Staple Products for Frizz-Free Curls


Products to control frizz in hot, humid weather
Results from styling with Giovanni and Ouidad products

Since I’ve been letting my hair grow out from a pixie, I’ve had to relearn my curls. They behave completely differently than they did when I had long hair. I’ve learned I cannot use all the same products I did back then. May hair used to LOVE curl creams – thick, butter-based creams that provide moisture and hold. Now, these types of products are  too heavy for my shorter hair.

Lately I’ve been relying on water-based leave-ins and lightweight gels that don’t weigh my hair down. I’ve also had the compound challenge of finding products that control frizz in hot, humid conditions. Here are the two styling products that have gotten me through six months of hair growth and a sweltering summer in New Orleans:


Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me mention Giovanni’s Direct Leave-In several times. I used this conditioner when I had long hair for braid-outs, or when I didn’t care much about definition, but it has been a lifesaver for my short curls. My hair requires some type of moisture under a gel, but I can’t use anything too heavy. I’ve also noticed that in very humid conditions, products with a high glycerin content give me lots of frizz. Giovanni’s Direct Leave-in is glycerin-free, silicone-free, and extremely lightweight. I cannot use it alone as a styling product, but it’s exactly the dose of moisture I need before styling. I apply it to soaking wet hair while still in the shower, then blot excess product with a cotton t-shirt.

Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel

I recommend this gel to everyone I know looking to control frizz in a hot, humid climate. It works!  Ouidad’s Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel has a thin, watery consistency and is extremely emollient – it literally glides over my hair as I’m applying it. I like my hair big and bouncy, and this gel gives it to me without frizz. As expected with any gel, my hair does dry in a cast, but it scrunches out easily and leaves my hair with lots of movement and body. This gel is a Curl on a Mission award-winner, for sure.

Here’s a video of my hair after I styled with these two products. I get consistent results each time I use them together!

These were my go-to products this summer to maintain volume and fight frizz. Now that my hair is growing and the air is cooling ahead of winter, maintaining volume is becoming even more difficult. I’ve started looking into products especially for this purpose, so stay tuned for what works.

Do your products change with the seasons? Let me know below!


My Current Curly Hair Staples…and Why

Curly Hair Staples
Sorry some of these bottles look a little funky; I use them all the time!

Let me start by saying that I don’t consider myself a “product junkie.” I’m not even sure what the definition of a product junkie is, but I imagine it to be someone to buys new products before their old ones run out. As more women embrace their natural curls, more cosmetic companies are creating products specially formulated for textured hair, and let’s face it – it’s tempting. But it’s also expensive, so I try very hard to use up what I have before trying new things. There are, however, a few products I’ve grown to love over the last year, and I buy them again and again.

Coconut Oil
If I had to throw out everything in my cabinet except one hair product, this would be the one left standing. There is ALWAYS coconut oil in my hair. There always HAS been coconut oil in my hair. My mother has been using this on my hair since I can remember. Lately, I prefer unrefined virgin coconut oil. It’s pure, lightweight, and has all kinds of nourishing ingredients.  Applied wet or dry, my hair soaks it right up, resulting in moisturized, smooth, shiny locks. I also use it for my hot oil treatments and as a serum to eliminate frizz.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
I haven’t used a sulfate shampoo in months, except occasionally when I need one to break down heavy silicones or oils in my hair. Shampoo is very important to me. I’ve tried shampoos that strip my hair of so much moisture that it literally feels like straw while wet. I’ve also tried co-washing with an inexpensive conditioner like Suave naturals, but the oils built up and my hair got very heavy. I’ve also used “moisturizing” shampoos that leave a thick coating of something on my hair. Yuck. Shea Moisture’s shampoo is all natural with healthy ingredients like shea butter (obviously), coconut oil, silk protein and neem oil. It lathers on my scalp, which I do like, but it doesn’t strip my hair at all. My hair feels so moisturized after using this shampoo I could almost detangle it.

TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
As all curly girls know, conditioner is right up there with water in terms of moisturizers we can’t live without. Also as we know, we can run through three bottles of conditioner before we finish one bottle of shampoo. So at about $5 a pop, this conditioner has been my best bet. It’s silicone-free with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and avocado, and it has incredible slip for detangling. I’ve noticed TRESemmé changed the formula recently, and I actually prefer the old one (it was a bit thicker), but the new one still works wonderfully.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie
The Shea Moisture development team really hit the nail on the head when they made this product. Like all their products, it’s free of parabens, sulfates and mineral oil, it’s thick, super-moisturizing, and a little goes a very long way. I rake this through my hair to coat all the strands and define my curls, it leaves my hair so soft, and it smells amazing. I mainly use this product for my wash-and-gos.

Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner
I’d heard so much about this leave-in that I broke my rule and bought it before I ran out of my Curl Enhancing Smoothie. And I’m glad I did! Like the bottle claims, this is a very light-weight conditioner that still delivers moisture with ingredients like aloe vera juice and sunflower seed oil. I’ve been using this product whenever I do my french braid-out, since it dries quickly and doesn’t leave my hair heavy when I take out the braids. I do use a bit of coconut oil over this product to tame the bit of frizz it leaves.

L’Oréal EverStyle Curl Defining Gel
Gel, oh gel. I have such a tenuous relationship with thee. OK, I know that gel makes my hair super defined and frizz free, but I cannot STAND how it feels once it dries. So I don’t buy or use much of it. During one of my 20-minute visits to the hair section at Tar-jay, I saw this and thought I’d give it a try. It’s alcohol-free, but what really convinced me is that it contains orange peel oil, and my hair loves a good, lightweight oil. Lo and behold, it wasn’t bad! I use it very sparingly, just a light coating over the crown of my hair while it’s still wet, and it dries crunch-free and fights the frizz. For a gel, I give it a thumbs-up.

diffused curly hairThis is it – what I use in my hair every time I wash it, and so far they’re doing a great job. Of course, there are a TON of products I want to try, but I guess we’ll have to wait until I run out of something!


Review of Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque

Before and after images using Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque
Before and After Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque

I’ve been dying to try Shea Moisture‘s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque. I’m a big fan of their products I’ve tried so far – the Curl & Shine Shampoo and the ever-popular Curl Enhancing Smoothie. The folks there really seem to understand a head of curls (mine anyway).

Shea Moisture Deep Treatment MasqueThe Deep Treatment Masque has all kinds of naturally nourishing ingredients: sea kelp to smooth the hair cuticle, argan oil for shine and elasticity, and shea butter for deep moisture. As with all of Shea Moisture’s products, there are no sulfates, parabens, mineral oil or synthetic fragrance. This stuff is good for your hair!

I’ve heard such great things about this product that I really wanted to put it to the test (evil laugh). In the last week, I’d gone swimming three times in a chlorinated pool, and this Saturday, hubby and I spent the day on Tybee Island. That means my already-dry-from-the-pool hair was exposed to hours of salt water and burning sun. Sounded like a good time for a deep conditioner!

Shea Moisture deep conditioning treatment with hair in four buns
Clearly I wasn’t concerned with straight parts or neat buns.

I applied the masque to freshly washed and conditioned hair by separating my hair into four sections and raking a dollup of product through each. I then twisted each section into a bun, put on a plastic cap, and went to bed. The next morning I rinsed out the product completely, moisturized with Giovanni Direct Leave-In, added a bit of coconut oil and gel to the ends, and let air dry.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the results, though I wasn’t blown away (I think I was hoping for a total hair transformation). My hair still felt a bit dry, but nothing compared to the way it felt before the masque, so that was good. I do think that if I used this masque consistently for a few weeks, it would definitely improve my dry areas. My hair was shiny and the curls were more defined. I’ll definitely use this product again, though next time I think I’ll try it with a heating cap.

Has anyone tried this product consistently for a couple of weeks? Did you see improvement over time?