Here is a roundup of all of my favorite curly girl approved products of 2020 so far. Once again I tried many new curly girl method approved products and brands, but you'll see a few repeats from last year because some products are just so good and I happened to find them early on.
For reference, my hair is 2c 3a, high porosity, thin, and low density. It is very easily weighed down and over moisturized so I tend to go for really lightweight products and am fairly minimal with my routine. I am not a product junkie and I can't use that many products on my hair anyway so it works out.
Remember that just because something works great for me doesn't mean it will for you even if your hair is nearly identical to mine. There are so many factors that affect how a product performs on hair like hair health, climate, and daily care.
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Good curly hair products for me mean they adequately cleanse, don't build up, provide volume and definition, don't have a strong or artificial scent, and last a long time.
Many of the products I linked to Amazon but they are often available in other stores like Target. Also, I have a discount code for some which I list in the description.
Keep reading to see which products made my list of favorite curly girl products of 2020!
As I Am Coconut Cowash – this is the only cowash that I have been able to use that actually cleans my hair. It is lightweight enough that is doesn't cause buildup, although I cannot go as long between washing when I use this compared to when I use a low poo. I like to use this in between low poo wash days if my hair feels dry and doesn't have buildup.
Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo – I love this shampoo because it is a pretty strong cleanser, which I know many in the curly world don't like, and for how it soothes my scalp. It has that nice minty feeling on the scalp and my scalp is always itchy so I reach for this one all the time. It doesn't dry out my hair but I know it can do that to others. Many people like to use the conditioner as a cowash but I have not tried that.
EVOLVh SmartCurl shampoo – This is the one I reach for the most. It has the perfect balance of moisture and cleansing. Some say it is stripping like the Giovanni TTT shampoo but again, that is not the case for me. My hair really likes stronger cleansers. This one also smells really nice and I don't need much. Use code HE15 for a discount.
EVOLVh InstaVolume Cleanser – Whenever I want volume, this is my go-to shampoo. It lathers, has a night light scent, and provides a little moisture. Use code HE15 for a discount.
The Innate Life Herbal Shampoo – For thinning hair, this is a great option. It has a good gentle lather, a strong lemon scent from the essential oils, and cleans well without stripping hair. It's formulated to help boost growth using several herbs. Use code INNATE15HOLISTIC to save.
Vida Bars Clarity shampoo bar – It's so crazy that a shampoo bar made it on this list but this is such a great product. The only curly girl approved shampoo bars out there, they come in 4 options. I chose clarity for my thin hair and it's perfect. It has great lather and scent, and works just like regular liquid shampoo.
Kinky Curly Come Clean – This is the only clarifying shampoo that doesn't strip my hair. Remember that clarifying shampoos should contain the ingredient olefin sulhonate so many of the CG approved “clarifying” shampoos are not really clarifying. Check out my post all about clarifying if you're struggling with buildup or weighed down curls.
Malibu C Wellness Hard Water Shampoo – Since moving to an area with hard water, I needed a stronger chelating shampoo and this did the trick. It's stronger than KCCC so I don't have to use it as often but it removes all that mineral buildup that makes my hair dull, greasy, and limp.
Raw Curls original conditioner – Another OG that I still reach for. This conditioner is creamy but not heavy and provides moisture. It has a light scent and a little goes a long way. Usually, I use a nickel-sized amount, let it sit, add some water, then proceed to finger detangle.
Giovanni Root 66 Max Volume conditioner – I love volumizing formulas and this one doesn't disappoint. It has a lotion like consistency, light scent, and is a little more lightweight than the Raw Curls conditioner.
Vida Bars Clarity conditioner bar – The conditioner bar from this set is also pretty amazing! It works just like regular conditioner, and is actually very softening without being heavy. Really, I have no complaints about this product and love having a zero waste option!
TreLuxe Untie The Knot – This conditioner is also a leave-in and has such great slip! I use it mostly on my daughter's hair to soften and detangle every night. It's too moisturizing for me to use on a regular basis but it's great when my hair needs extra moisture. My one complaint is the strong cinnamon scent, but most people cite this as a benefit. Use code holisticenchilada15 to save.
EVOLVh InstaVolume leave in – My absolute favorite lightweight leave in when I want volume. I love that it is a spray and it really helps give me volume. I usually do a few sprays, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrunch and rake to distribute and detangle. I add more water to help with clumping. Use code HE15 for a discount.
Giovanni Direct Leave-in Weightless – This brand has so many great products but their leave-in is my favorite. It is really lightweight, lightly scented, and my curls clump so well with it. This and their gel seem to be well loved by the curly community.
The Innate Life Leave-in conditioner – This is a heavier leave in, one that I grab when I need more moisture. It's thinner than the TreLuxe Untie The Knot so it's better suited for my hair. I love the lemon scent and it really softens well. Use code INNATE15HOLISTIC to save.
Ecoslay Matcha Boost – My hair does not do well with deep conditioners so I need protein heavy options. This one is jam packed with protein so it doesn't ever leave my hair over moisturized. It has the scent of matcha tea but it's light and goes away quickly.
Shea Moisture Strengthen & Restore Masque – Another protein heavy deep conditioner. This one is easier to find and although the scent is a little stronger it doesn't bother me. Normally this brand does not work for me but this product has been a favorite since before I started the curly girl method.
Raw Curls medium hold gel – My absolute favorite gel that gives me a cast. For ultimate definition, this is what I go for. It always gives me a nice cast and scrunches out to soft, shiny curls that last. No buildup or heaviness either! It is pretty thick but since I apply my styling products to soaking wet hair that is not a problem for me. This is my preferred styler for humidity or when I air dry because of the cast. My hair needs a strong cast to air dry well.
Giovanni LA Hold gel – This gel is very similar to the Raw Curls gel but it can be a bit drying so I like to use it when my hair feels too moisturized. It is also thick, has a light scent, and is hard hold. I don't get as good of a cast as with Raw Curls so I usually diffuse when I use this gel.
DIY Flaxseed Gel – My flaxseed gel recipe has proven to be one of the best gels I've ever used. It gives a great cast, lots of shine, leaves me with soft curls, and provides great definition that lasts. It's also extremely cheap to make and lasts a long time!
MopTop Curly Hair Custard – This is one of the best styling products I have ever used. It defines my curls like nothing else and provides enough hold for my curls to last. The only drawback is the amount of glycerin in this product means I can't always use it.
EVOLVh Total Control Styling Creme – This is my favorite styling product when I want more volume. It's more of a lotion and little goes a long way thought it's hard to feel the product in your hair when you apply it. It always gives me really soft, bouncy curls but I don't use this if the humidity will be really high. It does better with diffusing since it doesn't give me a cast. Use code HE15 for a discount.
EVOLVh SuperCurl Defining Cream – At first, I was not a fan of this cream. But I later realized I was using it wrong. When used alone and in just the right amount, it works well for my hair. I get definition, moisture, hold, and some volume. It's more moisturizing than the Total Control Cream so in general, it's better for curls. Most people will need to use something over it. Use code HE15 for a discount.
Innersense Volumizing Foam – Whenever I reach for a foam, which is pretty rare, this is my favorite one. It gives me great definition and volume, but it doesn't have much hold. The ingredients are also great. I can get away with using this on its own but that's not the case for most people.
TreLuxe ReFlex Serum – This liquidy serum is amazing for my fine curly hair. It provides flexible hold, tons of shine, and really smooths out my curls. I can use it on its own to style but most people need to layer something else over it. Be warned, the scent is strong. I wish it didn't have such a strong scent but I use it away because it's just so good. Use code holisticenchilada15 to save.
EVOLVh WonderBalm – I use this to scrunch out the cast and fluff my hair. It reminds me of the Biosilk serum I used to use on my straight hair many years ago to prevent frizz. I emulsify a tiny pea-sized amount in my hands then smooth it all over for extra shine and softness. It also provides some definition when used on wet hair but can be stringy looking if you use too much. Use code HE15 for a discount.
Briogeo Scalp Revival dry shampoo – I use this on days 3-5 to soak up the oil in my roots and give me some volume. I love that the ingredients help with the health of my scalp.
Curly Hair Accessories
Tee-Owels Hair Towel – I have tried so many hair towels and this one is by far my favorite. I love how big it is so it makes tying it up very easy if I decide to plop, but usually I just micro plop. It doesn't remove too much moisture and I get so much less frizz with this towel compared to any other. Use code HOLISTICENCHILADA to save.
Briogeo Scalp Revival Treatment Serum – This water based serum is my savior for itchy scalp. I rub a few drops on my scalp on wash day and 2 days after to reduce the itching and flaking. The bottle lasts a long time and it's not oily so it doesn't build up or make my hair look greasy.
Bizzy B Crafts headbands – These are new to me but I love them for changing up my style and since I don't refresh they're great for post wash days. I love that they come in so many cute patterns and styles and don't give me a headache.
Hair buff – I cannot live without this. Seriously the best investment I have made since starting CG. It makes such a big difference in how my hair looks the next day. So much less frizz and tangling, and it works so well I never refresh. Just take it out of the buff, fluff, and go.
MYK silk pillowcase – This is my insurance in case my buff falls off. Hair glides on silk so it doesn't cause frizz and tangles as regular pillowcases do. I like the MYK brand because they offer an affordable pillowcase that is only silk on one side.
Reusable shower cap – Super important to make your washes last longer. Steam absolutely ruins my hair. It frizzes and falls flat within minutes. So I pineapple my hair and put it in a shower cap every shower in between washing my hair.
Invisibobble hair ties – These are great for when I put my hair up to shower or if I need it out of my face for a while. They don't really work well for updos for me since my hair is so thin though.
Tezam scalp massager – This is totally not a necessary product but I love it. It always helps my scalp feel better and it's a good practice for scalp health to do daily massages. You could just use your fingers though. I like that this one vibrates and I like the shape.
Xtava hair dryer – I got this hair dyer a few months ago since my cheap Revlon died. This one is so much stronger and my hair dries quicker. For the price, it's really good.
Xtava Black Orchid diffuser – I love this diffuser because of how big it is. My curls coil in nicely and dry with minimal frizz.
If you want help with embracing your naturally wavy or curly hair, you can join my FREE email course and download my FREE pdf guide, THE QUICK START GUIDE TO MASTERING YOUR CURLS, full of everything you need to know to get started and bring out your beautiful waves and curls.
You can also read my other popular posts on curly hair:
- A Basic Guide to the Curly Girl Method for Wavy & Curly Hair
- What Products You Really Need To Start The Curly Girl Method
- Curly Girl Method Routine for 2B 2C 3A Hair
- 50+ Curly Girl Method Approved Products
- Curly Girl Night Routine To Protect Your Curls At Night
- How To Refresh Curly Hair
- Tips For Fine & Low Density Curly Hair
- How To Clarify Curly Hair
- Rice Water Rinse Guide
- 14 Hacks For Curly and Wavy Hair
- How To Repair Damaged Curly Hair
- Curly Girl Method Before and After – 1 Year Progress Update
- Ultimate Guide to Hair Porosity for Curly Hair
- My Favorite Products for Fine Curly Hair
- 11 Surprising Reasons You Have Frizz + Tips to Beat Frizz
- Common Causes of Limp Curls & Their Fixes
- Guide to Humidity & Weather Styling
- EVOLVh Review
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Thank you for reading and let me know what product or products were your favorites this year in the comments!
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