The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

What Are the Best Budget-Friendly Hair Care Products for Curly Hair?

Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm straightens hair without harsh chemicals. ($26 for 3.3 oz at

I have naturally wavy hair so it takes a bit of work for me to make it look good curly (and even more work to make it straight!). The gels and mousses I've been using from the drugstore are either too light and leave my curls frizzy and fluffy, or they're too hardcore and leave my curls crunchy and stiff-looking. Do you have any budget-friendly recommendations for a product that will leave my curls defined but still looking natural? Thanks! —BK

I'm a fan of all the Sunsilk products because they're cheap and work well (read our review here). If I want to splurge, I'll get Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm ($26 for 3.3 oz at, which was recommended to me by a shi-shi hair stylist years ago. A little goes a long way!

As for curls, I'm no expert as my hair is fine, slightly wavy and prone-to-frizz in the summer, but not curly. Funny, I always wanted curly hair. But I digress: L'Oreal has two new products that I've heard are good, Glossy Curls Mousse and Glossy Curls Spray Gel. Maybe you've seen the ads with Penelope Cruz?

Now I'll open the convo up to my amazingly knowledgeable readers: What hair care products would you recommend to boost BK's curls and tame the wave?

For nice, frizz-free curls, I rely on Bumble and Bumble's Curl Conscious Defining Cream. It's my savior!
#1 Cupcakes and Cashmere (Homepage) on 2009-04-27 11:20 (Reply)
I have curly hair, and after many trials, my favorite is Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer - $18 for a big ol' tube of it.
#2 Juli on 2009-04-27 11:39 (Reply)
Hi there,

I have curly hair that will go super limp if I don't use the right products. For a while I used Bumble and Bumble's curl line and had really good results. Because the cost was so high for the three products (shampoo, condidtion, and curl cream) I started looking for other options. One night at Target I decided to try Aussie (in the purple bottle). The bottle doesn't say curl I think it says waves. I have just been using this now for about two months and my hair has never held curl the way it does now. I just use the shampoo and conditioner and some left over styling cream from another line (not a curl specific product) and I get FAB results. The Aussie products run about 4 dollars each.
#3 Heather on 2009-04-27 11:48 (Reply)
I'm loving my Garnier Fructis Curl Construct mousse ... a little dab will do ya.
#4 Sal (Homepage) on 2009-04-27 12:05 (Reply)
Best produce I've used for curly hair is Sunsilk's Waves of Envy. It's under $4 and endorsed by Harper's Bazaar which will elicit no complaints from me!
#5 VP (Homepage) on 2009-04-27 12:12 (Reply)
Started using Sebastian's Molding Mud. It works great on my wavy/curly hair. Doesn't leave my hair crunchy, defines the curls and I get lots of complements on my hair now. I use to straighten all the time cause I hated the frizz, but now I wear it curly all the time.
#6 Ana on 2009-04-27 14:10 (Reply)
Well, I have extremely curly hair, and have found that different products work for different people. At the moment, I apply garnier fructis leave-in conditioner, and then its puddy. Although its curly, its also fine so I stay away from thick products, as they will only weigh it down.

I'm not exactly an expert so I suggest you go to, they have plenty of tips and people with lots of experience on the messageboards.

Good luck!
#7 joleyn on 2009-04-27 15:19 (Reply)
I have curly hair and have been searching for years to find the right product:) I recently went to Sally beauty supply and tried "Noodle Head" and it works amazing. It made the curls much more defined. You might give it a try! I think it was around $8.00
#8 Mel on 2009-04-27 16:47 (Reply)
I have mostly wavy hair (only really curly on the bottom layers) and I have recently been introduced to Sunsilk Waves of Envy Sea Mist. I absolutely love it. I just let my hair air dry a little while I'm putting on makeup, spray in the sea mist, use my diffuser and I'm done. You can also use it on dry hair throughout the day.
#9 MJ on 2009-04-28 11:25 (Reply)
I have naturally curly hair, which I usually straighten about 80% of the time. I use Moroccan oil for both styles. I absolutely love this stuff!!It makes my hair so shiney and soft, and tames any frizz. My hairdresser started using it on me and I had to buy it!
#10 killakate on 2009-04-28 11:41 (Reply)
After much trial and error, I learned to leave the mousses and gels alone. Use cream based products for curly hair to get soft well defined curls. Pantene and John Freida make good ones.
#11 Maria on 2009-04-29 20:53 (Reply)
I have thick hair that ranges from wavy on a bad day, and curly on a good day. I've tried a lot of products over the years. John Frieda Frizz-Ease is my favorite mousse and it's inexpensive. It's thicker than most mousses, which helps keep my curls from falling apart into waves.

I also like Giovanni mousse, because it's one of the more natural and chemical-free mousses out there.

Other good products are pomades (paul mitchell has a good liquid one), and fructis putty. My hair stylist uses a really amazing balm-like product on me (I don't know what it is, but it smells like strawberries).

I definitely stay away from gels. They don't do anything but give me frizz.
#12 Laura (Homepage) on 2009-05-01 15:01 (Reply)
For neat and clean hair use good hair care products . After washing your hair use conditioner and hair cream for great shine your hair. Get a trim every 6 8 weeks. Choose good shampoo and good hair color that compliments your hair styles.
#13 GHD straighteners (Homepage) on 2009-07-23 02:18 (Reply)
Giovanni Conditioner Direct Leave-In Conditioner works very well for me. Great smoother, good curl hold, no frizz, and no crunch.
#14 Lara on 2009-10-16 11:50 (Reply)
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