Picking out and applying your hair-styling products is a bit of an art. That's especially true when you're styling your hair in its natural state and don't have the help of hot tools to smooth and shape. Use a product that's too heavy, and your hair is weighed down and lifeless. Use a product that's too light, and your hair is frizzy and begging for moisture. And if applied in the wrong order, you're not getting the most out of each product. The key is homing in on effective hair products that are right for your particular texture, according to Maria Antoinette Loggins, a hairstylist and content creator in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"You should be using different types of formulas and ingredients depending on how dry or porous your hair is," she says. What's more, order counts, too—no matter your hair type, the final styling air-dry product you use should be some kind of sealant to ensure your locks are as soft, shiny, and healthy as possible. Learn about the best order for your hair-styling products when wearing your hair in its natural state below. They're all $36 and below, proving you don't need expensive hair products to get your desired look.
The Best Hair-Styling Products To Use (and the Order To Apply) Based on Your Hair Texture
If you have coarse hair...
Leave-in conditioner then hair oil, followed by styling cream
This trio of products, better known as the L.O.C. method, is intended to maximize coarse hair's moisture retention, according to Loggins. Start with a water- or milk-based leave-in, she suggests, to hydrate hair off the bat, such as the adwoa beauty Melonberry Hair Milk Leave-In Conditioner ($24). Follow with a lightweight oil—Verb Ghost Weightless Hair Oil ($20) is a great option—and finish off with a super-rich styling cream like Carol's Daughter Born to Repair Defining Cream ($14).
"By using an oil and then following up with a thicker, heavier, butter-based moisturizer, you're ensuring that as much moisture as possible remains on the hair shaft," she says. Consider it the best way to seal the deal on your style.
This silicone-free leave-in conditioner smooths, moisturizes, detangles, and softens hair without weighing it down. It’s got Kalahari melon seed oil to intensely hydrate to promote hair growth, red raspberry seed oil to nourish dry scalps and prevent moisture loss, and strawberry seed oil to encourage a healthy scalp and smooth hair.
This totally weightless yet restorative oil hydrates, strengthens, and smooths strands. The star ingredient is moringa seed oil which moisturizes, detangles, and smooths hair. It also includes bamboo extract to strengthen the hair follicle and help it retain moisture and argan oil to enhance elasticity while adding shine.
New from Carol’s Daughter, this thick cream blends shea butter, Amazonian nut oil, and babassu oil to give curls and coils definition. Plus, it restores hair moisture so curls retain their bounce and shine. Plus, it smells amazing, with notes of sandalwood, jasmine, citrus, amber, and vanilla.
If you have curly hair...
Leave-in conditioner then curl gel-cream
"No two curl patterns are alike, so ultimately what styling products may work for one person may not work for another," explains Liana Zingarino, a celebrity hairstylist in New York City. Still, one combination that pretty much always proves to be successful is a cocktail of leave-in conditioner with a curl-defining gel.
"The leave-in will hydrate the hair, giving it softness and shine," she says, "while a non-sticky gel formula will help curls from falling flat or losing shape while keeping all frizz at bay."
Go for a leave-in that's light in weight but heavy-hitting with its hyrdators, such as Briogeo's Don't Despair, Repair! Strength + Moisture Leave-In Mask ($29) before raking something like Melanin Haircare Twist-Elongating Style Cream ($20) evenly through strands. Pro tip: It's also important to use a conditioner formulated for curly hair as part of your regular routine.
Although it’s lightweight, this spray-on leave-in mask works wonders to strengthen damaged hair and prevent future damage. It uses micro-encapsulated argan oil to repair damage, algae extract to nourish and strengthen the hair and protect the scalp from free-radical damage, and B vitamins to improve the texture of hair and add body and sheen.
Elongate and define your curls with this lightweight yet buildable cream that seals moisture, detangles knotted, tangled hair, and defines twists and braid-outs. It’s made with aloe vera to smooth and moisturize, castor oil to condition and promote hair growth, and rosehip seed oil to increase elasticity and growth.
If you have wavy hair...
Styling cream followed by sea salt spray
There is a slew of different combinations you can work with on wavy hair because of its styling versatility; however, to make the most of your natural texture, Zingarino suggests first using a quarter-sized amount of a styling cream that's loaded with frizz-fighting ingredients, such as Reverie Rake Styling Balm ($36).
Follow up with a generous spritzing of a sea salt spray, gently scrunching your hair as you go—like the Ceremonia Guava Beach Waves Hair Texturizing Spray ($20). Once your hair is dried, give it a few more pumps of the spray for an extra-beachy vibe.
This multi-tasking, whipped balm conditions hair while providing lightweight hold for a lived-in look without sticky residue or build up. It contains lightweight meadowfoam oil to enhance shine, soften, and rejuvenate brittle hai while promoting hair-color retention. Plus, it has scalp-stimulating and hair-growth-promoting castor oil, restorative and moisturizing mango nut butter and thickening pomegranate seed oil.
Get soft, voluminous, beauty waves with this sea salt spray that heroes guava to deliver nourishing natioxidants and protect against UV rays. Pink Bolivian salt provides texture while aloe v era strengthens and hydrates.
If you have straight hair...
Volumizing spray then mousse
While straight hair is entirely impervious to the enemy of many women known as frizz, humidity can cause it to fall flat. And dry air in the winter, according to Zingarino, will make straight hair static-y too. Remedy this by first misting a volumizing spray, ideally with conditioning benefits, such as Moroccanoil's Dry Texture Spray ($30), combing it through your strands to ensure even distribution.
If you're looking for extra lift, follow it up with a golf ball-sized amount of mousse, rubbed in at just the roots. Our pick? Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse ($30).
Get a toussled, undone look with this argan-oil-infused texturized The argan restores elasticity, smoothness, and manageability to hair while zeolite provides grit, texture, and odor absorption and hydrolyzed wheat protein conditions and moisturizes the hair.
Get more inspo from this derm's hair-care routine:
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