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Curl Creams are the New Gel Alternative for Natural Hair

Avatar • Sep 1, 2015

Yes, I know not everyone likes or wants to use gel on their natural hair. The potential crunchiness, dryness, and flaking is enough to annoy anyone going through trial and error with gel products, so a lot of naturals are flocking to curl creams, especially when they have shorter hair and multi-day hair is not a concern. But how do they stack up? A lot of curl creams are more expensive than gels (which, just a guess, could be due to the richer ingredients often in these formulations, so it’s good to have an idea of how the product may perform before dropping $20+. Here are some that I’ve tried and what I think of them.

livingproof

Living Proof curl defining styling cream

Price: $28 for 8oz

Thoughts: Even though Living Proof seems to be more into the “science” of hair rather than a natural approach to products, I was excited when they developed a line for “coily” hair. Their model’s hair looks very styled and her curls are loose (not coily, in my opinion), but that didn’t stop me. However, for my hair, this product is very blah. It’s opaque like a lotion, but doesn’t provide a lot of slip going on naked hair, and not much more with a leave-in under it. Every time I’ve used this product, I haven’t been a big fan of my hair. Alone, it doesn’t do much for me (I think I get better results with a leave-in alone) in terms of styling or moisture, and when combined with other styling products my hair still feels kind of dry.

Verdict: 2 out of 5 stars

curljunkie

Curl Junkie Coffee Coco Curl Creme

Price: $24 for 8oz

Thoughts: This is one of those products that I would absolutely be in love with if my hair was shorter and I restyled my wash and go everyday. My first day hair is fluffy and soft, yet still fairly clumped and without much frizz. Those characteristics are a total win, but come second day, there isn’t a lot of hold and I often feel inclined to restyle on the second day, or the third if I was feeling really lazy. The formula is also very moisturizing, so you can easily pair it with a heavier hold gel and use this as your leave-in/first layer styler. But for this one you might want to break out your diffuser and hooded dryer — your hair might be a bit white when you first apply (the product is pretty rich and thick), but it totally goes away as your hair dries. If you’re in a hurry, use a diffuser or dryer to speed up the process.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

supercream

DevaCurl SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler

Price: $28 for 5.1oz

Thoughts: A newcomer to the curl cream lineup, DevaCurl’s new styler claims to be everything a curly girl could dream of. Volume, frizz control, moisture…you name it, SuperCream should give you what you need. And while I definitely have no issue comparing this product to a resort spa trip while on vacation, I ran into the same issue with hold and lack of multi-day hair. For me, it also has a high “humectant factor,” which means that the effect of it’s main humectant (glycerin) is noticeable. Think very fluffy, big hair in summer, which may end up causing tangles as your hair expands as it dries. I’d like to test it again in lower dews to see what happens.

Verdict (so far): 3 out of 5 stars

Although I’d use both the Curl Junkie and DevaCurl products again, I’m still searching for a cream that has a bit more hold but dries naturally. I know, so greedy, right?

What are your favorite curl creams?

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catrina
catrina
5 years ago

Can you showcase more style icons, my comments are never displayed when I request less about anything not related to hair( although this article is, many have moved away from hair). I want to see inspiration, not who body looks good or what person made a comment in the celebrity world, unless its relative to hair issues.

Deedeemaha
Deedeemaha
5 years ago
Reply to  catrina

I agree 100%.

I do love this site more then many. I miss the style icons.
The site is turning into TMZ like tabloids magazines.

I’m starting not to visit as much. But I do check. Back.

tdiamond1
tdiamond1
5 years ago
Reply to  Deedeemaha

totally agree!! i miss the style icons, i rarely come here anymore 🙁

LBell
LBell
5 years ago

Now that I think about it…the only time curl creams have ever worked for me was when my hair was TWA-short (less than 3″ long). Past that length, they’re a waste of time and energy (not to mention money).

So given that…Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer was the bomb dot com. I found a tube at a thrift store for $4.00 back when the retail price was $19. Loved the smell but I couldn’t afford to keep using it once I ran out. Now I see it’s $24…!

Alexis Foster
Alexis Foster
5 years ago

I like to use a mixture but here’s a full proof one: Design Essentials Curl Forming Custard on dripping wet hair! You just use a little because it goes a long way and keep working it down the hair follicles till your hair clumps nicely! That product also pairs well and here are some examples, you can pair it with: a foaming lotion or flax seed gel (my fav). This is coming from someone with 4b/4c. It makes my curls clump nicely.

Christina J
5 years ago

I love using Shea Moisture Smoothie. This does work like a soft hold like my Eco Styler Gel. However, it doesn’t make my hair crispy or crunchy. LOC it with water and coconut oil which makes it the best combination for me.

jjac401
jjac401
5 years ago

I haven’t really found a cream that I adore, but I still love to use Curls Junkie Curls in A Bottle.

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago

I always had a hard time finding curl creams or puddings that work for me. They tend to make my hairgreasy unless I use a very small amount which is hard because my hair is dense. I think I have one or two I like.

scribe drizz
scribe drizz
5 years ago

I bought a jar of As I Am Curling Jelly Coil and Curl Definer ages ago and misused it for a rollerset. That did not turn out well, but I like it for just pulling my hair back into a bun. It doesn’t make a sleek bun like ECO Styler, but it does make pulled back hair comfortable for me. It doesn’t feel like taking off a cast when I’m undoing my hair. 😛

Sophie
Sophie
5 years ago

Curl creams never seem to work for me! No matter what they just sit on my hair. I think my hair is low porosity which is why things take so long to dry, and I feel like I always either end up with residue or if I don’t use much it’s like I didn’t do anything. I’ve found that clay makes my hair clump more, but stylers are usually a miss for me especially as my hair gets longer

NubiPrincess
NubiPrincess
5 years ago
Reply to  Sophie

Same with me, Sophie. Curl cremes leave my hair white until it finally dries, drying takes forever and I don’t have much free time for waiting around for hair to dry. I end up leaving the house with white creamy product in my hair, people looking at me all crazy. When it finally dries, there’s far too much residue and flaking left behind. I’ve tried several brands and I end up with the same result. Gel just works for me. I combat dryness and the crunchies with a coating of Black Jamaican castor oil prior to gel app.

Yolanda Cummings
Yolanda Cummings
5 years ago

My favorite curl cream is Sdotbeauty Creme Fraiche Hair Pudding Cream. It works wonders on my stubborn gray edges and keeps my hair soft, shiny and defined. 3 day hair is stretching it w/o adding a little gel on top but I’m ok with that.

Lullaby___Interrupted
Lullaby___Interrupted
5 years ago

I use Eden body works curl defining cream, and their leave in.. Using the LOC method..my wash and go’s last 7–10 days..literally shake and go for the first five..a bit of fluffing and eventually steaming/misting is needed as we approach day 10. The cream has medium hold and dry to a soft natural finish.. I also use the Beautiful Curls line by Aliffia… In the curly to kinky portion of the line they have a curl activating styling cream. It also has a nice soft yet style extending hold. I can consistently yield THE EXACT results with my wash and… Read more »

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