HandsDown Fave Curly Hair Products

Picture this: you’re standing in the pharmacy aisle, staring at a shelf crowded with hair products. Your mind goes blank. There are sooo many options, but it feels like there’s nothing quite right. How the HECK are you supposed to choose?! News flash – it doesn’t have to be so daunting.

For people with curly hair, this is an all-too-familiar scene. Since realizing that my hair is curly — I’d always thought it was just frizzy until I finally stopped brushing out my curls — I’ve been on a journey to find products that actually work for my hair. It’s a constant struggle to maintain moisture without grease, to deal with changes in humidity, and all the other factors that make our ~curlz~ so very special.

Nothing is more frustrating than getting your hair perfect in the bathroom and then having your hair slowly turn into a frizzy, voluminous, mess by the end of the day. For once, is it possible to have a hair routine that works and keeps your hair looking gorgeous throughout the day? I don’t think it’s too much to ask for. And neither do other curly-haired people. There are so many products out there that claim to help us with our multitude of issues, but not all are up to the task. We need some options, people!

So, who exactly are the experts on curly hair products? Humans with curly hair, that’s who!!
Here’s a roundup of 10 curl creams, gels, sprays, conditioners, and accessories, recommended by the HandsDown community, to step up your hair care game. These unfiltered consumer reviews will help guide your search for the perfect curl-friendly products. And remember, it might take a while to find the right collection of products for you, so don’t get discouraged and keep trying. You deserve to rock your magical curls with confidence. Start making the most of your gorgeous hair!

A curl conditioner to lock in the moisture:

LOVE Curl Conditioner – Davines

Conditioners with protein like these are the best way to moisturize and strengthen your hair while in the shower. Looking for the perfect bouncy curl? Invest in a good, nourishing conditioner.

Sorcha says:

This whole line is the best for my fine curly hair. (Doesn’t weight it down)

Lightweight hydrating products for everyday care:

AGADIR Argan Oil Spray Treatment

This is the first Argan Oil product on the list, but it won’t be the last. Argan Oil is WONDERFUL for us curly-babes because it moistures your hair throughout the day and smells divine. It also gives a wonderful shine and allows you to re-work your hair when on the go.

Valerie says:

The BEST spray ever. Was used in a salon and I bought it on the spot. It smells amazing, sprays evenly, and doesn’t make my hair feel oily.

AG Re:coil curl activator

We all know that ~crunchy~ feeling when we use a product that over-sets our hair. It’s gross, weird, and unnatural looking. Well, crunch no more with a good, conditioning leave in. Get that bounce and definition (aka Oomph) instead of stiff and lifeless curls.

Angela says:

I love this re coil cream so much. Long lasting ringlets with no crunch!

Versatile curl gels to make styling as easy breezy as you:

Garnier Light as Air Gel

One issue with curly hair is that it can sometimes be pretty heavy. Especially if you have a lot of thick hair. Products like this can help lift your roots and give you extra volume.

Kelley says:

I use a quarter-size or less on damp hair to get my roots to lift a little and to get my waves and curl clumps to hold together without stiffness or crunch.

DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel

Kate says:

Strong hold, good shine, no weight, low fragrance. Works equally well on my waves and my sister’s tight curls. We both love it.

For when you want a more intensive treatment:

Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector

Kelley says:

I use it when my hair feels blah. Perfect Sunday night ritual. Shiny curls, coming up!

A multi-functional hair waver:

Conair Double Ceramic Triple Hair Waver

Olivia says:

The best hair waver and super cheap! Adjustable barrels to create the perfect beachy wave 10/10!!

A fan fave hair dryer:

Dyson Supersonic hair dryer

Sarah says:

A little pricey but the Dyson hair dryer is a game changer. No fly aways and dries my hair so fast. Comes with a nice leather case, great attachments + new brush and comb.

A smoothing treatment for a sleeker style:

Dream Coat Anti-Frizz Treatment — Color Wow Hair

Maggie says:

My Mom loved this so much she sent me one and I’m so glad she did. Spray a throughout damp hair and then style – It makes my hair extra shiny and soft, my hair looks good for longer in-between washes and helps with frizz.

An expert tip to keep the curls intact:

Muslin baby blanket as hair turban

Kelley says:

I love muslin blankets – I repurpose our muslin blankets as hair turbans – great alternative that doesn’t cause frizz or cause my ends to dry too fast. And we have a bunch of them!

Others swear by old cotton t-shirts, microfiber towels, or even pillow cases to wrap their damp curls and tame the flyaways!

What are YOUR fave products for curly hair? Share your expertise — and become an influencer for other curly-haired folks — by creating a list of your favorite hair care products! Or just add items to your Top 10 Favorite Things, and share with your friends. Stay curly!

Our HandsDown Top 10 Serums

There’s no mystery as to why serums have taken the skincare world by storm—they’re packed with active ingredients and formulated to specifically target a wide variety of skin woes while still being a lightweight and easy addition to any day or night routine. So regardless of if your face is feeling particularly parched, tired or reactive lately, the products outlined below come highly recommended by actual users from our HandsDown community who swear by the bevy of benefits they’ve seen and felt after using them.

Read up and treat that RBF to some TLC.

A plant-based multi-tasker with 30+ “best of” awards

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
Recommended by Jamie, who says: Facial in a bottle. Amazing smell. Feels fancy. Worth every penny.

An antioxidant boost for thirsty, dry skin 

Joanna Vargas Daily Serum
Recommended by Rebecca, who says: My GOAT serum. It smells like cucumbers, is green and just makes my skin look better within a few days of use.

A vitamin-filled formula to help target dark spots

TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Serum
Recommended by Jane, who says: I love a good bargain, but this serum feels like a steal! I’ve tried other high end C serums, but this serum delivers a real and radiant glow for a fraction of the price. The hyaluronic acid gives a little plump to this 50 something face plus evens out skin tone. It has really toned down my melasma.

A lightly-tinted layer with sun protection for a ready-to-go glow

ILIA Beauty Super Serum Skin Tint
Recommended by Larissa, who says: Perfectly blurs and smooths skin, combining serum, SPF, and a lightweight tint that’s not a foundation, but leaves me feeling more perfected!

A revelatory roll-on to target dark circles and de-puff peepers

Lala Earth Coffee & Reishi eye serum
Recommended by Lauren, who says: Use this every night! Maybe it’s all in my head, but I really believe that it helps with my dark circles and smoothing out the crows feet. Follow her on Instagram, too, for beautiful Vermont content.

A gentle giant to clear, brighten and protect dull or demanding skin

Marie Veronique C-Therapy Serum
Recommended by Becca, who says: This serum packs a punch! Recommended by my facialist, I notice immediate results when I use this product. My skin feels full of moisture and glowy.

A hyper-hydrating dose of hyaluronic acid

Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Serum
Recommended by Sonia, who says: My current fave hyaluronic acid. Makes my skin soak up all the products I use at night. Sometimes I throw this on my cheeks during the day for extra dew.

A sworn-by splurge that targets sagging skin

Skinmedica TNS® Advanced+ Serum
Recommended by Lisa, who says: Skin rejuvenating formula improves the appearance of coarse wrinkles, fine lines, skin tone, and texture. Absolutely addressed my sagging skin!

A nourishing nectar that encourages facial de-stressing

Versed Just Breathe Clarifying Serum
Recommended by Nina, who says: Calms inflammation (the root of skin’s problems), decongests pores, and soothes redness.

A potent potion to restore luminosity and smoothness in a snap

Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
Recommended by Annie, who says: I use this 1-2 times per week and it makes my skin feel so incredibly soft. It’s amazing!

That’s our ten cents. But with ample options out there waiting to help you achieve skincare serenity, we’re sure you have a favorite that may not yet be listed! Help fellow faces find the perfect fit by commenting below or by adding to your own Faves. Viva la visage!

10 HandsDown Fave Vegan Pantry Staples

Back in the ‘90s, my family was vegan for a few years and vegetarian for many years. I have fond memories of weird white bean burgers, rubbery almond “cheese,” and soy milk on my raisin bran. (Fond memories in hindsight. I complained a lot as a kid.) Thankfully, the vegan lifestyle has made enormous progress in the last few decades. You can find great vegan alternatives for almost any ingredient and even for non-food products. Bye, rubbery cheese!

Here’s a round up of 10 vegan pantry and home staples from the HandsDown community.

Must-Have Vegan Ingredients

To start off our Top 10, check out a couple of vegan pantry staples to have on hand.

Nutritional Yeast

Fave of Britteny, who calls this straight up “a vegan staple.”

Pro tip: Can’t beat “nooch” (vegan shorthand) on a bowl of fresh popcorn! Also tasty as a cheese substitute. 

Frantoia Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fave of Lisa: “We don’t leave home without it. We always pack this when we rent vacation homes. We have given this as gifts to dinner hosts and they all rave about the flavor.”

Miso Master Organic White Miso Paste

Fave of Angela: “Miso Paste in general is magical. Love a miso butter brushed onto bok choy and then grilled. We even had miso butter popcorn recently! I like this one because it is organic and gluten free.”

Go-To Vegan Pre-Made Meals

It’s always tricky to find a quick snack or meal on the go that doesn’t contain animal products. Here’s a few vegan meal Faves.

Amy’s Gluten Free Non Dairy Burrito

Fave of Heather: “I eat one of these every day for lunch. Don’t judge.”

Daily Harvest

Fave of Kittie: “I love their frozen smoothies and they are the perfect quick and healthy breakfast on the way out the door. Their soups and bowls make for great lunch options too.”

Crave-Worthy Vegan Snacks

Looking for a good vegan guilty-pleasure snack? Here are two I can’t wait to try!

Deux Cookie Dough

Fave of Diana: “I always save room for dessert, and this is my newest obsession. This is *healthy* cookie dough (made with oats, nut butter, vanilla, maple syrup, coconut sugar, water, and flaxseed, then enhanced with other healthy ingredients like amino acids) that you can bake or eat right from the jar (my preferred method). My favs are chocolate chip and brownie batter!”

Lesser Evil Popcorn

Fave of Diana, who has unequivocally deemed this: “Best snack!!!”

That’s with three exclamation points, for those keeping score!

A Vegan Recipe to Make on Repeat

Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Fave of Hanna: “Autumn is soup season!”

Pro tip: The recipe is from Cookie+Kate, a Fave food blog. Kate posts delicious and simple vegan and vegetarian recipes for the home cook. Her cookbook is beautiful too, and the recipes are just *chef’s kiss*

Beyond the Pantry: Vegan Beauty Products

Making vegan food swaps is the obvious place to start, but beauty products are the next place to make the switch to vegan. Check out the products below to discover some vegan beauty brands.

Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara

Fave of Amanda: “It really extends your lashes and doesn’t crumble throughout the day. Best part is that it slides off your lashes with warm water but NOT with sweat. No dark under eyes or aggressive wiping needed, which helps prevent wrinkles!!”

Attitude Shampoo for Sensitive Skin

Fave of Kristen: “Simple, unscented, good for the whole family – and it doesn’t have any of the junk that’s bad for you or the environment.”

Whatever your motivation for going vegan (either a little or a lot) and however hard-core your lifestyle, hats off to you for making the world a little better. I hope you discovered a new Fave for your list in this vegan product round-up. 

Our HandsDown Top 10 Sunscreens

Summer is here! Time to treat ourselves to park picnics, beach days and all the fun in the sun we can fit into these blissfully long days. It’s also time to treat our skin (the body’s largest organ!) to one of the most important steps in self care—sunscreen. Seriously, derms across the board suggest you practice safe-sunning and don’t leave home without it. But where to start? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the myriad options available at your local drugstore, Sephora and on Amazon, fret not! We sourced our HandsDown community for authentic, unfiltered reviews of coveted SPF-packed products for all skin types and every need.

For when you want a one-and-done moisturizer with protection

Eucerin Daily Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Moisturizing Face Lotion
Recommended by Nina, who says: Light and not gunky, has SPF, plays well with makeup.

For the skincare obsessed

Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer with SPF 30

Recommended by Andrea, who says: I love this sunscreen! It’s a hybrid of sun protection and skincare which is totally my vibe. I dig that it’s light, goes on smoothly, it’s not oily and works great under makeup.

For those who loathe lotion

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Sunscreen SPF 50

Recommended by Joanna, who says: My go-to Japanese sunscreen. An alcohol-based sunscreen that doesn’t leave any sticky residue. It’s perfect for everyday wear!

For redness-prone skin in need of some TLC

Dr Jart+ Cicapair Color Correcting Treatment

Recommended by Cassidy, who dubs this product: “Skincare’s Sacrament of Reconciliation”

For the frequent flyer or the one who’s always on the move

This portable, travel-friendly stick is recommended by Phoebe, who says: Makes you look dewey and is insanely protective even though it feels light!

For sensitive-skinned sun-soakers with a tendency toward breakouts

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Recommended by Kendra, who says: I F***ING LOVE THIS SUNSCREEN (can you curse on here?) To be fair I’m pasty—But HIDE YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN. Future you will thank you. Fo realz.

For those looking for luminosity and a touch of added oomph

Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40

Recommended by Olivia, who says: I legit wear this EVERY DAY. It’s the perfect amount of glow. I wear it alone for a natural look or mix it with foundation for a fuller coverage. I’m on my 4th bottle, this stuff is the best!

Another happy user, Katie, says: This product is the perfect combination of SPF protection, light coverage, and glow. My go-to minimal makeup routine is Glow Screen + mascara + chapstick. 👌

For serious safety without the weight 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen SPF 60

Recommended by Maya, who says: This sunscreen [for face and body] sits beautifully and nicely enhances any makeup you put on top. The product melts into the skin instead of sitting on top, and keeps you super protected. Not today sun, not today.

For the one who likes to keep things natural 

Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Suncreen Lotion SPF 30

Recommended by Nina K., who says: We are done with chemical sunscreen in this house, especially with young humans having sensitive skin. It was time to go back to basics with a mineral version and this one is as lightweight as it gets for mineral sunscreen. Bring on the sun! ☀️

For those with ample screen time

Colleen Rothschild Triple Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 40

Recommended by Sydney, who says: Protects against blue light too – plus the price point is killer!

Bonus pick! For a bit of extra refuge from the rays

Mini Compact Umbrella with UV Protection & Rain Protection

Recommended by Sonia, who says: I used to carry around fabric sunbrellas but was recently introduced to these awesome tiny SPF umbrellas. They fold up and are light enough to carry all day for sun protection.

How did we do? With so many skin concerns and so many products out there, we’re curious to hear if we missed any of your personal picks for playing defense against the sun! Leave a comment and update your own HandsDown list with your faves and saves and what makes them great. Sharing is caring!