19 December 2014

Best of 2014: Curly Girl Hair Products (Budget + High End)

I've struggled for years to tame my curly mane, but I think I've finally figured out what really works.  For a point of reference, my hair does really well air drying, but it needs the right products or else controlled curls can quickly turn into a frizzy mess.  I've tried a lot of products - and I especially feel like I've tried a lot this past year - so I think it's about time I put together my "best of" list for curly hair products.  I've included both a budget and high end option for each category.

Shampoo and Conditioner
I always keep Acure's  Argan + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner well stocked, and if money was no object, I would definitely rotate in John Masters Honey & Hibiscus Shampoo and Reconstructor.  Both duos provide a lot of moisture, but they don't weigh down my hair.  

Hair Oil
I've tried a lot of different oils, both singles and blends, but I always come back to using a pure, 100% argan oil.  I use a few drops on damp hair after washing - mainly focused on the ends - to control frizz and keep hair strong and healthy.  I'm a big fan of Acure's Argan Oil - it's certified organic, sustainably harvested, affordable, and good quality - but if you're open to spending a little more, Olie Biologique's Argan Oil - again organic, and also cold pressed - has a richer, nuttier scent and feels that little bit more luxurious.  

Hair Gel
I've probably tried more gels than any other hair product and it's the one category where I still feel like I'm searching for that ever elusive perfect product.  I like a product with hold, but I can't stand anything that leaves my hair feeling crunchy or sticky.  My favorite to date is Intelligent Nutrients' Organic Styling Gel, which smells fresh and minty and doesn't require a lot of product to get the light hold I'm after.  On the more budget-friendly side, I also really like Kinky Curly's Spiral Spritz.  It's a lighter hold product than the Intelligent Nutrients, but it nicely defines curls without leaving any kind of coating on the hair.  

Curl Refresher / Leave-in Conditioner
On days when I don't wash my hair, I like to use something to freshen up my curls and make them look bouncy and (almost) new again.  Beautiful Curls' Curl Reviving Tonic is the first natural product I've found that's actually intended for this purpose and it's pretty amazing.  Yarok's Feed Your Ends also works well, and it can do double duty as a heat protectant on the rare occasions that I heat style my hair.

Honorable Mentions
Yarok's Feed Your Roots was the first natural hair product I fell in love with, so I couldn't make this list without including it!  Some days I'll use the mousse in place of a gel, and it also works well to add volume at the roots.  

Intelligent Nutrients' Hair Shine is a bit of a cheat, as I haven't quite worked out how to best use it with curls, but it's amazing on those rare days that I straighten my hair.  It's not greasy at all and it tames frizz and flyaways like nothing else, all while leaving behind the most gorgeous, glossy, hair commercial-worthy shine.

Clearly I like trying hair products, so if there are any great ones I've missed, let me know in the comments.  I'd love to know your favorites!

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  1. Some of my favourite hair care products there, I especially love John Master's range! <3

    1. So true, John Masters has some great products!

  2. Loved this post sweetie! I would love to try JMO but I just stick with Acure because it's more affordable :) xx

    1. Thanks Jana! That's how I feel too. The John Masters is there if I ever feel like splurging, but the Acure works so well that it's not something I can justify spending the money on very often :)

  3. Yarok Feed Your Ends is a fave for me too, I've lost count of the number of times I keep recommending it to people haha. Just testing out their moisture masque at the moment too which I think will become another favourite! I really need to try the Acure shampoo/conditioner :) x

    1. I didn't realize Yarok made a masque until now! Definitely something I need to look into :)

  4. Great list of products! I am on the hunt for an extra moisturizing conditioner and shampoo that won't break the bank!

    1. Thanks! Have you tried the Acure? It gives a lot of moisture and less than $10 a piece :)

  5. Thank you Caitie, this post is for my hair type, the same as you haha! Thanks :))xx

  6. I have curls too and have completely switched to products (including for my face and body) with no sulfates, silicones (this includes dimethicone and anything ending in "icone"), phosphates, parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, paraffin, propylene glycol, and NO ANIMAL TESTING (goodbye Mac!).

    Have you ever tried the Shea Moisture line? You can get it at Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreen's, and even Sally Beauty (where it is the most expensive I have ever found it). CVS is typically a little higher than Walgreen's, Target and Walmart. Very often CVS and Walgreen's have it buy 1 get 1 free too! It's a good time to try one of their many formulations. At Walmart and sometimes Target, you may need to look in the "ethnic haircare" aisle to find it.

    Shea Moisture is about $10 a bottle / jar depending on the phase of the moon. Ha ha! They have many different lines for different kinds of curls and hair. They make shampoo/conditioner, deep conditioner masks, spray on oils, hair "milk" (i.e., Curl & Style Milk, Hair Thickening and Growth Milk), mists to spray on after you wash, etc. It's best to look at their website and see what all they make so you can then look at the retailers and see what lines they carry. Nobody that I have found carries all of their different lines but Target seems to have ones that no one else carries (by line, I mean there is one called "Coconut & Hibiscus" that is for thick curly hair, there's one for thin hair, there's one for dry hair, etc. etc.).

    I also LOVE LOVE LOVE their "Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Healing Lotion with Frankincense & Myrrh". It's a mouthful but it's really a lovely lotion (very thick, almost a cream). It has a yellow label. They have other baby lotions too, but I like this one the best. They also have some balms for babies that I use. They also have the yellow label and contain the same core ingredients as the baby lotion I like (Raw Shea, Chamomile, Argan Oil, Frankincense & Myrrh). They also make lotions, sugar scrubs and massage oils for the grownups. I think the baby lotion is more cost effective. It's 13 oz and about $10. I think the adult ones are smaller for the same price. Also, not everyone carries the adult bath/body stuff. But everyone seems to have the baby stuff. I've even seen it at Kroger.

    They also have bar soaps that I use as well. And no, I don't work for them!!

    I also love the feel of my hair after I rub a few drops of Rose Hip Seed Oil into it when it's dry.

    I love your site and am just discovering it - thanks for putting in all the hard work for us! I have similar stashes of products and samples that I will probably never use! I should do like you do and try to use some of them up in a month.


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