Trust Me—These Are the Best Curl Creams For All Curl Patterns

There's a time and place for all types of curly styling products, in my opinion. Curl gels are great for giving the hair unrivalled hold, whether you’re scrunching it in or doing a twist- or braid-out. Butters give thick Afro-textured hair the sealing power required to lock in moisture. Then there’s curl creams.

Photo:

@aysha.sow

When I went natural, I completely missed the point of curl creams. I was applying it super liberally (to pretty much dry hair) and expecting it to hold my coils in whatever style I had coiffed it into. This is wrong for all curl types, not just my thick and highly porous strands. Curl creams can transform in purpose depending on your hair thickest (and how weighed down it can feel) and curl tightness. Thicker tighter curls can benefit from using a curl cream to elongate coils if you so wish. Dry curls can benefit from the high water content to replenish hydration before sealing in with an oil while loose, fine curls can rake curl cream through wet hair to aid with definition.

Honestly, the more I write about and use curl products, the more I realise that despite me relying heavily on gels and oils, curl creams are the real mainstay of most curly har routines– the universally loved hair wash day product. Here is the best of the best across curl patterns…

 

Best Curl Creams

Kerastase Curl Manifesto Gelée Curl Contour Gel-Cream

The gel-cream texture makes it suitable for the finest curls to the thickest of ‘fros. If you have hair on the thicker side, this product is great for cocktailing without getting build-up.

Imbue Curl Empowering Crème Gel

Another hybrid texture, this cream is super-light and is infused with jojoba oil for conditioning as you style. This can be raked through from scalp to tips if you suffer from a drier scalp as it soothes as it hydrated.

Twist by Ouidad Weather Up Lotion Super Light Styling Lotion

The wheat protein in this strengthens curls while it styles. It contains shea butter and jojoba oil for conditioning so your curls are full of bounce and shine when they dry.

Kristin Ess Hydrating Curl Defining Crème

This curl cream is all about achieve soft, shiny curls. It’s definitely one for finer and looser patterns– apply to wet hair and gently comb through with a wide tooth comb.

Umberto Giannini Crème De Curl Control Cream

I swear by the Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly for a successful twist-out and the cream is also a star buy. The cream gives light definition to loose curls and also heat protection if you use a diffuser to dry.

Cantu Avocado Hydrating Curling Cream

With shea butter, avocado oil and mango butter this cream is a hydrating treat for thicker hair types. You can use alone or layer a styling gel on top for hold.

L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Leave in Cream, for Wavy to Curly Hair

For finer hair types that also suffer from dryness the glycerin in the formula will aid in attracting moisture, while the castor oil will seal the moisture in.

Ouai Curl Crème

This cream literally melts into your curls. It’s especially good for preventing dryness and frizzing with chia and linseed oils to calm curls. Thicker hair? Load some oil on the ends to lock that frizz-fighting action in.

Bumble and Bumble Curl Defining Cream

Off somewhere sunny? Firstly, lucky you, secondly, your curls will love this. The Bb. Curl Cream gives UV protection, key for colour-treated hair especially, and the formula is enriched with humectants along with butters and oils to draw in moisture and then seal in the shine.

 

Virtue Curl Leave-In Butter

I’m obsessive with the protein formula in Virtue products, which is created with human-derived keratin. It means that it slots into any damage in strands way more easily. It’s also in this curl butter, which leaves hair feeling softer and fends off humidity too.

Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil Hair Pomade

Ok, not a typical curl cream but this is one of my favourite ever sealants for Afro hair and if you’re main curl concern is moisture loss this this doesn’t give it a chance of escaping.

Next up, the best shorter styles for fine hair.

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