BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Beauty & Personal Care

Best drugstore products for curly hair

Which drugstore products for curly hair are best? 

Chances are, if you have a head full of curls, you've struggled to find just the right styling product — especially one that takes into account your specific texture pattern. It can be frustrating trying out a variety of mousses, conditioners and creams to no avail, only to realize they don’t work all that well after a few uses. With so many curly hair products available, the search for the perfect one can quickly become expensive and overwhelming.

Luckily, you can find a variety of products like oils, hairsprays and heat protectants that are less costly at the drugstore, and they work just as well as their pricier counterparts. Whether you’ve got a wavy or kinky curl pattern, you want a quality product for your hair type that helps you tame your mane. If you’re trying to combat frizz or just need more curl definition, you’re guaranteed to find a drugstore product for your curly hair.

Different hair products to consider for curly hair


For curly hair, alcohol- and sulfate-free shampoos are the best since they don’t strip the hair of its natural oils and cause scalp dryness. Although sulfate-based shampoos are great for gently cleansing buildup, oil and dirt from your hair, they can cause damage to your strands such as split ends. Be on the lookout for formulas that feature less harsh ingredients, and instead use natural ingredients that aid in retaining moisture and reducing scalp irritation.


All conditioners are designed to smooth, restore moisture and reduce frizziness. However, for curly hair, leave-in conditioners are a better choice since they help smooth, detangle and prevent future damage to your hair. Leave-in formulas are usually lightweight and double as a styling product that makes your strands both silky and shiny.

Hair masks and deep conditioners are better suited for repairing dry and damaged hair and usually contain ingredients like waxes and emulsifiers that get down to your roots and help improve the health of your hair follicles. Most masks require you to apply them from root to tip and leave them in for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

Hair oils

Due to the corkscrew shape of curls, it takes longer for the scalp’s natural oils to reach the tip of each strand. In order to promote growth and shine, you should apply different oils like argan, avocado and coconut oil to your hair when you notice it getting tangled or dry. If you're not entirely sure which oil you should use on your unique hair type, do a bit of research beforehand to determine which oils have what benefits.

Detangling spray

Detangler formulas are hair products that help people with very curly, thick or long hair that gets easily tangled. A detangling spray works in a similar fashion to a leave-in conditioner and can be applied to either wet or dry hair before styling. It helps coat the shaft of each follicle so your hair will be easier to separate before combing it through.

Heat protectant

If you prefer to style your hair with hot tools, invest in a quality heat protectant spray to protect your locks from the damage of direct heat from curling irons, blow dryers and flat irons. Before applying direct heat to your hair, spray the protectant from the middle to the ends of your hair. Once styled, the product shouldn’t leave any heavy residue on your hair.


Curl-enhancing creams are pretty popular thanks to their hair-taming prowess and deeply moisturizing properties. You can use them on straight hair if you desire a bit more texture, or on curly hair to help better define your natural curls and combat frizziness. For the best results, make sure you divide your hair into smaller sections before twisting the product into your strands with a scrunching motion.

Edge control

If you have curly hair, you probably already know that taming your unruly edges can be quite the hassle. With edge control, also known as edge tamer, you can easily smooth and slick down any baby hairs along your hairline. A smaller amount can also be used to tame flyaways on other parts of your hair, similar to a traditional hair gel or hairspray.

Top drugstore products for curly hair

Best prewash

SHAZ & KIKS Back to Your Roots Scalp + Hair Prewash For Curly Hair

This multitasking prewash helps nourish and improve the strength of your hair’s entire ecosystem, including the follicles, scalp and individual strands. Creamy and plant-based, this prewash has antifungal properties and provides a nutritious dose of vitamins A, B12, C, E and K, iron and much more that help encourage healthy hair growth. 

Sold by Credo Beauty

Best curl activator

Ceremonia Pequi Curl Activator

Weightless and milky, this curl activator is the ultimate curl-defining formula for either curly or wavy hair thanks to the formula’s blend of Brazilian super fruit, pequi, castor oil and murumuru butter. The serum deeply conditions and hydrates curls so styling is easier and frizz is reduced. 

Sold by Credo Beauty

Best hair mask

CURLS Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask

Deeply penetrating, this reparative hair mask is clinically proven to help repair, protect, restore and grow your curls. Infused with natural ingredients such as blueberries, vitamin C & B complex and chamomile, CURLS Blueberry Bliss improves scalp oxygenation and circulation of blood flow so that your strands can grow stronger and longer. 

Sold by Ulta

Best shampoo

EVOLVh SmartCurl Hydrating Wash

Silky and rich, this ultra-hydrating shampoo gently cleanses your hair whether you have waves, curls or thick coils. Made with gentle, natural ingredients, the shampoo’s formula adds essential nutrients to the hair shaft without stripping away naturally beneficial oils. Curl formation will be increased as they become stronger, softer and more manageable after each use.

Sold by Credo Beauty

Best conditioner

EVOLVh SmartCurl Hydrating Conditioner

Considered to be the ultimate hydration-packed conditioner for a wide variety of curly hair types, this rich formula is crafted with premium natural and organic ingredients that are infused with rich amino and fatty acids. The powerful botanicals work in tandem to maximize curl definition and add shine and softness to each strand. 

Sold by Credo Beauty

Best leave-in conditioner

Curl Elongator

Whether you prefer to wash and go or add a dose of hydration to your curls each day, this curl-defining conditioner is lightweight enough to help define and detangle as it helps prevent shrinkage. Powered by the brand’s proprietary Healthy Curl Complex, this leave-in can create a softer and longer curl definition that’s shiny and frizz-free without any of the traditional trade-offs from other similar products.  

Sold by Living Proof

Best heat protectant

Innersense Organic Beauty Hair Love Prep Spray

This versatile hair priming spray is guaranteed to provide thermal care and protection to your tresses while also adding body as it keeps your curls in place. Formulated with baobab and angelica root extracts, your hair is additionally protected from UV and environmental heat exposure, while the formula’s vitamin B and rice protein helps expand the hair shaft, plumping each strand from root to tip. 

Sold by Credo Beauty

Best detangler

Innersense Organic Beauty Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner

Although perfect for use on all hair types, this leave-in detangler is super lightweight and helps boost hair moisture as it detangles your hair. The spray is infused with emollient oils, lavender, flower essences and a bit of honey to help maintain your curls’ body and manageability. The natural plant extracts help prep hair before styling and allow each strand to move more freely.

Sold by Credo Beauty

Best hair oil

Curl Moisturizing Shine Oil

Never worry about having a bad hair day again when you use Living Proof’s expertly designed silicone-free oil. Great for boosting shine, hydration and cuticle smoothness, you won’t struggle to tame any unwanted flyaways or frizziness. For additional curl softness and definition, use this five-oil blended formula as a pre-shampoo treatment for about five minutes on wash day before rinsing it out. 

Sold by Living Proof

Best mousse

CURLS Blueberry Bliss Repair & Grow Curl Sculpting Mousse

Repair and grow your curls after applying this mousse on wet or dry hair. It sculpts and holds each ringlet effortlessly in place thanks to its blueberry-infused and vitamin-rich formula. This go-to styler delivers perfect curls after each use and helps accelerate growth, all while slowing down premature greying and hair loss. 

Sold by Ulta

 Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Ashton Hughes writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

Share this post: