How To Choose The Right Curly Hair Products

When it comes to choosing curly hair products, it can be incredibly overwhelming. There are so many products on the market claiming to be “curl friendly” when many of them can be incredibly destructive to your curls. Today I am going to share a 4 step method that I developed on How To Choose The Right Curly Hair Products.

Having curls my whole life, I have spent hundreds of dollars on curly hair products. And it can be so discouraging investing in products that don’t work or even worse damage your curls. 

So I developed a 4-step system for choosing the right curly hair products and I compiled it into a downloadable file as a quick guide to help you make an informed decision when purchasing products.

You can print this download or save it to your phone as a quick reference. 

Click here to get the 4-step cheat sheet for choosing products

Product Guide

When it comes to choosing products, it comes down to 4 important steps.

If you take the time to truly understand each step, you will be able to be confident when it comes to choosing curly hair products. 

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This 4-step system can be summarized as P.T.D.L which stands for porosity, texture, density, and labels. 

Each of these steps plays an important role when it comes to choosing products. 

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How To Choose The Right Curly Hair Products

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning that If you purchase through clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Know Your Hair 

The first and most important part of choosing the right hair products is knowing you curls. That’s why you should take a curl assessment to know the exact condition of your curls.

Ask yourself questions like…..

Is my hair long, short, damaged, colored, coarse, or fine? What is the curl type? What is my hair porosity? Click here to find your curly type.

Here is an example of questions you should ask during your curl assessment.

Curl Assessment

When it comes to knowing your hair, it comes down to three main categories. 

Porosity – how your hair absorbs the product

Texture – is it coarse or fine?

Density – how much hair per square inch?

Note: To know exactly what your hair needs, it takes testing and experimenting.

Because every curl is different and reacts differently to products. I always recommend keeping a detailed log of everything that works and everything that doesn’t work for your curls. 

You can see my custom curl tracker here. 

Curl Tracker

P Is For – Porosity

Porosity is defined by how well your hair can absorb and hold moisture. It is affected by the outer layer of your hair called the cuticle. This determines how easily moisture, water, and oils pass in and out of your hair.

If you are not sure what your hair porosity is, you can visit this post and do a quick test to find out. Then come back to this post to fully understand how to choose products. 

Porosity has to do with your natural hair but damage also plays a role.

The more damage you have, the higher your hair porosity. Because that damage breaks down your hair cuticle which makes it harder to hold in moisture. Make sense?

A few things to keep in mind when it comes to hair porosity are….

  • Is your hair processed?
  • Is your hair heat damaged?
  • What is the length of your hair? Long hair tends to be low porosity because it’s been handled more which can cause more damage
  • If you have coarse or low porosity hair, products with high protein will not have long term effects. You can use them for a while to repair any damage, but at some point, they will stop working.
  • Be aware that it is possible to add too much protein. If this happens, use a clarifying wash to reset the ph level of your curls. Then choose a protein-free shampoo and conditioner and lay off the protein for a little while. 

A good rule of thumb for high and low porosity is: High porosity hair needs protein and low porosity can do without protein.

Of course, this is a generalization and varies from person to person. 

The reason low porosity hair typically loves protein is that it adds structure to the hair follicle that has been broken down by damage or just naturally lacking. 

Once you’ve determined your hair porosity, it’s time to move on to the next step in the product choosing process which is finding the texture of your hair.

>>>>>>>Click here to get the 4-step cheat sheet for choosing products

T Is For – Texture:

Hair texture is defined as the measure of the circumference of the hair strand itself. Hair textures can be classified as being “coarse”, “fine”, or “medium”. 

Coarse hair can feel thick and bumpy because it’s rich in keratin (80-85% of your hair is made up of a protein called keratin). If you have coarse hair it means your hair is rich in keratin. 

If you have very coarse hair, you may not need to add any protein at all. 

A naturally fine hair strand is thin and can be hard to feel and see. Thin hair is not rich in protein and will need protein-rich products and maybe even protein treatments.

If your hair is middle-range you can go either way. Your hair may or may not like protein-rich products. 

Once you have determined your hair texture, it’s time to move on to the next step in the process. Identifying the density of your hair. 

D Is For – Density

The density of your hair refers to the number of strands you have on your head. The more strands you have, the higher your density is; the fewer the number of strands, the lower your density. 

One way to determine the density of your hair is to wash your hair and let it dry naturally without any products. 

Once your hair is completely dry, stand in front of a mirror. If you can easily see your scalp without parting your hair, you probably have low-density hair.

If you can only see your scalp in a few small places, you have medium density and if you struggle to see your scalp at all, you have high-density hair. 

When you have determined your hair density, it’s time to move on to the next step in the process. Reading the labels on your curly hair products……

How To Read Labels On Curly Hair Products

The first thing you want to look for is any toxic ingredients. This can be tricky because some of these ingredients are hard to identify. But there are a few main ingredients to avoid which are listed below.

Ingredients to avoid: 

  • Sulfates – These strip natural oil and moisture from our hair making it dry and brittle.
  • Silicones – Over time this coats your hair and can be damaging.
  • Parabens – While parabens allow products to last super long, they can also enter your body through your scalp. Not to mention that parabens can cause curly hair to dry out and frizz.

How to identify protein on labels: 

When it comes to identifying protein on products, the top things to look for are wheat, corn, soy, and oat. Anything including those words contains large molecule protein. 

Don’t trust products just because they say “for curly hair”. Many of them still have damaging ingredients. 

High Protein Products 

Keep in mind that the products that will make the biggest difference on your hair are those that you leave-in. Products like shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner don’t stay on your hair long and won’t impact it as much. 

So when it comes to adding protein, the biggest difference will be made with leave-in conditioner, curl cream, and gel. 

If your hair does well with protein, you’ll want to check the label of your products and look for things like oat, quinoa, soy, wheat, or corn. This will make the biggest difference in your curls.

High Protein Styling Products:

Bounce curl light cream-gel & clump and define  

Bounce curl cream-gel and curling cream are two of my favorite products for sure. They are lightweight, add the perfect amount of moisture, and give my curls enough protein to hold its curl pattern in. I love both of these products.

Devacurl Light defining gel

Deva products tend to do well for curly girls new on their journey because many Deva products are packed full of protein. 

Ouidad climate control heat and humidity gel

This gel is packed full of protein and designed to combat frizz caused by humidity.

Protein Free Products

If your hair is low porosity and/or course, you won’t need as much protein. Be aware that using too much protein can be a problem as well. When you add too much protein to your hair it can cause it to become stringy and crunchy. 

The best way to recover from a protein overload is to clarify and lay off products with protein for a few washes.

As always, It’s important to test and experiment with products to find out what works best for your hair.

I always recommend using a tracking system to know exactly what your hair needs. Check out my custom curl tracker here

Protein Free Styling Products:

Jessicurl gelebration spray 

Jessicurl has multiple products that are protein and glycerine free. I love this spray because it’d be perfect for a refresh. 

Jessicurl spiralicious 

This is a great protein-free styling gel. It’s light so it won’t weigh your hair down.

Boucleme Curl Defining Gel 

Bouncleme also has some great protein-free products.

Jessicurl deep conditioner 

This is my favorite deep conditioning treatment when I am avoiding protein and glycerin. 

Medium Porosity And Texture 

If your hair falls somewhere in the middle as far as texture and porosity are concerned, you can usually go either way. 

As always with curly hair, there is a level of experimentation. Just because your hair falls into one of these categories doesn’t necessarily mean a specific product will work. 

Be sure to track and document how your hair reacts to products to find the perfect fit. 

My favorite curly hair product line

Note: My curly hair product recommendation list is continually updated since I am always testing new product lines. 

My latest curly hair product fav is a line called EVOLVh

EVOLVh is a high-end curly hair product line that that is committed to formulating innovative products that heal your hair from the inside out. 

Many companies fill their products will harmful ingredients that act as a band-aide for your hair but don’t deal with the root issue. Long term, this causes your curls to become dependent on harsh ingredients.

EVOLVh’s products are created with clean ingredients that are friendly to the environment. Their goal is function and performance. 

A couple of things I love about EVOLVh

  • The products have a light pleasant smell – Strong smells in products give me a headache after a while
  • Formulated with clean ingredients – It’s a great way to swap out your toxic hair care line with a clean toxic free line
  • The products last a long time – A little bit goes a long way 
  • Free from: Sulfates, gluten, parabens, propylene glycol, silicones, phthalates
  • Hydrates, without weighing down – It’s the perfect amount of moisture for my 3a curls 
  • Medium hold – I love the super defining cream because it offers the perfect amount of hold. 

I use and highly recommend EVOLVh. You can check out my full EVOLVh product review here.

>>>>>>Click here to shop EVOLVh products (use code COLLEEN for 15% off)

In Conclusion: 

When it comes to choosing the right curly hair products, implement the P.T.D.L 4-step system.

Take the time to learn about your hair by identifying the porosity, texture, and density, and learn to read labels so you know exactly what you’re putting in your hair and how your hair it reacts to it.

….and always, keep detailed track of your curly journey so you will be able to know exactly what works and what doesn’t for your hair. Get your customer curl tracker here.



P.S Click here to get the 4-step cheat sheet for choosing products.

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How To Choose The Right Curly Hair Products

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