Remember eighth grade, when Orlando Bloom was the hottest bachelor, everyone practically showered in their Uggs, and hair scrunching was at its peak popularity? Back then, I stuck to my hair straightener like white on rice because I didn’t yet know how to get crunch-free curls. I hated how most gels and mousses made my head feel like a block of cement. On top of that, my particularly thin hair didn’t look especially great when it all clumped together, leaving my scalp looking like I had unintentional cornrows.
I learned much too late that the cure for crunchy curls has everything to do with finding the right ingredients in your haircare products, and very little to do with skill level. While most gels and mousses offer volume and frizz control, they’re also usually filled with silicones, alcohol, and synthetic fillers that leave hair feeling dry, crunchy, and stiff. Thankfully, though, you’ve got options — even if they might seem a little weird at first glance. These awesome curling products that won’t make hair crunchy use natural ingredients that define, volumize, and moisturize your curls. Plus, most of them skip all the unnatural stuff that otherwise leaves your hair looking like Justin Timberlake’s in the early 2000s.
1. Start Off With A Cleansing Conditioner
A great cleansing conditioner or cowash like Deva Curl's No-Poo stops your curls from getting overly dry or frizzy, because you’re not allowing a basic shampoo to strip all the natural oils from your strands. This one has great natural extracts that cleanse away dirt and product build-up, all while leaving your curls bouncy, soft, and healthy.
2. Skip The Alcohol And Use Honey, Instead
Instead of drying ingredients like alcohol, TGIN Honey Miracle hair mask has ultra-moisturizing oils and all natural honey, which promote hold and all-day style without feeling overly stiff or crunchy. That’s why reviewers are saying things like, “I can't sing this product enough praises — my frizzy curls were transformed into beautifully defined coils after just one treatment.”
3. Switch Out Your Gel For A Pomade
If you’re looking for intense protection against frizz and humidity, but desperately want to skip the crunch, RUSK 'Being Undressed' gloss pomade is your answer. It smooths while adding shine and texture, but it’s not overly heavy or greasy, which makes it a great option for thinner hair.
4. Absolutely Zero Parabens And Sulfates
Sulfates and parabens dry out your hair, giving it that crunchy stiff feeling, but Arvazallia Ultra Curl defining cream skips both of those, and instead, utilizes a curl activation formula that conditions and moisturizes. People say that it leaves their hair soft and defined, and they’re loving their new weightless curls.
5. A Clay Leaves Your Hair Pliable And Touchable
For an extra strong hold, most people turn to gel, but Lamel's hair styling clay is an awesome alternative to get hair that’s still pliable and touchable. The best part about it is the matte finish look that stops hair from looking overly greasy, and people say it “doesn't make your hair feel dry or damaged, like some styling clays can.”
6. Stop Flaking, Frizzing, And Crunching
The secret ingredient for this 'Dream Cream' curl cream is Moroccan Argan Oil, which stops all flaking, frizzing, and crunching. It’s softer than a gel and provides more holding power than a mousse, and it’s great for all types of hair, including hair that’s been previously damaged by heat or coloring.
7. Volumize And Hold With Botanical Extracts
Instead of alcohol, parabens, and sodium chlorine, A Muse Me volumizing mousse has botanical extracts that promote hold, movement, and definition for your curls. It’s also got UV protectant, so it’s a great summer mousse for beachy curls, and reviewers love that it smells incredible and doesn’t clump up.
8. Get Pillow Soft Curls With This Cream
With a name like Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls, you’d better believe that this stuff feels super lightweight and touchable on your curls. Despite the fact that it does wonders as far as definition and frizz control, it still leaves your hair with a natural texture that holds all day and smells great.
9. Amp Up The Curls Without The Weight
If you’re looking to amp up the curls you already have, Design Essentials 'Natural Honey Curl' is your best bet. Instead of being overly slimy or heavy, though, it leaves hair feeling moisturized and lightweight. One reviewer even said, “It seriously moisturizes my hair without leaving a ‘crunchy’ cast on the hair, and all my hair is very shiny and touchable when it dries.”
10. Fix Dried Out Hair With Shea Butter
This premium leave-in conditioner called The Roots African Shea Butter Hair Oil has rave reviews, and it’s incredible for hair that tends to dry out quickly. That’s because it’s packed with vitamins and proteins that hydrate and reinforce your hair, so you can create soft curls with minimal frizz all while protecting your strands.
11. Define And Heal Curls With Argan Oil
One of the absolute best styling serums for curly hair is straight up organic argan oil, as it uses vitamins and natural lubricants to tame frizz and define hair while remaining soft and pliable. The best part about it is that it’s entirely pure and USDA-certified organic, so you know that you’re getting only the healthiest treatment for your hair.
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