The curl struggle is real. I've come to accept that my hair will do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. The best I can do is keep it happy so that at least on most days, we agree with each other. Well, we've been agreeing almost daily for the past two months, and I think I've finally found a styling product cocktail that the mane, myself, and my wallet are all happy about. I nearly cried at the end of the first week when this was still working.
I have a mix of mostly 3b and some 3c curls. My hair is thin, but there's a lot of it, so it can look a lot thicker than it is. It gets weighed down easily by thicker, heavier products, and it dries out very quickly. All curly hair is different. These products might not work as well for you as they do for me, but they're all so cheap that they're worth a shot. Check 'em out!
1. Mane 'n Tail Conditioner
Yes, this is for horses. It is also for people, though. I use it as a leave-in on damp hair. Usually three or four dollops, with the diameter of a quarter do the trick. It makes my hair feel thicker and more textured, so it basically does what it says it does on the bottle. It also smells straight gorgey, and this big ass 32 oz bottle was only $6!
2. Beautiful Curls Activating Leave-In Conditioner
This is another leave-in. Honestly, it doesn't work as consistently as the Mane 'n Tail does, but it does work well enough for me to mention it. It similarly leaves my hair feeling thicker and texturized, which is important for my thin strands. I've worn this alone after applying it to damp hair, and have had some wonderful hair days. Smells like candy! I bought this 12 oz bottle for $9.99 at Whole Foods.
3. Cantu Coconut Oil Shine & Hold Mist
Okay, I'll start by saying, this stuff has a very strong scent, like pissed off Bruce Banner strong. But if you love the smell of pineapples and coconuts, have at it. I know the bottle says it's meant for shine and hold and moisture, but I use it as a curl enhancer after my leave-in. It gives me the body I love, and makes my curls curl which can be an issue for me when the humidity isn't juuuuuust right. The hold is alright, but not enough for me on its own. This 8 oz. bottle goes for about $5 at Wally World or Target.
4. Garnier Fructis Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel
I have never been so skeptical of a product as I was of this one. Since when is 2/5 a "strong hold" huh?! Apparently since this. This is the last ingredient in my styling cocktail. The hold is impressive. The spray application keeps me from using way too much. I just spray on a thin layer all over. It can give that crunchy feeling, but a scrunch or two after it dries gets rid of that quickly. And it's totally flake free! The best part about this product is that it's mainstream, and it's under $5. I can find it anywhere.
Welp. There you have it! I don't think I'm done experimenting, or ever will be, with hair products, but it's nice to have a lineup that I know will keep the mane and I happy. I hope you try some of these out! Let me know how it goes.