The next step in your routine after a primer can include a product for hold and/or volume. The majority of our customers are looking for long-lasting results, so will usually look for something with more hold than anything else. This will allow you to have the ability to refresh and get multiple days from one wash day.
Quick Reminders about Caring For Your Curls
Remember that it is NOT "against the rules" to:
Wash your hair everyday. If you have a mild cleanser and you either enjoy washing daily or have a job or hobby that requires you to do so - keep doing it! If you find you just need to fully wet your hair and add products each day - do that! Listen to your hair.
Use one styling product if you can. If you have found something that works as a “one and done” (lucky you!) and gives you the definition/volume/hold that works for you, stick with using one product. Feel free to use anything mentioned in Part 1 (primers) or this post (mousse/foam & gel) alone.
In my years of continual experimenting with products and techniques, I find the best results happen when I use two products (primer +gel or primer +foam). Sometimes I try one product and sometimes I use 4 or 5 products! If you are new to the Curly Girl / Curly Hair Method or still trying to figure out what works for you, my advice is to use two stylers and keep trying different techniques (wet/damp hair, raking/brushing etc.) with those two products for at least a month before switching the actual product. If you try something once and write it off that is not the best practice (for your wallet).
Recommendations for Styling Products with Hold
Let’s get back to products with hold. We'll start with gels, since they're usually the most popular option for hold.
When you apply a gel over your wet/damp waves, curls or coils, it keeps the hair in that shape as it dries. This means that when you break the cast from the gel you still have that shape left. Along with the shape, the film over each clump of hair will protect the water inside. This allows your hair to hold onto that moisture.
We have a huge selection of gels to pick from at Curl Warehouse with varying levels of hold. Keep in mind your texture/density and what you like to your hair to feel like when it’s dry. Your climate comes into play when selecting a good gel too.
1. Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (White Bottle)
This is a firm holding gel without much glycerin. It also has protein. It provides multiple day hold without giving in to the weather and causing humidity puffiness. Any canopy frizz can be tamed down by patting a bit more (even diluted in your hand) over it.
This is a glycerin-free/protein-free gel with great hold. It may feel a bit more sticky and firm initially, but if you need your hair looking great for multiple days this is one of my personal favourites.
Shape Up Aqua Gel is also good for super humid/dry climates. It provides a lighter hold with some protein for curl retention.
This is moisturizing (for a gel) and provides lasting curls with small proteins and extracts. The Hi! Definition Gel is Curl Warehouse's #1 best seller and a customer favourite.
This is fragrance free (Jessicurl Spiralicious can be purchased in 'No Fragrance' as well) but provides a softer hold with quinoa protein.
This is another one you can add to your list of weather-resistant, go-to gels.
This is Curlsmith's hardest-holding gel. True to its name, it works best on very wet hair.
If you are looking for a gel for fine waves, curls, and coils, this light-as-air gel is the one you are looking for. It gives little to no cast.
If you want firm hold in a very natural product, Ecoslay has it with Jello Shot. You may need to dilute this a little in your hands and emulsify it - it's thick - but it works very well. Remember to keep this refrigerated or at least in a cool, dark, and dry place for maximum shelf life as this brand doesn’t use the same kind of preservatives as many of our other brands.
This moisturizing gel will provide you with a nice cast, releasing soft, long-lasting waves and curls.
This organic gel provides shine and hold. Remember this brand is quite concentrated so less is more. Add lots of water, either on your hair or in your hands, when applying. This has lots of plant gels and very little glycerin.
Mousses and Foams
If you have tried gels and don’t like the feeling or it weighs your hair down, then foam or mousse can be your go to. Especially for fine hair or fine hair + low density, some gels are just too much.
Foams and mousses are - in general - lighter in weight and drier in consistency. They tend to provide more volume than definition and will dry your hair faster whether diffusing or air drying. Their position in your routine is after the primer and their placement can be from mid length to root or from the scalp to the ends. If you need volume hit the root area especially!
Here’s a list of foam/mousse products that work well with the primers I recommended in Part 1 to get you started.
I love this product because it is non aerosol (so more environmentally friendly) and it is foamy/creamy in consistency. Super concentrated, it goes a long way with 2-3 pumps. Even the mini will last for ages. It has a good boost of protein too.
This is an aerosol mousse and it comes out firm and thick. Vegan-friendly protein provides a lot of hold (for a mousse). It is best applied to damp hair to avoid diluting it and just needs to be patted on the top and under layers of your hair. You can also push some into the root area for extra lift.
3. Curls Nourish and Shine Sea Moss Foam Mousse
This mousse is also a pump style that gives a light weight finish and heat protection. See my blog about Sea Moss for more info on this ingredient.
4. Curlsmith Bouncy Strength Volume Foam
This protein-rich foam is great for damaged hair (colour and/or heat). It works well with lots of other stylers to create the look you're going for.
5. Inahsi Naturals Define & Shine Volumizing Styling Foam
This foam from Inahsi Naturals is fragrance free (our only fragrance-free foam, currently!). It has rice protein that provides an important layer of protection against breakage and damage, and medium hold.
6. VERB Curl Foaming Gel
This product offers the frizz control and definition of a gel, with the lightweight feel and crunch-free finish of a mousse. Formulated with VERB's proprietary SunflowerCurl™ Complex, it was created in collaboration with Canadian stylist @ManesByMell.
This organic foam adds volume and shine and is perfect for fine low density hair. It is very light! I love this one for a refresh on my low density, slightly coarse hair.
I hope this information has helped you to create an effective yet simple styling routine that works for you. Don't forget that you can visit Curl Warehouse anytime in person in Calgary for product help or recommendations, or chat with us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can make product suggestions, help you create a new routine, or make recommendations for adjusting your current one to get the most out of your natural hair. Have products but need some help figuring out what will work with what, and how to get to your curl goals? We can help with that too!