Choosing the Best Ingredients for Your Curly Hair
From the experts: The best (and worst) ingredients for curly hair (+ the best products for curly hair too!)
From tight spirals to loose waves, natural curls are trending. The first thing curl experts will tell you is that every curl is different, but there are certain botanicals and natural ingredients that every curl loves. Read below to learn how to cure your curly hair of dryness and frizz with these all-star ingredients, and find out which hair serums, curl enhancers, and deep conditioners are the right curly hair products for you.
A rich natural emollient, using shea butter for hair seals moisture in. A high-level of vitamin E makes shea butter anti-inflammatory as well, which helps with itchy scalp and overall dryness. In the WAVE curl cream, shea butter is formulated to be water-soluble. That makes the curl cream an ultra-rich, anti-frizz curl enhancer that doesn’t weigh hair down.
Find shea butter for hair in these SEVEN haircare products:
Cubica® WAVE curl cream
Organic Argan Oil for Curly Hair
The spiraled structure of curly hair means light refracts less than it does in straight hair. That means less shine. Lightweight and penetrating, argan oil for hair seals in moisture, reduces flyaways, and calms down frizz. All that adds up to glossy curly hair. Because it is easily absorbed and non-greasy, argan oil is an ideal ingredient for nurturing styling sprays, bouncy curl creams, repairing leave-in conditioners, and hair serums for glossy curls.
Find organic argan oil for hair in these SEVEN haircare products:
- Satara® VOLUME shampoo and VOLUME conditioner
- Rinzu® COLOR conditioner
- Rinzu® HELIO violet conditioner
- Gazar® LEAVE-IN conditioner spray
- Cubica® WAVE curl cream
Moisture can be a challenge for curly hair. It is a little like Goldilocks–you don’t want too little or too much, you want it to be just right. A humectant, glycerin binds with moisture in the air, drawing it into your hair and retaining it. The result is amazingly less frizzy, healthier, shinier, defined curls. Glycerin based products should be a go-to for defining curls on normal to humid days, but note that on super dry days the atmosphere can suck its water back. So you want to understand your climate & your curls before styling with a glycerin-based product.
Find glycerin in these SEVEN haircare products:
- Cubica® NUVO gel
Jojoba oil for Curly Hair
Jojoba oil for hair is excellent for nourishing a dry scalp, balancing scalp oil production, and sealing moisture into the hair shaft. Its composition gives it the ability to easily penetrate the hair fiber, moisturizing, conditioning, and supporting healthy hair from its core. Additionally, jojoba oil is well known for being similar to sebum, the natural oil produced by your scalp. Sebum has a hard time traveling on the rollercoaster journey curly hair takes it from roots to ends. Luckily, jojoba oil for hair can easily step in to nourish and hydrate in its place.
Find jojoba in these SEVEN haircare products:
An anti-inflammatory nut oil that moisturizes and smoothes the hair follicle and improves the condition of the scalp, coconut oil can lead to healthier hair growth, and is one of the best oils for curly hair. For curls, coconut oil has the additional value of providing moisture balance. When curly hair is porous, it can take on too much water. Coconut oil penetrates the hair fiber and attaches to protein structures, preventing the hair from swelling with too much water. This makes DIAMOND serum, rich with coconut oil, useful throughout your curly hair regime. Mix it in with your conditioner for a homemade hair mask, use it on damp hair before your curls set, or use a pump or two of serum on dry hair for super glossy shine.
Find coconut oil for curly hair in these SEVEN haircare products:
- Gazar® DIAMOND serum
Abyssinian seed oil is a super light oil derived from the yellow mustard plant. It shares many of the benefits of its more popular cousin, argan oil, like detangling and moisturizing without any greasiness. They are both easily absorbed and, though their content varies a bit, both high in omega-9 (and omega-6 in the case of argan) fatty acids which mimic the silky effect of silicones without causing buildup. That added slip means abyssinian oil makes a great hair detangler and method to decrease breakage.
Find abyssinian oil for curly hair in these SEVEN haircare products:
Rich in ricinoleic acid, castor oil for hair accelerates blood circulation to the scalp, protects hair follicles, nourishes, strengthens, and adds shine. Its antifungal qualities promote healthy scalp, while it acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the air to dry tresses. Castor oil for hair is ideal for curl gel, repairing leave-in sprays, and styling sprays that nurture and protect.
Find Castor oil for curly hair in these SEVEN haircare products:
- Kente® BOND shampoo
- Satara® SEAL spray
- Rinzu® HEAT DEFENSE spray
- Rinzu® PROTECT spray
- Gazar® BEACH spray
- Cubica® NUVO gel
Guidelines for ingredients to avoid if you have curly hair
Just like there are ingredients that you want to seek out, there are a few styling and shampoo ingredients you want to avoid for curly hair. SEVEN haircare chooses to formulate without sulfates or parabens. Our haircare products are cruelty free, pH balanced and safe for curly and color-treated hair as well.
Sulfates like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate are harsh sudsing agents that are simply too aggressive for most curls. To read up on sulfates and why SEVEN haircare chooses to be sulfate-free, click here.
For their impact on hormone function linking them to certain cancers, parabens are also a “no” for curly hair (or any hair for that matter).
Learn more about Alcohol.
It gets a little more complicated when we talk about alcohol in products for curly hair. One of the most commonly used alcohols in cosmetics is ethyl alcohol, also referred to as ethanol, SD Alcohol, or Alcohol Denat in its denatured form. Ethyl alcohols are fast drying, which makes them essential for aerosol delivery. That same quality can make ethyl alcohols drying, however, which means you want to use them sparingly with curly hair (a misting of WORKING spray to set your beachy waves is fine, especially because it has hydrating aloe vera to counteract any impact ethyl alcohol would have. Emptying a can of hairspray on your hair every day…well, that’s not a great idea for anyone). Many hair gels also contain ethyl alcohol. NUVO gel is alcohol-free, which is why it is so successful as a hydrating curl enhancer.
A second group of alcohols classified as “fatty alcohols” pretty much throws that “alcohol is drying” concept out the window. Fatty alcohols (cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl or behenyl alcohol, for instance) are typically derived from coconut or other vegetable sources. They are gentle, excellent conditioners for both skin and hair.
Balance your use of silicones.
Like alcohol, talking about silicones can get complex. Silicones are large molecules that stay on the outside of the hair shaft, providing slip and shine. This is excellent the first time you use a product, but if formulated poorly (or…inexpensively) products heavily laden with silicones can leave buildup. Reading up on silicones, you will see some articles that praise them, and others that tell you to avoid them at all costs. The real answer is somewhere in between. Silicones should be used judiciously, always in concert with very small molecules that can absorb easily into the hair shaft to nurture before bigger silicones step in to detangle, add slip and shine. And when appropriate, they should be swapped out for nature-based emollients like abyssinian oil and argan oil for hair.