Best curl cream

Hair Products

A curl cream is designed to eliminate frizz, seal in moisture and leave your curls hydrated, defined and shiny.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which curl creams are best?

If you struggle with frizz when getting your curly locks under control, a curl cream will provide the added moisture, definition and control you need for all-day hydration. Not only is it designed to seal in moisture when applied after a shower to offer added hydration so your curls stay in place, but a curl cream can also add some shine to your hair. If you are looking for a premium quality, curl cream designed for fine, medium or thick hair, Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Cream is the top choice.

What to know before you buy a curl cream

Hair type

It is important to buy a curling cream that is designed for your specific hair type to leave it soft and manageable. If you have thick, coarse hair, you will want to find a thick cream that is designed to seal moisture inside the cuticle to eliminate frizz. For thin, coarse hair, choose a midweight curl cream that won’t weigh down your curls while providing them with the definition you need. You should also go with a midweight curl cream if you have thick and fine hair to seal in moisture. If you have thin and fine hair, opt for a lightweight formula that will not weigh your hair down with excess oils.

Texture

After showering and applying curl cream to your wet hair, you want to be sure not to apply too much curl cream as that can weigh your hair down. You can dry your hair with a hair dryer, but the best results often come when the curls are left to air dry naturally. When your hair is completely dry, the curl cream should feel soft, leaving your curls defined and not feeling oily or sticky.

Finish

Some curl creams offer the added benefit of a glossy finish for extra shine and a beautiful look. Others offer sun protection from harmful UV rays. Be sure to check the label to find which product is best for your hair.

What to look for in a quality curl cream

Ingredients

The best quality curl creams will include all-natural ingredients. You want to find a cream that does not include unhealthy parabens, sulfates or gluten, which are often found in less expensive brands. Instead, opt for one that has premium ingredients to reduce frizz, seal in moisture and nourish your hair.

Hydration

Wavy and curly hair need extra hydration to eliminate frizz, but you want to be sure to choose the right curl cream based on your hair type. Tighter curls and coarse hair benefit more from creams that contain argan or coconut oil, while thinner hair will get too weighed down. Lighter creams contain less oil and are designed to eliminate frizz for fine hair. 

Residue

A curl cream should leave your hair defined and not feeling sticky or oily. Curls should always be soft and bouncy, not weighed down by product. Less expensive options may leave a buildup on your hair and scalp with extended use. A clarifying shampoo can help to eliminate any product residue or buildup leaving your hair and scalp clean. 

How much you can expect to spend on curl cream

A curl cream costs from $3-$35 depending on the formula, hydrating ingredients and bottle size. The most expensive options are gluten, paraben and sulfate-free.

Curl cream FAQ

When should I apply curl cream?

A. A curl cream should be applied after you get out of the shower and towel dry your hair. Start by applying at the roots and work your way down to the ends of your hair taking care to evenly coat your hair. Most curl cream products are safe enough to use every day and will not cause your hair to dry out when used frequently.

How much curl cream should I use?

A. Applying curl cream varies from brand to brand so it is important to check the instructions on the label. The amount also varies based on your hair length. If you have longer hair, you will want to apply more curl cream than shorter hair, which will require less product.

What’s the best curl cream to buy?

Top curl cream

Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Cream

Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In Defining Cream

What you need to know: This premium quality, leave-in curl cream designed for fine, medium or thick hair hydrates curls, leaving them soft and bouncy.

What you’ll love: The anti-frizz curling cream is made with premium ingredients designed to weatherproof curls. The lightweight formula of this cream leaves curls hydrated, and the product does not contain parabens, gluten or sulfates.

What you should consider: Some buyers have said they do not like the scent.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Top curl cream for the money

Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream

Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream

What you need to know: Despite the low price, this budget-friendly cream does not contain parabens, sulfates, mineral oil or silicone. 

What you’ll love: The inexpensive curl cream nourishes curls and keeps hair hydrated all day long. The creamy formula eliminates frizz, improves curls leaving them feeling soft and manageable.

What you should consider: If you apply too much product, it may weigh down your hair. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Bumble and Bumble Curl Defining Creme

Bumble and Bumble Curl Defining Creme

What you need to know: Designed for medium to coarse hair, this curl cream moisturizes hair leaving curls more flexible.

What you’ll love: The defining cream works to smooth and protect hair, eliminate frizziness and leave curls movable and shiny. This cream also offers UV protection from the drying effects of the sun.

What you should consider: This curl cream comes at a high price point but is available from a trusted brand.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Kellie Speed writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.