Had it with your misbehaving curls? Good news…frizziness, dryness, and unruly locks are officially cancelled. What you’re missing is the right hair care routine to deliver soft, defined, frizz-free curls. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.

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It starts with the hair care routine

Here’s the deal. Hair is more like skin than you might think. You need to use hair products designed especially for your hair type in order to get your dream hair. Let’s take a closer look at the mane (see what we did there?) issues for the curly-haired.

It’s no secret that curly hair tends to be more dry and prone to frizz than other hair types due to its unique structure and characteristics. Let me break down the science behind it:

1. Less natural oils

The natural oils produced by the scalp, known as sebum, help to moisturize and protect the hair. In curly hair, the oils have a harder time traveling down the length of the hair strand because of its coiled and twisted structure. As a result, the scalp's oils do not distribute as evenly as they would on straight hair, leading to drier ends.

First, don't overwash curly hair as that can cause the hair to be more dry. Your natural oils are working hard enough to make their way down the hair strand.

Second, choose a shampoo and conditioner that maintains moisture in addition to enhancing your curls and reducing frizz. With the market flooded with options, it's essential to make an informed choice. Here are our experts' recommendations on the best shampoos and conditioners for curly hair, each designed to cater to curly hair's unique needs.

Best shampoo for curly hair

Evolvh Smart Curl Hydrating Shampoo

This ultra-hydrating, super creamy formula gently cleanses and revives your curls, adding softness and manageability. Perfect for curly, thick, and coarse hair types.

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Innersense Hydrating Cream Shampoo

Great for those suffering from dry or frizzy hair, this condensed shampoo delivers maximum moisture to keep your curls bouncy and defined. Essential oils of sage and tamanu help balance oil for a healthy scalp while nourishing emollients soften and smooth the cuticle.

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Briogeo Curl Charisma Shampoo

This moisturizing shampoo is specially designed to amplify your curls, this unique blend is enriched with essential nutrients that not only seal the hair cuticle but also create a protective barrier against humidity-induced frizz.

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davines love curl shampoo

Almond extract is the star ingredient in this curly hair shampoo (sorry to those with nut allergies), lending a feeling of intense hydration that keeps curls looking amazing. The result? Soft, elastic curls with hair that feels light and healthy.

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Best Conditioner for Curly Hair

Innersense Pure Inspiration Conditioner

For those with fine hair that need light moisture without weighing down your curls, this detangling conditioner is the way to go.

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Evolvh Smart Curl Hydrating Conditioner

If smooth, defined curls are your goal, you are going to legit love this conditioner. The ultra-hydrating silky rich formula deep conditions each strand, leaving curly locks feeling restored, smooth, and refined.

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davines love curl conditioner

Get your waves and curls in order with this moisturizing and nourishing conditioner. Rich in proteins and Vitamins B to give hair a feeling of elasticity, volume, and control.

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Oway Moisturizing Hair Bath

Deeply moisturizes and repairs excessively dry, damaged hair or thick, unruly hair prone to frizz. Especially great for those with colored or highlighted curly hair.

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2. Porosity

Curly hair often has higher porosity, meaning it has more openings along the hair shaft. These openings allow moisture to escape from the hair, making it more susceptible to drying out. High porosity hair can absorb moisture quickly but has difficulty retaining it, leading to dryness and frizz.

The porosity of curly hair requires a consistent routine of a weekly hair mask coupled with daily use of leave-in conditioner or hair oil. A weekly hair mask provides deep hydration, repairing these gaps and restoring moisture balance. Additionally, daily application of leave-in conditioner or hair oil creates a protective barrier, sealing in moisture and preventing environmental factors from causing further damage. These products not only nourish the hair but also enhance its elasticity, making the curls more defined and manageable.

Best mask for curly hair

Briogeo Curl Charisma Defining Mask is a weekly protein-free curl-enhancing hair mask proven to increase hair moisture after two uses.* 3x award winner!  ShopNorthAuthentic

briogeo curl charisma defining mask

This game-changing hair mask is specially formulated with a nutrient-rich blend that curly hair needs to hydrate, define, and control manageability.

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Naturally Drenched Rebalance

This ph-balancing pre-conditioner treatment improves elasticity (bounce) while delivering deep hydration.

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Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque

Rich treatment hair mask crafted with flax seed & coconut oils, shea butter, and quinoa to repair and strengthen hair while delivering rich hydration and shine.

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Davines Love Curl Mask

Delivers extra nourishing and conditioning power for wavy or curly hair. It gives remarkable softness and hydration also to very thick and unruly hair.

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best leave in conditioner for curly hair

Naturally Drenched Watermelon Dreams Oil

This 100% Organic Kalahari Oil penetrates deep into the hair shaft (rather than sitting on top like other hair oils) delivering maximum moisture. Great for fine, curly, or Type 4 hair.

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Evolvh Smart Curl Leave-in conditioner

Ok, you have your shampoo and conditioner for curly hair all picked out. Leave in is going to next-level your curly hair game. Seriously smooth, flyaway-free, healthy looking locks in a few spritzes.

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Rahua Leave In Treatment

This rich leave in conditioner treatment delivers maximum moisture and control helping to maintain body and manageability. Great for medium to thick wavy to coily hair.

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Davines Love Curl Primer

Set the stage for defined curls with this moisture rich leave-in conditioner and primer. Couple with Love Curl Cream to finalize the look.

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3. Cuticle Shape

The outer layer of the hair strand, called the cuticle, consists of overlapping scales. In curly hair, these scales are often raised, especially if the hair is damaged or treated with chemicals. Raised cuticles allow moisture to escape from the hair, making it lose its natural hydration.

Smooth the cuticle & Up hydration

Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave in defining cream

Boosts hydration, minimizes frizz, and provides soft, flexible control for waves and curls.

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Oway Curly Priming Cream

This cream is infused with ethically produced macula known for its restorative, protective, and hydrating properties.

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Innersense I create hold

Defined curls for medium to thick hair types with this gel formula.

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Sparrow 4 Everyone Hair Cream

if you have wavy or fine hair that needs definition and volume, S4E's Hair Cream delivers moisture, definition, and shine while reducing frizz.

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4. Friction

Curly hair strands rub against each other due to their coiled nature. This friction can lead to damage and breakage, making the hair more susceptible to dryness.

Refrain from adding more friction by using a delicate detangling brush, like a Tangle Teezer Detangling Brush, and only on wet hair covered in conditioner.

5. Environmental Factors

Curly hair is more sensitive to environmental factors such as humidity and heat. Humid weather can cause the hair to swell and frizz, while excessive heat styling can strip the hair of its natural moisture, leaving it dry and brittle.

Incorporate a humidity blocking product in your hair routine, like Davines Medium Hair Spray or Cult & King Setspray.


Curly hair often requires more styling products like gels, mousses, and creams to maintain its shape and definition. Over time, these products can build up on the hair, making it harder for moisture to penetrate the strands and resulting in dryness. This build up is definitely the case when co-washes are used over regular shampoos.

It's imperative to include a clarifying shampoo into your hair routine to remove build up from the hair strand. Incorporate one that exfoliates the scalp as well to remove dead skin and set the stage for healthy hair growth. Understanding these factors is crucial for individuals with curly hair. By choosing the right products, adopting a suitable hair care routine, and being mindful of environmental influences, those with curly hair can manage its dryness and enjoy healthy, hydrated, and beautifully defined curls.

Best clarifying shampoos for curly hair

Briogeo Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo

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Davines Solu with Sea Salt

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Rahua Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo

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Understanding these factors is crucial for individuals with curly hair. By choosing the right products, adopting a suitable hair care routine, and being mindful of environmental influences, those with curly hair can manage its dryness and enjoy healthy, hydrated, and beautifully defined curls.

Natalie Palomino
written by
Natalie Palomino

Natalie Palomino is a Master Stylist and Founder of North Authentic.

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