14 Best Drugstore Curl Creams Of 2024, Hairstylist Approved

Get the soft and bouncy curls of your dreams with these affordable styling formulas.

Reviewed by Jill Turnbull, Hairstylist Jill Turnbull Jill TurnbullHairstylist facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness Aditi Naskar MA (English Literature), Diploma In Health & Wellness Experience: 5 years
Fact-checked by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
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Using the best drugstore curl creams will make sure your bouncy curls stay intact and pretty throughout the day. Those who have curls can relate to the fact that they are way more challenging to maintain than it looks. For starters, curls are naturally dry and need to be moisturized constantly to maintain the curlsThe bends in curls make way for the moisture to escape out of your hair. One way to make sure your hair does not frizz away is to use styling creams specially made for curly hair. As all hair textures are different, you can easily flaunt your curls in their best form once you find the product crafted especially for your hair. Here are the 14 highest-rated curl creams to choose from.

Top PicksCheck Price
Best Overall:Cantu Coconut Curling CreamPrice on Amazon
Best De-Frizz For Curls:Maui Moisture Curl Quench+ Coconut Oil Curl SmoothiePrice on Amazon
Best Shining Solution:OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining CreamPrice on Amazon
Best Hydrating Formula:SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing SmoothiePrice on Amazon
Best Sulfate-Free Cream:L’Oréal Paris Ever Sculpt & Hold Cream-GelPrice on Amazon
Best For Detangling:Marc Anthony Strictly Curl Defining LotionPrice on Amazon
Best Nourishing Formula:John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Cream OilPrice on Amazon
Best Volume Booster:Cake The Curl Friend Defining Curl CreamPrice on Amazon
Best Humidity Resistant:Kenra Curl Defining Cream 5Price on Amazon
Best For Hair Styling:Argan Magic Defining Curl CreamPrice on Amazon

Best Drugstore Curl Creams

1. Best Overall:Cantu Coconut Curling Cream

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4.4

The award-winning Cantu Coconut Curling Cream for natural hair is the one-stop solution for all curly-haired individuals. It offers weightless moisturizing while strengthening your hair right from the roots. It is enriched with shea butterwhich hydrates each hair follicle and gives smoother hair with defined curls. It manages your curls, making them soft and elongated. It also provides resistance to humidity. Its chemicals-free formula adds volume and shine to your curls. To understand the nuances of the product in more detail, you can check out a tester’s experience with it in this review. Additionally, the curly hair product is not tested on animals, which makes it ideal for ethically conscious consumers.

Hair Type: Wavy, Curly | Product Dimensions: 3.69 x 3.69 x 2.75 inches | Weight: 12 Ounces

Key ingredients: Shea butter and Coconut

Pros

  • Mild fragrance
  • Adds shine
  • Suitable for textured hair
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraffin-free
  • Propylene-free
  • PABA or DEA-free

Cons

  • None

protip_icon Quick Tip
Divide your hair into small sections to apply the cream effectively and for even distribution.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received 25,723 reviews on Amazon and is a popular choice among shoppers.

2. Best De-Frizz For Curls:Maui Moisture Curl Quench+ Coconut Oil Curl Smoothie

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4.5
Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Smoothie Image: Maui Moisture
Now 22% Off

Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Curl Smoothie helps detangle, defrizz, and define curls. It is formulated with coconut oil and papaya butter, which hydrates your hair and retains curls, while plumeria extract contains glycosides, giving a flake-free and moisturized scalp. This leave-in treatment for your curls enhances softness and gives shiny, bouncy curls. In addition, it helps hydrate the scalp, smoothens the curls, and gives it a shiny look. This cream is suitable for thick and coarse hair and tight curls which helps you achieve overnight curl definition effortlessly. Check out this YouTuber’s review to know more about a reviewer’s experience of dealing with the ultra-moisturizing curl cream.

Hair Type: Curly, Coily | Product Dimensions: 8 x 10 x 8 inches | Weight: 12 Ounces

Key ingredients: Coconut oil, Papaya butter, and Plumeria extract

Pros

  • Hydrating
  • Adds shine
  • Lightweight
  • Vegan
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicones-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Synthetic dyes-free

Cons

  • May cause hair loss

protip_icon Remember
Do not touch your hair while it is drying after applying the cream.

3. Best Shining Solution:OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream

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4.3
OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream Image: Ogx
Now 25% Off

OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection has an excellent formula that helps redefine, enhance, and smooth your curly hair. It is enriched with argan oil, a natural ingredient, which eliminates frizz while maintaining a natural shine in your hair. In addition, this hair cream moisturizes your scalp, strengthens your hair, and increases the elasticity of the curls. Furthermore, it nourishes your hair, moisturizes curls, and makes it healthier. You can also check this video of a tester’s experience with the product for a brief understanding.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.56 x 6.78 inches | Weight: 6.88 Ounces

Key ingredient: Argan Oil

Pros

  • Adds shine
  • Anti-frizz
  • Long-lasting effect
  • Non-greasy
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Contains alcohol
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With 1,277 positive reviews on Amazon, this product has become a bestseller.

Cantu Coconut Curling Cream
Best Overall
Maui Moisture Curl Quench+ Coconut Oil Curl Smoothie
Best De-Frizz For Curls
OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream
Best Shining Solution
Hair Type Wavy, Curly Curly, Coily Curly
Dimensions 3.69 x 3.69 x 2.75 inches 8 x 10 x 8 inches 1.5 x 2.56 x 6.78 inches
Weight 12 Ounces 12 Ounces 6.88 Ounces
Rating
Reviews25,7236,6591,277
Price$6.48$8.39$7.97

4. Best Hydrating Formula:SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie has a brilliant formula that helps restore moisture, control frizz, and condition your hair without weighing it down.  It is enriched with silk protein which repairs damaged hair while enhancing keratin production, which adds strength and moistens the curls. Its rich formula also features neem’s anti-bacterial benefits and coconut oil’s hydrating power to gives you soft, silky, and bouncy curls. In addition, it has hibiscus extracts that prevent premature graying and make your hair soft and look healthy and lustrous. Reviewers love the creamy formula that adds volume and bounce to the hair, making it manageable while reducing dryness.

Hair Type: Wavy, Curly, Thick | Product Dimensions: 3.7 x 3.7 x 2.72 inches | Weight: 12 Ounces

Key ingredients: Silk protein, Neem oil, Coconut oil, and Hibiscus

Pros

  • Hydrating
  • Anti-frizz
  • Lightweight
  • Silicone-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Petroleum-free
  • Cruelty -free

Cons

  • Strong scent

protip_icon Pro Tip
You can also use this product as a styling cream for twist-outs, braids, and wash-and-go styles.

5. Best Sulfate-Free Cream:L’Oréal Paris Ever Sculpt & Hold Cream-Gel

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4.4
L’Oréal Paris Ever Sculpt & Hold Cream-Gel Image: L’oréal Paris

L’Oréal Paris Ever Sculpt & Hold Cream-Gel gives soft, manageable, and hydrated curls without any frizz. It is formulated with coconut oil, which deeply hydrates each hair strand and eliminates dryness. Its curl recall technology offers soft, manageable curls for a long-lasting effect of almost 48 hours. This non-abrasive cream is gentle on color-treatedand curly hair. This lightweight moisturizer for hair conditions and shapes your curls, making them look naturally beautiful. Reviewers on online forums love its refreshing fragrance that invigorates the senses.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 1.94 x 1.94 x 6.31 inches | Weight: 5 Ounces.

Key ingredient: Coconut oil

Pros

  • Long-lasting curls
  • Color-safe
  • Hydrating
  • Lightweight
  • Mild fragrance
  • Vegan
  • Anti-frizz
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Vegan
  • Harsh salts-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • None

Our Tester's Experience

"This hair cream is very useful in managing my curls. It holds and defines my curls without leaving my hair stiff. The scent is subtle and not overpowering. It's a good option for embracing the natural texture of my hair."


6. Best For Detangling:Marc Anthony Strictly Curl Defining Lotion

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4.3
Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Defining Lotion Image: M A R C A N T H O N Y
Now 55% Off

Marc Anthony Strictly Curl Defining Lotion allows you to restore lost moisture and nourish the hair cortex and defines curls with its vitamin E enriched formula. This product is specially formulated to provide nourishment and moisture to curlswhile preventing detangling and frizz. In addition, it is non-alcoholic, lightweight, and non-sticky to offer bouncy and soft curls.

Hair Type: Wavy, Dry, Curly, Damaged | Product Dimensions: 1.85 x 1.85 x 8.66 inches | Weight: 8.3 Ounces

Key ingredients: Silk protein, Vitamin B, and E

Pros

  • Frizz-free
  • Lightweight
  • Alcohol-free
  • Non-sticky
  • Sulfate-free
  • Humidity-resistant
  • Long-lasting
  • Great fragrance

Cons

  • Might dry your hair
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

More than 721 rave reviews on Amazon prove why we are so in awe of this product.

7. Best Nourishing Formula:John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Cream Oil

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4.2
John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Cream Oil Image: John Frieda

Find the curl shape and definition you have been looking for with this product designed to offer flawless, bouncy curls. John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Cream Oil coats your hair with light coverage while enhancing its moisture content. It is a lightweight hair product featuring rosehip oil rich in vitamin A and D and fatty acids to eliminate dryness. In addition, it instantly reforms curls, promotes nourished, healthy-looking hair and makes you love your curls again.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 1.42 x 6.88 x 1.42 inches | Weight: 4.97 Ounces.

Key ingredient: Rosehip oil

Pros

  • Anti-frizz
  • Lightweight
  • Sulfate-free
  • SLS-free

Cons

  • Unpleasant scent

Our Tester's Experience

"This styling spray oil enhances my natural curls and waves without leaving a greasy residue. It can be applied to both wet or dry hair and helps in frizz control and definition for a fuller look. The gentle formula revives second or third-day curls and even supports heatless styling routines."


8. Best Volume Booster:Cake The Curl Friend Defining Curl Cream

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4.3
Cake Beauty The Curl Friend Defining Curl Cream Image: Cake Beauty
Now 15% Off

The award-winning Cake Beauty Curl Friend Defining Curl Cream offers the ultimate glossy, frizz-free, bouncy curls. This cream’s shea butter and natural oil content transform unruly curls into tamed, nourished, and well-defined curls like never before. At the same time, it has organic ingredients like calendula and chamomile extracts rich in antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that stimulate hair follicles and promote hair growth. Reviews on Amazon have lauded this lightweight cream for not weighing down the hair and for offering polished curls without any harsh chemicals.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches | Weight: 6.24 Ounces.

Key ingredients: Shea butter, Calendula, and Chamomile

Pros

  • Frizz-free
  • Lightweight
  • Mild fragrance
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Sulfate-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Sticky
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

It has received over 792 rave reviews on Amazon, proving it is a mass favorite.

9. Best Humidity Resistant:Kenra Curl Defining Cream 5

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4.5
Kenra Curl Defining Cream 5 Image: Kenra

Kenra Curl Defining Cream 5 separates curls and waves while softening frizz and flyaways. Its humidity-resistant formula adds styling controland refines your curls for a velvety soft feeling. This cream does a great job of creating soft curls and has an amazing scent. It nourishes the hair with sunflower seed oil and jojoba oil for a touchable finish.

Hair Type: Medium to coarse hair | Product Dimensions: 2.25 x 2.25 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 3.53 Ounces

Key ingredients: Sunflower seed oil and Jojoba oil

Pros

  • Nice fragrance
  • Humidity-resistant
  • Anti-frizz

Cons

  • None

10. Best For Hair Styling:Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream

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4.2
Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream Image: Amika

Argan Magic Defining Curl Cream conditions your curls and adds shine. Its unique formula combined with biotin and argan oil nourishes and moisturizes your hair, removes frizz, and simplifies your styling routine. It enhances the natural pattern of your hair and makes them manageable and shiny. This hydrating curl creamis lightweight and provides nutrition and high definition to your curls. Its natural formula hydrates, protects, and nourishes curls, improving their strength and elasticity.

Hair Type: Curly | Package Dimensions: ‎7.36 x 2.24 x 1.93 inches | Weight: 0.01 Ounces

Key ingredients: Argan oil, Biotin, and Vitamins

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Adds shine
  • Anti-frizz
  • Hydrating
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • None

Our Tester's Experience

"I found the curling cream effective for enhancing natural curls, leaving hair soft without frizz. It works best on dry hair and a little goes a long way. The fragrance is clean, and the lightweight formula gives me defined voluminous curls."


11. Best For Hair Growth:TIGI Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Crème

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4.5
Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream Image: Bed Head

The TIGI Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream is formulated to suit all types of hair. The main purpose of its formula is to soften your curls and reduce frizziness. This cream helps to manage stiff hair by softening it. It contains shea butter which moisturizes each hair strand and provides hold to your curls. It also has sunflower seed extract rich in minerals like zinc and iron, which promotes hair growth and repairs damaged hair strands.

Hair Type: Normal, Oily, Dry | Product Dimensions: 2.76 x 2.76 x 2.76 inches | Weight: 6.7 Ounces

Key ingredients: Shea Butter and Sunflower seed extract

Pros

  • Anti-frizz
  • Lightweight
  • Water-based

Cons

  • Might cause hair loss

12. Best Non-Sticky:MoroccanOil Intense Curl Cream

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4.4
MoroccanOil Intense Curl Cream Image: Moroccanoil

MoroccanOil Intense Curl Cream naturally nourishes and hydrates the curls. The cream is infused with argan oil and vitamins that add shine and definition to your gorgeous curls. It keeps the curls looking beautiful and refreshing. It is a leave-in conditionerthat helps to fight frizz and avoid split ends. It can further detangle your hair without feeling sticky.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 2.75 x 2.75 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 10.93 Ounces

Key ingredients: Argan oil and Vitamins

Pros

  • Anti-frizz
  • Lightweight
  • Non-sticky
  • Enhances natural curls
  • Alcohol-free
  • Protects the hair
  • Nourishing
  • Rich in texture

Cons

  • Some find the scent off-putting

Our Tester's Experience

"This leave-in curl cream gives defined, bouncy curls without stiffness or heaviness. The scent is pleasant, and it doubles as a refresher for second-day curls. It is now a staple in my curl-care routine."


13. Best Lightweight Formula:MATRIX A Curl Can Dream Moisturizing Leave-in Cream

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4.2
Matrix Total Results A Curl Can Dream Image: Matrix

MATRIX A Curl Can Dream Moisturizing Leave-in Cream is a leave-in treatment that provides moisture and definition without drying your curls. It is enriched with manuka honey that offers restorative care. It seals moisture into your hair and nourishes, moisturizes, and smoothens dull and dry hair. You can apply the desired amount of this super lightweight curl cream on damp hair from the roots to the tip. Lastly, it does not cause any flaking curls or crunch.

Hair Type: Curly | Product Dimensions: 4.09 x 4.09 x 3.41 inches | Weight: 1.06 Pounds.

Key ingredient: Manuka honey extract

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Provides heat protection
  • Hydrating
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free

Cons

  • Does not last long

14. Best For Adding Bounce:Eva NYC Gotta Bounce Curl Defining Cream

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4.3
Eva NYC Gotta Bounce Curl Defining Cream Image: Eva Nyc

The Eva NYC Gotta Bounce Curl Defining Cream formulates hydration and nourishment, adding bounce and liveliness to your curls. It is enriched with natural elements to reduce frizz to moisturize and define your curls. It is safe for color-treated hair and contains no harsh chemicals. It is enriched with aloe vera and cactus flower powder which is rich in antioxidants that nourishes the hair.

Hair Type: Color Treated, Curly | Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.75 x 6.55 inches | Weight: 4.66 Ounces.

Key ingredients: Aloe vera and Cactus flower powder

Pros

  • Anti-frizz
  • Hydrating
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • GMO-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Artificial colors-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • Unpleasant scent

Our Tester's Experience

"This hair product has a light touch and is effective for my curly hair. It moisturizes my curls and adds a lively bounce to my hair. The frizz control is good, even on hotter days."


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Infographic: Tips To Apply A Curl Cream The Right Way

Curl creams can help you achieve bouncy, frizz-free, and well-defined ringlets. However, understanding the right application techniques is important to make the most of your curl cream and unleash your hair’s true curl power. Check the infographic below for tips.

Tips To Apply A Curl Cream (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Managing and maintaining curl integrity is difficult. Curly hair is naturally dry and dull and needs intense moisturization. The best drugstore curling creams deeply nourish your strands and keep them hydrated. They help in volumizing your hair and defining your curls. You can also use them as heat-protectant sprays to avoid heat-damaged hair. The Cantu Coconut Curling Cream offers essential moisture, while the Marc Anthony Strictly Curl Defining Lotion nourishes the hair cortex. If you are looking for a curl gel with a flexible hold that helps manage the frizz, try the Kenra Curl Defining Cream 5. These drugstore curly hair creams are paraben-free, lightweight, and vegan. However, some curling creams may dry out the hair. Go through the product reviews to pick the best curling cream that suits your hair type and meets your styling needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you use a curl cream?

Use curl creams once or twice weekly. Use them on wash days for the best results.

Does curl cream damage your hair?

No. Curl creams add moisture to the tresses, smoothen the strands, and prevents the hair from tangling. Moreover, curl creams make curly or wavy hair more cohesive.

What to do after applying a curling cream?

Gently air-dry or blow-dry your hair with a diffuser. Once the curls are dried, fluff them to add extra volume to the hair.

Can I put curl cream in dry hair?

You can use curl cream on dry hair to add extra moisture to the tresses or before styling them. However, curl creams work the best on wet hair.

Why does curling cream make my hair hard?

Overusing curling creams can make your hair hard. The formula dries over time and makes your hair feel crunchy.

Does curl cream weigh hair down?

An excessive amount of curling creams might weigh your hair down. Opt for lightweight curling cream and use them in the right quantity to prevent it from weighing down your curls.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

Shiboli Chakraborti is a hair care enthusiast who has an in-depth knowledge of hair care brands, products, and formulations. She understands the science behind these formulations and how it affects various hair types. That’s why when it comes to selecting the best drugstore curl creams, she has done her share of research and read several customer reviews before curating this list especially for you. Choosing any of these moisturizing and nourishing hair creams would not only give you smooth, shiny, frizz-free hair but also help strengthen and protect your curls from environmental stressors as well.


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Jill Turnbull

Jill TurnbullHairstylist

Jill Turnbull is an internationally acclaimed freelance hairstylist, colorist, and makeup artist with over 47 years of experience. She founded her own beauty brand and her work has been featured in editorial magazines worldwide. Jill is also a highly sought-after educator, renowned for her direct, meticulous, and modern approach to hair, makeup, and styling for fashion shoots and advertising campaigns....read full bio

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