13 Curly Girls Share The Products They Swear By For Perfect Hair

Cool means never showing that you try — or care — too much. It’s something that makes attaining that je ne sais quoi extremely hard. So how do cool girls with curly hair — who seem predestined to have killer hair every single day — make their manes look so good?

Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, model Nikia Phoenix, and The Flour Shop’s Amirah Kassem (mmm...doughnuts) are these girls: Their curls are full of healthy volume, enviable bounce — and dare we say, secrets? So we tracked ‘em down, plus a coterie of other cool curlies, to find out how they do it and what products they swear by. Luckily for anyone who skews curly, the secrets came pouring out. Among them: which freshly released product a beauty pro (with major insider friends) deems lust-worthy, care tips from a celebrity makeup artist who shaved her head to get virgin curls, and so much more.

We also uncovered a few recurring themes: the drugstore haircare brand that tops many of our subjects' must-have lists; a tendency to lean into the frizz; and the one thing to do in the shower to give curly hair major bounce.

But the most surprising — and democratic — takeaway is that it doesn’t take a lot of money to get curls that look like a million bucks. Most of the our insiders’ product picks cost $15 or less. Click ahead for advice from some of music, beauty, and film’s most enviable manes — and count their secrets yours.

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Amirah Kassem, Baker & Founder, The Flour Shop
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“I use the whole Aveda: Be Curly collection — shampoo, conditioner, and Style Prep. But the real key is to brush your hair in the shower and let your curls dry naturally so they land their own bounce.”

Aveda Be Curly Style-Prep, $25, available at Aveda.
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Nikia Phoenix, Model & Founder, Black Girl Beautiful
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“SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner is my jam. This is the best leave-in conditioner ever invented, hands down. I use it once week after a really good wash and regular conditioner. It’s so dry in L.A. that I need something that’s really going to seal in the moisture — and this does not disappoint.”

SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, $11, available at Ulta.
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“This is what I use when I’m braiding or twisting up my hair at night. Not only does it moisturize, but it also helps lock in the curl pattern, so when I unbraid in the morning, my hair is popping.”

Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter, $15.29, available at Target.
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“The key to all of my favorite products is moisture: My hair is low porosity and super thick and kinky, and I live in an incredibly dry climate. I must prep my curls with a little water and vegetable glycerin or coconut oil before anything else. With the right combination of moisture-rich products, my hair will look flawless. This is a lightweight cream that I can use to style my hair after a twist out. It’s even good for refreshing braided and protective styling.”

DevaCurl SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler, $28, available at DevaCurl.
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Bethany Cosentino, Singer, Songwriter & Guitarist, Best Coast
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“My absolute favorite product for my hair type is SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk. It has silk protein, which leaves my hair feeling really soft, and neem oil that controls frizz and gives it a nice, subtle shine. It also smells amazing, and it's great for thick, curly, frizzy hair like mine. My hair is less curly than it is frizzy and wavy, but this stuff tames the frizz and leaves my natural wave soft and beachy-looking. It's also all-natural and cruelty free, which I love.”

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk, $11, available at Ulta.
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Shan Boodram, Author, Sexologist & YouTuber
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“The name of the game for my curly routine is low-to-no maintenance. Since volume is my priority, and frizz is my friend, I don't go crazy on the product pounding. This is a good once-a-month deep conditioner that gives me confidence that my hair is getting the moisture and nutrients it needs.”

Lush Kinky Hot Oil Treatment, $10, available at Lush.
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“Leave-in conditioner is to curly hair...what gas is to a car. And finding a good leave-in that gives your curls definition without weighing the hair down is a task. DevaCurl is my boo, but I only use it on the top pieces — I prefer the middle to have zero product, so I get frizzy volume goodness!”

DevaCurl SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler, $28, available at Ulta.

Ed. note: No, you're not seeing double — two women picked this formula.
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“Soft, tamed edges are all the rage, and this organic product gives me the look without any of the flake of gel. I use this every day and also apply it to my eyebrows.”

Curl Blueberry Curl Control Paste, $9, available at Target.
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“Do your curls look like a dried-up bush when the light hits [them]? A dark dye with a deep-red undertone will clear that up. Because I favor frizz, this dark color works wonders in giving my hair a healthy, soft appearance.”

Schwarzkopf Ultime Hair Color in 1.3 Black Cherry, $9.50, available at Target.
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Alice Lane, makeup artist for celebrities like Emilia Clarke and Haley Bennett.
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“I learned a big lesson with my curls: They need to be treated with TLC. All through my 20s, I took them for granted. I colored my hair 5,000 times. I shredded it with brushes and used any shampoo that I could find. Then one day, it was just trashed. It looked like an old viking's beard who had been lost at sea for 20 years. So I buzzed it all off, much to everyone's horror. Now, it's growing back. I love and care for every single curl.

"I use DevaCurl No‑Poo Cleanser every day. It's so rich I don't even need to condition afterwards. I pat my hair dry with a towel and then do not touch it or it will fuzz.”

DevaCurl No-Poo Original Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser, $44, Available at Ulta.
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“I don't use any soaps or sulfates — I hand-wash my hair like a favorite cashmere sweater. Now my hair is like what it was when I was a child. I love it. I can't wait for it to all grow in. If my hair needs to be revived, I use Biomega Moisture Mist Conditioner and get soft and shiny curls immediately.”

Aquage Biomega Moisture Mist, $20, available at Amazon.
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Devika Bhise, Actress, Singer & Activist
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“A hairstylist once told me that curly hair is thirsty hair, and I am always trying out new products to give my hair the moisture it needs to result in smooth, shiny, and frizz-free curls. Lately, I have fallen in love with this mask. It provides deep, lasting moisture that makes my curls look flawless without using any hot tools.”

Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil, $71, available at Sephora.
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Tama Janowitz, Author, Scream: A Memoir Of Glamour And Dysfunction
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“I have rebellious hair. My hair has never behaved like other hairs on others' heads. My hair insists on having its own way. I do not like having this kind of hair, but by now I have given up on teaching it a lesson and I let it do what it wants, pretty much, as long as it comes home by curfew.

"Sometimes, I put some organic coconut oil on it — that's how dry, ferocious, and unruly it is. I wash and condition it, mostly in L'Oreal Total Repair or Extraordinary Oil. Of the products I've tried, L'Oreal seems to work the best.”

L'Oreal Advanced Haircare Total Repair Extraordinary Oil, $11, available at Amazon.
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Tasha Reiko Brown, makeup artist for celebrities like Jill Scott and Yara Shahidi.
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“This styling cream enhances my natural curl pattern and leaves my hair full and soft, while still having enough weight to hold down random frizzy pieces. There's zero residue, so product doesn't catch in my hair and leave visible clumps of product — it's an invisible curl-booster.”

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, $13, available at SheaMoisture.
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"Every curly-haired girl has a hair cocktail — two or even three products used in tandem to get the perfect texture for their curl pattern. Mine is Shea Moisture Curl Smoothie and argan oil. This oil is perfect for my dry, damaged ends. It keeps them from separating into frizzes and reflects light off of them, giving the illusion it's healthy hair."

Josie Maran 100% Pure Cold-Pressed Organic Argan Oil, $48, available at Josie Maran.
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Leore Hayon, Actress & Model
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“I love Griffin Remedy Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner with Shea Butter and Macadamia Nut Oil. It's free of parabens and sulfates, which is important to me, because try to nourish my hair with the most natural ingredients. It has rosemary, sage, and lavender, which makes washing my hair very therapeutic and relaxing.

"My secret to having the appearance of hydrated curls is conditioning...a lot! I condition my hair almost every day and shampoo about once or twice a week. This is what works for my hair. Shampooing regularly changes the texture of my hair greatly and I'm really about those nourished, soft curls. I even brush my hair in the shower with conditioner. It really locks in the structure and moisture in my curls.”

Griffin Remedy Restorative Shampoo, $8.29, available at Griffin Remedy; Griffin Remedy Restorative Conditioner, $8.29, available at Griffin Remedy.
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“I like to allow my hair to do as it likes and work with it, rather than trying to control it. When my hair needs a little help, I spray it with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil mixed with and one cup of water. I learned this by instinct: My hair was dry and I thought of using coconut oil to hydrate it. I overdid it the first time with the coconut oil; you only need a little of it.”

Spectrum Essentials Organic Coconut Oil, Unrefined, $15, available at Walgreens.
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Ally Hickson, Refinery29 Associate Editor, Digital Innovation
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"It's pretty easy for me to find great conditioners and masks for my curly hair, but when it comes to curl creams, it's always been a struggle. I've tried tons, but SheaMoisture's light curl cream is the only one that doesn't make my curls stiff or crunchy.

"It's also moisturizing enough that it helps hydrate them, give them shape, and stop frizz. I also use it to smooth my edges when I slick my hair back in a bun or high ponytail!"

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk, $10.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Katey Denno, Makeup Artist For Celebrities Like Cobie Smulders & Chelsea Handler; Founder, The Beauty Of It Is
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“This shampoo does a good job at getting hair clean and it doesn't weigh down my curls.”

Rahua Shampoo, $34, available at Rahua.
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“This is the most hydrating, rich, and creamy conditioner. I love that it doesn't use silicone to smooth down my hair, but just hydrates it with a bunch of butters and oils.”

Rare Elements Essential Conditioner Daily Masque, $48, available at Rare Elements.
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“Out of the shower, I let my hair air-dry. As it's getting close to dry, I'll rub some Weleda Skin Food into my hands and press the product into my ends super lightly, then run the remainder through the rest of my hair.”

Weleda Skin Food, $19, available at Weleda.
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“This serum also helps really bring on the curl. It's not crunchy, it smells good and natural, and a little goes a long way.”

Intelligent Nutrients Curly Hair Serum, $33, available at Intelligent Nutrients.
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Deanna Melluso, Makeup Artist For Celebrities Like Malin Åkerman, Anna Paquin & Emily Meade
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"I think what helps the most is getting the right haircut. From there, I use a cocktail of products. I start out with a leave-in conditioner from Kérastase called Oléo-Curl. This leaves the hair hydrated."

Kérastase Discipline Oléo-Curl Cream for Curly Hair, $42, available at Kérastase.
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"After applying a leave-in conditioner, I’ll use a hair cream. Lately, I like the one from AG hair called Beach Bomb. This keeps the curl in and gives me a little more hydration. I have lots of hair with tons of frizz and this product seems to tame it."

AG Hair Curl Beach Bomb Tousled Texture, $22, available at Ulta.
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“I spray a salt water spray from Ouidad, which is the best one. It also keeps the curl in without making it flaky and tight. When my hair dries, I just give it a shake and boom: Cher hair.”

Ouidad Wave Create Sea Spray, $26, available at DermStore.
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“Once my hair is dry, I put in product from Living Proof called Amp Texture Volumizer. This gives my bangs more volume and a day-two effect. I love my hair the second or third day. Again, I give it another shake and done — volume and curl.”

Living Proof Amp Instant Texture Volumizer, $25, available at Living Proof.
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Mayia, Makeup Artist For Celebrities Like Amandla Stenberg, Erin Heatherton & Camilla Belle
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“[This shampoo] is amazing for my thin and fragile curly hair. It gently cleanses my hair without drying out my hair texture, so my curls go back to their natural shape.”

Bumble and Bumble Bb.Curl Sulfate Free Shampoo, $31, available at Bumble and Bumble.
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“I am totally crazy about the Bb. style curl. It's a gel oil (no greasiness at all) and the texture is amazing. I can use it on wet hair or dry hair and it gives back the natural curl and makes my hair look thick, healthy, and gives a perfect shine. I love the sexy look it gives to my hair.”

Bumble and Bumble Bb.Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil, $34, available at Sephora.
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"I travel with this everyday cream all the time — it's in my purse anywhere I go. When my hair feels dry, I apply a tiny amount onto dry hair. It's nourishes immediately and my hair thanks me every time.”

Leonor Greyl Éclat Naturel Styling Cream, $46, available at Leonor Greyl.
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“[This product is] so elegant and a real luxurious treat for my curly hair. My curls get so beautiful and light, it gives me a sexy curly beach wave effect. Plus, the smell is so amazing that you travel anytime you use it.”

Balmain Hair Couture Argan Moisturizing Elixir, $45, available at Net-A-Porter.
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