Heat and humidity are the natural enemies of curly hair, so the only way to keep shit under control in the summer is with constant vigilance. The right tools, the right techniques, the right way to towel-dry without creating a halo of frizz—and, of particular importance, the right styling products to prime your curls for all-day greatness.
Because choosing between a gel, a cream, and a serum is nigh impossible to do, consult this list of the 10 most gotta-have-’em curly hair products on the market right now. Whether it’s intense hydration, UV protection, on-point definition, unyielding hold that keeps your curl pattern under lock and key, or all of the above, one of these summertime necessities is bound to fit the bill, no matter what type of curl you call your own.
This ingenious frizz-fighter combines the hold of a lightweight gel with a blend of nourishing oils and nut butters to keep curls well-moisturized, shiny, and firmly under control.
Bumble and bumble Bb.Curl Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil, $34; at Bumble and bumble
Seal in shine and protect against damage from heat-styling tools and UV exposure with this strengthening oil, which leaves curls frizz-free and silky but never weighed down. Tip: If your hair starts to expand over the course of the day, you can rub a bit of the oil between your palms and run them over the outer layer of your hair to smooth down flyaways.
OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Oil, $7.99; at Ulta
Rich in intensely nourishing amino acids, antioxidants, conditioning butters and oils, and much, much more, this beloved styling cream revives damaged hair and combats frizz with plenty of hydration, which makes it perfect for wash-and-go looks when it's way too hot to blow dry.
SheaMoisture Sacha Inchi Oil Omega 3, 6, 9 Rescue + Repair Curl Defining Smoothie, $12.99; at SheaMoisture
You won't find any flakes from this gel: A frizz-blocking shield of coconut oil, shea butter, glycerin, panthenol, and moringa oil means the finish from this moisturizing curl enhancer is soft, not sticky, and it smells amazing.
Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Coconut & Moringa Oils Humidity Block Curl Gel, $26; at Sephora
For when your hair seems to have a mind—and size—of its own, the shine-enhancing, frizz-defeating soy proteins and plant oils in this moisturizing serum provide light hold and definition that's just right for whipping disobedient curls into shape.
Drybar Velvet Hammer Hydrating Control Cream, $29; at Drybar
The lightweight texture of this softening lotion makes it super easy to smooth through even the thickest hair—which you'll want to do every day once you see the silky, fluffy, static-free results of this classic formula.
Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls, $22; at Miss Jessie's
Keeping curls under control post-blowout can be next to impossible when heat and humidity abounds, but this long-lasting balm uses a sealing blend of Kendi oil, bamboo extract, and more to create a lightweight, virtually impenetrable shield for serious hold.
Alterna Haircare Bamboo Smooth AM Anti-Frizz Daytime Smoothing Blowout Balm, $25; at Sephora
Crunchy curls are a thing of the past (literally—so '80s) with this weightless formula, which imparts a smooth, shiny finish and excellent definition that holds all day long. It's packed with conditioning ingredients like aloe vera, Brazil nut extract, and even a signature complex that protects your style from the elements.
Oribe Curl Gloss Hydration & Hold, $37; at Oribe
The amino acids and proteins in this water-soluble styling gel work to keep the cuticles of each strand sealed while creating a kind of "memory lock" to keep curls from falling flat or losing their shape.
Ouidad Tress Effects Styling Gel, $26; at Ouidad
If your frizz comes as a direct result of your hair dying of thirst, this shea butter–based cream is the real deal. It gives hair just the right amount of weight to keep flyaways to an absolute minimum, so it's left feeling soft, supple, and, most importantly, thoroughly conditioned.
Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding, $13.99; at Oyin Handmade