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

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

Leave a Reply

59 Comments on "Top 10 Curl Defining Products for 4A/4B Hair"

Notify of

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!


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!


Are there any product articles about 3A 3B and 3C hair? All I see are articles pertaining to 4ABC hair

Mel Stevens

I recommend the pro naturals argan oil lave-in treatment. I think it works great for either curly or straight hair!


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…


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.

joseph caron

very useful products you have defined here.


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

palesa selepe

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.

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… Read more »
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… Read more »
The Poster Girl_Shar

How did your Flax Seed Gel come out? Is it moisturizing? I have been thinking about doing this.

Abi Ola

Hey, I’m based in London so I had a look at this website. Haven’t ordered from it as of yet but maybe have a look?
They sell Afro products for all types of curly hair so maybe it might help! Hope this produces a fruitful result 🙂


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.

Tieska Jumbo
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… Read more »
Michael Kors tote

this is good post.welcome you to oakley sunglasses online store.thanks!


Stick with buying from Target or Wal-Mart. That way, if you don’t like it, you can return it. Just make sure to keep that receipt. There are absolutely NO hair products collecting dust underneath my bathroom counter, because if it doesn’t work and wasn’t worth my money, I GO GET MY MONEY BACK. All it really takes is one use to know if you like it or not.


I have type 4 hair and just tried that Loreal evercurl because i wanted more frizz control. the results aren’t that bad. Of course i did a twist out so I’m not sure how it defines curls. My coils are coily though, my twists are twisted, and my hair feels pretty moisturized. I got the conditioner, the leave in and the creme gel for 20 bucks at Walmart. Before that, i was just using conditioner, then twisting with mango butter, which kept my hair pretty moist, but still frizzy.


i wouldn’t trying these out but they’re not worth the cost to me. i have a huge jar of eco-styler gel at home (about 32 oz.) for only $3 from my local beauty supply store. as long as i don’t put too much, my hair won’t get crunchy.

but hopefully someone will be able to find a product they like from one of these listed.

The article title made me think the products would mostly be for type 4B hair but many of the descriptions are for type 3 hair. I once read an article (I believe on BGLH) that talked about not wasting money on curl defining products because there are some things that your hair just won’t do. I use eco-styler gel but my wash and go’s don’t leave my kinky 4B hair as defined as I’d like it and I accepted that. I stick to 2 strand twists/twist outs and pinups. If anyone knows any curl defining products for true 4B please… Read more »
The key for dry hair is moisture so for 4 type hair that is key. Vatika Virgin Olive Hair Mask by dabur This deep conditioner will make hair moisturised and when that happens my hair’s pattern will show up when wet.When my hair dries unstretched its not curly but a FRO so I make sure I use it with a cheap heat cap and have good results. We have to embrace what our hair can and cannot day it might be different but is nonetheless beautiful in its own right. The article to me creates curl envy and is a… Read more »

First of all Kinky Curly products are a goopy mess. I did not like them! Second the Miss Jesses products they featured at that price are the small sizes that is why they were so cheap. And last the best thing to define curls is hair conditiiner and a denman brush. Works for me!


I have 4a hair, water and conditioner & gel defines my hair without much fuss!


I didn’t read all the comments so if I don’t know if anyone mentioned how they felt about Curls Unleashed Curl Boosting Jelly. It’s about $13.95 on avearge on most places. I like how it left my hair.
[imgcomment image[/img]


I love their products too!

Kim O.

I really did like the product. I tried right after my big chop 2yrs ago. Hair is much longer now. Stuck between that & Kinky Curly. Great products for 4a curl pattern.


Am I the only curly-coily low porosity girl that hated the curl enhancing smoothie. It did nothing for my hair,I do however like the soufflé but hate my sticky neck, fingers and clothes after its dried. I give up I recently found some Shea butter whip that is the truth and I will stick to that and a tiny bit of whatever gel I have if I want defined hair.


I think I’m high porosity, and even so. the curl enhancing smoothie did nothing for me but make my hair smell nice. I agree on the curl soufflé too–overly sticky and it gets everywhere :\

The only Shea Moisture product I have success with is the Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque… and I don’t even use it for its intended purpose. I use it for the “cream” step of the LOC method.


my hair hates protein so most of the Shea Moisture product line is a no go for me

For me the shea moisture smoothie really works.i kinda hate the souffle…atleast on its own. I find the smoothie makes my hair sooo soft once its dried into my hair. I have combo hair from 3a-4a. There isn’t one product that satisfys all my multitexture issues but I accept that.the souffle is sticky and quite drying on its own in my hair. It dries tacky and really lacks moisture retention for me. Love shea moisture curl & styling milk. For me ,its great for daily use. The smoothie is only for wash day bc of its heavy texture.I like the… Read more »

I’m low porous multi 4 hair and i don’t care for the Shea moisture smoothie or souffle. I like product hunting but not buying, so i don’t really know which products do what for my hair because I’m not willing to spend the money! Lol. I do however know that oil causes unnecessary problems. A little, a lot, as a rinse out, just doesn’t work. It’s not worth the drama in my opinion though

Setting aside the slightly misleading title (since some of these purposely say they don’t work for 4a/4bs)…I’m surprised Eco Styler gel isn’t listed. Maybe that’s because it’s cheap? 😉 I also agree with the woman upthread who suggests recommending products for better twistouts and braidouts. Some of the products listed here could be used to create a curl/wave pattern in hair that doesn’t have a a pattern. With all that said, I’m here to give two enthusiastic thumbs up to the KCKT/KCCC combo…especially now that I know how to use it. 🙂 It does take some practice…KCCC may be expensive… Read more »

I could care less about curl definition,my 4c hair is gorge even without product,i just want my hair moisturized. $22 for a hair product,for me that’s R176,as a uni student i could buy groceries for a fortnight! I just want you ladies to love your hair and not obsess over it and waste money on products,we didn’t liberate ourselves from the creamy crack to be bound by curl defining creams.


thank you Dreamgirl, this ‘curl definition’, ‘defining curls’ ‘stretching the curl pattern’ god! can we not like our hair how it grows out of the scalp…why does 4BC get so much flack, get a perm why don’t you…this is getting tired and old. Please bring in something new other than curl defining creams


But what’s wrong with creating curls? Our hair does it ‘naturally’ when twisted/braided. We don’t use chemicals to do so, does it matter? I don’t know many women (of ALL races) who just wash their hair and don’t put any product in it to create a specific look; but people disapprove of black women doing the same thing? The problem is forcing your hair to look like something it can’t.


But no one is saying that your hair isn’t gorgeous without product, it’s just a hairstyle for some people to define their curls sometimes.

Bridget J

Nor were we freed from the creamy crack for other naturals to tell us what we can do or not with our own hair. Freedom is just that. Free to do as we choose. Some choose to define and others choose not to. I think either option is beautiful. I simply love the freedom and versatility of natural hair.

I love the softness and moisture shea moisture curl enh smoothie gives. Perfect all year around. But one of my seasonal favs is qp elasta feels like silk styling gel for the summer months. Its high in glycerin so I have to be careful I’m not wearing it in dry climates. Elasta qp gel is slippery, thick consistency and makes my curls POP! I like that I can just spritz the hair for 2nd & 3rd day reactivation of the gel. I don’t have 2 slather it on mixes well with my shea moisture smoothie but not their styling… Read more »

Curl defining products are consistently the most overpriced hair products out there. It looks like hair companies are exploiting our desire for the perfect curl :/


cant blame the companies for that. it has to get a point where everyone accepts the curl/ coil/ mix curl-coil-wave pattern that they have and not spend endless hours/ days going after that “perfect curl, perfect coil or perfect wave” that just may not exist for them. everyone does not have that “perfect” coil, or perfect “loose curl”, or perfect “afro” or perfect “wave”… just embrace whichever one has


supply and demand… they can only charge what youre willing to pay


Nope. Had to learn the hard way but that stuff costs too much and not even worth it half the time. Just a way to get your hard earned money and under the sink it goes. I’ve said it before. Back to basics ladies. Shampoo, conditioner, oil and moisturizer.

there are plenty of cheaper products out there… but cant knock the marketing departments of these companies for trying. every industry has high end and low end products that are marketed to various consumer groups. its up to the consumer to determine if they want to go broke on products because of the “brand” even if they cant afford it or stick to simply cheaper brands… if one can afford the high end products go for it but i dont encourage those who cant to buy anything they cant afford. over the years ive used high end and low end… Read more »

Meh for this list. I’m a college girl w/ medium length hair (my hair soaks up product). I’d love to find cheaper products aka under 10 bucks WITH a fair amount of product. Oh and no to Shea Moisture, I’m cool on anything they’re selling. While I’d love to help out small businesses many charge wayyy too much for so little. Hey maybe I’m too cheap but I refuse to pay 20 bucks for a dc or 20-40 dollars for Miss Jessies grease.


just stick to basic budget friendly products from walmart or walgreens (most hair products are less than $10 and they have dozens of brands for all hair types) or try lusti products (dollar tree) – not all natural but they work. if you are on a budget then use budget friendly products…
products are not as important as routines as techniques….


@hmm, I’m a college girl with medium length hair too. I pinch my pennies by buying natural oils and butters in bulk on Amazon, because I’m too cheap for Miss Jessie’s too 😀


I plan to also, thanks 🙂


most hair butters contain Shea Butter and Coconut Oil. Just buy those two ingredients and use them.


not a fan of most of those because they cost too much! lol. i use leave in conditioner and oil when i do a wash and go and however that turns out is how my hair intended to look. and honestly, you get the true natural curl i actually have. i’m good with that. some days its tight coils, somedays it bigger spirals and some days it’s a fro. but i pretty much love it all days so i don’t complain!
[imgcomment image[/img]


Agreed. Love that you let your hair do what it wants to do! 🙂


yes. no “defining” let the hair do what it do… love a naturally formed fro…


We are hair Twins! I am in total agreement. Keep it simple don,t spend too much on ‘silver bullet snake oil curl creams’ that promise a head full of curls!


This article was definitely informative, however I don’t feel that I was well served by it. As a multi-textured type 4 (C at the temples, A at the crown, B for the rest), curl definition = shrinkage for me, and shrinkage = tangling –> breakage + length setbacks. It would be really cool if BLGH could do an article similar to this one on the best products for defining twist-outs/braid-outs (if they haven’t done so already), as this would be more applicable and helpful to me (and others like me, if you exist!).


I agree….I wear my hair stretched and when I didn’t I got a wash n FRO! Lol


None of the above


Who is selling Miss Jessie’s products for less than $10?

Nappychique for the smallest jar


I use Kinky Curly Curling custard when I want to keep my twists frizz free longer and to add more longevity to my twistouts. I don’t do wash and gos so I don’t use a curl defining product per se.


I love Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a moisturizer for my kinky, coily, Afro-textured hair.