8 of the Best Curl Defining Products for Natural Hair

Sneak preview: Boing! by @oyinhandmade. Drops on August 10th, I'm editing my video review to give ya'll a sneak peek tomorrow!!! #naturalhair #transitioner #naturalhairproducts #oyinhandmade #supportsmallbusiness
In this photo, I’m using Boing! by Oyin Handmade


Before I delve too far into this article, I’m going to let you know 2 things about me:


1. I am a long-term transitioner. More specifically, I am transitioning from severe heat damage.

2. I am a product junkie.


I felt it was important to lay those things out as a caveat of sorts, just to make it abundantly clear where I and this article are coming from. 17 months into my own natural hair journey, I have successfully grown tons of new curls without serious breakage or other damage. I still have some straightened/loose heat damaged ends, so it is important that the products I use are able to treat my curls right without drying, damaging, splitting, or otherwise harming my delicate ends. Or making them look like a pack of wet Ramen.

Also I am a product junkie. I don’t pretend to slap that “recovering” label in front of it anymore, because it just is what it is. I love exploring products, ingredients, trial and error, mixes and matches, and most of all, successes. My product junkie-ism is even moreso fueled by my Small Business Pledge. So for anyone looking for a DIY article, the isn’t the one.


Now that we’ve got those disclaimers out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff!


Strong Hold


1. Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly

The 411: Get Set Hair Jelly is an aloe based gel that works at fighting frizz and humidity while giving curls super definition. Of all the gels out there, Get Set Hair Jelly easily provides the longest lasting results. I got 4 day hair without even trying. If you find yourself having difficulty getting curls and coils to clump and define, give this product a try. A word of caution: don’t be super heavy-handed. Too much product can lead to somewhat crunchy hair. A little bit goes a long way!

Price: $15/8oz, $25/16oz

Where to Buy: Amazon.com, www.wondercurl.com


2. As I Am Smoothing Gel

The 411: As I Am Smoothing Gel is water and aloe based, providing a firm hold without hardness and flaking. Although As I Am Smoothing Gel is typically used to sleek edges, I’ve found that it is a legitimate contender in the wash n’ go world. It is pretty thick, so it works best and spreads the easiest on wet and damp hair. You will achieve great definition and hold on your curls and coils!

Price: $8/8oz

Where to Buy: Amazon.com, Sally Beauty Supply


3. Curls Goddess Curls

The 411: Goddess Curls came as a shock to me. I was never really interested in their product line, until Sally’s ran a buy 2, get one free promotion in July. But now I’m hooked. This liquid gel is fragrance free (great for those with sensitive sniffers), water based, and glides easily through wet or dry hair. Curls are super defined and sculpted, every time. Just go easy and make sure you don’t get too-too heavy-handed. There is a great potential for the crunchies, so show some restraint!

Price: $8/8oz

Where to Buy: Amazon.com, Sally’s, Target


Medium Hold


4. Obia Natural Hair Care Curl Enhancing Custard

The 411: Of all the products on the list, this Curl Enhancing Custard is one of my hands down favorites. Everything in the Obia Natural Hair Care line is formulated by Obia herself, a trained chemist. This Custard is water and olive oil based, providing softness, shine, curl clumping, and definition without an ounce of stiffness or crunch. This is a feat, because I am heavy-handed with products. I can’t say enough about how much I love the Curl Enhancing Custard. The consistency is similar to As I Am Smoothing Gel, but doesn’t contain as many fixatives, making the hold a little softer.

Price: $15/16oz

Where to Buy: Amazon.com, www.obianaturalhair.com


5. Purgasm Shop Wild Cherry Curl Poppin’ Gel

The 411: Purgasm Shop’s Wild Cherry Curl Poppin’ Gel is an amazing gel for those seeking medium hold, no crunchies, and love botanicals. The Gel is based in water (infused with marshmallow root, wild cherry bark, flaxseed, and more) and aloe vera. The consistency reminds me of DIY Flaxseed Gel, but it smells a whole heckuva lot better. It spreads easily on wet or dry hair, making it an ideal product to rake through curls and coils.

Price: $12/8oz

Where to Buy: www.purgasmshop.com


6. Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls

The 411: First of all, I can’t believe I’m even putting Miss Jessie on any list for anything. Her price point kept me away long enough to explore other options. But when the opportunity to get free samples of the new Jelly Soft Curls arose, I figured I would be a fool not to. To my surprise, I rather liked the gel. It’s devoid of artificial colors (which deviates from Miss Jessie’s other products), and the fragrance is rather mild. It provides a moderate level of hold while imparting shine, with a similar consistency to EcoStyler. No crunchies here, but also no real frizz protection.

Price: $14/8.5oz or free (samples)

Where to Buy: Amazon.com, Target, www.missjessies.com


Soft Hold


7. Boing! by Oyin Handmade

The 411: Boing! is the latest creation to come out of the Oyin Handmade kitchen. Literally. As in, it just came out on August 10th. With a thick icing-like texture, it is designed to moisturize and define curls all in one step. It smells great, has a creamy feel, and it almost seems like no matter how much you use, your curls will never get hard. It is based in water and shea butter, and guaranteed to give you soft, touchable light definition.

Price: $14.99/4oz, $23.99/8oz

Where to Buy: www.oyinhandmade.com


8. Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme

The 411: This water and coconut oil based product is guaranteed to give you moisture and light definition. It is a great moisturizing base for a wash n’ go or other style, but also stands alone as a soft curl definer in it’s own right. It is a little heavier than the Coconut Shea Pudding Souffle, but won’t make your hair feel like it is full of buildup. You can be heavy-handed or go light with this product, and still get good definition.

Price: $9/16oz

Where to Buy: Sally Beauty Supply, Wal-Mart

This list is by no means definitive! If you have a favorite curl defining product, shout it out! I’m always on the prowl for great products!

For more from Christina check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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Christina Patrice

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

  • EBlue

    Jane Carter’s-Curl Defining Cream

    • http://www.theactivespirit.com DC

      It DOES work well, but I can’t get past the smell.

  • T

    What’s the 3rd thing about you?

  • LBell

    I like how you own your product junkie-ism. :) I’ve been natural for a long time but only learned how to define my longer 4b coils in the last couple of years. When I did, I found myself delving right back into product junkie-ism as I experimented with different products and ingredients.

    I know people keep saying it’s too expensive but seriously I have yet to find anything that works as well for me as the Kinky-Curly combo (KCKT/KCCC). It helps that I don’t use a whole lot of either, which means that for me, the cost-per-use makes it very affordable.

    That said, find me something that works as well and is cheaper and I’ll give it a shot. Because my texture is tighter than yours Ramen-noodle hair is not a concern of mine :) so I may try the As I Am and Curls products the next time I’m near a Sally’s or Target. Thanks for the recs!

    • http://www.maneobjective.com Christina Patrice

      Hi LBell,

      Thanks! I really had to come to terms with it. At first I tried to get into DIY mixing, but I just realized that I found the “product hunt” more appealing than making stuff myself. I decided to leave the mixing to the experts, lol. You’re welcome for the recs. I would really say give the Goddess Curls a go. It’s $8 and spreads easily, which means you can use as little or as much as you want. I used to be a “bargain basement” transitioner (and I still very much love a great sale), but I find myself being more willing to pay a smidge more for quality ingredients :)

    • Annetta

      I couldn’t agree more! Hands down, KC gives great shine, super definition, and moisture! I wouldn’t even try anything else!

  • easyBlake

    Umm, is the $15 for 4oz of Oyin Handmade’s Boing! a typo?



  • Nicole Bailey

    Does it matter what type of hair you have? I have 4B or 4C, not so sure.

    • kerisha

      hi Nicole nice to see you on here yes if your curls are tighter you need a thicker product I think eden bodyworks curl defining cream will work as well as shea moisture curl gel souffle ,a little goes a long way and is a whole lot cheaper than the ones recommended except for eden bodyworks of course.

    • http://www.maneobjective.com Christina Patrice

      Hi Nicole! It really all depends. Do you have difficulty defining curls? If so, then one of the strong products may work best. If not, the whole list is fair game :)

  • AC

    $15 for 4 oz???! Oyin can go back to the kitchen with that.

    • Rachel

      I agree, I refuse to pay ridiculous price tags for some gel. And these companies can keep these little 4oz jars smh. I’m finding twisting Curl milks into my hair is googd enough, even using curl milks for wash and goes, just smoothing it down and I’m good to go

    • Deb

      so pissed and disappointed with Oyin for that mess. What is their justification for those prices?!!

  • http://blackgirllonghair.com Pat

    I like the Talliah Waajid Curly Curl cream at the moment. It defines well for me but I do mix it with some water, it’s good for me in this humid weather. I have the Eden cream and may re-visit it at a later date, I never waste a product!!

    • Paula

      I also use the curly curl cream and also add water. If it were a little less sticky and had a touch more hold I wouldnt use anything else!

  • Chan

    I am a fan of shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie. I use it for Bantu knot outs

  • Vonnie

    RISING HAIR BUSINESS ALERT! I am absolutely in love with Lady Key Knotty Curl curl defining custard! I have 4c hair, and it is the ONLY product that gives my hair these cute tiny little spirals. Note it’s not transforming your hair into 3b, just complimenting the curls we naturally have. Find her products on ladykeyworld.com. Love her and her customer service….

  • Lita

    Eco Styler gel, clear.

  • TWA4now

    Thank you! I’ve been wanting to try at least two of the products mentioned. #pjstillwilliteverend

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    This article offers clear idea designed for the new users of blogging, that really how to do blogging and site-building.

  • melisa

    Goddess curls is amazing. i love this stuff. I bought mine from walmart.

  • Amanda

    I’m just curious Christina, but what is your curl pattern?

  • Kim

    I have very fine (thinning hair) due to thyroid disease, I recently cut it all off with only about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in length. My hair has always been straight at the root but never had problems curling on their own. However since there is no product in my hair I am wondering what product would be good for my hair to hold CURLS.

  • Hannah

    I have been using the pro naturals argan oil hair treatment on my curls and they look awesome!

  • Dymond

    My dead straight ends are finally gone and when I wash my hair idk what to use to define my curls. I’ve just used a leave in conditioner just to see and when I run mt fingers through my hair my curls get straighten out as of I picked it into a from. I will definitely try these listed under strong hold, I’m also a product junkie and I now wanna try to wash n go. I always do bantu knows and they take so much tome every day

  • http://chanceuxinlife.wordpress.com Josie

    As I Am Smoothing Gel does not smooth anything on my 4a hair. It was a joke to my edges so I use a thick pomade for that.
    It does indeed define curls and the natural ingredients moisturizes my hair excellently… it smells great too.

  • Nessa

    Alikay Naturals Creme Brulee Curling Custard is my fave! I got a sample in the Alikay Naturals Curlkit Takeover box and my hair loved it! Now I’m never without

  • Alexis

    These are products that you use on a twist or braid out or as a wash n go?