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7 Of The Best Curly Hair Products I Use

Confession time: I’m twenty years old and just learning how to do my hair.

A black woman with long natural hair against a black background.
Credit: Shutterstock/Miriamiska

Confession time: I’m twenty years old and just learning how to do my hair. It’s a work in progress, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a mom who likes doing my hair (and knows way more than me). With college and independence comes even the smaller responsibilities, like doing your own hair. 


First, I’m going to talk about the newer products I’ve been implementing into my curly/natural hair routine. Since we’re in the thick of winter right now, my routine has been focused on curl defining as well as moisture. 

  1. Ouai Curl Cream $32
3 Ouai Curl Cream containers on a pink background.
Credit: Ouai

I bought this cream intending to use it in place of a gel. So far, it’s fulfilled that purpose. I needed a product that would define my curls yet keep them soft. I sometimes get flakes or buildup if I mix it with a gel, so beware of that. But overall it’s a pretty good product! On the Ouai website, it defines curls ✔️, tames frizz, and adds shine 〰️. Personally, I didn’t see a difference in shine, but it does define curls and leave them feeling soft instead of crunchy. It’s made with linseed and chia seed to define curls and coconut and babassu oils to soften and enhance shine. Overall I’d give it an 8/10!

2. Pattern Moisture Milk $28

yellow pattern bottle against a tan backdrop.
Credit: Pattern

I bought this as a leave-in conditioner. It’s a nice basic leave-in to add back and lock in moisture after washing your hair. It’s a thick and creamy consistency with that signature pattern scent. I like it, but my only qualm is that pattern brand packaging usually isn’t the best quality (I.e. pumps not working). The ingredients include amla oil (which I didn’t know until doing research for this article, the more you know), Irish moss, and agave nectar to soften curls and “finesse unwanted frizz”. It says it’s perfect for twist-outs and wash and goes. Personally, I’m a wash-and-go type of girl so this works well for me. Overall I’d give it a 9/10. 

3. Amla Oil

So I wasn’t aware that the previous product already had amla oil in it, so I bought a separate one. I got it from my local Indian market where I live for about 4 dollars. I saw it on Pinterest and other social media with lots of people saying their hair had been growing like crazy, so of course I had to see for myself. I’ve been using it as both a leave-in oil and a rinse-out oil treatment and I like the way that it makes my hair feel soft. I will say beware of which brand you buy. unfortunately for me, the one I purchased has mineral oil and colorants so I won’t be using it much anymore. 5/10. Also, a lot of people don’t like the scent, personally, it doesn’t bother me but I know a lot of people say otherwise. 

4. The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA for Scalp Serum $15

A bottle of the ordinary moisturizing serum
Credit: The Ordinary

I bought this because I love The Ordinary skin care, so I figured I’d try the hair and scalp care line. They have two serums, one for moisture and one for density. I opted to get the moisture one because, for me, dryness is more of a problem than the thickness of my hair. I apply it every night (if I can remember) on dry hair and just massage it into my scalp. I don’t have an issue with dry scalp but I figured taking care of the skin the hair comes out of will help the hair as well. I think it’s been working so far, I’ll give it an 9/10

Tried and True

For the second part, I’m gonna talk about the tried and true product I still use years later. Most if not all of them are products my mom used on my hair when she would do it, so I just kept going with them. 

  1. Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curl Magic Gel $18
a bottle of uncle Funky's daughter curl magic gel
Credit: Uncle Funky’s Daughter

For the first tried and true product, I chose my favorite gel. It’s the one I use when I want a good curl with not too much weight to it. It’s a thinner consistency of gel (more like flax seed gel if anyone knows what that’s like) and it is kind of stringy and sticky, but it works great. I use it for wash-and-goes as well as the occasion that I twist my hair. It doesn’t mix well with the Ouais curl cream unfortunately but it’s great with other curl creams (i.e. the shea moisture curl smoothie). I give it a 10/10

  1. Eco Styler Gel $5
Green tub of Eco Styler hair gel
Credit: Target

I feel like this product is in every black girl’s hair product arsenal. For me specifically, I use the green one. That one is the one with olive oil in it. I just think it holds better but that might be just me. I don’t use this when I twist my hair, or even with every wash and go. I use it when I want to do specific hairstyles that include slicking my hair down. My favorite style is to do a claw clip with a middle part. (I will say though that the side part is making its way back into my mind thought…). It’s just a basic gel and you probably could find different ones, but this is the one I’ve been using for years and it hasn’t failed. 9/10 

  1. Camille Rose Ultimate Growth Serum $16
a brown and pink bottle of Camille Rose hair serum.
Credit: Camille Rose

Lastly, I use this as a hair oil for everyday use. In fact, I had no idea it was a “growth serum”. I haven’t noticed any significant growth that I can attribute to this product specifically, but it is good for moisturizing and softening hair. I also use it every morning just to breathe some life back into my hair. This product also has Amla oil in it. I’d say 8.5/10. 

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