Top 10 Curl Defining Products for 4A/4B Hair


Looking for a product that will define your natural curl pattern? There are so many gels, custards and curl creams, that it can be confusing and frustrating to find the right one, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite top curl definers. Remember: no two heads of hair are the same, even if they fall in the same curl category. What works for thin 4b hair may not work for thick 4b hair, and what you thought wouldn’t work on your hair texture turns out to be a holy grail!


1. Tigi Catwalk Curlesque Curls Rock Amplifier

Tigi’s Curls Rock Amplifier has the texture of a creamy hair lotion. Curlies with different curl patterns love it and agree on one thing: you only need about a pea-sized amount to get defined hair. If you apply too much to each section, expect crunchy curls! Make sure to use your favorite leave-in conditioner underneath so the styler doesn’t dry out your hair.

Curls Rock Amplifier; $16.95


2. Kinky-Curly Curling Custard

Most naturals tell us that Kinky-Curly Curling Custard is a tough product to master. It’s full of nourishing botanicals like agave nectar extract, aloe vera juice and marshmallow, and has a very slippery and goopy texture. A little goes a long way, as it instantly clumps and smoothes your coils. Expect extremely shiny and springy coils. Although it works best on very tight, coarse coils in the “4” category, it might pack too much of a punch for loose curls. Be sure to pair it with a leave in conditioner like Kinky-Curly Knot Today.

Kinky-Curly Curling Custard; $17


3. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel

The Ouidad brand is on many a holy grail list and it’s because their products don’t make you choose between defined and moisturized hair – you can have both! Meadowfoam seed oil helps hydrate and clump, leaving you with juicy curls. Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel is also great for thick type 3 curls.

Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel; $22


4. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

It’s dense, rich, and packed with nourishing ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and coconut oil. If you don’t like the crunch of gels, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie provides a more natural, touchable look. Since it’s not a gel, it might be difficult to define tighter coils and springs. Those with looser curls can expect soft, shiny, and light curls instead of the wet, heavy look that gels might give.

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie; $9.99


5. AG Re:coil Curl Activator

Re:coil is a creamy, lightweight frizz fighter. Those who’ve had great results gush about bouncy, shiny, carefree curls. Those who had to pass said it wasn’t heavy enough for coarser hair textures. In humid months, use it under your favorite gel to keep the frizzies at bay. As it gets colder, it’s great as a standalone product.

AG Re:coil; $18


6. Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper

Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper is a water-based styler fights frizz and gently clumps curls, so those with thick, 3b and up hair may want to pair it with a gel for more definition and hold. It’s smooth like a serum, but creates definition like a gel. If you don’t like layering products or it doesn’t take much to define your waves or curls, give Curl Keeper a try. You can reactivate it with water as the week progresses!

Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper; $9.99


7. Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls

Give Quick Curls a try if you have waves and loose curls or fine, thin curlier hair. It’s a light cream, so it won’t weigh down your hair. If your hair regimen has more scrunching than meticulous raking and finger styling, your hair might love this product.

Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls; $9


8. Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme

Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme combines the moisturizing benefits of a leave-in conditioner with the smoothing and holding properties of a gel. It’s lighter than dense creams or stiff gels, and can act as your leave-in and styler in one! Those with 3c-4a hair seem to love this product. Give it a try if you want a light, bouncy wash and go.

Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme; $22


9. Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue

A lot thicker than Quick Curls, Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue is meant for dense, thick heads of highly textured hair! The Miss Jessie’s website says this medium hold styling cream is perfect for “pogo stick oingy boingy curls”. Rake and smooth it onto your hair section by section and watch the curls bounce back!

Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue; $7


10. Curls Curl Gel-les’C

Curls Curl Gel-les’C is a very lightweight, serum-like gel, perfect for preventing frizz on looser curls and defining fine (as opposed to coarse), tight coils. If you need high hold and staying power, this might be better to use on top of a conventional gel.

Curls Curl Gel-les’C; $25

Ladies, what products do you use for curl definition? And do you have reviews for any of the products listed here?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...


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58 thoughts on “Top 10 Curl Defining Products for 4A/4B Hair

  1. Hi everyone, I’m from London, UK so most of the products here are not available over here. Is there someone out there from England or even yourselves BGLH that have tested products in the UK. As when you go into the shops there’s so many products the workers don’t usually know that much so your confused. Customers are usually buying weave or extensions so no one can shed a little light & it just gets daunting having so many hair products as I’m a walking experiment! If someone could help with what products are good for curl definition or shampoos that are available in the UK it would be truly appreciated as I’m losing faith on this journey :(

    • Do they have Shea Moisture products? I have 4a hair and used Shea Moisture coconut and hibiscus curl enhancing smoothie and it makes my hair soft and the curls pop. I also heard making your own flaxseed gel makes your curls pop, provides moisture, and nourishment. I’m going to try it today. When I first started my natural journey I tried everything under the sun but I soon realized my hair thrives on all natural products (so does my skin I realized to). Also are there any brands of hair care for naturals that you’ve been seeing? We all can see if we’ve tried it before to give you some insight :)

    • Hi Kayla,

      I just ran across your post about having difficulty getting American hair products in the UK. I am in Texas, and if you are interested, perhaps we could go establish a business, where I supply you with products from here and you in turn sell them there.

      Reply here if you are interested.

    • Hi Kayla,

      I’m a natural hair stylist in London and I used to work in a salon in Camberwell. There is a shop called Zara that has a big range of natural hair products. There are also ladies who create products that are local to London but ship all over the UK and various parts of the world. Try Almocado and BeUnique Hair Care.

      Also, I’m hosting a workshop in London on 26/4/2014 on DIY Natural Hair Styling. I teach how to create a personal routine and how to style your own hair using cornrows and/or flat twists. Here’s the link:

      You can also follow me on FB and YT @younaturallybe and Twitter @unaturallyhair to stay abreast of what’s happening in the UK Natural Hair Scene.

  2. I am from and live in south africa. I have your typical black person hair (i think its type 4) and i have started growing it out naturaly. which would be the best products for me to use.

  3. My fav is Curls Curl Gel-les’C. I have 3c/4a/3b fine/med/coarse strands. I actually do get a light hold from the gel/serum. I’m finding I much prefer gel/serums over creams which tend to give me more of an afro twist out with much less hang

  4. I went to a Ouidad salon to go natural and my stylist recommended their Curl defining gel. It works great! I’ve been using it to do my twistouts and it leaves no residue and my twistouts last a while. My only complaint is that at $23 a bottle it’s pricey so I use it sparingly. Shea Moisture’s curling smoothie works well too and it’s cheaper but it tends to leave a white residue in my hair.

  5. I stay in a country far from my home land and most of the products meant for Afro hair are not easy to found here especially good quality hair products. I did come across Black like me Moisturizing gel and Moisturizing spray, both are curl enhancers and they works really well.

    I hope some day those products you mentioned get to this place, they seem to be promising…

  6. I have a tapered haircut similar to the blogger “Faintly Masculine” some of you may know her, others may not. But, anyways! I use the shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie a my moisturizer and Giovanni styling gel. They are a great combination for my 4a/4b hair!

  7. I actually find that I get great definition with Kinky Curly’s Knot Today–the Custard process is just too much work for too little reward for me. And Miss Jessie’s prices are absolutely ridiculous–I feel like I hear them laughing at me whenever I even look at a jar!

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