teeth for more control when your hair needs a boost.
What styling products got you through the year? Are you interested in any new ones? Sound off in the comments below.