Last year’s post on my favourite curly girl products has continued to be one of the most viewed on the blog. Since then, I’ve discovered some new brands and products. Here’s a roundup of my favourite curly girl products of 2018.
My Hair Type
I have fine hair, but lots of it. I have a mix of 2c-3b curls – but curl type doesn’t matter when it comes to buying products, read why here. I have low porosity hair, which gets easily weighed down. What works for me and my hair, may not work for you. There is no shortcut to finding a product that will work for your hair. It all about trial and error; patience, persistence and consistency.
Where I Shop & Discount Codes
I live in Ireland, and buy most of my curly girl approved products online. If you’re outside the U.S.A., most of the brands and products mentioned in this post (excluding MopTop and Aussie Instant Freeze) can be purchased from Look Fantastic – CURLMAVEN for 20% off and ship worldwide, often with free shipping. Naturalistic Products who ship worldwide, but are in the UK so there are custom fees within the EU, due to Brexit. This post includes discount codes and affiliate links. I’ll list my discount codes below, simply apply them at checkout on the relevant sites. These codes won’t work on third-party sites unless otherwise stated.
- Bounce Curl: CURLMAVEN for 10% off if you’re in the USA.
- The Clean Beauty Edit – based in Ireland they stock Bounce Curl and Innersense Organic Beauty and I have a worldwide exclusive 10% discount: CURLMAVEN. They also ship worldwide!
- Look Fantastic – CURLMAVEN for 20% off – they’ve got so many curly girl brands, read more about them here.
- Cult Beauty – based in the UK, but ship worldwide for FREE and no customs charges in the EU
- MopTop: use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- Amazon UK Shop
- Amazon US Shop
The As I Am Coconut Co-Wash is still my favourite co-wash product I’ve found since I started the curly girl method. I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to this and continue to buy countless tubs. It’s not a heavy co-wash, but light and leaves your scalp, roots and hair feeling really clean without feeling stripped. It’s also got black castor oil which is great for hair growth!
Lo Poo & No Poo
There are four lo poo’s and no poo’s that really stand out, which I have continued to come back to time and again throughout 2018. They are Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream (glycerin free), MopTop Gentle Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off (contains glycerin), and DevaCurl No Poo (contains glycerin and protein). Update: I no longer use or recommend DevaCurl, click here to read why. My favourite is probably Bounce Curl Moisturizing Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off (contains glycerin and protein). This is so moisturising and hydrating, I often feel like I don’t need conditioner at all.
Top Tip: Low porosity hair gets easily weighed down, so clarifying is important. To avoid your hair feeling stripped and straw-like, always do a deep conditioning treatment after a clarifying or chelating shampoo!
Still top of my chelating shampoo favourites is Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo. It’s not curly girl approved, it’s loaded with sulfates, but it’s necessary, read the post to find out why. Unlike many chelating shampoos, it doesn’t contain silicones. A new find, and my favourite clarifying shampoo is Bounce Curl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off. This is the most moisturising, clarifying shampoo I’ve tried. Unlike a chelating shampoo, it’s gentle enough for regular use. Honourable mentions for Kinky Curly Come Clean and MopTop Detox Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off. However they are not strong enough or contain the necessary ingredients to remove chlorine, limescale, hard water, metal and mineral deposits off of the hair. All of these products are available in my Amazon Shop.
Shop Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo here if you are outside of the USA – CURLMAVEN for 10% off.
A favourite for another year running, I’ve been using this on and off since I started my curly girl journey in May 2017. Matrix Biolage Hydra Source Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 20% off, aka GVP Conditioning Balm in the U.S. This product is amazing, especially if your hair needs moisture. Less is more, you only need the tiniest amount!
Another favourite conditioner, and the only other one that doesn’t require palmfuls to detangle, moisturise and hydrate my hair is MopTop Daily Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off. I adore this conditioner! If glycerin is a problem, I love Jessicurl Too Shea Extra Moisturising Conditioner, which is surprisingly lightweight! If your hair needs more protein, then Hairfinity Balanced Moisture Conditioner is another firm favourite – and smells delicious!
I’ve tried a few new leave in conditioners this year, Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 20% off, is still a firm favourite. However, I’ve been reaching for Flora & Curl Leave In Detangler – CURLMAVEN for 20% off, more often, not to mention it smells divine! I also love the MopTop Leave In Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off, but a tiny amount goes a very long way, and lasts ages! Another old favourite, and great for fine, low porosity hair is the As I Am Leave In Conditioner.
Hands down, my holy grail, favourite deep conditioner is Hairfinity’s Strengthening Amino Mask. It’s a protein conditioner which replenishes, strengthens and fortifies hair to protect against breakage and split ends. I use it for my modified rice water treatment and never fail to get great, noticeable results every time. Another favourite, but protein-free is Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioning Treatment – CURLMAVEN for 10% off.
Shop Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner here if you are outside of the USA – CURLMAVEN for 10% off.
Curly girl method approved and great as a deep conditioning treatment, Olaplex No.3 – CURLMAVEN for 20% off. This is especially great for curlies who have coloured hair, colour damaged hair or hair that’s had Brazilian blow outs or relaxing treatments. Just make sure you purchase the genuine product!
An honourable mention for the cult-favourite deep conditioning mask which contains protein. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask. You only need a small amount of it, and the tub lasts a really long time. Shop it here at Cult Beauty in the UK who ship worldwide.
Still my favourite curly girl approved styling product, Pantene Defined Curls Mousse (No.5). I use it like a curl enhancer, but it works equally well layered with other products or as a one and done. For soft, defined, frizz-free curl clumps every time, I style my hair using this mousse, and then a gel. I’ve never found a mousse or foam that’s as good, and it costs just a few euros/pounds! If you’re in the USA and can’t easily find Pantene, then the Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Mousse is almost exactly the same.
Another favourite is MopTop Curly Hair Custard – CURLMAVEN for 10% off. It’s the best product I’ve found if you want big, fat, juicy, frizz-free curl clumps! It’s a great one and done styling product and smells amazing! Stepping away from my much loved combo of mousse and gel/custard. My other favourite styling combo is Confident Coils and Spiralicious Gel from Jessicurl. Confident Coils is a curl enhancing styling…milk…? I’m not sure how to describe it, I’ve never tried anything like it. You only need a little, but paired with the gel, it’s consistently given me my best curls this year!
Another American import, but available from Amazon. My favourite gel of all time, Aussie Instant Freeze Gel. It costs just a few bucks and is often 3 for 2 at Walgreens and Target! If you’re in the UK & Ireland, click here to buy it. Like a whipped gel texture, it doesn’t weight my curls down. It’s great at creating curl clumps, definition and hold. Is a fab one and done styling product, or works well with mousse or custard on wash days, or mixed with KY Jelly for refreshing. Umberto Gianinni Curl Jelly – CURLMAVEN for 20% off or Giovanni LA Natural Styling Gel – CURLMAVEN for 20% off, are great, budget-friendly, alternatives. The Giovanni gel is quite thick, so works best on soaking wet hair, or wet your hands before use. But it’s the strongest hold gel on the market!
Honourable mentions for a new find this year, Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel (glycerin free) and the cult-favourite Bouclème Curl Defining Gel – CURLMAVEN for 20% off. I really struggle with products weighing down my hair. No matter how much Bouclème gel I put in my hair, it never feels weighed down or like I’ve got too much product in it. Because it’s so lightweight, and not sticky at all, it’s great for refresh days. Paired with KY Jelly, it’s my favourite combo for refreshing!
Curl Towels & Tools
I’ve found microfibre towels squeeze out too much water and leave my hair a little frizzy. The Bouclème Cotton Curl Towel – CURLMAVEN for 20% off doesn’t squeeze out quite enough, but it’s my favourite for plopping, which I do after diffusing.
The Trepadora towel squeezes out just the right amount of excess moisture, and is a little cheaper than the Bouclème one. Both towels are quite large, great for if you have long, thick hair like me.
My Curl Maven Heat Cap, back in stock soon! has made a huge difference to my hair in the last year. I use it every time I deep condition. Handmade using 100% Cotton and 100% organic flaxseeds. My heat caps are eco-friendly, microwaveable, reusable, reversible, stylish and easy to use. Heat opens up the hair’s cuticle so products can penetrate deeper into the hair shaft. Meaning your hair really gets the most benefits out of your deep conditioner. I ship worldwide!
To dry my hair, I still use and love (now sold out) Diva Professional hair dryer and diffuser. Not to be confused with the DevaCurl diffuser. I’ve used a lot of diffusers over the years and the Diva one is still my favourite. It cuts down my diffusing time because the bowl is so huge! Thanks to the little grips, I can lift the roots of the hair while I’m diffusing, which helps with root volume. Read this post for more info.
Click here for more information on my Curl Clinics™. Find out what you can expect, what I’ll cover, what you’ll receive. Read some reviews, see before and after photos, FAQ’s and book your Curl Clinic™ Consultation.
Knowing your hair porosity can really help in choosing the type of products that are most likely to work for hair. Check out this post to learn more about hair porosity, 4 ways to test for it and characteristics for each.
Or this post is really helpful on how to build a curly girl routine.
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*This post may contain some gifted items and affiliate links. Which means I get paid (a very small) commission on any products you purchase through my links. This in no way affects you, the price you pay or the way in which I write about products featured on this site. My content and opinion is not influenced by advertisers, sponsorships, affiliate partnerships, brands or PRs.