Best Products For Curly Hair|UK|2017

How to get the absolute best out of your natural curls and UK product guide. 

Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017 pinnable graphic

This post has been a long time in the making. It’s taken years of experimentation to finally feel like I have control over my hair. My hair is wavy but not curly in that fetching Sarah Jessica Parker way, more like some wool that that the cat played with then sat on. For many years I just wore a bun or for special occasions I would straighten the life out of my curls. Not any more, I’ve figured out how to make my curly hair a lovely feature. With bouncy textured hair being so fashionable, now is the time to embrace your inner curly girl.

*This post is updated 

Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017- Curly brown hair
Best Products in the UK For Curly Hair

How to make the most of your natural curl- The Techniques

Even if you just have a bit of a wave these tips will definitely work to bring out the best in your hair. So I’ve taken all of my inspiration from The Curly Girl Method. Check out the site, there’s a lot of information to take in. (Just for those in the know, my hair is thick and coarse with a 2c curl pattern).I used the principles for a few months and didn’t notice any improvements so after tweaking the products and techniques I’ve figured out precisely what to do to get shiny defined curls and it really only takes minutes-

  1. Chuck these products– anything that contains Sodium Laureth Sulphate, silicone, alcohol. This isn’t easy. I’ve spent hours in Sainsbury’s poring over labels. Most of the Curly Girl information is aimed at Americans so I’ve had to figure things out myself largely. It involved googling lots of chemicals. The next chapter of this post contains a list of all the curl safe products that you can easily find in the UK.
  2. Only wash your hair when needs be- The longer you leave your hair between shampooing, the better. Of course you may shower every day and get your hair wet, but resist temptation to lather up on the daily. Use conditioner instead. I have two conditioners in my shower and one sulphate free shampoo. One deep conditioner for days I need to shampoo and a lighter daily conditioner. This conditioner only technique is called co-wash, you basically wash your hair with conditioner.
  3. Don’t brush– I haven’t brushed my hair in months. I comb the conditioner through my hair with my fingers to get rid of knots, but that’s it.
  4. Rinse– This is where I made my tweaks that really took my curls to the next level. When you’re done in the shower and your hair is still full of conditioner step aside, turn the shower to cold and rinse your hair with your head tipped upside down. Then turn the shower off squeeze some of the water out and don’t move…
  5. Product– I’ve found my holy grail product that has just the right amount of hold (see below) and it lives in the shower. With my hair sopping wet and my head still upside down I grab a small blob and scrunch it into my wet wet hair, at the same time squeezing water out.
  6. Don’t use a towel, for the love of god– Towel drying curly hair is not a great idea, it fluffs it right up. You’re best off plopping or using a microfibre hair turban. (I use this one from Soap and Glory, it’s generous in size, soft and coats £8)
    Soap and Glory Hair Turban
    Soap and Glory Hair Turban
    The curls must be left to dry naturally without disturbing them in any way. If you you live in a warm country this is no problem. I don’t happen to live in a warm country but I just do my hair thing as early as physically possible and let nature take its course. I’m on the hunt for some sort of magic hairdryer that doesn’t bugger up my curls.

Basically curly hair is like a special snowflake and if you fuss with it, it’ll throw its toys out of the pram and ruin your day. All my hair styling goes on in the shower and after that I just touch wood and hope for the best.

Like I said, there is wealth of resources for American curlies, but it’s harder to find product information elsewhere. So you have to get wise to product labels. The phrase “natural ingredients” means nothing. Choosing products that make the most of curly hair is surprisingly difficult. Cosmetics companies make claims about products making hair bouncy and shiny but unfortunately these are lies and most hair products contain ingredients that are likely to make wavy and curly hair frizzy.

Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Curly Hair-

Sulphates (seen on ingredients labels as Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate) strip hair of its natural oils and dry it out. It will also strip colour from hair, so if you dye your hair, going sulphate free is a good idea. Sulphates will dry the scalp, so cutting them out will help with persistent irritation.

Silicones are added to hair products because they give products a pleasant slippery feeling, but (especially if you only use Sulphate free shampoo) they will build up on the hair cuticles and weigh hair down.
Waxes and non natural oils such as mineral oil, petrolatum and beeswax should be avoided.

Alcohols, like isopropyl alcohol, can be very drying and are best avoided, apart from some moisturising alcohols like cetearyl alcohol.

A full list of good and bad ingredients can be found on BritishCurlies.co.uk, it’s best to check this list if you’re not sure.

How to Make the Most of Your Natural Curl- Product Recommendations

Sulphate Free Shampoo from UK Supermarkets

Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017- selection of hair products
Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017
These are few and far between. For example The Tresémme Naturals and Botanique range looks promising, the conditioner is silicone free but the shampoo contains sulphates. The only sulphate free silicone free shampoos that I could find in UK supermarkets are these-

  • Johnson’s Top to Toe Baby Bath 500mls £2.99
  • Good Bubble Shampoo £3.50 for 250mls from Sainsbury’s 

I will update if I ever I come across suitable SLS free shampoos in the supermarket. It’s far easier to find Sulphate free products online and in drugstores like Boots and Superdrug.

Sulphate and Silicone Free Conditioner from UK Supermarkets

It is easier by far to find Curly Girl safe Conditioner than shampoo at the supermarket.

  • TRESemmé Perfectly Undone Weightless Silicone-Free Conditioner 500ml £5.49
  • Tesco Own Brand Provitamin Conditioner 300ml 90p Bargain!
  • Garnier Ultimate Blends Sleek Restorer Conditioner 400ml £4.49
  • L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Conditioner 400ml £4.49 (not CG friendly- contains isopropyl alcohol, but no silicone)
  • Schwarzkopf Gliss Ultimate Volume Conditioner 200ml £2.13
  • Herbal Essences Conditioner Clearly Naked (0%) Shine 400ml £3
  • Faith in Nature Conditioner £9.99 from Ocado, Oxfam and some Tesco’s 
  • Carino Tea Tree and Coconut Conditioner 49p from Aldi

Curly Girl Friendly Hair Styling Products From UK Supermarkets

  • Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly £7 for 200ml- This is a styling product, you might find it in the larger Tescos.
  • Wilkinson’s Own Brand Extra Hold Gel 80p for 500mls
  • Wilkinson’s Own Brand Firm and Extra Firm Hold Mousse £1 for 300mls
  • Wella Shockwave Volume Mousse (this one specifically)£2.50 for 200mls
  • Tesco Extreme and Everyday Styling Gel- 55p for 300mls
  • Pantene Pro V Natural and Medium Definition Curl Mousse– £2.95 for 200 mls
  • L’Oreal Kids Super Pear Tangle Tamer– £2 for 150mls

Sulphate and Silicone Free Free Haircare from UK Drugstores

Take your search a bit wider and there are a plethora of choices.

  • Kind Natured– Available from Boots. Kind Natured contains no sulphates, no silicone, no parabens, no petrochemicals across their range. It’s also very affordable at around £5 a piece. A good solid CG friendly choice.
  • Professor Scrubbington Magically Foaming Shampoo and Conditioner £3.99– All natural and totally affordable shampoo from Boots.
  • Shea Moisture– A wide range of curl friendly products with a slightly bigger price tag- about £11 for a shampoo. Available from Boots
  • Cantu– A mid range brand based on Shea Butter for all sort of curls and kinks, from Superdrug
  • Boots Botanics 0% Sulphate range– £3.99 shampoo and conditioners exclusively from Boots
  • Maui Moisture– Silicone and Sulphate free hair care for all hair types, £8.99 each. Available from Boots
  • Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo and Conditioner– Haircare from the well known creater of the all natural Hot Cloth Polish, a bit pricey at £12, check it out at Boots.
  • Soap and Glory Shampoo £5.50 from Boots exclusively.
  • Noughty– Shampoos and conditioner range that’s entirely free from nasties, from Superdrug, costing around the £7 mark.
  • Yes to… Haircare– award winning shampoo and conditioner with natural ingredients from Boots
  • Twisted Sista– Affordable range of styling products designed for curl- £5.49 each from Superdrug (some of this range is not CG friendly, check ingredients)
  • Faith in Nature– Sulphate and Silicone Free conditioners costing £9.99. From Superdrug
  • Boots Curl Crème– Previously reviewed by moi, this is a little wonder with a cult following. £1.99 (!!) for a big old tub, it’s perfect for defying curls, but it doesn’t offer long term moisturisation. Read my review here Update- I have it on good information that Curl Crème is not truly CG friendly due to the amount of isopropyl alcohol in it, so it could be drying with prolonged use)

Another good place for suitable products for curly hair is pound shops and bargain shops like B&M. Check out-

  • Provoke Touch of Silver Colour Care Conditioner around 99p
  • Argan Oil Conditioner around 99p
  • XHC Shimmer of Silver Conditioner £2.19 ish for 200mls
  • Inecto Pure Coconut Oil Conditioner around 99p for 500mls

Sulphate and Silicone Free Haircare Online Finds

A couple of random things that I’ve come across and liked that fit the curly bill.

Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017- selection of different hair products
Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017
  • Bouclème– A British haircare company with cute packaging and curl friendly principles. Price point- £19 for 300mls from Bouclème
  • Rahua– Super expensive (£38 for a conditioner) haircare from the rainforest, for when you fancy a treat. Rahua Is pronounced Ra-Wa.
  • Hair is Fabric from Deciem– Here’s a review I did recently on HIF. It’s a broad range of Cleansing conditioners costing around £30 a tube.

My current product line up is Kind Natured Shampoo once or twice a week. I use the Rahua conditioner on the days I shampoo for extra moisture, and the Shea Moisture Weightless Crème Rinse every other day. My styling product of choice is the Cantu Shine and Define Custard, it gives the perfect amount of hold.

Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017- 4 bottles of hair products- 2conditoners 1 cantu styling product and kind Natured shampoo
Best Products For Curly Hair UK 2017- my current faves

I hope I have given you some useful inspiration. If you have any movement in your hair then the Curly Girl Method is worth researching. If you don’t have a natural wave but find your hair gets frizzy, or your scalp is dry going Sulphate free might be extremely beneficial. It’s been surprisingly difficult compiling this list, I’ve gone half mad reading ingredients lists.

For more information and UK curly chat check out the Curly Girl UK Facebook group. For a full list of taboo ingredients check this Wikihow.

If you have any great product tips for managing curly hair in the UK, please let me know in comments.

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Ali says:

    Great post! I’m like a CG detective – the CG ingredient list is on my mobile at all times lol. I have found some real bargains in TK Maxx, with huge salon-size bottles of conditioner for a couple of quid. Shampoo bargains are harder to find.
    Be careful to check labels with the Yes to, Cantu and Palmers ranges. Not all products are CG. My miracle product is KY Jelly, if I can’t find boots curl gel. (The boots own lube is good too.) I check the superdrug and boots sites every week. One or the other will have offers on cg products. I love shea moisture, but is soooo pricey, so I only buy it in offer. The choice of different products is always better online than in store, and you can get free home delivery with superdrug if you are a beauty club member 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome tips, thanks Ali x

      Like

  2. onlymevictoria says:

    My hair gets super knotty. I brush my dry hair thoroughly on hair wash before I hop in the shower : is this bad for my waves though?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a very useful post- thank you! I have curly hair and REALLY struggle with how to keep it more curly than frizzy. I had never thought into the ingredients in the products I was using but I definitely will check now to stay away from sulphates and silicons! I made a post recently on some of the ways I’ve found helpful if you want to compare curly-haired notes 🙂

    Like

    1. Particularly the sulphates, they totally fluff up the hair. Thanks for the comment, I’ll go check out your blog now 😃

      Like

  4. Tara says:

    Hi

    Thanks for this its a great help, I’ve been trying to follow the CGM but found everything so confusing and US based. Could I ask what you routine is on the days that you don’t wash?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aha! My routine is ever evolving. At the minute I just use either just water or the Shea Moisture Weightless Coconut Conditioner as a rinse then rinse with cold water with my head upside down then squish in a tiny bit of the same stuff. It’s a great product, really light xx

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      1. Tara says:

        Any tips for the final wash, I have some Liz Earle shampoo can I use that?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The last wash you do is meant to have sulphates in to clear out all the silicones (I think Liz Earle is sulphate Free). I bet it won’t make a huge difference if that’s all you have. Good luck 😉

        Like

  5. Thank god this finally exists!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Linzi perriman says:

    Brilliant article Nia, so helpful thank you! Can’t wait to give this method a go. Do you ever straighten your hair now?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No never. It takes so long I ain’t got time for it. I sometimes use curling tongs to neaten it out xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great blog. You mention in Step 5 your holy grail product that you scrunch into your soaking wet hair after the cold rinse could you please tell me what this product is please as there are so many listed. Thank you . Looking forward to giving this a go after spending £££ over the years on products that claim to define curls !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I use cantu curl custard. Or just a bit of the Shea Moisture Weightless conditioner. The key is to rinse your hair with cold water then scrunch product in while it’s still soaking- I have my product in the shower. Then don’t fuss with the curl. Hope that helps xx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you. I am trying to get hold of the cantu custard but bought botanicals sulphate free shampoo and conditioner , when I just used the conditioner my hair lacked shine but using the shampoo and conditioner and cold rinse worked great together with wrapping hair in t shirt – what a difference. Do you put any spray or anything on when finished to hold the curls? I’m truing to get more than a day out of the curl! Just seems to be fluffy next day ! Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I honestly have to re wet my hair to get a second day. I have been using Shea Moisture Weightless coconut styling spray but it’s not perfect. Apparently a silk pillowcase really helps x

      Liked by 1 person

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