Though coveted by some with bone straight locks, curly hair can be both a blessing and a curse. Curly hair products are made not just to enhance and improve, but also to tame and manage, as curly hair often has a life of its own. Gels, creams, puddings, butters -- products targeting the curly-haired abound, so which product should be used?
First, the type of curly hair must be determined. Curly hair generally falls under three categories: loose, medium, or tight curls.
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The best curly hair products for those with loose curls are gels and light styling creams. This hair type benefits from light moisture and products to look for will say "enhance" and "define." These curls tend to straighten out when wet, so if a curly look is the goal, products should be somewhat thin to the touch. Heavy creams or thick leave-in conditioners can weigh this type down, and should be avoided when curl is on the agenda. Applying an appropriate gel to wet hair, drying naturally, then applying a light styling cream made to define curls is the recommended procedure.
Medium curls are tighter and have more of a tendency to frizz than naturally loose curls, so curly hair products for this type should contain a heavier moisture targeted at fighting frizz and separating and defining curl. Gels, styling creams, and puddings with words like "control" or "calm" should be sought. A pudding or gel should be applied to wet hair with careful precision to ensure each curl is saturated. Again, natural drying or drying with a diffuser is recommended, and a bit of styling cream on the dry curls will help to maintain the look throughout the day.
These curls are super tight, kinky, and densely packed. They require the heaviest of products, such as puddings, butters, or nourishing creams. Natural hair oil produced at the scalp has a hard time when trying to travel to the ends of kinky hair due to the structure of each strand. Heavy products like butters and puddings added to wet hair are essential to manage the kink and nourish the drier strands common to this hair type.
For all curly hair types, a gentle shampoo with non-drying ingredients is best. Especially try to avoid shampoos with sodium laurel sulfate, as this ingredient is very drying and can cause frizz. Unfortunately, it's also very common in shampoos, but most eco-friendly and botanical based products refrain from using it, so check out the "natural" section of products.