10 Holy Grail Products For Curly-Haired Girls

Photographed By Mark Iantosca.
As curly girls, we're all on our own personal search for the Holy Grail. The quest can be lengthy, costly, and full of disappointment. For so long, companies didn’t make products for curly hair, and as a result we’ve become queens of hacking everything from towels (we prefer T-shirts) and brushes (horse brushes actually work) to hair product cocktails.

But, believe it or not, those miracle products do exist — and we tracked down 10 of them. Ahead, the Holy Grail products the NaturallyCurly editors can’t live without.
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The Gentle Cleanser
The first rule of curly hair is to break up with your shampoo. There are many “no 'poo” routes you can take next, from co-washing to water washing and everything in between. Some curly girls prefer to keep shampoo in their routine and opt for a gentle, curl-friendly formula.

Several of us in the NaturallyCurly headquarters count this product as a Holy Grail, including Jamie, the account manager, who has Type 3b ringlets and says, “Don't let the fact that it has oil in the name scare you off. It will not leave your hair greasy, but rather clean and super soft.” This is a surefire way to avoid the dry and brittle hair situation we’re often left with when using traditional shampoo.
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The Conditioner
Once you’ve cleansed, it’s crucial to follow up with a moisturizing daily conditioner. This SheaMoisture conditioner won several NaturallyCurly Editors’ Choice awards this year, so it’s safe to say we can’t get enough of it.

The biggest benefit (besides all of its moisturizing ingredients)? Hands down, the slip! Slip is what you need to be able to easily run your fingers or a wide-tooth comb through your hair in the shower, and it's essential to removing and preventing knots.
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The Deep Conditioner
If this isn’t a part of your regular routine, you’ll be surprised by the difference a monthly deep treatment can make. This conditioner is just as popular among women with loose waves as it is with women who have Afro-textured coils.

Not only does it use many of our favorite oils (like coconut and jojoba) to moisturize, but it is also a strengthening treatment. If you use heat to style on occasion, have color-treated hair, are active in the sun or the pool, or experience dryness, then deep conditioning is a can’t-miss step in your hair routine.
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The Detangler
When I asked NaturallyCurly editors for their Holy Grail product, Kinky-Curly Knot Today (KT for short) was the number-one most common response, from women with curl patterns ranging from wavy all the way to coily. Maintaining curly hair can be pricey, so we all love that KT can be used as a conditioner, detangler, and leave-in conditioner.

Nikki, our email editor, likes that it makes detangling her Type 3c hair easy, and “the ingredients are natural so I never have to worry about chemicals, silicones, or parabens.” And, this isn’t one of those hard-to-find boutique products — we’ve seen it in Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Ricky’s, Whole Foods, Central Market, and more.

Related: 10 Fixes for Frizzy Hair (That Actually Work)
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The Moisturizer
You conditioned and rinsed in the shower, and now a leave-in will help you maintain your moisture for the rest of the week. Our social media manager Evelyn (whose curls are best described as Type 4b) says the SheaMoisture JBCO leave-in is her Holy Grail because her hair can be unpredictable, but with this product she can expect the same soft results every time.

Evelyn says this leave-in is so slippery “I can literally run my fingers through my fro with this — insert brown praise-hands emoji.” As a bonus, SheaMoisture is “slaying the natural-hair-product game with 16 ounces of actually wholesome ingredients widely available in stores for $10.99.”
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The Microfiber Towel
Like we said, curlies have a hack for everything. When we realized traditional terry cloth towels were sucking the moisture out of our hair and creating friction with our cuticles, we improvised by using T-shirts instead.

One curly took that hack a step further by sewing her own T-shirt with a drawstring to keep it on her head and closed the sleeves and bottom seam to keep the wet hair from dripping down her — and now she sells it as the Curly Tee Towel. It’s a staple for NaturallyCurly editor Amanda, who has Type 4a curls and calls the towel “absolutely brilliant. Can't live without it. This is my favorite product we have ever received. A simple yet brilliant innovation, and now when I’m getting dressed I can apply my beauty products without water dripping down my face, neck, and clothes!”
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The Diffuser
I admit it: I’m a product junkie, but while the cream gels, oils, and masks cycle through my stash, there is one Holy Grail product that stays a constant: my diffuser, by Spilo. It has a bigger impact on my wavy curls than any product ever could. Without a diffuser, my curls are almost indiscernible, but with a diffuser I have fully formed waves and ringlets with body and bounce.

We often receive questions asking, “How can I make my hair curlier?” or “How can I achieve curl definition?” and my advice is to apply your styling product to wet hair, plop with a T-shirt or towel until it’s halfway dry, then flip your head over and diffuse it. Flipping forward is what will create spirals that start right at the roots.
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The Frizz Fighter
You know how perfect your curls look when you get out of the shower? Wouldn’t it be magical if you could step out into the world and your curls kept that definition instead of expanding into a giant halo of frizz? We’ve all tried products that promised to prevent frizz — and then been severely disappointed when they didn’t work — but this is not one of those products.

This gem seals moisture into your curls and then forms a barrier against humidity, but not the crunchy, sticky kind of barrier that most gels give you. Photo editor Fran says, “It’s the last product I apply to my 3b curls when styling — it has just the right amount of hold! The gel helps to reduce frizz and tame my hair during the Texas heat and humidity. Definitely a summer necessity.”
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The Second-Day Refresher
Your wash-and-go looks fabulous on day one, but after a couple of days and a visit to the gym, you’re resorting to the topknot yet again. But, it is possible to have moisturized, defined curls on day three (and four and five) — you just need the right refresher. There are products on the market labeled as curl refreshers, but our editor Devri, who has Type 3c curls, uses Zenzele Leave-in Conditioner instead because it’s “multipurpose — it defines my second- and third-day curls, provides moisture to my dry scalp in between washes, and detangles my hair on wash day.”

You can dampen your hair with water in a spray bottle first for definition, or simply apply the leave-in to your dry hair in sections “for a natural, fluffed-out fro full of volume.”

Have you discovered your Holy Grail product yet? Or, are you still on the hunt?

Next: 5 Ways To Use Shea Butter For Hair (That You Haven't Tried Yet)

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