Curly girls have a reputation for being Product Junkies. According to our research, they continue trying new products long after they find their Holy Grail. So every year we poll our NaturallyCurly community in our Best of the Best survey to find out their favorite curly products (and update our must-try lists). Here are the most popular curly hair products of the year, according to the women who know their hair best.
This multi-purpose product is consistently picked year after year – and we’re not surprised. It can be used as a leave-in conditioner, a rinse out conditioner, a detangler, and it can be cocktailed with other products. The slip (that feeling of being able to easily glide your fingers through your hair) is some of the best we’ve ever felt. It has won Favorite Leave-In Conditioner & Favorite Product to Cocktail, and Favorite Product for Coily Hair.
Curly hair products can be slightly pricier than other hair products, so curly girls like to get their money’s worth! This is another multi-purpose product that can be used as a rinse-out conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and a cleansing conditioner. If you practice the Curly Girl Method you’ll be happy to know this product does not contain any silicones or sulfates, earning it the Favorite Daily Conditioner award.
Many curlies find that shampoos leave their hair feeling dry and stripped, so they opt for using a cleansing conditioner (also known as co-wash) instead. If the first thing you do when shopping for product is to flip the bottle over and read the ingredient label, you’ll be happy to know this one’s free of parabens, glycerin, protein, silicone and sulfate. Its blend of natural ingredients removes product buildup but leaves your hair feeling moisturized, making it your Favorite Cleansing Conditioner.
Even if you are a fan of co-washing, you will still want to have a gentle shampoo in your product arsenal to use every now and then, and some curlies with fine or loose curls find that co-washing doesn’t work for them and prefer to cleanse with a shampoo every time. Just because a product is a “shampoo” does not mean it will be harsh to your hair, like this fan favorite. You can rest easy knowing that this shampoo contains no paraben, phthalates, paraffin, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance or synthetic color. One of our community members even says it “moisturizes my hair even better than some conditioners that I’ve used in the past!” No wonder it keeps winning the Favorite Shampoo award year after year.
Curly hair is prone to dryness, which leads to frizz, breakage and undefined curls, so a monthly deep conditioning treatment is a must no matter what your curl pattern is. If your hair is damaged or especially dry then you may want to try a weekly treatment, and this one is proven to bring the life and elasticity back into your curls! The fact that we can depend on this product no matter what state our hair is in makes it worthy of the Favorite Deep Conditioner award.
Once you have cleansed and moisturized your hair, it’s time to add a curl defining product. Again, we can all agree that moisture and hold are priorities, and this one product gives us both. A little goes a long way so you get your money’s worth (which is important when you have a Product Junkie habit). This won both Favorite Styling Cream and Favorite Product for Curly Hair, so if you have Type 3 curls like Annalynne McCord or Crystal Westbrooks then this is an ideal styler for you.
If styling creams are too heavy for you, you may want to opt for a gel. This Favorite Styling Gel award winner avoids the common pitfalls of gels like crunchy looking curls and white flakes. This would work well on Type 4 coils like Willow Smith or Yaya Dacosta’s. One of our community members says she loves this gel “for my 4A hair. It's the best for doing my wash and go and doesn't leave my hair stiff at all. I'm usually able to get at least 4 days out of a wash and go with this.”
Kinky-Curly Curling Custard (or KCCC for short) is versatile in that it can be used to define your twist out or your wash and go. It will help you fight frizz and give you defined curls whether you have a TWA (teeny weeny afro) or shoulder length curls. Start out with a small amount of product and build from there, you probably need less than you think. Its botanical formula won’t leave your curls dry or crunchy, earning it the Favorite Styling Pudding, Butter or Custard award.
If your curls are popping until you step outside and humidity undoes all of your hard-earned curl definition, then you want to enlist a frizz fighter. This formula is extremely lightweight so it will not weigh your curls down with product buildup if you apply it in the morning and throughout the day for touchups. Some curly girls rock their frizz, the bigger the better! But if you like defined curls that last all day, try this Favorite Frizz Fighter.
10. Denman D3 Brush
Brushes and combs can be a controversial topic in the curly world. We all know that brushing dry, curly hair can lead to disastrous results. But once you have a slippery detangler (like Kinky Curly Knot Today) on your side, a brush can actually be a useful tool. Fingers are by far the gentlest way to detangle your hair, but a brush can help you speed up the process. Some women have found that this brush works even better when they modify it by removing every other row of bristles, making it a wide tooth brush. If you dread your detangling sessions, try adding this Favorite Styling Tool award winner to your regimen.
These are just ten of the winners over the years, for a full list of all of this year's winners click here.
This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated based on reader feedback.