21 Best Curl Creams for Natural Curly Hair

lady with defined curls

What is a Curl Cream?

A curl cream is a hair styling cream whose main feature is to help increase the definition of your natural curls. It is also known as a curl-defining cream or a curl activator. Besides increasing curl definition, a curl cream also has great benefits to your natural hair.

What are the Benefits of Using a Curl Defining Cream on Your Natural Hair?

  1. Curl creams provide your natural hair with long-lasting moisture. This ensures that your hair does not dry out fast.
  2. They help to reduce tangling. This makes it easier to work your comb or fingers in your natural hair without breakage.
  3. They help to reduce frizz.
  4. They do not cause hair damage. Most curl creams are formulated with natural ingredients that are safe for your scalp.
  5. They are budget-friendly. You can get curl creams for as low as $5.

How to Use a Curl Cream

This YouTube video by Millennial Black Girl will show you how to use a curl cream on your natural hair:

Step-by-step Instructions

What you need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Curl cream
  • A picker comb
  • Blow dryer (optional)

Step 1: Spritz Hair

(It is advisable to start on clean well-detangled hair. This makes it easier for you to work with)

woman spritzing hair
  • Put your hair in sections, take one and spritz with water from your spray bottle.

Step 2: Apply Curl Cream

woman applying curl cream
  • Scoop a moderate amount of curl cream with your fingers, rub on your palms and massage into your hair.
  • Repeat for all sections.
  • Leave to air (blow) dry.

Step 3: Add More Volume

lady picking hair with a picker comb
  • Use your picker comb to lift the roots of your hair without combing out. This will increase the volume of your hair.

21 Best Curl Creams for Natural Curly Hair

Now that you know what a curl cream is, its benefits and how to use it, the next step is to find out the best curl cream for your type 3/4 natural hair. To help you with this, I have compiled a list of the 21 best curl creams (in no particular order) out there. Also, I have put together honest reviews about each product from naturals like yourself who have used them. So, enjoy!

1. DevaCurl Supercream Coconut Curl Styler

DevaCurl Supercream Coconut Curl Styler

Product Claim: This multitasking, ultra-rich cream with a hydra-definition blend provides coarse curls with smoothness, shape, shine, and frizz control.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“In the past few years, I have really given up on taming my 3b curls. I stopped using product or treating them correctly and they became a very fuzzy 3a. I tried DevaCurl through a recommendation and WOW! They have completely transformed into my childhood ringlets without any frizz! My hair is also as long as my elbow so they have completely jumped up. The photo is straight after I applied DevaCurl Supercream on damp hair (and using a diffuser)- in the morning it was even curlier and I couldn’t be happier! I highly recommend!” – SD on Amazon

“My stylist recommended this and I will never go back! I love how moisturized my curls are, and it really helps with frizz!" – Marla on Dermstore

“My hair is weighed down very easily and this stuff gives me curl definition and texture without weighing it down!! I believe it will work for all hair types!! Love it!!” – Michelle on Dermstore

2. Cantu Coconut Curling Cream

Cantu Coconut Curling Cream

Product Claim: Get damaged hair under control with Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Coconut Curling Cream. Made without harsh ingredients, Cantu for Natural Hair restores your real, authentic beauty, bringing out the best curly, kinky, or wavy hair. This richly-hydrating solution for dry hair and damaged hair defines, conditions and adds manageability without any harsh ingredients that can cause more damage.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“In love.

This product does an amazing job individualizing and highlighting each curl. I love my natural hair I love it even more using this product I can get up put water in my hair put oil in my hair put this product on and throw on a headband and be on my way the whole process takes five minutes and I look fabulous!!!” – Slco2001 on Walmart

“I have been using this product since I went natural 1 month ago, non greasy or thick. Give my hair a natural curl pattern, I am please with this product.” – LADYV40 on Walmart

“No and it made my hair very dry. If you have 4a or 4 b hair it may work for you. I have 4c -d hair that is very coiled. One product line that does elongate curls just by washing is the new line by dark and lovely called Au Naturale it is great.” – Truthe B on Amazon

3. TGIN Twist and Define Cream

TGIN Twist and Define Cream

Product Claim: Enriched with coconut and Vitamin E oils, tgin Twist & Define Cream helps to create smooth, shiny well-defined twists and twist outs while giving strong hold and lasting curl definition.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“There’s absolutely nothing to dislike about this product! I’ve used it once and I’m already loving it. I especially love how it did not leave my coils hard and crunchy like a gel was used. It left my hair real soft and I love that.” – CARMICA GARNER on Amazon

“So after being natural for years, this product was amazing on my hair. A regular twist out looks like tons of beautiful curls. My hair is soft, bouncy and shiny.I’m excited and will try the entire product line.” – Diana Mason on Amazon

“This product left my hair hard as though I had put gel in it and did not hold my curls in the way that I would have hoped.” – Naddy G on Amazon

4. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Product Claim: SheaMoisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie is an all-natural leave on styling cream specially formulated for wavy, curly hair. Coconut oil used in this moisturizing formula hydrates and protects hair against breakage while replenishing lost oils. Neem Oil imparts brilliant shine and adds volume and definition to dull, lifeless curls and coils. This enhancing smoothie bottles in the benefits of Silk Protein, an important ingredient that softens unruly locks, making them irresistibly smooth and easy to manage.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“You totally need to apply this to soaking wet hair, and then scrunch it!!! My hair never dries frizzy anymore and my curls set perfectly.” Aya on Ulta Beauty

“I live by this stuff makes my curls bouncy and soft, just full of life! I use this everyday and couldn't live without it!” – Roxanne on Amazon

“First day using it. I took a shower and put a sparing amount in my damp hair and combed it in. This picture is taken after wearing the product for about 5 hours. I have been out to ranch to clean my horse's stall and then out for a 3 mile walk to and back from the park. It's very very windy today so I knew it would be a great test for the product. So far, so good! Little dried out at the ends but I'll just put more product there next time. Two thumbs up. And it smells good.” – Awesmechic on Amazon

5. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream

Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream

Product Claim: Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream smoothens and enhances natural curl pattern revealing frizz-free volume and is great for a quick wash-and-go.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I like how my hair becomes elongated initially after application. But the product seems to sit on top of my low porosity 4c hair. Nice scent and affordable price just too bad it didn’t work out.” – Michoe W on Sally Beauty

“This is my first time to try Cantu Curl Activator Cream. I love it. It smells tropical (great!), it keeps my hair from frizzing, & defines my curls. It makes it easier to refresh my curls on non-wash days.” – Melissa D. on Sally Beauty

“It activated curls with denman brush and I didn't notice any flaking or stiffness, and I tend to go light with product use.” Lynda L. on Sally Beauty

6. Taliah Waajid Curls Waves Naturals Curly Curl Cream

Taliah Waajid Curls Waves Naturals Curly Curl Cream

Product Claim: The Curly Curl Cream helps to define curls, waves and coils by adding moisture. It conditions, prevents frizz and has no sticky build-up. Great for curly, kinky, wavy and coily hair textures. This non-greasy miracle curl cream helps to revitalize curls and eliminate frizz. Conditions and nourishes hair while adding shine, moisture and unbelievable curls. Holds hair and styles in place so you can look good all day long.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I have type 4B hair and I like that this product keeps my hair moisturized.” – Momof3 on Walmart

“My go to for curls. I’ve been trying other brands too but keep coming back to this one. It is pretty thick but it doesn’t leave any residue and actually curls. Finding the right amount of water and product is the challenge though.” – Jilmirria on Walmart

“Absolutely love this product. It gives solid curl definition without buildup. Strangely better when I use it on my shorter curly cut than when my hair was longer. As long as my hair is styled this way, this will be my go to hair styling cream.” C. Hunter on Amazon

7. Amika Curl Corps Defining Cream

Amika Curl Corps Defining Cream

Product Claim: Define your curls with this luxe styling cream that leaves curly hair soft + moisturized.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I am new to using curl creams and I am just not sure this one is for me. It looks beautiful the first day but a couple days in, my hair is flat and gets greasy. It smells great though and doesn’t leave your hair hard like some gels or mousses will.” – Meg on Amazon

“This is a brilliant product, I love the smell, the consistency and the hold. It does not make my soft curls crunchy and it holds for a very long time. Day 2 I just need to rehydrate with some water and curls are as good as new!” – Julie Hawkins on Amazon

“I tried this at my local hairdressers. I have searched high and low for a product that defines curls without crunchiness or unnecessary drying out of my hair due to alcohols. I’ve tried devacurl and LUS and both made my hair really heavy and greasy and tangled within a day or two. This I just re wet my curls and add a tad bit more in where needed. My hair is soft and bouncy. The smell is very strong for the small amount you use so fragrance sensitive people may be offended by the smell. I am sensory sensitive and get migraines from smells but I’ve gotten used to it. Everyone says I smell amazing haha.” – Sarah on Amazon

8. African Pride Moisture Miracle Shea Butter & Flaxseed Oil Curling Cream

African Pride Moisture Miracle Shea Butter & Flaxseed Oil Curling Cream

Product Claim: The unique blend of African Pride Moisture Miracle Shea Butter & Flaxseed Oil Curling Cream provides deep moisture, lasting definition, & radiant shine; leaving coily & curly styles smooth & bouncy with soft hold.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I have dry natural gray hair. It takes a lot to moisturize and enhance my 4b curl pattern. This cream penetrates the hair shaft and leaves my curls popping. I only used a moisturizing shampoo, the African Pride coconut milk and honey leave in conditioner , and the African Pride Shea butter and flaxseed oil curling cream. After refreshing my curls during the middle of the week with the conditioner, I did have to apply a light oil before applying the curling cream.” – Carole Anderson on Amazon

“First of all, I like the scent. I was concerned after reading a review that was to the contrary, happy to say that it smells like the "cake batter" scent and not strong. I washed my hair and it gave a smooth hold. I reapplied that evening to moisten my hair and it became very dry and shrunk the curls. Once dry, white residue was throughout my hair and on my shirt like a bad case of dandruff. I will return it.” – Co on Amazon

“This did wonders for my very dry 4c natural hair.” – Sharese G on Amazon

9. Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Cream

Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Cream

Product Claim: For those with wavy, curly and coily hair texture types - 2A to 4C. This curl crème is infused with rice amino acids, avocado oil, quinoa extract, and tomato fruit ferment extract to enhance moisture and definition for soft, bouncy, and vibrant curls.

Honest Reviews by Users

“Have gotten some good curl definition with this leave-in creme. It's an affordable product, too! It doesn't have any hold, so I do not use it by itself. It works best when I section my hair while damp, apply it, then section hair again and apply gel or another cream” – Cristinav82 on Ulta Beauty

“This product is great for curly hair. It defines your curls and doesn't leave a cast!” – Myiae on Ulta Beauty

“Definitely provides moisture, fullness and body but I mix with another product to get curl definition.” –Mavis on Dermstore

10. Naturally Smitten Moisturizing Hair Butter

Naturally Smitten Moisturizing Hair Butter

Product Claim: Blended with blueberry extract, neem oil and coconut oil, hydrating hair custard replenishes moisture to thirsty coils. Hydrating Hair Custard is a unique moisturizer that adds shine and gives definition. Its thick and concentrated consistency is an excellent staple for cold and dry climates and is not too heavy for humid summer weather. Pamper your coils with this creamy moisturizing blend of natural goodies that your hair will absolutely love

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“It's the only product that works for my hair type (thick with super tight coils).” – TYA on Amazon

“It makes my hair so hard. However, I think that this is because of the coconut oil, which my hair might be sensitive too. Great ingredients and smell! I would give it a try if your hair likes coconut oil!” – Tati on Amazon

“Very moisturizing,and the smell is fruity. I have natural 4B hair. I will definitely purchase again This hair cream melts in your hands and hair. My twist and braid out had shine and moisture. Last a couple days.” – Amazon Customer on Amazon

11. As I Am Twist Defining Cream

As I Am Twist Defining Cream

Product Claim: As I Am Twist Defining Cream is used for twists and twists out hairstyles. This twist defining cream is made with natural oils that produces a great shine, plus an organic extract that hydrates dry hair and minimizes frizz for a long lasting definition and smoothness to highly textured hair.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“Works very well. Gives me super definition that holds for about two days. Makes my hair very soft and shiny. I would recommend this product.” – Carley on Amazon

“Hmmm I do like this product but I find that if you leave it without a setting lotion it makes my black hair look grey and leaves a lot of flakes etc. I would recommend but only if you apply setting lotion on top.” – Kaydene on Amazon

“Great product for twisting hair. I use to use Cantu, but this product really moisturizes hair. I did my daughters hair and it normally frizze after 2 day, but I swear her twist didn’t frizz for 2 weeks” – Brett McCall on Amazon

12. Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Crème

Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Crème

Product Claim: This medium-hold styler replenishes vital moisture and protects against protein loss. Leaves hair soft and bouncy — not greasy, crunchy or flaky

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I love this product i have curly and freezy hair, so not every product work, but this product worked good n it left my hair smelling good and soft. I love ittt!” – zinfurny on Walmart

“I saw the title and I said ok another curl Defining cream. I guess I see what it does because so many others were disappointing. But, Not This One!! Oh my gosh!! This one is truly the best for coarse 4c hair. It not one defines my curls, it keeps my hair totally moisturized throughout the entire time I wear my twist out, which is sometimes for 2 weeks. Also using flex rods with it is so amazing to my hair. It truly defines the curls.” – Millie52 on Sally Beauty

“Rich creamy formula left my 3c curls defined and firm, not crunchy, frizzy, or flyaway. Very impressed with the quality of this product. It made my curls bouncy, but tighter (shrinkage). It has a mild coconut scent, that isn't overpowering and the product isn't greasy.” – Brooklyn D on Sally Beauty

13. Uncle Funky’s Daughter Supercurl Miracle Moisture Creme

Uncle Funky’s Daughter Supercurl Miracle Moisture Creme

Product Claim: Dry curls have no fear, extra moisturizing Supercurl is here. This creamy hydrator has dual-power abilities to stretch out and detangle curls in very kinky, tight textures, yet define curls in medium to loose curly textures.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I have 4C hair. I used "Supercurl" on a damp, third day, twa UFD "Curly Magic" wash n' go just as an experiment, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. It revived my wash n' go and extended it for a full 3 days. The moisturization and softness were better than good, but it was the shine and definition that really impressed me. Uncle Funky's Daughter "Curly Magic" and "Supercurl" (and throw in some "Glossy" for good measure) really made a difference in the look and feel of my hair.” – FWLeasure on Amazon

“This product is very moisturizing and provides a great hold during Twisting process. I wish all the Uncle Funky's products were more readily available at retail stores.” PMcKennie on Amazon

“My "hair" did not like this product. I had heard so much about this company and thought I would purchase the product. Well, it's probably great for others but my 4"z" hair did not like it. I have read that natural hair goes to 4c but not my hair. It requires it's own category and 4z fits it.” – BB on Amazon

14. Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter

Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter

Product Claim: A supremely soft styling butter whisk with smoothing almond milk and sweet honey droplets, crafted to moisturize and elongate strands.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“Wow! Just purchased this as I'd recently run out of the Aloe Butter Gel and wanted a change and after reading the positive reviews I thought I'd take the plunge. I used a palm sized amount roughly and at first it didn't really feel like it was doing much, however as the day went on it seemed like the moisture was building steadily throughout as it was taking it's time to penetrate the roots and hair. My hair's a fairly short afro type 4c and I need something strong like this to soften the coils and roots. So far I love it and if you are a 4a - 4c I recommend this to give yourself a nice l treat!” – Alice Coop on Boots

“Not the best for my type 3 hair, feels quite oily and sits on top of my hair. I think this would be more suited for type 4 hair maybe.” – Natasha112 on Boots

“Can not say enough about this product! It transforms my hair from dry to moisture rich and my twist outs look amazing! I have been using this for a few years and it is " Holy Grail" to me!” – Chic1030 on Amazon

15. Afro Sheen Texture Setting Cream Gel

Afro Sheen Texture Setting Cream Gel

Product Claim: Enhances your natural coil and curl pattern, provides superior hydration, curl definition and shine, and long-lasting hold with no flakes.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I used this product on a section of my hair and I immediately noticed my curls! It also smells amazing, so that's a bonus.” – Wallysha on Walmart

“Loved it! I really enjoyed this Afro Sheen Texture Setting Cream. I took out my old twist and re -did them with this Afro Sheen Texture Setting Creme. My curls were poppin.” – Daikerra on Walmart

“For my texture of hair it's great for moisturizing, but not for holding my twists” D on Walmart

16. Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Curling Crème

Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Curling Crème

Product Claim: Our Natural Almond & Avocado Curling Crème delivers a soft pliable hold and curl memory for styles like twist outs or rod sets. The lightweight formula has a great scent and dries quickly to reveal your beautiful style.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I use it on damp hair and just shape and shake my curls.” – Gigi on Ulta Beauty

“I was so excited to try this product after one of my favorite YouTubers reviewed the line; however, it didn't provide the results I was expecting for my 3b-3c hair and it caused me to break out in a rash all over my neck, shoulders and chest. Will be returning and will not purchase again.” – CBennett on Ulta Beauty

“I finally think I've found the product that works on my 4c extra coily hair after 3 years of trying out several brands. Its keeps my hair soft and not weighed down and greasy!!!!” – radiah m on Sally Beauty

17. Oyin Handmade Boing! All-In-One Coil Styler Gel

Oyin Handmade Boing! All-In-One Coil Styler Gel

Product Claim:

  • PROMOTES CURLY & TIGHT COILED HAIR: Encourages curls and coils, and moisturizes in one easy step
  • ENHANCES NATURAL HAIR: Creates uniform, bouncy coils and curls, enhances highly textured patterns
  • MOISTURIZES: Maintains moisture.
  • SAFE FOR YOU: pH level: 5, shea butter, coconut oil, and Irish Moss, a natural sea ingredient
  • CREME GEL: coil-encouraging creme gel that brings out every curl and coil

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“Oyin has won me over!! It is now my go to product for natural hair! I even use it on my 2y/o sons mini curly fro..he says,"mommy it smells like a cookie" whenever I use the products on him. Defines, moisturizes, leaves no white residue, doesn't harden my curls and smells great enough to eat! What more could this natural want?” – Herfa M Brown on Amazon

“Hair needs to be saturated to work” – Kellie Ford on Amazon

“Love it...gives me soft bouncy "boingy" curls!!! Awesome & smells great. My go to product for my flexi rod sets & wash n gos” – CybilRachell on Amazon

18. Curls Dynasty Twisted Definition Twisting Cream

Curls Dynasty Twisted Definition Twisting Cream

Product Claim: Twisted Definition offers a soft hold, with the perfect blend of marshmallow and ginger root, aloe, and shea. These good for your hair ingredients work to define each curl, moisturize from root to tip, and add that healthy shine. Your twist-outs and natural styles are sure to be Dynasty Diva approved

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“Using it to twist short hair.Does the job of keeping my style in place.Not sticky or gummy.Would recommend this product.” – Williejennings on Amazon

“Smells great and hydrates my hair well, however, leaves residue when dry and looks like dandruff.” – Julie on Amazon

“It make my hair feel very dry” – Juds on Amazon

19. Ouidad - Curl Shaper Take Shape Plumping + Defining Cream

Ouidad - Curl Shaper Take Shape Plumping + Defining Cream

Product Claim: Medium-to-thick textures need more moisture, but heavy is not always better. When loose curls lose their shape, this lightweight cream builds body and definition from the inside out. It establishes a curl memory so curls can reform, giving you soft, natural-looking movement every time.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“This did plump my hair, it was big and soft but it got rid of my loose waves and curls. I want my hair more curly so not sure what the point of this cream is as there was zero definition. Should have stuck with Vita Curl.” – Sondra45 on Ulta Beauty

“Great product! Minimized the frizz and defined my waves/curls well.” – DK on Ulta Beauty

“It did none of what it claims for me. I used it along with their volumizing jelly & it left my hair with incredibly dry, frizzy volume. I washed my hair the night before & applied these products & asked my sister the next day of she thought my hair had volume, she said yes but it looks very frizzy. I said "would you believe me if I said this is technically 1 day hair because I styled it lastnight" she was like "no way! I thought it was 4 day hair" enough said! I used it twice & decided it wasn't for me. Returned it to ulta today.” – Jennifer on Ulta Beauty

20. Bask & Bloom Essentials More Moisture Cream

Bask & Bloom Essentials More Moisture Cream

Product Claim: More Moisture Cream offers intense moisture, shine and protection on fine/medium hair. It is a lightweight hair moisturizer cream for styling that can be used as a leave-in conditioner.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“I absolutely love this cream. This is the first moisture cream that I can use without needing a leave-in first. I've been using this cream for a long time now and won't use anything else.” – Joy J on judge.me

“I love this product a lot, it works very well with my 3c and 4a hair type. It gives me great twist outs and braid outs too!” – Jane K on judge.me

“This was very moisturizing for my 4c low porosity hair.” – Sherridan Gray Henry on Amazon

21. Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Coil Sculpting Custard

Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Coil Sculpting Custard

Product Claim: Mielle’s Pomegranate & Honey Coil Sculpting Custard is a breath of fresh air! Hydration, curl definition, long-lasting shine – it’s all in there. This thick, great-smelling formula is made for Type 4 hair, with ingredients like coconut and babassu oil for healthy styling, but without any harsh chemicals. Pomegranate extract soothes frizzy hair while detangling and moisturizing. It’s all about control, and your curls will be manageable and behaved after using this amazing hair styling gel.

Honest Reviews from Verified Users

“Provides softness and enough slip for combing through my thick, 3c/4a hair. I have low porosity and I feel like this makes my hair very fuzzy. It's fine as a base under your favorite styling product, but not the kind of leave in I can use alone. Smells amazing. But it takes me 10+ pumps to get through my shoulder length hair. I'll probably go through this quickly, so it's not something I'll continue to use. (I'm cheap.)” – jdm831 on Amazon

“The first time i used this, i just kept stroking my hair. It was so amazing. I literally felt my hair and my hands get softer and smoother with every stroke and after a full day of my natural 4c hair being exposed to air and sun, it wasnt dry or brittle and it didnt shrink tf up like a cheap tshirt in a hot dryer. My hands even stay soft all day after i condition my hair. I think the Ancestors came to somebody in an inspired dream to save our people from pain. You have to," have to" try this! You will not go back to another product.” – Leatisha on Amazon

“1st time trying this product, along with the twisting cream. I can say it was a bit of a learning curve for me, since I'm usually heavy handed when applying products. I did figure out that 1- a little goes a long way & 2- my hair had to be saturated with water, or else it would not apply well combined. Once I figured it out I was good. I'm giving this review on 2nd day results. My hair is very moisturized & soft. My twists look very good” – Gadgetgirl24 on Amazon