What Exactly is a Curl Primer?

Leah Faye Cooper
R+Co curl primer

Photo: R+Co

In today’s edition of “Products We’ve Never Heard of That Land on Our Desk,” we’re delving into curl primers—more specifically, the new R+Co Twister Curl Primer ($25, randco.com), which caught our attention when it arrived in our office a few weeks ago. What is curl primer? A leave-in conditioner for those of us with coils and ringlets? A product that shields your hair from the horrors of humidity? Despite our product expertise, we honestly had no idea at first, so we reached out to acclaimed stylist and R+Co cofounder Garren for a breakdown. Without further ado, curl primers, explained.

The label says that this acts as base for curly-styling products, so how is it different from a leave-in conditioner?
Garren: A curl primer is going to define and separate the curls, whereas leave-in conditioners often weigh down the hair and break up the curl pattern.

What are the key ingredients and how do they work?
There’s aloe-leaf extract from Japan which contains vitamins, amino acids, and minerals that help moisturize, condition; and add shine; pequi fruit oil that’s sourced from Brazil and smooths the hair cuticle reducing frizz. Hydrolyzed quinoa harvested in Peru is a protein that silkens and nourishing the hair fiber, and shea butter softens and seals the hair.

If you’re used to using curl products without a primer, what difference will you notice once you start using one?
It’s the same concept as when you use a primer for makeup. You put it on before everything else to make sure your curls are defined and stay in place. Twister, however, can also be used by itself.

What R+Co products does it pair best with?
R+Co Analog Cleansing Foam Conditioner ($29, randco.com) is good as it doesn’t strip the hair of its natural oils, and Chiffon Styling Mousse ($27, randco.com) is great to use right after applying the primer to define curls.

What hair textures does this work best for? (Obviously curly, but is it for all curls? Does it work on kinky textures, too?)
It works on all curly hair textures. For people with tighter curls, it helps form them into light ringlets without weighing them down. For fine-textured hair, Twister evens the whole head out by creating a more uniform curl pattern all the way through. So it either relaxes tight ringlets or tightens up looser, wavier hair.

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