11 Best Curl Creams for Wavy Hair (Products of 2023)

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Healthy, wavy hair needs the right hair care products, and using a curl cream for wavy hair is one way to achieve the beautiful waves of your dreams.

Curl creams are versatile styling creams that you can apply to wet or dry hair to moisturize, enhance, and define your waves. They will give your mane natural movement and volume, and care for your hair in many other ways, helping to fight frizz and make detangling easy.

Of course, everyone’s hair is unique, and picking the right curl cream to suit your curl type, density, and porosity is vital. So, in this guide, we’ve rounded up 11 of the best curl creams for wavy hair, including products specifically formulated to care for fine hair and thick hair. 

We’ll also share tips on what to look for in a curl cream and how to apply curl cream.

curl creams for wavy hair on top of counter

11 of the Best Curl Cream for Wavy Hair Products

Ready to go shopping? Here are 11 of the best curl creams for wavy hair:

Briogeo Curl Charisma

Rice amino acids, tomato fruit ferment, and avocado oil help Briogeo Curl Charisma to define curls, fight frizz, and leave your hair soft and bouncy. It’s suitable for all wavy, curly, and coily hair types, safe to use on relaxed, chemically-treated and colored hair, and it smells divine. Is there anything this cult curl cream can’t do?

Top Pick
Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino and Avocado Leave-In Defining Creme
$24.00 ($4.00 / Ounce)

I don't often use leave in but this is definitely my favorite. It has some protein, is lightweight, and creates a little definition.

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03/05/2024 07:47 pm GMT

MopTop Curly Hair Cream

This MopTop styling cream is one of the best protein-free curl creams overall, with a lightweight formula ideal for all wavy hair types. It contains a mix of humectants and emollients, adding flexible hold and definition to your curls without crunchiness. Apply to wet hair and leave to air dry or diffuse for beautifully defined waves.

MopTop Curl Cream
$16.99 ($6.80 / Fl Oz)

A nice cream that defines and provides light moisture.

Use code HE10 to save at MopTop.com.

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06/13/2024 03:17 pm GMT

Amika Curl Corps Defining Cream

Lightly conditioning Amika Curl Corps Defining cream is the ideal curl cream for type 2 hair. It contains tapioca starch to give your waves beautiful curl definition and an oat peptide that forms a protective barrier on your strands, giving your locks a beautiful shine. If your waves tend to look great in the morning and get flatter throughout the day, this is perfect for you.

amika curl corps defining cream
$30.00 ($4.41 / Fl Oz)


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03/07/2024 07:12 pm GMT

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream

This curl cream from Ouidad is the perfect product for humid climates. Its combination of humectants and meadowfoam seed, olive oil, and soybean oil helps keep your waves moisturized and defined without weighting them down. Your natural curls will look fabulous and last for days!

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream
$20.80 ($3.65 / Fl Oz)


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03/08/2024 06:42 pm GMT

Curlsmith Feather-Light Protein Cream

Another cult classic, Curlsmith’s Feather-Light Protein Cream is the best curl cream for frizzy hair. The conditioning formula contains sweet almond oil, rice protein, shea butter and flexible hold stylers to smooth and define your waves, creating bounce that lasts throughout the day. It’s ideal for wavy hair but also versatile enough for coily and curly hair types. 

CURLSMITH Feather-Light Protein Cream
$27.25 ($3.41 / Fl Oz)
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03/08/2024 05:37 pm GMT

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Defining Hair Cream

Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Defining Hair Cream contains a special blend of shea butter, rice extract, and keratin amino acids. It defines curls while hydrating, conditioning, and protecting your locks. This is an affordable curl enhancing cream that you can easily pick up from your local drugstore, and the lightweight formulation will boost the shine and curl definition of your type 2 waves.

Not Your Mother's Curl Talk Defining Cream
$12.95 ($2.16 / Ounce)


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03/05/2024 07:32 pm GMT

Cake The Curl Friend Defining Curl Cream

Styling products can leave fine hair looking limp, but this Cake Defining Curl Cream is the best curl cream for fine hair. It contains a blend of avocado oil, soybean oil, and shea butter to define your waves without weighing your hair down, and it’s even effective in humid weather. 

Cake Beauty Curl Friend Defining Curl Cream
$7.99 ($1.33 / Fl Oz)


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03/07/2024 07:17 pm GMT

TreLuxe Curl Supreme Styling Creme

This rich curl-enhancing cream from TreLuxe is the best curl cream for thick, wavy hair. This curl cream will define your waves while minimizing frizz and hydrating your strands, and a little goes a long way. Its rich but non-sticky formulation contains nourishing ingredients like keratin amino acids, aloe vera, coconut oil, and shea butter, and it smells fantastic. 

TRELUXE Curl Supreme Styling Creme
$22

Use code holisticenchilada15 to save from TreLuxe's website.

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Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer

Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer is the ideal curl cream for wavy hair with only a little wave, like Type 2a hair. In fact, you can even use this lightweight curl cream for straight hair to help you create well defined curls with rollers or curling irons. This curl cream is vegan, sulfate-free, and made with 95% natural ingredients like wheat protein and organic aloe that will leave your waves soft, bouncy, and beautifully defined. 

Aveda Be Curly Enhancer
$24.60 ($3.67 / Ounce)


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03/07/2024 07:32 pm GMT

JVN Hair Complete Air Dry Cream

JVN Complete Air Dry Cream is the creation of haircare expert Jonathan Van Ness and is suitable for all curl types, including wavy hair. It contains a blend of nourishing ingredients including moringa seed oil, chia seed, and linseed extract that defines curls and delivers shine, hydration, and frizz control. It’s also free from silicones and sulfates, so it’s extra-gentle on dry curls or damaged hair.

JVN Air Dry Cream
$37.86


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03/07/2024 07:37 pm GMT

Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream

Although this product is sold as a leave-in conditioner, it’s the best lightweight curl cream for wavy hair. The nourishing formulation contains hyaluronic acid, castor oil, and babassu seed oil to give you soft, silky, beautiful waves. This curl cream is also vegan, cruelty-free, and free from sulfates and parabens. 

Curlsmith Weightless Air Dry Cream -
$19.82 ($2.48 / Fl Oz)


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03/07/2024 07:52 pm GMT

What Is Curl Cream?

A curl cream is a styling product that helps you define your natural waves or curls. They usually contain nourishing ingredients like humectants, oils, or butters, plus a flexible hold agent to help your style last longer. 

Applying curl cream will coat each strand with a protective layer that hydrates, softens, and smooths your strands while encouraging your hair’s natural curl formation. All of this will help you get the very best from your natural hair.

Does Curl Cream Really Work on Wavy Hair?

Yes, using curl cream on wavy hair really does work. It won’t dramatically transform your waves into coils or tight curls, but it will add volume and bounce to your mane and define your waves. Curling cream also adds a little extra hold to your hair, which makes styling your waves easier.

Is Curling Cream Good for Your Wavy Hair?

Curl enhancing creams often contain moisturizing ingredients like oils and butters that will help moisturize dry hair, leaving it soft and glossy. Some curl cream also protects hair against humid conditions and fights frizz.

Does Curl Cream Make Your Hair Curlier?

Curl cream won’t actually give you more curly hair, but it will help to enhance and define your curls, which gives the effect of curlier hair.

Miribel Naturals routine - Powerhouse Protein Cream curly hair leave in conditioner

How To Use Curling Cream on Wavy Hair

Always apply curling cream to clean and wet hair after conditioning it. It’s better to use a small amount of cream at first, about the size of a penny, and add more if needed. 

Rub the cream between your palms to emulsify it, and then use your hands to distribute the product evenly, section by section, starting at the back of your head. Closing your fingers as you rake the product through your soaking wet hair will smooth the strands and reduce frizz.

Avoid the inch of hair closest to your scalp, as applying cream here can weigh your strands down and cause product buildup on your scalp. 

Once you’ve covered every section of your hair, use a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer or allow your locks to air dry. When your hair is completely dry, shake your waves gently at the roots to loosen them. 

What are the Benefits of Using a Curl Cream?

Getting the best out of wavy hair can be tricky, but a curl cream can enhance your natural hair and define your beautiful waves. It also increases the slip between your strands, helping to make detangling curly hair easier.

A curl cream will also add shine, moisturize your strands, and refresh your waves between wash days.

What To Look For in a Curl Cream

You’ll find a massive range of curl defining creams available online and in-store. So, when choosing a curl cream, it’s essential to know what to look for. Here are some of the factors you need to consider.

Ingredients

Curl cream needs to offer hydration because creating beautiful waves or curls isn’t easy if your strands are dry and brittle.

Look for ingredients like fatty alcohols, shea butter and aloe vera, and oils like argan, avocado, and coconut oil that will nourish and moisturize curly hair.

Consistency

Depending on your hair texture and porosity, you might need to choose a rich or light curl cream. Consider whether your hair absorbs and retains moisture well to help you choose the best curl cream for your locks. 

Not sure if you have low porosity hair or high porosity hair? Our Guide to Hair Porosity will help you decide.

Slip

A product with more slip will be easier to distribute through soaking wet hair, and will make detangling and styling your hair simpler. 

my hair after using Neutrogena TGel shampoo
2b 2c 3a curls styled with cream only

How Curl Creams Differ From Other Styling Products

Curl defining creams are just one type of styling product, so how do they compare to the other products on your bathroom shelf?

Curl creams are primarily a defining pproduct. They add moisture to create definition and enhance curls. They sometimes also add a little hold.

I usually don’t recommend you style with just a curl cream because of the lack of hold. It’s better to layer a product over the cream so your styles lasts longer than a few hours.

Curl Cream and Hair Gel 

Hair gels are designed to provide long-lasting hold and tend to have a thicker consistency than curl enhancing creams. 

Curl defining creams don’t leave a cast on the hair like gel does; they also offer better conditioning benefits than gel.

Gels can be drying, so using a curl cream together with a hard-hold gel can stop your hair from feeling dry and brittle. 

Curl Cream and Hair Jelly 

Hair jelly is a lighter type of hair gel that gives a more flexible hold. They usually have a watery consistency and provide a longer-lasting hold than curl creams.

Using a curl cream and a hair jelly together gives an excellent combination of hydration and hold without weighing your hair down like a hard-hold gel can.

Curl Cream and Hair Spray

Applying hair spray to dry hair is ideal for finishing your style, controlling flyaways, and keeping frizz at bay. It will add extra hold on top of the light hold your curl cream provides.

woman with 2a hair

FAQs

Still looking for more info? Here are the answers to some of the questions we get asked most often:

Is It Okay To Mix Different Curl Creams?

Different curl defining creams don’t usually mix well together, but you can use a curl cream with leave-in conditioners and oils in the LOC method or the LCO method.

Can Curl Cream Damage Wavy Hair?

A good curl cream shouldn’t damage your hair, but it’s always important to check the ingredients in your hair care products, especially if you plan to use them regularly. You may prefer to avoid ingredients like parabens, sulfates, and alcohol, which can dry your hair out. 

If you have fine or thin hair, you might also prefer to avoid ingredients like silicones and mineral oils, which can weigh your hair down and make it look limp. 

Is It Okay To Put Curl Cream on Wet Hair?

Yes, applying your cream to wet hair will make it easier to spread it evenly throughout your hair. You can also apply it to damp hair or even dry hair in between washes, although this is easier if you mix the cream with a little water first.

What Happens if You Put Curl Cream in Straight Hair?

Curl enhancing creams won’t make straight hair wavy or curly. However, they can help add volume and texture to straight tresses and moisturize your hair.

Can I Use Curl Cream Every Day on My Wavy Hair?

Using curl cream daily probably won’t harm your hair, but you should watch carefully to see how your hair responds. 

If using it daily doesn’t cause any problems, then feel free to carry on. If your hair looks weighed down or you’re seeing product buildup, you might need to use the cream less frequently. You could also use a clarifying shampoo for curly hair once or twice a month to thoroughly cleanse your locks.

You could also try mixing curl cream with a little water and applying it to dry hair to refresh your waves between wash days.

How Can I Maintain the Health of My Wavy Hair While Using Curl Cream?

You can care for the health of your hair by using high-quality hair care products, avoiding heated styling tools as much as possible, and, of course, eating a healthy diet! 

You’ll find lots of advice on caring for individual curl types in our Type 2a Hair guide, Type 2b Hair guide, and Type 2c Hair guide.

Will a Curl-Defining Cream Help Me Enhance My Natural Wave Pattern Without Making It Look Too Curly?

Yes, using a curl-defining cream will enhance and define your natural waves, but it won’t make your natural hair too curly. How you style your hair after applying curl cream will also affect how curly your hair looks. 

Should I Use Mousse or Curl Cream for Wavy Hair?

The answer to this questions depends on the look that you want to achieve. 

A curling cream will enhance your waves, prevent frizz, and give you shiny, touchable hair without crunch. A curling mousse will provide better lift and volume, especially at the roots, and enhance your waves, but it can leave your hair a little crunchy. 

Combining the two products can give you the best of both worlds, but you will need to experiment to get the best results. 

How Can I Make My Wavy Hair More Curly?

Although you can’t change your hair’s natural texture to make it curlier, switching to the Curly Girl Method can help enhance your hair’s natural curl. You could also try the plopping method for drying your hair or fit a diffuser to your blow dryer to make your wavy hair curlier.

What Is the Curly Girl Method for Wavy Hair?

The Curly Girl Method is a way of caring for wavy or curly hair. This healthy care regimen involves adding moisture to your strands and avoiding products and techniques that can harm your curly hair. Over time, this will help improve the condition of your hair and enhance your natural waves.

You can learn more in our guide to the Curly Girl Method.

The Bottom Line

In this guide, we’ve explored what a curl cream is and how to apply it to wavy hair. We’ve also shared some tips on using curl creams with other products, what to look for in a curl cream, and our pick of the best curl creams for wavy hair. 

Now you have all the information you need to create beautifully defined, voluminous waves!

11 best curl creams for wavy hair text overlay on woman with wavy hair smiling

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