Curly hair looks best when it’s wild and imperfect, but unless you’re going for a super undefined style, it can be a pain to make sure your hair is — for the most part — keeping its gorgeous, spiral-y shape. That’s especially true when you consider factors like frizz and humidity. Thankfully, there are plenty of curl creams out there that can lend a hand with styling and maintenance.
No matter what your curl pattern, the goal of these oil-enriched, hold-inducing concoctions is to assist your natural texture by adding definition, smoothness, and shine. A pro tip when shopping for curl creams is to look for moisture-boosting ingredients, along with additions like film formers which will help stretched-out or limp curls to recoil. Cosmetic chemist Ginger King previously explained to Allure that film formers are polymers (either synthetic- or starch-based) that help to shape each hair strand.
With moisture as the focus (an essential for curl maintenance), we enlisted the help of several curly hair experts to help us round up the best curl creams, butters, and custards for 3A to 4C hair. These options will allow your coils, kinks, curls, and waves to shine and be their best selves. What’s even better? They all fall under $20.
All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.