Those of us with naturally voluminous, bouncy curls often think of our hair texture as more of a curse than a blessing. We’re taught time and time again that frizz is something to banish, and we’ve spent mountains of time and dough futzing with gels, serums and flatirons. But not anymore.
Luckily, following the effortless bedhead craze, frizz is in. Curls are bigger and wilder than ever, with celebrities from Solange Knowles to Vanessa Hudgens embracing their natural textures.
Summer is the perfect time to follow suit by giving your precious strands a break, so we’ve gathered the best of the best in products and treatments to help you enhance your frizz, not hide it.
1 Abba Curl Prep Spray ($17)
One of the most important steps in hair styling is also the most forgotten: the prep. But after seeing this spray’s results, you’ll never skip it again. Created for those with curly or permed hair, it uses lemongrass, orange peel oil and quinoa to define curls while adding luster and shine. Simply mist evenly onto damp hair. You can even take it a step further by scrunching or defusing with a blow-dryer to make your curls extreme.
2 Bumble And Bumble BB. Curl Pre-Style/re-Style Primer ($28)
Searching for a product with multiple uses? This versatile spray-on primer can be used on freshly washed hair to detangle and define, or on day two to rehydrate and refresh. Its UV inhibitors protect your hair from the sun, giving you stay-all-day style that doesn’t feel dry or crunchy. To use, spray onto damp or dry hair before styling.
3 Ouidad Wave Create Sea Spray ($26)
If you thought sea spray was only meant to give straight hair a beachy texture, think again. This wave spray was created specifically with curly hair in mind. It uses seawater and sea-salt crystals to give curls a beachy look without leaving hair crunchy or stiff. Improve curls and waves by spraying evenly and liberally throughout damp hair. Then scrunch in an upward motion to enhance body and pattern. Finally, air-dry or blow-dry with a diffuser attachment.
4 KMS California Curl Up Bounce Back Spray ($17)
For firm hold and incredible retention, use this curl-activating spray. Maize starch and orange mint help to amplify curls and keep them intact all day, despite humidity. Spray onto towel-dried, air-dried or diffused hair, and scrunch. Continue using throughout the day to reactivate and maintain hair as needed.
5 Devacurl Devatowel ($12)
This towel is designed precisely for curly and wavy hair. While the typical texture of a bathroom towel can be damaging to your strands, the DevaTowel provides a smooth and absorbent surface that works perfectly alongside DevaCurl’s other products (we love the line’s bestselling No-Poo!). After washing, tilt your head forward and scrunch lightly to remove excess water. Continue scrunching with the towel in an upward motion toward the scalp. Gently bring your head back upright, letting your curls fall naturally, and style as desired.
6 Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Gel-To-Oil Overnight Repair Treatment ($28)
Overnight treatments have the power to revitalize and strengthen your curls, and this one does exactly that. The nutrient-rich gel melts into an oil, releasing biotin, argan oil, rosehip oil, algae extract and coconut alkanes. Dispense one to two nickel-sized amounts into the scalp and throughout the hair, catch some Zs and remove by shampooing the next morning. Use once a week for best results.
7 Nexxus Exxpand Volumizing Whip ($12)
Ideal for those who want to make their curls bigger and bolder, this mousse provides lasting volume for up to a week. Lightweight and aerated, it uses silicon to give even the finest of locks some much-needed fullness. The whip glides on, adding grip and control that lasts. To use, wash and towel-dry before working small amounts through the hair. For optimal outcome, heat-style with a round brush, lifting the roots as you go.
8 Ag Hair Care Curl Trigger ($29)
Have curly, fine hair? This sea vegetable extract-infused spray makes your hair texture softer and more defined. It’s also alcohol- and paraben-free, so it won’t cause your locks to dry out. While hair is damp, pull the trigger and scrunch for loose curls. For more definition, diffuse dry. Continue to use one next-day hair as a refresher.
9 Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil ($69)
This multi-purpose hair oil yields intensely moisturized, nourished curls. Camellia oil absorbs into the hair cuticle, rather than sitting on top of it, so you don’t need to worry about greasy results. It also rebalances the hair’s moisture levels and provides all day protection from the sun, all the while feeling lightweight. Bonus: It smells amazing.
To use for styling, apply one pump and work through the hair from mid-lengths to ends. For a pre-shampoo treatment, comb three to four pumps into dry hair before shampooing. For a conditioning treatment, apply one pump to four sections of hair from mid-lengths to ends, and message into your scalp.
10 Sally Hershberger 24k Vanity Hair Shaping Balm ($32)
Senior editor Hallie has already praised this balm: “It has the shaping and shine benefits of a traditional wax but the flexibility of a pomade.” She also says that the formula “smoothes frizz and split ends (#hallelujah) but doesn’t weigh down my curls or decrease the volume.”
Created with soy protein and natural plant extracts, it’s ideal for defining and styling. Simply rub a small amount into your palms and work through dry hair to shape.
11 Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Envy ($7)
This curl-defining spray is perfect for coarser hair. Soya bean and avocado oil make for a lightweight, nonstick formula that defines, softens, and adds shine. Apply the cream from roots to ends, scrunching as you go. Avoid combing through, and instead use your fingers to enhance your hair’s natural movement.
12 Dove Quench Intense Restore Mask ($7)
Face the challenge of dry, unruly curls head-on with this rich (affordable) mask. Part of a four-part cleansing system, it envelopes each curl to deliver nourishment and a shiny finish. Use twice a week by applying generously to wet hair, from mid-lengths to ends, and leaving in for two to five minutes before rinsing out.