The Curl Creams Pros Actually Swear By

You learn a whole lot of things when you transition to natural hair. Like the fact that you'll spend more time watching natural hair vloggers' YouTube videos than spending time with your actual family. Or that wash day is really more like wash morning, afternoon, evening, night, and next day. But the most important learning, at least in my book, is that moisture is paramount.

And it makes sense. Most of the curly/kinky/coily folks I know only shampoo every few weeks, since the name of the game is to retain all of your natural oils. Co-washing keeps your hair nice and hydrated, and in between washes, curl creams replenish your strands and give you more definition.

Because everyone on the Internet has an opinion about what products work and in what order, we decided to cut through all the clutter and get to, well, the crème de la crèmes. Ahead, find the seven picks that pro hairstylists and curly-hair experts rely on every single day to moisturize, style, and define twist-outs and braid-outs.

If the weather is currently feeling more like February than April, be sure to stick by your heavy winter curl cream a bit longer. "It's not a good situation to [wear] your liquid leave-in conditioners and gels in the cold," says hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, who notes that they tend to make wet hair hard. Instead, she recommends this leave-in cream for curly, coily, and kinky textures.

Curls Blueberry Bliss Twist-N-Shout Cream, $11.99, available at Target.
If you can't go without your gel, though, Obia Naturals offers a moisturizing cream that gives the same results. "It's like having a gel and a cream mixed together," Leatherwood says.

Obia Naturals Curl Moisture Cream, $17.99, available at Obia Naturals.
Like the Obia Moisture Cream, this new Phyto Specific product also gives you gel-like hold — with the added bonus of Shea butter, sunflower oil, and other moisturizing natural extracts.

PHYTOSPECIFIC Curl Legend Curl Sculpting Cream Gel, $28, available at Phytospecific.
This cream is a favorite among the West Coast set. "[It] enhances my natural curl pattern and leaves my hair full and soft, while still having enough weight to hold down random frizzy pieces," L.A.-based celebrity makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown, who works with Jill Scott and Yara Shahidi, tells R29. "There's zero residue, so product doesn't catch in my hair [and] it's an invisible curl-booster.”

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, $13, available at SheaMoisture.
Kami, a Naturally Curly editor, tells Refinery29 that she has found the holy grail cocktail for 4C curls: Macadamia Activating Curl Cream, Ann Carol's Peppermint Chamomile Hair Oil, and Aunt Jackie's Don't Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curl Gel.

Macadamia Activating Curl Cream, $19.95, available at Macadamia Hair.
"This works for mostly coily and kinky textures," Felicia Leatherwood says. And I have to agree — this rich concoction does wonders for my 4c twist-outs and braid-outs.

Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream, $7.79, available at Walgreens.
But for looser curls, Leatherwood likes this, which can be applied on wet hair to scrunch curls and on dry hair to smooth and define them.

Aunt Jackie's Curl La La Defining Curl Custard, $10.98, available at Wal Mart.
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