Presented by ULTA BeautyThe natural hair movement has come a very long way. Years ago it was practically impossible to snag good (sulfate and paraben-free) curl products that actually worked. These days new natural hair brands are continually popping up, with mainstream brands jumping on board with their own curly hair products. It’s as if all our curl dreams FINALLY came true. Finding a great defining curl cream or a deep conditioning treatment that transforms curly locks is really NBD anymore.
But I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes all the options can get overwhelming. The truth is, you just need to know the basics of good curly hair care and discover effective products that work for you. Here I’ll share the 411 on how to care for your natural hair and share the must-have hair products that will give you your healthiest curls yet!
Switch to a cleansing conditioner. I’m always surprised by the number of curly girls I’ll meet that still use regular shampoo. Sure, sulfate-free is better than a sulfate-filled shampoo, but lather really doesn’t do curls any favors. On the contrary, it leaves them dry and knotty. So grab a zero-lather cleansing conditioner that’s going to cleanse and intensely hydrate hair and then make sure to thank me later. DevaCurl No-Poo, $24, Ulta.com
A hydrating leave-in makes ALL the difference. Not only does this leave-in conditioner leave my hair hydrated and soft, but it’s so lightweight, it does all of that without weighing down my curls. I’m pretty obsessed. DevaCurl Leave-In Decadence, $26, Ulta.com
Weekly hair masks are a must. Keep skipping out on weekly hair masks and trust me — your curls will pay. A deeply-penetrating conditioning treatment works to moisturize and soften curls while also repairing them from damage. Ouidad Curl Immersion Triple Threat Deep Conditioner, $38, Ulta.com
Don’t forget a good rinse out though. For the days you’re not hair masking, use a rinse-out conditioner that’s going to hydrate curls and prevent breakage. This one is packed with quinoa protein and avocado butter that work to strengthen curls while boosting moisture and shine. Curly-Q Hydrating Conditioner, $12, Ulta.com
Make your scalp a priority. Taking care of your scalp is just as important as taking care of your hair. The light, non-greasy formula works to cleanse the scalp from dirt, oil, or product buildup while also stimulating hair follicles to help promote growth. It’s a must-have if you’re transitioning from heat-damage or growing out a chemical treatment that did a number on your rizos. Curlsmith Scalp Stimulating Booster, $27, Ulta.com
Curl creams work wonders. This argan-oil infused curl cream works to nourish hair, fight frizz, and define curls — leaving you with beautiful bouncy curls. What more could a curly girl ask for? Eva NYC Rock-A-Wave Curl Cream,$12, Ulta.com
Invest in a good dryer with a diffuser attachment. For the days when air-drying just isn’t a practical option (cause who got time?) — opt for a dryer and diffuser combo that will dry and enhance curls without the heat damage. Did I mention it helps to boost volume too? Yesssss girl! DevaDryer & DevaFuser, $160, Ulta.com
For the days you want to air dry. The key to frizz-free and perfectly defined curls — aside from good styling products duh— is what you dry it with. You can opt for an old T-shirt but if you’re like me and rather leave the T-shirts in their drawers, then try a microfiber towel. This Turbie Twist Hair Towel is a total game changer on the days you find yourself pressed for time and you can’t diffuse. Turbie Twist The Original Super-Absorbent Hair Towel, $8, Ulta.com
If a curl cream isn’t cutting it, try a gel. I actually prefer the hold and definition I get from gels versus curl creams. Fortunately, most curl gels these days are formulated without alcohol and don’t leave hair dry and crunchy. In fact, this gel-oil formula gives curls hold and bounce, while leaving hair silky soft. It’s a win-win situation. Bumble and Bumble Bb. Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil, $30, Ulta.com