Ask Design Mom: Products for Curly Hair

Hello Gabrielle. I have curly hair too and I’d love to hear your recommendations for hair products. Thanks, Angela.

Thanks for your question, Angela! Great timing. Since I chopped my hair, I’ve had to change things up a bit. What’s working for me now:

My hairdresser, Melissa, started taking curly hair classes from Deva — the people behind the Curly Girl book I’ve found so helpful. She’s now a curly hair expert and introduced me to the sulfate-free Deva Curl product line. I was skeptical, so I just purchased the sample kit to try it out. But I love it! It’s made a big difference in the quality of my curls and the reduction of my frizz. I use No Poo, One Condition, AnGel, and Mist-er Right.

Another change, I started drying my hair with a t-shirt instead of a towel. Much less frizz. And totally free.

And thirdly, the kind people at Liqwd sent me samples and I’ve been trying them out too. So far, I love what they do to my hair. Really great when I’m craving a blowout, and lovely for relaxing my curls if I want to wear them a little looser. I’ve used the hydrating shampoo, the hydrating conditioner and the smoothing catalyst.

What about you, Dear Readers? Any new hair products you’re loving?

P.S. —  Haircare products can be so pricey! My favorite drug-store conditioner is still Infusium — it’s super thick and does a great job of keeping my hair hydrated.

P.P.S. — Want more curly hair talk? Try my posts here and here.

33 thoughts on “Ask Design Mom: Products for Curly Hair”

  1. I’ve got hair probably a teeny bit curlier than Gabrielle’s and recently started using a combo of Paul Mitchell’s Round Trip and Fast Form. They are relatively inexpensive and keep my hair from looking too fuzzy by the afternoon. I’ve also had good luck with Bumble & Bumble’s products – their curl concious line is nice but a little pricey.

    Thanks for the tips Gabrielle – I want to try the one that loosens curls!

  2. Alterna has an organics line with a product called texturizing glaze that is for natural curly hair, it is the best I have used for natural curly hair. It defines the curls without the crunch, calms the frizz without weighing it down. It is moisturizing too which is great for these winter months!

  3. I’ve got curls similar to Gabrielle’s. Key to success for me is a great stylist (try using Google or Yahoo to search your area, that’s how I found mine), Tresemme mousse and a diffuser. After years and years of hating my hair, I’m finally embracing and loving my curls. Yay!

    Definitely going to try the old t-shirt idea.

  4. I love the curly hair products from Bumble & Bumble. Especially their curl creme and the curl refreshing mist you can put on dry hair to pull together your bed head! I think my hair was maybe too fine for the Deva products and always felt a little heavy and dirty. But it works really well for lots of other people!!

  5. i made the switch to deva curl a year ago and i have been in love ever since. i use the same products you have mentioned above with the exception of mister right – i have it, i just haven’t used it yet. i use the set it free regularly and i love it.
    i alternate between the set it free and the angel when i am going to have a longer hair day and i use the set it free when i am not necessarily getting out of the house much.
    i have been wanting to get an appointment with a deva curl specialist to get the cut right.
    also, a microfiber towel (i got mine at ulta) works well in lieu of a tshirt.

    1. I buy mine at They do 15% off sales at just about every holiday. Get on their email list and they’ll probably send you a code for a Thanksgiving sale.

  6. I LOVE products for curly hair. I think I am going to have to try your new ones Gabriella! Right now I am using Tee Tree Tingle from my favorite store, Trader Joes. It makes my curls soft and frizz free. It has peppermint in it so it smells fantastic and tingles your scalp. Best of all it’s only $3.99 for a 16 oz bottle.

  7. DevaCurl is the best and the book, Curly Girl really did change my life. I have found that the gel is the most important component, followed by the conditioner. Can skip the no poo. I used to take regular business trips to NYC and LOVED to get my hair cut at DevaChaun, such a fabulous treat. I miss that and haven’t been able to find the same talent at home.

  8. Thanks for this post. I’m always looking for advice. However at the moment my hair is SHORT (like Halle Berry short) since I have my first young infant and did not know if I could deal with new mommyhood and hair.

  9. I totally love KMS Curl Up curling balm. Makes my curls pop a bit more and I just put it on when I blow dry with my diffuser. Have used it for a number of years and it is great!

  10. Thanks for the recommendation. I had this killer combo of infusium shampoo, conditioner and leave-in treatment, Frizz-Ease serum, and Tigi Uptight spray gel going for at least 4 years. Last year Tigi stopped making Uptight and I’ve been floundering since. ;) Plus after my youngest was born my hair started going straight. All the top layers are still super curly but the lower layers are all straight. Hormones! Has this happened to you with any of your pregnancies? If so did it ever come back?

  11. I’ve used DevaCurl products and really liked them. Currently, I’m alternating between Aveda and Moraccanoil (sp?). The Moraccanoil totally changes the texture of my hair – before I could go 3-4 days without washing. The M.oil makes it so soft I have to wash more often. Can’t decide if that’s good or bad. Also, the BEST tip I ever got was to loosely twist my hair in small sections and let it air dry that way. I get pretty, soft, loose curls. Love.

  12. I use Biosilk on my curls every morning, as well as use their shampoo and conditioner. Plus I have used a flour sack towel for as long as I can remember, and air dry my hair. I’ve always read that you should go a few days without washing – but that does not work at all for me! My hair actually gets heavier and pulls the curl out.

  13. I think I will try some of these, thanks for the recommendations! I am a hair hybrid – it can go curly or straight. For me, my best curls have come from Aveda Phomollient Styling Foam, Tennessee humidity, and absolutely no brushes whatsoever. I am excited to try a t-shirt to dry as well.

    Maybe I look scary but lately I am kind of liking a sort of soft and frizzy look. Less stress to have such defined curls and kind of pretty & different…

  14. My hair is similar in texture/curl to Gabrielle’s, although much, much shorter. It’s in a pixie. With curly hair this short, I find wax or texture creme to be the key in styling it. I was using a generic from Sally’s (it was just as good a Paul Mitchell!), but they discontinued it, so I’ve switched to Short Sexy Hair Slept-In Texture Creme. It’s wonderful! It doesn’t leave my hair greasy at all, plus it has enough hold to keep my curls from going all over the place.

  15. Gabby I don’t have curly hair. Mine is straight & straight. However, my daughter has her Dad’s hair which is curly, her’s right now isn’t curly curly but it’s definitely got that bouncy set of waves. And so I worry as she gets older because it’s a foreign hair concept to me that I’ll lack any ability to help her. Thanks for reminding me that there are lines out there made just for her beautiful hair as she gets older :)

  16. After years of wavy hair and trying to straighten it all the time. My third child pushed my hair over the edge.After him full blown curls. I searched high and low for the answer of how to do this new hair. I love the book curly girl. I little dated in the pictures, but concept is spot on. I also found a gal in Denver who specializes in the DEVA curl concept. She helps the Deva team train hair stylist when they come to Denver.
    Julia at Shapes Salon.

    Love the Deva Curl products, but alternate with Garnier Fructis conditioner.

    Best tip: COLD water rinse and dry with old t-shirt (softer on hair)

  17. I have curly (African American) hair and can find much of what I need for my hair at Target. They now carry “Curls” and “Shea Moisture” lines, both of which are good.

    I’ve also used Mixed Chicks and Miss Jessie’s- both get great reviews, but neither worked great for me.

  18. p.s. New edition of Curly Girl, the book, is coming with winter. I cannot wait! If you’re the straight haired mom of a curly haired girl this books will be an amazing resource for you.

  19. I’ve been reading a lot about curly hair and not using shampoo and conditioner. I know! It sounds crazy but a lot of people swear by the mixture of baking soda and water as a substitute for shampoo and honey and water for a substitute for conditioner. have you ever tried that?

  20. My husband and I are now trying to cut costs wherever we can to get out of debt. I used to use both Deva Curl and Aveda products. I’m now looking for some grocery store gel/mousse products that will be a good alternative for a while. Does anyone have any ideas?

  21. Also, my fellow curly haired friend just introduced me to this idea-ONLY comb hair in shower with conditioner in your hair. She recommends leaving all conditioner in hair but I can’t handle the thought unless its “leave in”.

  22. Thank you, thank you for talking about these products! I am a self-proclaimed Deva missionary. After years of struggling with my curly hair, this product has made a world of difference. Thanks for spreading the good word!

  23. As a designer of my own natural & organic bath & body line ( I’m super picky about what products I use. I love, LOVE Deva Curl’s AnGell and One Condition. I use no shampoo, but about once a week I just do a vinegar rinse to remove any build up. I make the rinse myself — I just fill up a pump bottle with about 3/4 of the way with apple cider vinegar and then add a few drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil (to help with the vinegar smell and because it is clarifying). Just shake before use and pump onto scalp then scrub and rinse with water. It works great and makes my hair so soft and totally manageable.

  24. I am a Scottsdale colorist, and in response to my clients with ethnic hair asking for a product that would act as a dry shampoo, I created SUN SHADZ, an all natural translucent micronized powder that is easy to apply, and refreshes your hair.

    I also do the ‘Brazilian Blowout’ for customers, and when these clients noticed that their straighter hair showed their roots and/or gray hair, I expanded the MoniMay line to include HAIR SHADZ which comes in 10 shades and is one of the top root blenders available today. It allows you to extend your time between color appointments, is a dry shampoo, AND provides spf 15 to protect your scalp and hair from the sun.

    Those who don’t color their hair use SUN SHADZ as it is clear in color.

    My Mom died from melanoma of the scalp, which I learned was the most common place for melanoma to originate. The numbers of people dying from melanoma are staggering. 1 dies every hour in the United States!

    Young women are particularly vulnerable, and deaths from melanoma in this age category continue to increase at an alarming rate.

    MoniMay products are available online at: as well as at WHOLE FOODS.

    It is interesting to me that our clients really understand what products they need, and by listening closely, we can innovate the hair care products available.

    MoniMay is passing along economies of scale and improved cost savings methods to our customers so that we have reduced our pricing by 25%

    An applicator which lasts 6 months on average, is now available at $29.95!

    From curly hair to innovation – women have always shaped the hair care industry, but now we are creating the products which meet our needs!

    I am so grateful to my clients for expressing their needs and desires.

    Happy Holidays!

    Monica Sanders

    – “We’ve Got You Covered!”

  25. I’m a big fan of Deva curl too. Once I read that Curly Hair book I started to know how to correct the horrible professional haircuts I was getting all by myself. That book should be required reading for anyone who picks up a pair of hair cutting scissors.

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