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Christina's Choice 2015: Best Curl Definers for Natural Hair

2:31 PM

Christina's Choice 2015: Best Curl Definers for Natural Hair

MAJOR KEY!!!!

Okay, maybe I've been watching too many DJ Khaled snaps, but this category has me soooo hype right now! You guys know I'm talented at nothing else but the wash and go, so curl definers are very near and dear to my heart.

But I wanna warn you -- there were some major switch-ups in 2015. Familiar faces disappeared (not in a bad way though), and I even found new ways to love the same product over and over again (lol). Although I'm going to go into detail about why I love each product individually, I wanted to share with you exactly what I look for in a curl definer -- so it can help you determine if these products would likely work for your hair. Here's the rundown:

1. My hair is a multi-textured beast. I don't have baby smoove 3c curls out the gate like the perfectly positioned selfie would suggest. The back half of my hair is somewhere between 3b and 3c (its wavy and loose when wet, and dries into legit ringlet wavy curls with minimal product and manipulation). The crown of my hair has yet to be captured by any chart I've ever seen -- there might be a curl deep down inside somewhere, but with the amount of frizz and shrinkage, the world will never know. The front/middle section is the most disrespectful of the bunch. Where the crown is absolutely not here for my shenanigans, my front/middle section is that friend who don't never listen. You told them to meet you at Starbucks at 7, and they show up to Coffee Bean at 4. Just all kinds of loud and wrong. When wet, my front/center hair looks all wavy and sleek, very similar to my back half. But let that sucka go 2 seconds without water or product and it's poof city. It frizzes and shrinks like nobody's business, and doesn't even really "curl" except for the ends. The vast majority of it is some deep wave that might have wanted to be a curl in life, but dropped out of school 3 semesters shy of the degree.

2. I'm a gel kind of girl. The thicker and heavier, the better. 2015 was not the year for botanical gels and curling creams (save for one). In particular, I love gels that contain the thickening agent carbomer -- because it tends to make for a heavier gel that laaaaaaaays the frizz. Plus, I've discovered that no matter the application technique, some botanical gels don't allow my curls to "open up" and become juicy, full-looking curls, and I'm absolutely not here for ramen noodle teas.

3. I LOVE protein. My curls are protein junkies, and have zero interest in rehab. In all my years of transitioning and natural-ness, I've NEVER experienced protein overload. My hair looks at jars and bottles like hey, hey, you...you got some protein? Knowing this, I seek out products with proteins and amino acids along every step of wash day. Curl definers are no exception. 3 out of the 4 products on this list contain a hydrolyzed protein, and the 4th has keratin and silk amino acids. Gotta give the curls what they want, right? GIVE THE CURLS WHAT THEY WANT!

Sorry, they took my keyboard hostage for a second. Now let's get on with my picks for best curl definers for natural hair. As you can see, the lineup has been condensed considerably:

Christina's Choice 2015: Best Curl Definers for Natural Hair

Eden BodyWorks Kids Berry Natural Smoothing Gel, 8oz/$8
What can I say about this gel that hasn't already been said in this review? As the first gel off the block for Eden (although word on the street is there's going to be an adult gel verrrrrrry soon), I just knew I had to try it out. I first encountered the Berry Natural Smoothing Gel at BeautyCon LA back in July 2015 while on assignment for my then-employer...#dontjudgeme. From that point on, it's been a love affair like none other. Why? It smells amazing, works flawlessly, and gives me curl slayage for the masses. Plus, you can layer it with other EBW products like the Coconut Shea Leave-In and Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme and not have white flakes and globs of white buildup. Where I come from (Washandgoville, USA), we call that a WIN.

Eden BodyWorks Kids Berry Natural Smoothing Gel Review

Obia Natural Hair Care Curl Enhancing Custard, 12oz/$20
Obia blew my mind back in 2013 when I did my first review as a transitioner. 2 and 1/2 years later, I'm still ordering 2-3 jars whenever a sale pops up. Some products just have staying power, and I mean that both ways. Not only is Obia's Curl Enhancing Custard pH balanced for maximum curl poppage, it delivers shine, definition, and softness without leaving curls stringy or dry.

Obia Natural Hair Review

Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel, Lifetime Supply/$10
Can we all agree that there are no surprises here? Two years in a row, Eco Styler has been at the top of my list, and rightfully so. Why? let's count the reasons:
1. It's incredibly affordable
2. It makes curls POP
3. You can get a lifetime supply for $10 or less
4. IT WORKS (#nowraps)

Are the ingredients all that? Not really. Is it pH balanced? Maybe. Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel is a super popping curl definer without all the pretentiousness. If you need a little more convincing, read on:

I'm in Love with Ecoco!
The $5 Wash & Go
How to Get the Perfect Wash & Go Curls

Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme, 16oz/$10
Did somebody say sleeper?! Yes! I've had an off and on relationship with Eden BodyWorks Curl Defining Creme over the years, but in 2015, the relationship came full circle. Although I'm a gel girl, I'm not too proud to shout out a cream that gets the job done (hi TIGI Curls Rock Amplifier, with yo' expensive self). For 2015, Eden BodyWorks had the cream (or creme, rather) that got the job done. It works great as a leave-in, moisturizer, and as a curl definer in it's own right. The secret to making your curls pop with this one? Smooth it on repeatedly over your strands. Although I will say, this product doesn't quite hold down my crown/front and center frizzy bits unless I do a mud rinse first. But never fear, pairing with ANY of the gels on this list works!

And the Deserted Island Award pick goes to.....

Christina's Choice 2015: Best Curl Definers for Natural Hair

Why: Oh come on, don't act all brand new now. If nothing else, you KNEW this was going to happen. Okay, maybe you didn't...because I love all of these curl definers SO much. But for price point, widespread availability, and the fact that I butchered a song for it, I HAD to select Eco Styler Argan Oil Gel. I know there's likely to be some Eco haters in the building (and that's okay), but for me, this gel was a winner.

By the way, 2016 is already shaping up to be really interesting year curl definer wise. Some new kids on the block that I'm feeling just *might* find themselves in this position at the end of the year.

What curl definers are winning with you into 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

That's it for Christina's Choice 2015! Thank you all for coming along for this ride two years in a row!!!

Check out all of the 2014 Christina's Choice winners here!
Keep up with the Christina's Choice 2015 winners here!  

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6 comments

  1. This was such an entertaining read. Everything you post about, I buy. I had to stop reading this to get my money back right LOL. So here I go again! <3

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  2. Have you tried Eco Styler's pink gel for curls and waves, Christina? As much as I also love the argan oil variation, I've come to love that one as well.

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  4. LOL! Your review had me chuckling the whole read.

    Thank you for the list!

    I decided to share just in case you will/would end up having the same experience I describe below.

    As of two days ago, I would have said that the best styler/gel I'd found so far is the Kinky Curly Curling Custard applied on very wet hair via the praying hands method after an application of Kinky Curly Knot Today. Holy grail? Not quite. But very good and the best results I'd had so far. However as of yesterday, she (KCCC) has been royally DETHRONED!

    What happened? Well, after washing and conditioning my hair yesterday, my new stylist used ONLY Uncle Funky’s Curl Stimulator on my hair. Whoah, now, now! UNBELIEVABLE results. Literally. As in I still don’t believe the results and I’m looking at my own hair right now. LOL.

    So, wow! I only THOUGHT I was getting it done with KCCC. Who knew?!?? Uncle Funky’s Curl Stimulator has my hair MOISTURIZED, ACTUALLY ELONGATED, SHINY, UBER DEFINED, LIGHT-FEELING, etc. Annnnnnnnd . . . I have achieved GORGEOUS second-day wash-and-go hair for the first time in my life with this product. Last night I put my hair in 6 puffy pony tails and slapped on a bonnet. Then this morning I reshaped my hair. THAT IS IT. Whaaaaaaat?!??? And I have been getting comments ALL DAY LONG on how gorgeous my hair looks. (For anyone wondering in case it helps you determine whether to trial it on your own hair: I have awkward-stage -length, 4a/b, hipo, dense, fine hair).

    I will EVER be grateful to KCCC for bringing me this far. <3 However, as of now, I won't be without the Curl Stimulator as long as they make it. The MOST compelling reason: My hair's soft hold is disallowing tangling and dryness. (Usually by the second day, I can FEEL my dry hair and feel and see the tangles getting their tangle on.) And if this lack of tangling makes my wash day go the way I think it's going to go . . . Oooooooooooo weeeeeeee . . . just . . . ooooooo!

    I think I might actually be falling in love with my natural hair despite this awkward-stage length and my missing the hang of my relaxed hair, and it really is Curl Stimulator's fault. :)

    Blessings, thank you again for the funny review, and take care!

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  5. For me the GKhair CurlsDefineHer rocks. Best for creating definable curls and waves wit h light hold while controlling the hair frizz and flyaways leaving a soft smooth finish. Simply tremendous. :) <3

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