Product Reviews: Five Drugstore Products for Curly Hair


As I’ve mentioned before, I have wavy-curly hair that can be tricky to manage. It’s a mix of 2C and 3A, if you’re familiar with that curly-hair typology, with the curlier layers on top and the looser ones underneath. It tends toward dryness and frizz, with an ever-growing number of gray hairs.

I’m very fond of fancy curly-hair products, but I also have some drugstore favorites. Here’s a rundown of five very affordable ones I’ve been using this summer.


V05 Tea Therapy Clarifying Conditioner (Vanilla Mint Tea): Sometimes I just can’t splash out on a bottle of DevaCurl No-Poo or Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream, so I’m glad that a curly-haired acquaintance recommended cheapie brand V05 to me. V05’s conditioners are silicone-free and contain the same key ingredients as high-end “co-wash” products (like cetrimonium or behentrimonium chloride). Used as a cleanser, this one smells lifts everyday grime off my hair without stripping it of its natural oils, and smells pretty good, too. (about $1)


L’Oréal EverCurl Sculpt & Hold Cream Gel: This is one of those gel-cream hybrids with two formulas swirled together like DNA, and I like it for high-humidity weather. It does contain a small amount of dimethicone as well as polymers and humectants. I find that it tames my hair well on days when I need to control my volume a bit. It has a light coconut scent. (about $7)

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L’Oréal Advanced Hairstyle Curve It Elastic Curl Mousse: My hairstylist uses products from a very expensive brand that’s owned by L’Oréal. However, I’m not convinced that its products are actually superior to L’Oréal’s other offerings. Here’s another low-price alternative from L’Oréal’s drugstore brand: a non-crunchy, non-sticky mousse that boosts and defines curls. (about $6)

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Suave Luxe Style Infusion Soft & Defined Curls Gel Serum: I’m using this sleek styling liquid as an alternative to an expensive ($38) product that my stylist has tried on me in recent visits. It’s another good humid-day product that seems to form a shield around each curl. It even adds some shine. I don’t love its faux-fancy “fruitchouli” smell, but at this price I can afford to ignore it.  (about $6)

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Tresemmé Expert Selection Perfectly Undone Wave Creation Sea Foam: I use this airy foam on lower-humidity days when I don’t want to weigh down my waves. It’s released through a pump dispenser, and two or two-and-a-half pumps is enough for my almost-shoulder-length hair. It adds texture and curl formation without adding weight or residue. (about $8)

How about you? Have you recently come across any bargain haircare that makes you just as happy as salon brands?

Image: 1920 shampoo ad via Vintage Ad Browser.


3 thoughts on “Product Reviews: Five Drugstore Products for Curly Hair

  1. I have crazy-difficult frizzy-curly hair, and while I wouldn’t quite call it “cheap,” my drugstore love is Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner. I use it as a leave-in and it makes my hair soft, manageable and actually does a good job of keeping the curls together (though I still use mousse on top of it if I’m going out in public). The smell is sweet and coconutty, but I actually really like it’s smooth creamy scent. Plus, unlike some conditioners I’ve tried using as leave-ins, the smell doesn’t seem “dirty” the next day if I don’t shampoo again.

    I’ll have to check out some of these other products. Drugstore hair products are some of my favorite everyday treats, and goodness knows I spend enough money on them!

  2. I too have a mix of 2c on top and 3a underneath maybe tighter, are all these products followed by diffusing?

    1. Hi Lydia! Most days I just lightly scrunch, then leave things in place and let my hair air dry on my way to work. In cold weather or when I have more time, I use a diffuser. Thanks, and hope this helps!

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