15 Curly Girl Must-Haves to Take Your Hair From "Okay" to "Yay"

From Olaplex to OUAI, these essentials are less than $35 and will transform your coils, curls, and waves.

By Megan Gray Nov 01, 2023 10:00 AMTags
Curly Girl Must HavesE! News Illustration/Photos Courtesy of Amazon

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Growing up as a curly-haired child, I dreamed of having straight locks one day. Straight hair looked effortless and chic, while my frizzy ball of curls gave off Weird Al vibes. No one in my family had curly hair, so I had nowhere to turn (this was before TikTok). So, I went through the 90s brushing out my coils, wearing a lot of headbands, and wondering if I could ever obtain "The Rachel." Now as a curly-haired adult, who is also very cool and popular, I've realized that my hair wasn't the problem, it was the way I was taking care of it.

It took countless hours of tutorials for me to grasp that the road to amazing curls starts with understanding your curls. You see, the curlier your hair is, the harder it is for the oils in your scalp to reach the ends of your strands, which means you'll need products with lots of moisture and conditioning. So, I've rounded up hydrating products that can nourish all types of waves, curls, and coils, along with accessories that will prevent strand breakage and enhance the shape of your locks.

From satin pillowcases to luxe hair masks, these are the must-have products for curly hair that will make every day a good hair day. So keep on scrolling for the essentials that will make your curls say, "about time." Oh, and they're all less than $35.

YoulerTex Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap, 2 Pack

Reduce frizz and friction by drying your curls with these super absorbent microfiber towels. They're super soft, and easy to wear and secure with the built-in button and loop. The two-pack comes in 16 colors and has 42,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews, leaving one shopper to rave, "I have extremely thick curly hair! This is the best hair wrap I've ever used. My curls come out bouncing and perfect." 


Bedsure Satin Pillowcase

If you don't sleep on a satin pillowcase, now is the time to start. Unlike some other materials, silk and satin don't pull on your hair and since they absorb less moisture, they can also prevent dry or itchy skin. This two-pack has 215,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews, with one fan reporting, "Pillowcases like these make my beautiful curls last multiple days, frizz free."

Bed Head Curls-in-Check Hair Diffuser

When it comes to curls, a diffuser is essential. By controlling the hot air coming from the dryer, it can keep your curls more defined and intact. This lightweight diffuser features three heat and two speed settings and ionic technology to help reduce frizz and keep hair smooth. For the best curl look, push up from tip to root till the prongs touch your scalp and massage into your hair using upward, circular motions. Your strands will stay dry, curled, and, as one reviewer reported, "POPPING."

OUAI Leave In Conditioner

Protect and nourish your curls with this versatile heat protectant and leave-in conditioner. Not only does it safeguard your hair while you apply heat (up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit), it also smooths split ends, frizz, and tangles, with just a few sprays. It sounds like magic, but it's actually a strong amino acid blend mixed with tamarind seed extract and vitamin E that adds lightweight strength and hydration. Amazon reviewers have given it 8,000+ 5-star reviews, and one enthusiastic user glows, "I have curly hair. This leave-in conditioner helps me comb through my wet hair easily, keeps the frizz away, makes my hair feel luxuriously soft, and it smells heavenly!"

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PATTERN Beauty by Tracee Ellis Ross Hair Tools Kit

Detangle, style, and fluff your curls, coils, and tightly textured hair with this tool kit. It's brought to you by curly-haired icon Tracee Ellis Ross, so you know it's on point. The kit includes a pick with extra long prongs for shaping, volumizing, and elongating curls, a wide tooth comb that can be used on wet or dry hair, and a shower brush for clumping curls and creating definition. Reviewers rave that these tools are super durable and have been a game changer for their hair routine.

Hula Home Continuous Spray Bottle

Frizz can start on your curls as soon as they dry. So keeping your locks damp or wet can help when applying your products. This is where this spray bottle enters the chat. Not only do you get a continuous fine mist over your locks, but the spray even works upside down. Plus, it can also keep your curls styled and refreshed in between wash days. The bottle is leakproof, easy to refill, and has 30,000+ 5-star reviews on Amazon.


Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties

If you find that your curls pull and break when you tie them back with traditional elastic bands, then these plastic spiral ties can help. They're designed to alleviate some of the tension in ponytails and buns, so you don't get that dreaded ponytail headache. Plus, they're waterproof and easily stretch for any amount of hair. The coils come in a few colors and have 43,000+ 5-star reviews on Amazon. One user with thick curly hair reported, "The best part is that when I'm done and take my hair down, it looks like it didn't before putting it up."

Love Beauty and Planet Sulfate-Free Shampoo Vegan Biotin & Sun-Kissed Mandarin

Using a sulfate-free shampoo like this one can help break down oils and buildup on your scalp, without stripping your curls. Packed with vegan biotin and a citrusy scent, the shampoo will also hydrate and strengthen your hair, leaving it soft and shiny. It's safe for all hair types and has no parabens, dyes, silicones, or phthalates, and it's cruelty-free. Plus, the pump design makes it super easy to use in the shower.

Rizos Curls Deep Conditioner

The curlier your hair is, the more moisture it needs, and this conditioner delivers that and more. Formulated with olive, sunflower, coconut, and argan oils, plus shea butter, it's a nourishing mix that will keep your curls healthy and frizz-free. There are no sulfates, silicones, parabens, or drying alcohol, and the conditioner is cruelty-free. Just apply to wet hair, let it sink in, comb through, and rinse. The formula is so thick and moisturizing that it can even be used as a hair mask if you leave it in your curls for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Mizani True Textures Curl Defining Cream

Gel for curly hair? Yes. But won't it leave my curls hard and crunchy? Nope. This coil oil gel is infused with coconut, olive, and marula oil for softness, shine, and frizz control. And despite all the nourishing oils, one reviewer reported that it doesn't leave hair oily, nor does it leave a residue or film. For curl definition, just scrunch a quarter-sized dollop of gel into the ends of soaking wet hair and rake it up the hair shaft. 


Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask

When your curls need some deep moisture and repair, a nourishing mask can be just what the hair doctor ordered. This mask can add body and shine to all hair types, and even transform dry, brittle strands into softer versions of themselves. Just apply to clean, damp hair – one pump for fine or short hair, two pumps for medium or shoulder length hair, and three pumps for thick or long hair. Leave for 10 minutes and rinse. The mask has 8,000+ 5-star reviews on Amazon, leaving one fan to report, "My curls are soft and shiny again!"


Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk

Fight frizz and keep your curls, coils, and waves hydrated with this leave-in spray. It's a vegan mist that's infused with a rich formula of coconut milk, guava extracts, and mango butter, but no sulfates, silicones, parabens, mineral oil, or synthetic dyes. The spray is safe for daily use, and won't weigh your curls down or cause scalp buildup. Just spritz onto damp hair or even on dry hair when you need some moisture and shine. One reviewer raved, "I have never had such beautiful curls."

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Soft, healthy, defined curls are in your future when you use this rich cream. It's infused with silk protein, neem and coconut oils, and shea butter to give your hair moisture, shine, and reduce frizz, without weighing it down. And it smells like delicious coconut. Just apply it to damp or dry hair and style away. The brand recommends using it for twist-outs, braids, and wash-and-go styles. Best of all, there are no silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petrolatum in the formula. But, there are 11,000+ 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Edoneery Satin Hair Bonnet

If you like the idea of a satin pillowcase, but want to take it to the next level, this silky bonnet is the perfect solution. Wear it around the house or when you're sleeping and the layers of silk can prevent friction, frizz, and tangles. It comes in a ton of vibrant colors and has 16,000+ 5-star Amazon reviews. The bonnet's even reversible and hundreds of fans have reported that it's comfortable to boot.

BRITISH M Stylish Curl Cream

This Korean beauty curl cream is designed to refine your curls with a lightweight touch. And, according to the brand, it won't leave a residue on your scalp and will provide all-day curl definition.

If you're on the hunt for more great hair products, you simply must check out these 12 frizzy hair solutions.