Sorry it’s a little late, but here’s a roundup of my favourite curly girl products of 2020. Many of them will come as no surprise to my long-time readers. And pretty much all of them are available world wide. And of course, I’ve got some great discount codes for you, and lots of tips and tricks.
Each year I continue to try new brands and products. Some of them make it onto my favourites list, others have been my favourite for years! But with over 300 products on my shelf, with over 30 brands to choose from, my standards are high. So it takes something pretty special to make it into these favourite product posts.
My Hair Type
Before we get started on my favourite curly girl products of 2020. Here’s a little background on my hair, for reference and/or comparison. I’ve been following the curly girl method for almost four years and have medium porosity, fine hair – and lots of it! A mix of 2c – 3b curls, that get easily weighed down and over-moisturised. A few months ago, I added some highlights throughout my hair. Read more this post to see how I maintained healthy hair throughout the colouring process.
Please remember that what works for my hair, may not work for yours. There is no shortcut to finding a product that will work for your hair. It all about trial and error; patience, persistence and consistency. You need to try a product for at least 2-3 weeks to know if it’s making a difference or working for your hair. And that’s just to see signs of improvement! It takes 4-6 weeks or sometimes more, depending on your hair, to see more long-lasting improvement. You cannot tell from one wash day! But most importantly, if you want consistent results, you have to have a consistent routine! You simply cannot keep switching up your wash day products and somehow expect your hair to look amazing every time.
My Favourite Curly Girl Products of 2020
Similar to last year, I’m going to list my favourite product for each category from the last three years, and what’s made the top spot this year for 2020. Hopefully this way you can see what products truly stand the test of time, and continue to be the best on the market. And what new products are genuinely worth the hype, and money. I’ve also got my 2020 Product of the Year. Find out what that is later in the post. But honestly I’ve been ranting and raving about it so much, I’m sure you can already guess what it is!
- 2017: As I Am Coconut Co Wash
- 2018: As I Am Coconut Co Wash
- 2019: As I Am Coconut Co Wash
- 2020: As I Am Coconut Co Wash
I’ll be honest, I haven’t used a co-wash on my hair in almost two years. But my daughter’s hair, which is drier and coarser than mine, loves it! So my favourite co-wash is still the As I Am Coconut Co-Wash. I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to this and continue to buy countless tubs. It’s super affordable, very lightweight, and leaves your scalp, roots and hair feeling really clean without feeling stripped.
Top Tip: A co-wash is a great way of boosting moisture levels in really dry/damaged hair. However, for most people, using a co-wash long term will cause the hair to become over-moisturized. So I suggest switching to a low-lathering cleanser after the first tub or two if you have fine, wavy or curly hair that gets easily weighed down or over-moisturized.
- 2017: MopTop Gentle Shampoo
- 2018: Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream
- 2019: Innersense Hydrating Cream Hairbath
- 2020: Bounce Curl Moisturizing Shampoo
This is a tricky category for me, because the lo-poo, or low-lathering cleanser I use the most, technically falls into the clarifying shampoo category. But for the sake of consistency with previous posts of My Favourite Curly Girl Products. My favourite lo-poo in 2020 is the Bounce Curl Moisturizing Shampoo. You can get 10% off using code CURLYCAILIN10 on the Bounce Curl website, or if you’re in the UK/EU, get it here. I love that it’s moisturizing, without weighing my hair down. But it still has enough protein to prevent my hair from becoming over-moisturized.
Top Tip: As a general rule, I find Bounce Curl cleansers to be the best on the market, you just need to figure out which one will suit your hair the best. See this post to help you do that. I know the Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo has been sold out in Europe for some time now, and people ask me what should they get instead: this! The Bounce Curl Moisturizing Shampoo.
- 2017: Kinky Curly Come Clean
- 2018: Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo
- 2019: Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo
- 2020: Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo
My favourite clarifying shampoo is Bounce Curl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo. No question, nothing else comes close, hands down my favourite! This is the most moisturizing, clarifying shampoo I’ve ever tried. But to be honest, I wish they’d rename it! As so many people mistakenly think this is only suitable for clarifying once a month. Pay less attention to the word “clarifying” and focus on the word, “gentle” instead.
If I had my way, this would be in the lo-poo category and would come out on top every year since 2017/18 when I started using it. It’s lightweight, doesn’t weigh the hair down or dry it out. It’s also safe to use on colour treated hair – which I appreciate even more since getting highlights. You can get 10% off using code CURLYCAILIN10 on the Bounce Curl website.
- 2017: Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo
- 2018: Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo
- 2019: Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo
- 2020: Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo
Still top of my chelating shampoo favourites for a fourth year in row, Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo. Available at Boots in the UK/Ireland here. It’s not technically curly girl friendly, as it contains sulfates. But, its necessary if you live in a hard water area, swim in the ocean or pool, or colour your hair – especially blonde/highlights! Unlike many chelating shampoos, it doesn’t contain silicones – which is why I love it so much. But it does contain the all-important chelating ingredient: Disodium EDTA which gets rid of hard water and mineral deposits from the hair. Read this post for more info.
A new category this year. I still love the Innersense Refresh Dry Shampoo – see this video for my volume hack using it. But this year I fell in love with the Living Proof Perfect hair Day Dry Shampoo. Super easy to use, smells amazing. Does exactly what it says on the tin, with minimum effort and fuss. You can get 20% off Living Proof Dry Shampoo at Look Fantastic using code CURLYCAILINLF.
- 2017: Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner
- 2018: Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner
- 2019: Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner
- 2020: Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner
Another favourite for a fourth 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, aka GVP Conditioning Balm in the U.S. This product is amazing, especially if your hair is dry, frizzy, knotty, tangled and needs moisture. Less is more, you only need the tiniest amount! Truly, otherwise you’ll over moisturize your hair. You can also use it as a conditioner, deep conditioner or even a leave-in conditioner. Already super affordable, but get 20% off at Look Fantastic using code CURLYCAILINLF. Please note, this is the only product from the brand that’s CG friendly.
- 2017: MopTop Daily Conditioner
- 2018: Hairfinity Balanced Moisture Conditioner
- 2019: Hairfinity Balanced Moisture Conditioner / Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner / AG Hair Naturals Boost Conditioner
- 2020: Innersense Colour Radiance Conditioner
This is the category I’ve struggled with the most over the years. But this year I feel like I’ve finally found my holy-grail, cult-favourite conditioner! It’s balanced enough to use consistently without causing my hair to dry out from too much protein. Or go soft, limp and lifeless from too much moisture. It’s taken me four years, but I’ve finally found it! My favourite protein conditioner is the Innersense Colour Radiance Conditioner. This is another case of don’t be fooled by the name, this is not just for colour treated hair. The best way I can describe is like the Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner, but with protein. And not quite as potently moisturizing, it’s just the perfect balance for my hair. If you’re outside the USA, you can get 10% off Innersense at The Clean Beauty Edit using code CURLYCAILIN10 – they also ship worldwide.
Top Tip: If you’ve tried the Innersense Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner but found it too light weight with too much protein. Or you’ve tried the Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner but found it too thick and rich. Then the Innersense Colour Radiance Conditioner could be just what you’re looking for. Again, a super concentrated formula means a little goes a long way. If you think you need more product, add more water first.
Leave In Conditioner
- 2017: Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner
- 2018: Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner
- 2019: Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner
- 2020: Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner
I’ll be honest, I very rarely use a leave in conditioner these days, I tend to just leave some of my regular conditioner in. But when I do use a leave in, it’s still the Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner. It’s just the best leave-in conditioner on the market. The affordability and light weight formula keeps me coming back, year after year, bottle after bottle. Get 20% off Giovanni at Look Fantastic using code CURLYCAILINLF.
Top Tip: Giovanni products are great if you’re just starting out the curly girl method, or you’re on a tight budget. You can get 20% off Giovanni at Look Fantastic using code CURLYCAILINLF – who also ship worldwide.
Protein-Free Deep Conditioner:
- 2018: Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment
- 2019: Phyto Joba Moisturizing Mask
- 2020: Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner
We have a new comer to the favourites list, and it’s a new launch on the market in 2020. The Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner. I don’t know what to say other than it’s a really lovely protein-free deep conditioner. Weightless and not so potent that you’re in danger of over-moisturizing your hair in one treatment. It’s concentrated like the rest of their products, so you only need a small amount. I actually much prefer this to their Super Smooth Cream Conditioner which I found too thick, rich and contained too many oils for my hair. You can get 10% off Bounce Curl using code CURLYCAILIN10. UK/EU you can get it at Naturalistic Products, House of Curls UK and Kiyo Beauty but I don’t have any discount codes for them unfortunately.
Protein Deep Conditioner:
- 2017: Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque
- 2018: Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque
- 2019: Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque
- 2020: Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque
If you’ve been following me or reading my blog for a while, this will come as no surprise! I’ve lost count of the amount of tubs I’ve bought of the Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque! For me, it’s just the best protein-rich deep conditioner! I use it as a regular conditioner, and deep conditioning mask on it’s own. But I especially love it mixed in with rice water for my modified rice water treatment. It’s quite tricky to find lately for some reason, you can get it at Naturalistic Products if you’re in the UK/EU.
Top Tip: If you want a protein-rich deep conditioner, but find the Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque too moisturizing. Then check out Curl Junkie Repair Me! – only available in the USA though.
Mousse & Foam:
- 2017: Pantene Defined Curls Mousse
- 2018: Pantene Defined Curls Mousse
- 2019: Pantene Defined Curls Mousse / Innersense I Create Lift Volumizing Foam
- 2020: Pantene Defined Curls Mousse / Innersense I Create Lift Volumizing Foam
For me, mousse and foam are two different products. But I’ve put them in the same category, as I know many people class them as the same thing. Pantene Defined Curls Mousse. What can I say? I’ve been using this mousse for 22 years! I’ve tried pretty much every other mousse on the market, and I can still say, even after all this time. It’s still the best mousse out there, and it’s the most affordable product I use! It’s saved so many experimental wash days and styling combinations.
Pantene Defined Curls Mousse is lightweight, and doesn’t cause white flakes no matter how much you use. It gives great curl definition and hold, as well as reducing frizz. It creates a strong cast, and soft, shiny, bouncy curls once scrunched out. If I could only use one styling product for the rest of my life, it would be this mousse. For 17 years it was the only styling product I used! It’s never let me down and I can’t recommend it highly enough. No matter where you live, you can usually find this mousse in grocery stores and supermarkets – even the little corner shops!
Top Tip: If you can’t find the Pantene Defined Curls Mousse, then check out Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Mousse. The ingredients, formula and results are almost identical!
Innersense I Create Lift Volumising Foam is still my favourite foam. It’s lightweight, not as drying as so many other foams, and great for creating clumps. It gives good, long lasting definition and frizz control as well as texture. But for my hair, I definitely need to be pair it with a gel. If you’re in the USA, you can buy it here. UK/EU get 10% off at The Clean Beauty Edit using code CURLYCAILIN10. It’s also available on Cult Beauty, if you prefer to shop there.
Top Tip: if you want definition and hold: use a mousse. If you want texture and softer definition: use a foam.
- 2019: Innersense I Create Volume
- 2020: TréLuxe Reflex Curl Styling Serum
Another new category here: serums. Perfect if your hair is fine or gets easily weighed down. My two favourite serums are Innersense I Create Volume and TréLuxe Reflex Curl Styling Serum. Both are lightweight, but they do two completely different things! If you want some texture and volume, like Diana Ross/Tina Turner level volume, then Innersense I Create Volume is for you! Be warned though, you only need the tiniest amount! One bottle should last you around a year. You can get 10% off Innersense using code CURLYCAILIN10 at The Clean Beauty Edit, who ship worldwide.
However, if you’re looking for more definition, and literally ringlets in a bottle. Then TréLuxe Reflex Curl Styling Serum is for you. If I could have two Products of the Year, this would be one of them. I fell in love from the first time I used it and was blown away by the results. You can read more about it in my full TréLuxe review here. It’s become a staple in my routine, and plays really well with lots of other styling products. I’ve tried it with leave in conditioners, mousses, foams and gels. I get amazing, consistent results every single time. I’ve rarely styled my hair with anything else since I got it earlier this year. Get 15% off TréLuxe using code CURLYCAILIN15.
- 2017: Devacurl Styling Cream
- 2018: Devacurl Styling Cream
- 2019: Devacurl Styling Cream / Bounce Curl Clump & Define Cream
- 2020: Bounce Curl Clump & Define Cream
Curl creams work much better on my daughter’s hair than they do mine, and they’ve been a staple in her routine since we both started the curly girl method in May 2017. Her hair just loves them! Great for drier and coarser hair types for moisture, curl definition and frizz control. Although it’s not the best for hold. But that’s to be expected, as it’s a cream.
Personally, I prefer the Bounce Curl Clump & Define Cream. One of the best new product launches of 2019! I cannot stress enough how little you need of this product though. Check out my Bounce Curl Review and What to Buy post for more info, tips and tricks. Get 10% off Bounce Curl using code CURLYCAILIN10.
Top Tip: You don’t need to apply a leave in conditioner if you’re using a curl cream. That would be way too moisturizing for most hair types. And you’ll rarely ever get a cast when using a curl cream either, as they are all about moisture, not hold.
- 2017: MopTop Curly Hair Custard
- 2018: MopTop Curly Hair Custard
- 2019: Boucleme Super Hold Styler
- 2020: MopTop Curly Hair Custard
If you want thick, juicy curl clumps, then definitely try using a custard. I discovered MopTop Curly Hair Custard in 2017 and have continued to purchase tub after tub ever since. Get 10% off MopTop using code CURLYCAILIN10, but it’s only available in the USA. It can cause white flakes on the hair if you use too much. But I love the lightweight, creamy formula with just the right balance protein and moisture for my hair. It also plays really well with so many other products! Canadian curlies, you can get it from Amazon here.
- 2017: Aussie Instant Freeze / Bouclème Curl Defining Gel
- 2018: Aussie Instant Freeze / Bouclème Curl Defining Gel / Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel
- 2019: Aussie Instant Freeze / Bouclème Curl Defining Gel / Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel
- 2020: TréLuxe Hi! Definition Gel
I’ve been struggling to find a favourite, holy-grail gel since the Aussie Instant Freeze original formula was discontinued. One that I can use long term, every wash day, without any issues or throwing my hair off balance. And I’ve finally found it this year! I’m already several tubs in, I struggle to use anything else on my wash days. I’ve fallen in love and TréLuxe Hi! Definition Gel! is my Product of the Year 2020! Get 15% off TréLuxe using code CURLYCAILIN15. UK/EU get it at Naturalistic Products, House of Curls UK or Kiyo Beauty. It’s often sold out, I hear I’ve got a lot to do with that. Sorry!
Product of the Year 2020: TréLuxe Hi! Definition Gel
The consistency is somewhere between a gel, a custard, a jelly and a purée. TréLuxe Hi! Definition Gel is great at enhancing curls and creating clumps. Providing long-lasting curl definition, as well as shine. A little goes a long way, so don’t apply too much. Otherwise it will leave a white, flakey residue on the hair until the next wash day. I got a little carried away at first, because the slip feels so good when you apply it. This is the perfect balance of protein and moisture I’ve found in a gel. I recommend it all the time in Curl Clinics!
Enough protein to define, enhance and tighten my natural curl pattern. Combined with enough moisture to give me hydrated, frizz-free, juicy ringlets and curl clumps, and lots of shine! It works well with other products too, should you wish to mix and match. I’ve tried it with leave-in conditioners, mousses, foams, serums, other gels and hairspray, all with great success. If you only get one thing from TréLuxe, make it this gel! And you can get 15% off using code CURLYCAILIN15.
This post is getting longer and longer. But I wanted to give a special shout out to three products which I would be lost without. The first is Olaplex No. 3 – I’ve been stocking up on the supersize No. 3 since getting highlights. Check out this post on how I’ve incorporated it into my weekly routine. Get 20% off Olaplex using code CURLYCAILINLF at Look Fantastic.
Another shout out to Hair369 Hair Growth Vitamins! I took a break from them for couple of months recently. But I’ve been taking these for almost two years and have seen phenomenal growth, both in length and density. And I’ve cut my hair several times since I started taking them! Hair369 aren’t shipping outside the U.S. right now. But the Bounce Curl Hair Growth Vitamins are the only other ones I use and recommend. You can get 10% off both brands using code CURLYCAILIN10. Blog post coming soon!
And finally, a special shout out to my beloved Bounce Curl Hairspray. I spray it on wet hair, after I’ve applied my styling products, right before I diffuse. I find it amazing at tightening up my curl pattern. But I list lots of other great ways of using it in this post. Get 10% off Bounce Curl using code CURLYCAILIN10.
- 2017: Bouclème Curl Towel
- 2018: Trepadora Curl Towel
- 2019: Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Towel
- 2020: Aquis Charmeuse Hair Turban
I still love my Aquis Lisse Luxe large hair towel. But this year I’ve been reaching for the double-layered Aquis Charmeuse Hair Turban the most. This is a hair towel and silk turban in one. I use the Lisse Luxe towel side to squeeze/scrunch dry and excess water from my hair before diffusing. And then I flip it over and use the luxuriously soft, silk charmeuse side to scrunch out the crunch for beautiful, frizz-free curls! You can get 20% off Aquis at Look Fantastic using code CURLYCAILINLF.
- 2017: Diva Professional XL Diffuser
- 2018: Diva Professional XL Diffuser
- 2019: Diva Professional XL Diffuser
- 2020: Diva Professional XXL Diffuser
My favourite diffuser of all time, I’ve been using this for well over a decade. Maybe closer to two. I’ve even bought back ups! The Diva Professional XXL Diffuser is great for any hair length. But this is the best diffuser for volume, definition AND shape! Thanks to the little grips inside the bowl. It also cuts down on drying time because of the size and depth of the bowl!
It’s often out of stock, and only available on the UK website. So if you do some online research and find one in stock, snap it up! It’s also sold in some hairdresser supply shops. I haven’t shared my hairdryer this year because I don’t love the one I have. It’s still a Diva Professional one, but I’m on the lookout for a new hairdryer in 2021, so I’ll keep you posted.
- 2018: Coorie Curls Satin Scrunchie & Buff
- 2019: Puff Cuff, Silke London Hair Wrap & Silkskin pillowcase
- 2020: Puff Cuff & Silke London Hair Wrap
Protecting your hair at night is as important as what styling products and application techniques you use! It makes a huge difference to creating long-lasting curl definition and reducing frizz. See this IGTV on how I protect my curls at night.
I use a mini Puff Cuff to put my hair up in a pineapple – not just at night, all the time! PuffCuffs are worth every penny! Get 15% off PuffCuff using my code CURLYCAILIN10. Once my hair is in a pineapple, I put on one of my Silke London hair turbans. It’s tight enough to stay on all night, but not too tight that it gives me a headache, marks my forehead or flattens my curls. You can get 20% off Silke London using code CURLYCAILINLF at Look Fantastic.
- 2017: Denman Large Paddle Brush
- 2018: Denman Large Paddle Brush / Tangle Teezer (as a scalp brush)
- 2019: Denman Large Paddle Brush / Bouclème Scalp Brush
- 2020: Denman Large Paddle Brush / Bouclème Scalp Brush
I’ve been using a Denman Large Paddle Brush for as long as I can remember. Even as a child! It’s the best out there. I’ve tried many other brushes over the years, even ones from Denman. But this is the best brush for thick/curly hair. Especially if you have hair that gets easily knotted and tangled! It’s the only brush/comb we use in the house. I only ever use it when our hair is wet and full of conditioner, or styling products. Get 20% off this Denman brush using code CURLYCAILINLF at Look Fantastic.
Last year, I started using the Bouclème Scalp Massager, and I still love it! Gentle on the scalp, I use it to massage my scalp when cleansing. It’s not necessary, but it’s nice to use. And particularly good if you prefer to use a co-wash.
Where would I be without my Curly Cailín Heat Cap?! It continues to make a huge difference to my hair’s health, shine, definition and frizz control. I use it every time I deep condition, to maximise the benefits of my deep conditioner and give me salon results at home.
You heat it up in the microwave and the heat opens up the hair’s cuticle, so products can penetrate deeper into the hair shaft. It’s especially great for low porosity hair, but not just for curly hair. It’s suitable for any hair type or length! Handmade using 100% cotton and flaxseeds. Eco-friendly, microwaveable, reusable, reversible, stylish and easy to use. I ship worldwide, and new collections will be available to purchase through my Etsy shop towards the end of January/early February. Click here to follow me on Instagram to be notified when the heat caps will be restocked.
So that completes this Favourite Products of 2020 post. What did you think? Do we have any of the same favourite products? Have I introduced you to any new products that you want to try for yourself? Are there any products or brands I haven’t mentioned, but you think I should try? Or have I listed some products that just don’t work for you? Let me know in the comments below.
Gratitude & Support
Throughout 2020, I received so many messages from followers saying they can’t believe how much FREE content I provide! How much my tips, advice, techniques and recommendations have helped them on their curly, healthy hair journey. And I’ve been asked how they can show their gratitude by supporting me. So, if you would like to show your Gratitude & Support, please click this link to my PayPal, where you can make a donation. A little token of thanks, appreciation and gratitude to support me, what I do, my content and my platform. Anything at all is greatly appreciated!
A special Thank You & some upcoming changes
I just want to say a very special thank you to everyone who has read my posts, commented, followed me on social media and shared my content during 2020. I know it’s been a really tough and challenging year for everyone, and this year is already off to a rocky start. I’m so thankful and grateful for every one of you. I’ve got some huge changes and announcements coming in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to share them with you and hope you’ll stick with me for the ride. Wishing you all the very best of luck in 2021! Gabriella x
*This post contains some gifted items and affiliate links, which means I get paid (a very small) commission on 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 or brands featured on this site. My content is not influenced by advertisers, affiliate partnerships, sponsored content, collaborations, brands or PRs.