Best Moisturizer For Curly Hair [Review] in 2022
written by nail expert Jess Rowley
As I Am Double Butter Cream
Carol’s Daughter Moisture Butter
TGIN Daily Hair Moisturizer
When it comes to caring for curls, moisture is key since our hair types are the driest hair type of them all because the natural oils from our scalp have a hard time reaching the ends of our hair because of all the twists and turns.
You probably have more hair products to care for your curls than you can count on two hands, but why should you get a hair moisturizer too? Well, for starters, most of these moisturizers replace your leave-in conditioner and provide that little extra moisture coarse curls need.
I’m talking about my coarse, dry, gorgeous type 4 curlies out there.
This beautiful hair type comes with many challenges if you want it to look luscious. That’s where I come in. I have surfed the internet to track down the very best moisturizer for 4c hair, selecting the highest-rated products that people like you love.
Most coily hair types tend to be high porosity, and due to their ultra coily shape, natural oils and sebum simply do not reach the ends. You know what I mean, dry ends, breakage, and difficulty growing it. Add to that moisture loss; you’ll know that retaining moisture is a whole other problem for type 4 curl types.
But no fear, I have the solution.
I’m going to hand you the keys to make the most of your curls. From leave-in conditioners, deep moisturizing treatment masks, conditioners, and cremes, you’ll be saying goodbye to dry hair to get those luscious locks.
If you’re worried you don’t have the funds to spend loads of dollars on products or don’t know where to start, I’ve got you. You can even do a DIY conditioner! No matter your budget, you can find the right products for your hair to get soft, nourished hair right now.
It’s time to take action to give those thirsty curls the moisture they deserve.
Top Picks Of The Best Moisturizers For Curly Hair
As I Am Double Butter Cream
best hair moisturizer for black hair
Up first is an all-time favorite of mine for beautiful type 4, afro-American hair.
The As I Am double butter-rich daily cream is a natural hair treatment that leaves your hair soft and easier to manage. The As I Am is perfect if you want an organic, natural conditioning cream to restore moisture to your hair.
This moisturizer comes packed with organic butters and natural oils to provide rich hydration to dry hair. It contains cocoa butter, shea butter, castor oil, Jojoba oil, and sugar beetroot. I know the smell is divine, but the important thing is it contributes to strengthening the hair shaft, so you get healthy hair and reduced damage.
Have I got you hooked yet? Wait until you hear this.
The best part about As I Am is that it repairs and restores damaged hair and overprocessed hair to promote new hair growth. By using this treatment daily, helps to add elasticity and gives it a beautiful shine that you will love with pro-vitamin B5 for an extra boost of nutrients.
Whether you have dry hair or simply want to moisturize your hair, the As I Am a buttercream is a great option. Your curls will lap up the rich emollient blend of the finest natural butter and organic oils– it is perfect for those combatting dryness.
For an intense moisture kick for your curls or coils, you absolutely need this in your kit.
- Natural butters and oils
- Contains Pro-vitamin B5
- Repair split ends
- Can be used daily
Latest deal: As I Am Double Butter Cream
Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Coil Enhancing Moisture Butter
best moisturizer for dry hair
Now this one that I am going to review is yet another moisturizer that is perfect for those with dry hair– the curl types that struggle to attain and retain moisture within the strands. This moisture butter by Carol’s Daughter is for defined curls and coils.
This Curly Girl Approved product is worth getting excited about.
The Carol’s Daughter moisture cream is designed for dry, curly, or coily hair and is great for deep hydration. With organic ingredients and no harmful chemicals, it’s going to nourish your hair without causing any unwanted buildup on your locks.
Carol’s Daughter has organic, natural extracts of coconut milk to moisturize and soften your hair, coconut oil to add shine and prevent breakage to your strands, and mango butter. Using mango butter is going to deeply moisturize your locks, so you get that bouncy, frizz-free.
Now, wait until you hear this.
Carol’s Daughter cream is full of organic, natural ingredients but none of the harmful things you don’t want in your hair. It’s ideal for those who want a natural hair care routine but still need something moisturizing. It will make your hair retain through natural ingredients to nourish and keep it healthy.
The coconut milk and oil really help with moisture retention. It is my favorite ingredient to see in curly hair products as these ingredients are deeply nourishing for this hair texture– they even help those with frizzy hair and are a staple in hair moisturizers.
Mango is also extremely nourishing for coarse hair. It is rich in vitamins A and E, which has a deeply moisturizing and regenerative effect on both the strands and scalp. It fortifies strands from the inside out, softening dry hair, reducing breakage, and smoothing split end.
Whether you have 1c wavy hair or 4c curly hair, you will find this moisturizing cream ticks all the boxes if you want to have long-lasting hydration and healthy hair for natural hair growth.
Check out the link!
- For very dry, curly to coily hair
- Coconut milk, mango butter, murumuru butter
- Deeply moisturizes
- Natural ingredients
- Weighed down some peoples hair
Latest deal: Carol’s Daughter Moisture Butter
TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer
best daily moisturizer for 4c hair
Yet another hair moisturizer that is deeply hydrating for the coily hair texture.
The TGIN butter cream daily moisturizer is great for styling since you can use it as a setting cream, and of course, to moisturize natural hair. You can use it to improve shine and add softness to your hair, as well as protect it from external damage and reduce pesky frizz.
This moisturizer comes with shea butter to lock in moisture into the hair cuticle and vitamin E to stimulate hair growth. With shea butter, you’ll know you’ll be getting maximum hydration, whether you choose to apply this cream wet or dry.
But that’s not all.
The best part about TGIN is that vitamin E prevents hair loss and stimulates blood flow to the scalp, helping you to get longer, healthier hair. Is that it repairs and restores damaged hair and overprocessed hair to promote new hair growth.
Whether you want to use this as a setting cream to define your curls or as a deep conditioning treatment cream, the TGIN is full of good ingredients such as vitamin e for natural moisture that nourishes your hair without parabens, sulfates, and other nasties.
See for yourself!
- Shea Butter and Vitamin E
- Reduces frizz and flyaways
- Free from parabens and nasties
- Nice smell
- Can have some shrinkage
Latest deal: TGIN Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer
Shea Moisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque
SheaMoisture is another brilliant, affordable, and natural brand like Carols Daughter that offers top-quality products for curls. This Intensive Hydration Hair Masque infuses hair with a powerful dose of moisture and works to soak in moisture to the cuticle.
If you have low porosity hair, then this hair mask is for you.
You can pair this hair mask with a heated hair cap or hair steamer to help open the cuticle so the treatment can penetrate deeply rather than sit on top. Once the moisture is in, then brilliant, your curls will feel refreshed for days to come!
This deep conditioner smooths and fortifies the cuticle for stronger, healthier, frizz-free curly hair. It is infused with Manuka Honey, Mafura Oil, and Fig Extract that has some serious benefits for curly hair.
Manuka honey is known for sealing in moisture, resulting in shine, volume, and softness. It is also known to tame frizz and define curls, adding bounce to once lifeless curls. It even reduces breakage in the hair too.
Mafura oil is a brilliant emollient, ideal for parched, dry hair. It offers remarkable conditioning capabilities and works to moisturize all hair strands and lock in moisture.
Figs are rich in vitamin C and E, which help fight hair loss. Fig extracts are also high in vitamin K, which helps maintain healthy hair, plus the calcium in figs helps the formation of collagen, making hair more elastic and less prone to breakage.
Some pretty awesome qualities, right?
Well, to top it all off, this intensive hydration hair mask is formulated with no sulfates, no parabens, no phthalates, no mineral oil, no animal testing, and no petrolatum. It is sustainably made, and profits go back into local communities to combat poverty.
SheaMoisture is constantly winning!
- Smooths and fortifies the cuticle
- Strengthens and hydrates hair
- Infused with manuka honey, mafura oil, and fig extract
- Sustainably produced and profits go back into local communities
Latest deal: Shea Moisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque
Olaplex Bond Intense Moisture Mask
Best Olaplex Hair Moisturizer For Curly Hair
So another brilliant hair moisturizer for curly hair has to be hands down this incredible hair mask by Olaplex.
So you may have already heard of Olaplex, their legendary treatments to help repair, restore, and hydrate hair from the inside out. But did you know their No. 8 Moisture Mask is actually a brilliant deep conditioner for defining and moisturizing curls?
It will give your curls a real moisture kick that it needs. The Olaplex No.8 mask is dreamy for those with curly hair. This Moisture Hair Mask offers multiple benefits, such as hydration and curls definition. It can be as a weekly treatment to hydrate curls.
For starters, this treatment is infused with patented Olaplex Bond Building technology; it is a highly concentrated reparative mask that adds shine, smoothness, and boost while providing intense moisture to treat severely damaged hair.
It works wonders on curly hair, wavy hair, and even straight hair. It is recommended by hair salons all over the globe. It helps provide hydration, shine, and even body in your hair, so you can achieve the thicker hair that you’ve been dreaming of.
From the clinical tests, this treatment is said to boost shine by up to 2x, add 4x moisture, 6x more body. 64% of consumers even noticed more bodies in their hair. Unlike other deep conditioners, Olaplex doesn’t weigh your hair down and leave it oily.
Olaplex No.8 is brilliant for those with curls; it is actually one of the best Olaplex products for curly hair. It helps promote and deeply moisturize the natural curl; anyone with curly hair knows that hydration is a must in the curly hair routine!
But doesn’t this treatment contain silicones?
Yes, sadly, it does, meaning it is not safe to use on the CGM, but this is not all bad news! The two silicones it contains is Dimethicone, which is a water-soluble silicone that will wash out with water and helps aid massively with moisture retention.
The second silicone is Amodimethicone which is sadly non-soluble. However, as I said above, it has some serious benefits on curly hair as it helps to improve manageability, texture, and appearance of curls while also providing a durable and lightweight film.
Both silicones are very lightweight, so they shouldn’t build up on your curls; they are super lightweight and should easily wash out with your regular sulfate-free shampoo. Olaplex is definitely a personal favorite of mine for repair and deep hydration.
- 2x more shine, 4x more moisture, 6x more body
- Deeply hydrates and repairs bonds
- Makes hair strong and visibly healthy
- Doesn’t feel heavy or weigh down curls
- Slightly expensive
Latest deal: Olaplex Bond Intense Moisture Mask
Best Moisturizer For Curly Hair-- A Buyer's Guide
Moisturizing wet or dry hair is one of the most important parts of your curly hair care routine. Curly hair is the driest hair type of them all; because of the texture, natural oils have a hard time reaching the ends of the hair, so the ends are often dry and brittle.
Us curlies probably spend an arm and a leg on buying high-quality moisturizing products that work for your hair, using bucket loads of essential oils and moisturizing oils that will take our dry, frizzy ends and leave them looking luscious and defined.
But in this guide, I am going to run through everything you need to know when implementing hair moisturizers into your hair care routine, along with what to look for when searching for the best moisturizers for your curls.
With the right treatment, however, you can get manageable curls that look are the envy of everyone.
How To Moisturize Curly Hair
There are a few steps you need to implement into your hair care routine in order to attain and retain moisture into your luscious locks, and it starts with the very beginning of your washing routine, no skipping steps!
Here’s how you moisturize curly hair:
Start With a Pre-Poo Treatment:
Before we start washing, conditioning, and applying bucket loads of styling products, let’s strip it back to the basics and prepare our curls for this process. Pre-pooing helps to moisturize hair and prepare it for wash day, preventing breakage.
If you have low porosity hair especially, you’ll know how adding too much product can cause hair to get weighed down and lose definition. Pre-pooing can help prevent this as it ensures that the product is being absorbed into the cuticle.
So you can apply a pre-poo treatment or make your own using penetrating oils like argan oil or moisturizing oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil. You can even include shea butter into your pre-poo treatment to help with additional moisture and detangling qualities.
Wash Your Curls With The Right Shampoo:
Washing your curls with the wrong shampoo can massively strip your hair from natural moisture. So knowing how to wash curly hair but using the right shampoo for curly hair is also super important. This will help set a solid foundation to help attain moisture into your strands.
Using shampoos with moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, and other yummy ingredients should help to lock in moisture within your strands and help protect them from breakage by strengthening from within.
Remember, when choosing a shampoo for your curls, make sure to look for a shampoo that is sulfate-free and free of any additional harsh ingredients or ingredients like non-soluble silicones that may build up on the hair.
Apply Deep Conditioner:
You should remember to deep condition your hair regularly. Deep conditioning at least once a month will help restore moisture that your regular shampoo won’t do. It will hydrate the ends and help retain more moisture in the ends of your hair.
I would recommend leaving the treatment on for half an hour with a cotton towel or microfibre towel on your head so it penetrates deeply into the cuticles. You could also apply a deep conditioning treatment and then use a steamer if you have low porosity hair to ensure that the moisture has been fully absorbed into the cuticle.
Using a deep conditioning treatment can help replenish the moisture lost during the shampooing process, and it can even help with frizz management; moisturized curls are often frizz-free curls– as long as you use the right styling products and technique.
Boost Moisture With Additional Products:
Once you have applied the deep conditioner, detangled, and rinsed, you should apply your leave-in conditioner to your soaking wet hair. There are two ways you can do this; you can either apply it in the shower or get out and work in sections with the water spray.
The main important factor is that you apply your leave-in and styling products to soaking wet hair.
So after rinsing my conditioner or deep conditioning hair mask, I will then sit in front of the mirror and work in sections, starting underneath. I will section 1-2 inch sections (based on my curl shape) and then soak the ends with my water spray and apply a generous amount of leave-in conditioner.
I will then detangle with my Tangle Teezer and leave it a minute for the product to soak into the hair before applying the rest of my styling products– check out my guide on how to style curly hair for more details!
Once each styling product has been applied, I then lock in the moisture within my curls with my styling gel and then use a Denman Brush to create tension and promote the shape of the curl. I create tension as I brush it through my curls, twirling as I go along.
After I style each section with my brush, I will scrunch each section upwards, cradling the curl in my hand until I am happy with the curl shape, and I’ll move on to the next section.
This is much easier than applying products in the shower as you can ensure each section is easily covered and each section is soaking wet when styling. Once I’ve finished every section, I will flip my head upside down and scrunch my hair upwards.
I use either a microfibre towel or cotton t-shirt for this step to remove excess water.
It is best to work in steps. Starting with your leave-in conditioner, then your oil, then your curl defining cream, then your gel– allowing a few mins in between each for them to set.
Never Forget Heat Protectant:
One of my top tips is to never forget heat protectant when styling your curls because all of that moisture and time spent to attain that moisture will be lost when using heat. Heat tends to strip any hair type from moisture, so heat protectants are key.
Whether you have dry, coarse curls or healthy curls, you should never skip the heat protectant step. It will help to lock in moisture within the strands and create a barrier over the curls to retain moisture and protect these strands from heat.
My only advice is to avoid non-soluble silicones on your curls. Water-soluble silicones are actually brilliant for curly hair (despite what the community tells you); they help with hydration and don’t build up on hair– unlike non-soluble silicones.
Dry Your Curls Properly:
Any hair type is super fragile while wet, but your natural curls are especially. So taking the time to dry your curls properly is super important. If you decide to plop your curls, then use a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel– never use a regular one!
A regular cotton towel will just cause a whirl of breakage and frizz. The material will absorb moisture from your hair as well as excess water. Rubbing your curls with a regular towel can also cause friction which can create little craters in the hair shaft, leading to brittle ends.
So if you’re ever drying or plopping your curls, then make sure that you are using the right towel or even using a cotton t-shirt as despite being the same material, it is not the same texture, and it is much more gentle on your strands.
If you are looking to dry your curls with a hairdryer, make sure you invest in a diffuser attachment.
Diffusers for curly hair work differently from just blowdrying your hair with a hairdryer. Instead of directing heat to one hair to dry strands, they evenly distribute heat in a 360 direction to wrap around curls and gently dry curls.
Using a low heat and low speed will gently dry your curls while maintaining the curl shape. It cradles the curls to help with volume without losing any curl definition and helping with frizz– as long as you pair with the right products.
Don’t Forget Hair Oil:
Hair oil is your saving grace if you have curls, no matter if you have fine hair or thick hair. Many nourishing oils like coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil, avocado oil help to lock in moisture and nourish the strands from within.
Sealant oils help to moisturize your hair intensely and leave your curls stronger, healthier, and frizz-free. Using a few drops of oil before styling and then after to scrunch out the crunch can massively benefit in retaining moisture within your curls.
What To Look For When Buying A Moisturizer For Curly Hair:
When looking for a moisturizer for curly hair, the top thing you should be looking for is the ingredients; there are certain ingredients that you should avoid and others that can be deeply nourishing for the hair.
Here are the top ingredients for hydrating, nourishing, and moisturizing curls.
Coconut oil has some brilliant benefits as a hair mask or leave-in treatment. It can help moisturize and provide a protective coating to seal the hair.
It also helps seal split ends and strengthens hair to prevent breakage. The high vitamins and essential fatty acids penetrate deep into the hair strands to moisturize the hair.
When applied to curly hair, coconut oil helps heal protein loss, add moisture and strengthen the hair strands over time. Using this treatment regularly can also help increase shine, softness, manageability and help reduce frizz.
It is found in most curly girl products because of its major emollient qualities; it can help smooths and soften the cuticle creating a barrier to seal in moisture and protect curls from damage.
Coconut milk has a high-fat content, high protein content and is packed with vitamin C, E, and B vitamins to nourish hair from roots to ends. Coconut milk is brilliant for restoring thinning hair, split ends, and dry, damaged hair.
Coconut milk can also work as a conditioner and detangler while promoting hair growth. Coconut milk is even high in lauric acid, which penetrates the hair deeply and helps to strengthen the cuticle.
This makes it another brilliant ingredient for deep conditioning your hair as it penetrates the hair deeply and restores and nourishes the cuticle.
Jojoba oil can moisturize the scalp and can be used as a dandruff remedy. Jojoba oil is rich in vitamins and minerals which nourish hair. These vitamins include vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, and zinc.
It provides a protective coating over each strand which helps reduce frizz, lock in moisture and leave hair feeling soft, shiny, and tangle-free. It promotes curly elasticity, allowing curls to bounce back and prevent breakage during wet brushing.
It also promotes hair growth by stimulating the scalp; it is a natural emollient known the smooth the cuticle and strengthen hair strands, which helps promote healthy hair growth.
Jamaican black castor oil:
Jamaican black castor oil has some serious benefits on curly hair; it can promote hair growth, moisturize dry hair and strengthen thin hair. This prevents hair breakage and helps heal split ends.
It is mainly used to help thin curls as it helps strengthen the hair strand and promote healthy hair growth, so curls look thicker and much more defined. It even has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties making it ideal for problematic scalps.
Honey is another brilliant ingredient to look out for, especially for curly hair. Honey has both emollient and humectant properties, making it an excellent hair moisturizer.
Emollients help smooth the hair follicle and add shine to full hair, while humectants bond with water to add moisture and seal in moisture. Honey helps replenish moisture and helps fuse vitamins and minerals into our hair strands.
It also improves natural hair conditions by softening the hair cuticle, reducing frizz, and promoting the natural curl shape.
Aloe Vera Gel:
Aloe vera is especially beneficial for curly hair as it helps strengthen and protect the hair strand. Aloe vera is a natural humectant that works with the environment to draw moisture and keep hair hydrated.
It is known as a plant with many surprises.
Aloe vera has many active ingredients that work to strengthen your strands. It can even promote hair growth by stimulating the scalp and strengthening the ends. It penetrates deep into the hand strand to nourish and moisturize the cuticle.
It can also protect your hair from UV damage; aloe vera gel forms a seal over the cuticle, which can help protect it from UV and heat damage.
Avoid Non-Soluble Silicones:
Now let’s talk about the chemical ingredients that you will commonly find within the products themselves. Silicones are the top ingredient you should avoid in hair moisturizers for curly hair, but not all silicones are bad, and not all are created equal.
If you are following the Curly Girl Method, then you’ve probably heard that silicones are a complete no-no for curly hair, and while I do agree some silicones are really bad for all hair types, there are some benefits of some silicones.
For starters, water-soluble silicones actually help with hydration and moisture retention, and unlike their friend non-soluble silicones, they do not build up on the hair and will wash out with water or a light shampoo.
Many of the Olaplex range 4-8 are not CGM approved, but this doesn’t mean they cannot be used on curly hair; the ingredients contain lightweight silicones which wash out with water or a gentle shampoo– so you can benefit from Olaplex guilt-free.
So when buying moisturizers, make sure you buy from a reputable brand (not just any old brand from the drugstore) and look out for water-soluble silicones and check out my guide on everything you need to know about. Silicones for more information!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you moisturize low porosity hair?
For low porosity hair, it absorbs moisture into the cuticle because the cuticle lays flat. So the best way to moisturize low porosity curls is through applying penetrating oils, using a deep conditioning treatment with a steamer to help open the cuticle.
Those with low porosity curls should try to avoid coconut oil as it is quite a heavy oil, and instead of penetrating into the cuticle, it might just lay on top. Instead, switch to using a more penetrating oil like argan oil– it has a smaller molecular structure, making it perfect for lower porosity hair.
As for deep conditioning treatments, the products being absorbed are the only issue– moisture retention is much easier for this hair type. So by using a steaming cap while your deep conditioning treatments are on the hair should massively help with moisture absorption.
How often should you moisturize your curly hair?
You should aim to moisturize your hair every time you wash it, whether that is with a leave-in conditioner, pre-poo treatment, oils, or moisturizing shampoo. As for a deep conditioning moisturizer, you should be doing this 2-4 times a month.
This is because natural oils have a hard time reaching the ends of the hair because of the texture, so implementing moisturizing products into your everyday curly hair routine can massively help in keeping your curls luscious and hydrated.
You can apply moisturizing products to either wet or dry hair, depending on the product, but for the most moisture retention, I would recommend applying to damp or wet hair as it will take the moisture from the water and bond and seal within the hair for best results.
If you prefer more of a natural alternative I created some great DIY hair moisturizer recipes for you to check out!
So there you have it, the top moisturizers for curly hair. Whether you have tight curls or loose waves, and curly hair type can benefit from a moisturizing leave-in within your hair care routine to help control frizz and help keep curls defined.
Knowing how to care for your curls is super important for any curl type, and the key is hydration, moisture, as well as using the right products and technique for your curl shape and type. Give some of these moisturizers a go today!
Your curls deserve a bit of TLC, and moisture is the first step to achieving this. Work out which one is best for your hair type and hair porosity and give one of these moisturizers a go– you’ll be shocked by the results!
Every day should be a good hair day.
Cheif Editor & Nail Technician Expert
Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.