If you have naturally curly, coily, or kinky hair, you know what it means to have a never-ending hair journey. And the hardest part about perfecting your natural hair is finding the best natural hair products that work for your curl type. Just when you think you've found a new tried-and-true formula to add to your daily routine, your hair changes its mind and you're back at square one.
Oh yes, us natural gals know this scenario all too well. And since there are so many formulas out there, it can be quite the challenge to know what's perfect for your hair without spending hundreds of dollars trying to find out. Because we all know curly hair is anything but cookie cutter. Thankfully, the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab is here to help make your natural hair product search easier.
The GH Beauty Lab is constantly evaluating new haircare and styling products with rigorous tests to see just how well they actually perform. This includes expert Lab and consumer testing on users that are looking for top-notch products just like you. That means we have the scoop on the ins and outs of natural hair products, marketing claims aside, and can help you find the best formula for your curl type, whether you're 2, 3, or 4 A, B, or C. Keep scrolling to find the best natural hair products and brands that have impressed our Lab experts, hair pros, editors, and consumer testers alike. Gorgeous hair, right this way!
- Super hydrating
This bargain GH Beauty Award-winning Suave styling cream, infused with coconut oil, was formulated with the help of over 5,000 women with natural hair, so you can guarantee it's going to be worth the buy. The medium-weight smooths and defines waves, curls, and coils with a formula that's rich in moisture so hair stays hydrated, soft, and defined.
- Super hydrating and nourishing
- Works on all natural hair textures
Between tangles, knots, frizz and dryness, life can take a toll on our ringlets. That's why deep conditioning masks like this one from Briogeo are a must. It's formulated for dry, damaged hair and is infused with argan, avocado, and sweet almond oil to replenish moisture levels. Plus, keratin proteins and biotin not only strengthen the hair, but also help promote healthy hair growth.
- Ideal for thick and coarse curls
- Packed with moisture
- Too heavy for fine strands
Calling all coily gals! This heavy-weight conditioner from Pattern was made just for curls like 4c. It has a rich and decadent texture filled with super hydrating ingredients like shea butter and avocado and safflower oils. Plus, the cream formula has great slip to help you work through knots and tangles during your shower time.
- Affordable price
- Makes hair look and feel hydrated
Natural hair needs more moisture than other hair types, and this GH Beauty Lab test-winning shampoo (and its matching conditioner) from Herbal Essences provides it. It was a standout star in the GH Beauty Lab's moisturizing shampoos test, where testers raved about how hydrating this wallet-friendly formula made their previously dry hair look and feel.
- Relieves dry and itchy scalp
- Good value
- May be heavy for fine hair
Ideal for scalp relief, this GH Beauty Award winner from Head & Shoulders with the anti-flake active ingredient pyrithione zinc was a tester favorite for relieving scalp itch and making hair super soft. It even scored highly among women with textured hair for reducing hair and scalp dryness.
- Effectively smooths frizz
- Adds shine
- Great value
This Garnier frizz-defying serum is a GH Beauty Lab test winner and gold standard for smoothing hair. It scored high with consumer testers for keeping frizz at bay and giving hair a gorgeous sheen. Not to mention, it's a hair savior in humidity.
- Great value
When it comes to gel for natural hair, we look for formulas that keep hair hydrated and shiny without leaving a crunchy, sticky residue. And that's exactly why we love this GH Beauty Award winner from Dove. It's free of drying additives like alcohol and filled with hair-healthy ingredients like aloe, glycerin, shea butter, and castor oil.
- Precise applicator to lift scalp buildup
- Can be hard to rinse out if too much is used
If you have curly hair, you know that traditional shampoos can be harsh and drying to your already thirsty spirals, but not this Carol's Daughter sulfate-free cleanser. A blend of aloe and micellar water transforms into a gentle lather that cleanses the scalp and hair without stripping it dry. Plus, the precision applicator makes targeting your scalp a breeze.
- Flake-free hold
- Nourishing ingredients
- May be too heavy for fine hair
There's nothing that can ruin a sleek pony or bun more than frizzy edges and unwanted flyaways. This is where edge gel comes in handy. This formula from Mielle Organics doesn't flake or look greasy. Not to mention, it's full of natural ingredients like honey, ginger root, and aloe that nourish the hair while you wear.
- Helps reduce breakage
- Smooths frizz
Not a styling product, but definitely a must-have for healthy curls, this Olaplex concentrated treatment helps to keep breakage at a minimum and strengthens the hair from the inside out. It works like a deep treatment and can be used two to three times per week for best results. Simply work a dollop of this through your hair, let it sit for 10 minutes, and shampoo and condition as normal.
- Crunch-free definition
- Add volume and lift to lifeless curls
- May not be suitable for coily hair types
- Super conditioning
- Works as a smoothing styler and treatment
- Hydrating formula
- Won't weigh hair down
- Has great slip for getting rid of tangles and knots
This Kinky-Curly detangler is an oldie-but-goodie and we love it for its multitasking capabilities. You can apply it after shampoo to help melt away tangles and knots or use it as a leave-in after cleansing and conditioning. It leaves the hair super soft and smooth, plus comes in handy when you're one too many days past your scheduled wash day.
- Quickly hydrates hair
A product like this cult classic from Aussie that works its magic in under five minutes is a win-win in anyone's book. And the fact that this deep conditioner comes at such a low price point only makes it even more desirable. You can thank the avocado and jojoba oils for how intensely this mask hydrates. Oh, and the floral, citrus scent is divine.
- Super lightweight
- Can cause buildup if overused
There are oils that sit atop the hair and then there's this magical Verb find. The oil is practically weightless and helps to hydrate and add sheen to lifeless, dull locks. But be warned, a little goes a long way. You only need a dime-sized amount of this oil to see your curls transform.
- Fights against frizz
- Built-in UV filter
TBH, hot and humid weather can turn beautiful ringlets into frizzy zig zags in a matter of minutes. That's why this Ouidad shampoo is a no-brainer for those who live in humid areas. It works to fight against frizz before you add any styling products, with a blend of emollients and ceramides that smooth and seal the surface of the hair shaft.
- Works great on medium to thick textures
- Helps to define and smooth curls
- Great value
If you're a newbie to curly stylers, this Shea Moisture cream is a great place to start, especially for thick or long hair, as the large tub contains more product than others. This curl-enhancing smoothie is thick enough to hydrate and define hair, but it doesn't weigh strands down. Try applying it straight out of the shower and raking it through the hair thoroughly for best results. Bonus: Your hair will smell like a tropical smoothie for days!
- Reduces dryness
- Revitalizes stretched out curls
If it's not quite time to wash your hair, but it needs a quick refresh, reach for this amino acid spray created by celebrity hairstylist Vernon François. Just a few spritzes soften, revive, and strengthen second and third day curls with a blend of botanicals, oils, and amino acids. It's also a great prep spray to use before styling.
- Smooths flyaways and frizz
- Good value
- Can be gunky if too much product is applied
When flyaways and frizz are cramping your style, this Curls gel paste comes to the rescue. It helps to slick back edges or keep shorter pieces in place but won't get stiff or crunchy. And the blueberry extract, argan oil, and mango butter help to keep dryness at bay.
- Detangles and conditions
Whether you're looking for a leave-in conditioner, detangler, or hair refresher, this multi-purpose It's a 10 lotion will do the trick. Apply to clean hair, damp or dry, and watch it transform into silky, lustrous curls instantly. It's also lightweight enough to apply everyday without worrying about excess product buildup.