The Mestiza Muse

Be Beautiful. Be Natural. Be You.

Be Beautiful. Be Natural. Be You.

Curls Like a Pro: Top 20 Curly Girl Friendly Conditioners

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Top 20 curly girl friendly conditioners

We partner with and endorse products from trusted companies that benefit our readers. Here’s our process.

As a reader-supported platform, we may earn affiliate commissions for purchases made through links, including those advertising

Please read our disclosure for more info.

As someone who has been navigating the twists and turns of the curly hair journey for over eight years, I’ve explored various paths and learned immensely about what truly benefits our unique curls. Today, I’m excited to unveil a curated selection of of conditioners that cater specifically to the needs of curly hair, especially for devotees of the Curly Girl Method (CGM). While the Curly Girl Method (CGM) has been a cornerstone in my hair care regimen, offering invaluable insights into nurturing curls with gentle products, my adherence has evolved over time.

In my quest for healthy hair, I’ve encountered a multitude of perspectives and, admittedly, some misinformation within the CGM community. It’s important to acknowledge that while the Curly Girl Method offers a solid foundation for many, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. My journey has taught me the significance of personalization in hair care—discovering what uniquely works for each curl type. For those curious about my experiences with CGM and why I’ve chosen to adapt my approach, I invite you to delve deeper here.

What defines a conditioner as curly girl friendly? Fundamentally, it boils down to the formulation. Ideal conditioners for this method avoid ingredients like sulfates, silicones, parabens, and drying alcohols, which may harm curly hair. Instead, they enrich curls with hydrating and fortifying components, ensuring your hair receives the optimal blend of moisture and strength without unnecessary weight.

As we embark on this journey together, remember, it’s about more than just selecting the right hair products. It’s a deep dive into understanding and loving your curls, tailoring your care to their specific needs, and embracing the natural beauty they hold. Each conditioner highlighted here is not just a product but an invitation to enhance the health and glow of your curls, tailored to fit the unique story of your hair.

Top 20 Curly Girl Approved Conditioners: From Deep Treatments to Leave-Ins and Drugstore Finds

Here are my selection of best conditioners to keep your curls looking fabulous. Personally curated and tested, these recommendations cater to all curl types, whether you sport tight coils or natural waves, ensuring there’s something perfect for everyone. With the right products, you’ll see how they can really make all the difference in your curls.

Curly Girl Friendly Conditioners

1. Bounce Curl Super Smooth Cream Conditioner

2. Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner

3. Mop Top Daily Conditioner

MopTop Daily Conditioner
$16.99 ($2.12 / Fl Oz)
Buy at Amazon Buy at MopTop
03/18/2024 05:34 pm GMT

4. Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner

5. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Conditioner

Curly Girl Friendly Leave-In Conditioners

6. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner

7. Bounce Curl Moisture Balance Leave-in Conditioner

8. Giovani Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner

9. Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip

10. Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative Leave-In Conditioner

Curly Girl Friendly Deep Conditioners

11. Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!

Briogeo Don't Despair Repair!
$39.00 ($4.88 / Ounce)
Buy at Amazon Buy at Target
03/18/2024 06:05 pm GMT

12. Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner

13. As I Am Hydration Elation

14. Mielle Organics Babassu & Mint Deep Conditioner

15. Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioner

Drugstore / Amazon Curly Girl Friendly Conditioners

16. Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner

17. Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Cream

Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream
$9.97 $8.94 ($0.56 / Ounce)
Buy at Amazon Buy at Target
03/18/2024 06:19 pm GMT

18. Tresemme Pro Collection Conditioner

19. Not Your Mother’s Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower & Mango Butter Conditioner

20. Kinky Curly Leave-In Detangler

What is the Curly Girl Method? 

The Curly Girl Method, created by Lorraine Massey, is a dedicated regimen designed to help individuals with curly hair (including coily and wavy hair) achieve and maintain vibrant, well-hydrated locks. This approach advises against practices known to damage hair, like frequent shampooing and the use of heat styling tools. Instead, it champions the use of conditioning cleansers (co-washing) to preserve moisture and enhance the hair’s natural texture.

While countless people globally have seen remarkable improvements in their hair’s health and appearance by following these guidelines, it’s important to remember that customization is key. Tailoring the method to fit the specific needs of your curls will ensure the best results.

The Essentials of the CG Method

To embrace the Curly Girl Method effectively, it’s crucial to first understand which common hair care practices to avoid.

Avoid the Following:

  • Combs and brushes on dry or wet hair, which can disrupt the natural wave or curl pattern and cause frizz.
  • Shampoos, especially those containing harsh detergents that strip hair of natural oils.
  • Heat styling tools that can damage and dry out curly hair.
  • Sulfates, including ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and TEA lauryl sulfate, known for their harsh cleansing properties.
  • Non-water soluble silicones that build up on the hair, requiring sulfates to remove.
  • Alcohols that dry out the hair texture, leading to brittleness and breakage.
  • Fragrances, which may often contain alcohol and can irritate the scalp.
  • Raw oils or butters that can be too heavy and weigh down curls.

By steering clear of these items, you’re taking a significant step towards nurturing and protecting your curly hair according to the Curly Girl Method.

What Qualifies a Conditioner as Curly Girl Approved?

Curly head apply conditioner to her hair.

For a conditioner to be Curly Girl Method approved, it must meet specific criteria that ensure it nurtures and protects curly hair without causing damage. Here’s what to look for:

  • Sulfate-Free: The conditioner should not contain sulfates, which are detergents that may strip hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and frizz.
  • Silicone-Free: Avoid conditioners with silicones, especially those that are not water-soluble, as they can buildup on the hair and scalp, requiring harsh cleansers to remove.
  • Alcohol-Free: Steer clear of drying alcohols like isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, and denatured alcohol, which may dehydrate curly hair. Fatty alcohols, however, are beneficial for their moisturizing properties.
  • Fragrance-Free: Although not all fragrances are harmful, many contain alcohols and other ingredients that can dry out or irritate the scalp. Opt for conditioners with natural or no fragrance to minimize potential irritation.
  • Natural Ingredients: Look for conditioners packed with natural ingredients that boost hydration and promote the overall health of curly hair. Ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, and natural oils (e.g., coconut, argan) are excellent for maintaining moisture and enhancing curl definition.

Additionally, consider conditioners that include proteins (such as hydrolyzed wheat protein) for hair strength, and botanical extracts (like chamomile and tea tree oil) for scalp health. These components can further enrich your hair care routine, ensuring your curls remain vibrant, healthy, and well-moisturized.

Selecting the Right Rinse-Out Conditioner for Curly Hair

Different brands of curly girl friendly conditioners.

In the quest for soft, manageable, and hydrated curls, the abundance of hair care products can be overwhelming. Amidst the myriad of promises for the ultimate solution to dry and unruly hair, the challenge lies in discerning which products truly deliver.

While marketers and hair care professionals flood us with recommendations for achieving healthy, beautiful curls, understanding the key ingredients that make a conditioner curly girl-friendly is essential for reaching your hair goals.

To guide your selection process, here’s what to look for in a curly girl-friendly rinse-out conditioner:

Water: The Essential Base

Water is crucial for curly hair, serving as an excellent solvent in conditioner formulations. It facilitates the distribution of water-soluble ingredients, making it foundational for hydration.

Emollients: For Softness and Protection

Emollients, such as shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil, soften and smooth the hair. They create a protective barrier to prevent moisture loss. Those with fine hair should opt for lighter emollients to avoid weighing down the curls.

Humectants: Moisture Magnets

Humectants like glycerin, honey, sorbitol, panthenol, and propylene glycol attract moisture from the environment, keeping curls hydrated. They are essential for maintaining moisture balance in the hair.

Cationic Ingredients: For Smoothness and Manageability

These positively charged ingredients, including behentrimonium chloride, quaternium-80, and cetrimonium chloride, adhere to the hair’s surface, making it frizz-free and easier to detangle. They offer additional conditioning benefits to leave your curls smooth and soft.

Active Ingredients: Beyond Surface-Level Care

Look for conditioners with active ingredients capable of penetrating the hair shaft to nourish and strengthen from within. This is the perfect opportunity to treat your hair with vital nutrients.

For those specifically seeking protein-free options to avoid protein overload, resources like the ‘10 Best Protein Free Deep Conditioners For Curly Hair.‘ blog can offer targeted recommendations.

By focusing on these key ingredients, you can navigate the vast selection of products with confidence, ensuring that your conditioner not only meets the Curly Girl Method standards but also aligns with your unique curly hair needs.


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

My Favourite Things

Great hair goes beyond using shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Shop my favorite must-haves.

After years of requests, I’m finally sharing my go-to skincare products.

Give your space a quick refresh with these ultimate home decor ideas.

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure and make sure to pack these essential items to take with you on your journey.

Curl Care


Is High Porosity Hair Genetic?

Are you curious about whether the characteristic of high porosity hair is inherited? It’s a valid question, especially considering the link between high porosity and damaged hair. How could a

Read More »





One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted.
Do it now.

- Paulo coelho