My Favorite Curly/Wavy Hair Products

by - May 13, 2020

About three years ago, I decided to embrace my naturally wavy-curly hair. Growing up, none of my classmates had curly hair, or if they did they straightened it. It wasn't until I went to college that I was exposed to girls proudly wearing their natural curls, but still I didn't let my waves loose on a regular basis. Once I entered the working world, I found myself skipping the straightener more and more, but I really didn't know what I was doing.

My hair is a mix between 2c-3a. If I let it air dry without product, it tends to be more wavy than curly, but if I use the right product and diffuser I can achieve more defined waves/curls. When I finally decided to jump into the curly lifestyle, I did my research and started on a journey that's still ongoing. I read all about the Curly Girl Method, learned about curl types, watched videos on how to use a diffuser the right way, and experimented with a ton of products. Speaking of those products, I wanted to share what works for me and how I use them. All of these products are budget friendly and can be found in your local drugstore, Target or Walmart, or ordered from Amazon.

Wash Day
So let me start off by saying that I only do a full wash with shampoo about once a week. I've tried three different systems but always come back to Cantu. The shampoo is sulfate and phosphate free, but still lathers up slightly and leaves my hair feeling clean but not dry. I apply it to the top of my head, massage into my scalp, and then let it wash through the rest of my hair when I rinse. The conditioner is nice and thick. I squeeze it into my hair (re: don't rake it through with my fingers) and let it soak for a few minutes. Then I flip my head/hair over and rinse it out.

Between Washes
Just because I don't shampoo my hair every day, or even every other day, doesn't mean I don't wash it between shampoos. I do what's called a cowash on the third day. I use Cantu Complete Conditioning Cowash to remove product buildup and sweat, then follow that up with Cantu Curl Stretcher Cream Rinse to help keep my waves nice and springy. I let the curl stretcher sit for 3-5 minutes, or until my hair feels slimy, then flip upside down to rinse out. On days when I don't use the cowash, I at least rinse my hair out with water, and some days I use the curl stretcher on its own.

Leave-In Treatments
I use leave-in treatments sparingly as they tend to be really heavy in my hair. I like Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Cream for when conditioning in the shower just isn't cutting it (approximately every 3 weeks or so). After my shower, I slather it on my hair and wrap it up in a microfiber towel overnight, then rinse it out the next morning. I use Cantu Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment about once a week to help prevent breakage when I use my diffuser.

The MVP's of Products
When it comes to styling, I've learned that with my hair, less is more. I have tried a bunch of products, but these 4 are my holy grail. I consistently have the best, longest-lasting results when I use them. Pro tip: I apply either cream before I get out of the shower, when my hair is still really wet. I scrunch the product in, not rake, and then wrap my hair loosely in a microfiber towel.

OGX Morroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream is my #1 product as it's so versatile for me. I get good results whether I air dry or use my diffuser, so win-win. I prefer this cream on my wash days as it tends to be a little heavier. I mostly use this cream on its own, but it does pair well with the gel I'll talk about in a moment.

I use Not Your Mother's Curl Talk Defining Cream on days I cowash or use the curl stretcher. Like I mentioned above, I scrunch the cream into my hair before I get out of the shower, then wrap my hair loosely in a microfiber towel. After about 20 minutes, I remove the towel and scrunch in Aussie Instant Freeze 20-Hour Gel. I only use a dollop, and apply it to my hair upside down, scrunching from the roots upward. Then I diffuse my hair until it's about 85-90% dry. I let the rest air dry and scrunch out any leftover crunch. This combination has the best record for second and third-day curls.

Aussie Miracle Curls Curl-Defining Oil is the real champ of my products. I use this oil to finish out my daily styling. I also use it to tame frizz on high-humidity days, and it works nicely to re-animate second-day curls. Not to mention, it smells amazing.

Honorable Mentions
Before I wrap things up, I want to share three other great products that I occasionally use.

Cantu Curl Activator Cream is a good follow-up for the Cantu shampoo and conditioner. It offers nice, frizz-free definition for waves/curls. I don't use it regularly because it tends to be a little too heavy for my hair and leads to more washing than my hair needs.

I use Cantu Wave Whip Curling Mousse on days between washes when I don't feel like diffusing my hair. This product is really light. It does not give me defined curls, even if I use my diffuser. It does help reduce frizz and air dries without much crunchiness.

I really only use OGX Morroccan Sea Salt Spray for beach or lake days. I've used several salt sprays, and I like this one the best. It's not super heavy, and it smells better than others I've tried.

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