Last year’s post on my favourite curly girl products has continued to be one of the most viewed on the blog. Since then, I’ve discovered some new brands and products. Here’s a roundup of my favourite curly girl products of 2018. And, this is a giveaway post! Check out my Instagram for a massive giveaway worth over £150, and how you can win!
My Hair Type
I have fine hair, but lots of it. I have a mix of 2c – 3b curls – but curl type doesn’t matter when it comes to buying products, read why here. I have low porosity hair, which gets easily weighed down. What works for me and my hair, may not work for you. There is no shortcut to finding a product that will work for your hair. It all about trial and error; patience, persistence and consistency.
Where I Shop & Discount Codes
I live in Ireland, and buy most of my curly girl approved products online. If you’re outside the U.S.A., most of the brands and products mentioned in this post (excluding MopTop and Aussie Instant Freeze) can be purchased from Look Fantastic and HQ Hair who always have great discount codes and ship worldwide, often with free shipping. Naturalistic Products who ship worldwide, and Beauty by Zara who ship throughout Europe. This post includes discount codes and affiliate links. I’ll list my discount codes below, simply apply them at checkout on the relevant sites. These codes won’t work on third-party sites.
Bounce Curl: 10% off site wide using code CURLYCAILIN10 (permanent)
The As I Am Coconut Co-Wash is still my favourite co-wash product I’ve found since I started the curly girl method. I’ve tried others, but keep coming back to this and continue to buy countless tubs. It’s not a heavy co-wash, but light and leaves your scalp, roots and hair feeling really clean without feeling stripped. It’s also got black castor oil which is great for hair growth!
Lo Poo & No Poo
There are four lo poo’s and no poo’s that really stand out, which I have continued to come back to time and again throughout 2018. They are Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream (glycerin free), MopTop Gentle Shampoo (contains glycerin), and DevaCurl No Poo (contains glycerin and protein). My favourite is probably Bounce Curl Moisturizing Shampoo (contains glycerin and protein). This is so moisturising and hydrating, I often feel like I don’t need conditioner at all.
Top Tip: Low porosity hair gets easily weighed down, so clarifying is important. To avoid your hair feeling stripped and straw-like, always do a deep conditioning treatment after a clarifying or chelating shampoo!
Still top of my chelating shampoo favourites is Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo. It’s not curly girl approved, it’s loaded with sulfates, but its necessary, read the post to find out why. Unlike many chelating shampoos, it doesn’t contain silicones. A new find, and my favourite clarifying shampoo is Bounce Curl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo. This is the most moisturising, clarifying shampoo I’ve tried. Unlike a chelating shampoo, it’s gentle enough for regular use. Honourable mentions for Kinky Curly Come Clean and MopTop Detox Shampoo. All of these products are available in my Amazon Shop.
A favourite for another year running, I’ve been using this on and off since I started my curly girl journey in May 2017. Matrix Biolage Hydra Source Conditioner aka GVP Conditioning Balm in the U.S. This product is amazing, especially if you’re hair needs moisture. Less is more, you only need the tiniest amount!
Another favourite conditioner, and the only other one that doesn’t require palmfuls to detangle, moisturise and hydrate my hair is MopTop Daily Conditioner. I adore this conditioner! If glycerin is a problem, I love Jessicurl Too Shea Extra Moisturising Conditioner, which is suprisingly lightweight! If your hair needs more protein, then Hairfinity Balanced Moisture Conditioner is another firm favourite – and smells delicious! Honourable mention for DevaCurl One Condition Original.
I’ve tried a few new leave in conditioners this year, Giovanni Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner is still a firm favourite. However, I’ve been reaching for Flora & Curl Leave In Detangler more often, not to mention it smells divine! I also love the MopTop Leave In Conditioner, but a tiny amount goes a very long way, and lasts ages! Another old favourite, and great for fine, low porosity hair is the As I Am Leave In Conditioner.
Hands down, my holy grail, favourite deep conditioner is Hairfinity’s Strengthening Amino Mask. It’s a protein conditioner which replenishes, strengthens and fortifies hair to protect against breakage and split ends. I use it for my modified rice water treatment and never fail to get great, noticeable results every time. Another favourite, but protein-free is Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment.
Curly girl method approved and great as a deep conditioning treatment, Olaplex No.3. This is especially great for curlies who have coloured hair, colour damaged hair or hair that’s had Brazilian blow outs or relaxing treatments. Just make sure you purchase the genuine product! I’ve tried mixing this with my rice water, but it’s not as successful as the Hairfinity mask.
An honourable mention for the cult-favourite deep conditioning mask which contains protein. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask . You only need a small amount of it, and the tub lasts a really long time. Since publishing this post, I’ve discovered that Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! is not curly girl friendly as it contains a wax – isododecane. All other products available in my Amazon Shop.
Still my favourite curly girl approved styling product, Pantene Defined Curls Mousse (No.5). I use it like a curl enhancer, but it works equally well layered with other products or as a one and done. For soft, defined, frizz-free curl clumps every time, I style my hair using this mousse, and then a gel. I’ve never found a mousse or foam that’s as good, and it costs just a few euros/pounds!
Another favourite is MopTop Curly Hair Custard. It’s the best product I’ve found if you want big, fat, juicy, frizz-free curl clumps! It’s a great one and done styling product and smells amazing! Stepping away from my much loved combo of mousse and gel/custard. My other favourite styling combo is Confident Coils and Spiralicious Gel from Jessicurl. Confident Coils is a curl enhancing styling…milk…? I’m not sure how to describe it, I’ve never tried anything like it. You only need a little, but paired with the gel, it’s consistently given me my best curls this year!
Another American import, but available from Amazon. My favourite gel of all time, Aussie Instant Freeze Gel. It costs just a few bucks and is often 3 for 2 at Walgreens and Target! If you’re in the UK & Ireland, click here to buy it. Like a whipped gel texture, it doesn’t weight my curls down. It’s great at creating curl clumps, definition and hold. Is a fab one and done styling product, or works well with mousse or custard on wash days, or mixed with KY Jelly for refreshing. Umberto Gianinni Curl Jelly which is currently 3 for 2 at Boots. Or Giovanni LA Natural Styling Gel are great, budget-friendly, alternatives. The Giovanni gel is quite thick and sticky, so works best on soaking wet hair, or wet your hands before use.
Honourable mentions for a new find this year, Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel (glycerin free) and the cult-favourite Bouclème Curl Defining Gel. As a low porosity curly, I really struggle with products weighing down my hair. No matter how much Boucleme gel I put in my hair, it never feels weighed down or like I’ve got too much product in it. Because it’s so lightweight, and not sticky at all, it’s great for refresh days. Paired with KY Jelly, it’s my favourite combo for refreshing!
Curl Towels & Tools
I’ve found microfibre towels squeeze out too much water and leave my hair a little frizzy. The Bouclème Cotton Curl Towel doesn’t squeeze out quite enough, but it’s my favourite for plopping, which I do after diffusing.
The Trepadora towel squeezes out just the right amount of excess moisture, and is a little cheaper than the Boucleme one. Both towels are quite large, great for if you have long, thick hair like me.
My Curly Cailín Heat Cap, which I make and sell on Etsy, has made a huge difference to my hair in the last year. I use it every time I deep condition. Handmade using 100% Cotton and 100% organic Irish-grown flaxseeds. My heat caps are eco-friendly, microwaveable, reusable, reversible, stylish and easy to use. Heat opens up the hair’s cuticle so products can penetate deeper into the hair shaft. Meaning your hair really gets the most benefits out of your deep conditioner. You can see what fabric combinations are available to purchase here. I ship worldwide!
To dry my hair, I still use and love Diva Professional hair dryer and diffuser. Not to be confused with the DevaCurl diffuser – review on that coming soon. I’ve used a lot of diffusers over the years and the Diva one is still my favourite. It cuts down my diffusing time because the bowl is so huge! Thanks to the little grips, I can lift the roots of the hair while I’m diffusing, which helps with root volume. Read this post for more info.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful! Please make sure you subscribe and follow me on Instagram. Make sure you enter my amazing giveaway worth over £150! There will be three winners announced on New Year’s Eve. Good luck! Gabriella xoxo
Knowing your hair porosity can really help in choosing the type of products that are most likely to work for hair. Check out this post to learn more about hair porosity, 4 ways to test for it and characteristics for each.
Or this post is really helpful on how to build a curly girl routine.
*This post contains some affiliate links, which means I get paid (a very small) commission on products you purchase through my links. This in no way affects you, the price you pay or the way in which I write about products featured on this site. My content is not influenced by advertisers, affiliate partnerships, brands or PRs.
What is an affiliate link?
First of all, I want to be completely transparent because there can be some confusion between sponsored content/posts and affiliate links. This post, and many others on this site, contain affiliate links. This means I get paid (a very small) commission on products you purchase through my links. This in no way affects you, the price you pay or the way in which I write about products featured on Curly Cailín. My content and opinion is not influenced by these affiliate partnerships. I have purchased, used and loved all the products mentioned in this post. And if you’re a member of some of the curly girl Facebook groups, you’ll know I regularly recommend them.