It has now been more than two years since I made the life-changing decision of following The Curly Girl Method. Time surely flies! The curly girl journey has been very fulfilling, and I’m never turning back. The truth is that I have tried a lot of products over these past two years! The constant trial and error trend can take a toll in our pockets, so I decided to keep track of all the products that performed the best in the long term. Here I am sharing a comprehensive list of all the products I have found to be most beneficial and reliable for curls. From my curl diary to you: let’s dive into it!

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My natural curls, cleansed, conditioned & styled with CurlyWorld products.

Cleansers

When it comes to cleansing scalp and hair, I like to use two types of products: a conditioning cleanser (no-poo) or a conditioner suitable for cleansing (co-washing). A good conditioning cleanser is a non-greasy conditioner that contains a mild surfactant in a small amount. A conditioner suitable for co-washing is always botanically-derived and should be enough to leave a clean feeling on the scalp, without any buildup.

These are my favorite conditioning cleansers:

CurlyWorld Sham-Free cleanses the scalp very well, adding a “cooling” sensation to the skin. I did a thorough review of the entire CurlyWorld line here. It continues to be a favorite of mine. The NYC Curls Cleanser has a similar effect and cleanses the scalp very well. The Boucleme Curl Cleanser is also a favorite of mine. Each of these cleansers are perfect for all kinds of curl.

These are the best conditioners for co-washing in my opinion, so far:

The Briogeo Co-wash is very easy to use because it comes in a large pump bottle. Long Hair Don’t Care is a minty conditioner that cools your scalp. I did a thorough review of Long Hair Don’t Care here. The Everescents Organic Fresh Mint Conditioner adds the same cleansing and cooling effect while moisturizing very well. Everescents is a local Australian and organic salon brand that designs high quality products, including products suitable for curly hair. For those who prefer to use budget friendly products, the Giovanni Tea Tree is an affordable conditioner that leaves a clean feel on the scalp and hair.

Results using Giovanni & AG products.

Conditioners for Hydration

A good conditioner, in my opinion, is easily dissolved in water, botanically derived and does not leave an oily feeling on the scalp and hair when left in. I always prefer lightweight conditioners for hydration and shine. I also like to leave some conditioner in the hair, by performing a “trickle” rinse on the scalp.

The best conditioners that I have come across so far:

Leave-in Conditioners

Leave-in conditioners are “lighter” versions of regular conditioners. They can also be used for hydration. They are designed to be left in the hair. Personally in my routine, I either use a regular conditioner or a Leave-in conditioner. I don’t usually use both at once.

My favorite leave-in conditioners are:

Kinky-Curly Knot Today is a great leave-in conditioner for dry climates. Innersense Sweet Spirit and the Slick Kids Hair Detangler come in spray form. They work for anyone, including children and adults with the finest of curls. My coarse curly hair loves then both! The Giovanni Weightless Leave-in Conditioner is also very popular among fine haired curlies. Curl Keeper and Ash:ba leave-in conditioners are easy to distribute and add a lot of shine to waves and curls of all kinds.

Curls styled with Ash:ba Botanics Leave-in conditioner and gel.

Styling Creams and Lotions

I like using styling creams and lotions whenever I have a special occasion on, or when I want my wash days to last longer. Styling creams and lotions are really good for enhancing natural curls and providing mild, touchable hold without the crunch. They work perfectly under a gel. A good styling cream or lotion for me is one that doesn’t feel tacky, crispy, oily and one that doesn’t weigh any type of hair down.

Some top quality styling creams and lotions:

Devacurl Styling Cream provides definition without any residues. Everescents Universal Styling Cream does the very same. AG: Hair Re:coil is an amazing curl definer because it contains Amino Acids and Magnesium. Innersense I Create Volume adds amazing shine with impeccable volume and frizz control. Curl Keeper Original is extremely effective with frizz control in humid weather.

A simple routine using Long Hair Don’t Care conditioner and Ecoslay Orange Marmalade Gel.

Gels

Gels are incredible for curly hair because they have the ability of providing long lasting hold. They add a protective layer to curly hair styles. A good gel for me is one that doesn’t stay crunchy once the gel cast is scrunched out, yet offers long lasting hold and definition.

The best gels that I have come across:

Curls styled with Kinky-Curly Knot Today & Curling Custard.

Foams

In my opinion, a good foam has the ability to enhance natural curls and impart mild hold with volume. Foams are good multitaskers. You can use them under a gel or in place of a gel. I prefer to use them under a gel, as a replacement for a styling cream. The best thing about foams is that they dry faster than creams.

My favorite foams are:

My curls in a gentle bun, using the Slick Kids hair spray.

Hairsprays

Finding a hairspray suitable for the Curly Girl Method is hard, because the vast majority of hairsprays are full of drying alcohols. I was lucky enough to find budget friendly hair sprays in larger bottles that are fully Curly Girl friendly, and they work wonderfully! I love using hairspray on days that I don’t feel like dealing with my hair. My go-to style is a gentle bun using a large donut, bobby pins and a Curly Girl friendly hairspray that doesn’t harm my curls, to keep the style in place all day long.

My favorite hairsprays are:

Deep Conditioners

Deep conditioning is an important part of restoring curl health. Good deep conditioners have the ability to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft, adding a boost of moisture for the days to come. I like deep conditioners that don’t weigh my hair down.

My favorite deep conditioners:

Very shiny curls after deep conditioning with Kinky-Curly Stellar Strands.

Products for Refreshing

These days I am not very big on refreshing. This is because re-wetting my curls on non-wash days can cause a lot of frizz, to the point where I need to wash my curls again. I have found that the best way to make a light refresh work for me involves applying a small amount of product on dry hair with either dry or wet hands, depending on the weather. The products below have worked wonders for me in the past two years.

My best refreshers:

Day 3 curls, lightly refreshed with some CurlyWorld Leave in Lover gel.

Keeping a record of the best performing products in your journey will save you money in the long term. Having a curl diary will help you enormously with this. I have found these products to be extremely beneficial for my curly girl journey. Do you have your own list of holy grail products? If you do, feel free to share with us in the comments section below!