7 Top Curl Creams for Wavy Hair: Enjoy Bouncy Locks!

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Wavy hair hits that sweet spot between straight and curly hair, which lends a unique character to your tresses.

A woman with long wavy hair posing on a white background.

What’s even better is that you can play up the effortless sexiness that comes with this hair type by enhancing the way your waves look, even when dry.

But how do you exactly do that? 

And more importantly, can you even do that?

The good news is, with curl creams for wavy hair, you definitely can.

In this post, we’ll go through seven of the top of them.

Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream
Editor's Choice
  • Formulated with a heat-activated technology that reduces frizz while enhancing curls
  • Provides multiple benefits without weighing hair down
  • Offers a smooth, silky finish
SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream
Budget Pick
  • Hydrates and smoothes hair, boosts shine, and defines waves 
  • Especially ideal for those with thick, wavy hair
  • Cruelty-free
OUAI Curl Crème
Premium Pick
  • Combines the power of four nourishing oils to hydrate, protect, and define curls
  • Co-designed with 150 community members and tested for over a year
  • Ideal for all hair types and hairstyles

What Is a Curl Cream?

First things first, though: what is a curl cream for wavy hair?

A curling cream is a styling product that is formulated to give better definition to your curls.

Its formulation is typically an emulsion of ingredients that are considered to be beneficial for our manes. 

These include water, proteins like hydrolyzed keratin and amino acids, and some moisturizers like jojoba, avocado, or coconut oil.

Because of this potpourri, a curl cream doesn’t just enhance curls; it also provides strength and moisture to your locks.

Additionally, a curling cream offers light to strong hold, depending on your product of choice, to set your waves in place upon drying.

And it can boost hair volume and shine too.

Why Do You Need a Curling Cream for Wavy Hair?

Using a curling cream for wavy hair can yield a lot of benefits, which include the following:

Define Waves

If you wish to enhance your hair’s body, a curl cream can add better texture and volume to your waves. 

This is especially ideal for those who don’t want to straighten their hair. This is for those who want to fluff up their hair’s wave definition instead.

What’s even better is that a curl cream does that without forming a cast on your hair. You can look forward to waves that won’t feel crunchy at all!

Tame Frizz

Like curly hair, wavy hair is naturally predisposed to dryness, which eventually leads to frizz.

A curling cream can alleviate dryness by coating your locks with moisturizing ingredients. 

Strengthen Hair Strands

Since wavy hair features S-shaped coils, it’s harder for the oils produced by the scalp to nourish strands until the tips, which makes them dry and prone to breakage. 

With a curling cream, you get a protein-rich formula that can protect your hair shaft from damage that might lead to breakage.

Make Hair Easy To Style

Wavy hair can easily go limp when it isn’t styled correctly. A curling cream offers light to strong hold to keep your waves looking just right throughout the day. 

You can also use it alongside other styling products to perfect the look that you want. 

How Do You Choose the Top Curl Cream for Wavy Hair?

How do you find the top curl cream for your wavy hair?

Here are some factors to consider.

Your Specific Wavy Hair Type

Choosing a hair care product should be hinged on your specific type of hair.

Wavy hair is categorized into three sub-categories, which have different respective characteristics. 

And these characteristics dictate the particular type of curl cream that you should get.

Here’s a handy guide:

Hair TypeHair CharacteristicsIdeal Curl Cream
2AThis type of wavy hair is closest to straight hair, except it forms mild curls toward the ends.Use a curl cream that adds volume to your mane but doesn’t weigh your hair down.
2BWith slightly more defined waves, type 2B produces what is popularly considered as beach waves.Tangling is a possibility that you’ll need to manage. 
For this reason, invest in something that can properly moisturize your tresses and give them slip so you can style them easily and keep them tangle-free.
2CType 2C is sometimes mistaken as curly hair; the main point of difference between the two is that type 2C hair strands do not form springs, while curly hair strands do.As the wavy hair type that is most prone to frizz, your curl cream should specifically be formulated to target and alleviate this issue.

Your Specific Styling Objectives

Additionally, consider what you’re trying to achieve when buying a curly cream.

If you want something that provides multiple benefits, go with products that contain both proteins and moisturizers to achieve that good balance between curl definition and hydration with strengthening.

Or if you want a complete hair care system meant to fight humidity, look for a curling cream that is especially formulated with anti-humectants, such as castor oil and shea butter.

7 Top Curl Creams for Wavy Hair

Excited to see how a curl cream can change your life?

Take your pick from our list of 7 good curl creams for wavy hair!

Aveda Be Curly Enhancer

Looking for a straightforward way to fight frizz? Look no further than this curling cream.

Benefits: Reduces frizz while boosting shine for wavy hair; free from parabens, formaldehyde, synthetic fragrance, etc.; contains proteins for hair strengthening


  • Part of a curl-perfecting system that can boost curl definition by up to 57%
  • Contains a 96% naturally derived formulation
  • Offers a two-step punch of enhancing curls and adding shine

Just wet your tresses, apply this product, and enjoy a good hair day!

As the winner of the Knot’s 2020 Beauty Award for the best curly hair product, this curling cream from Aveda is considered one of the top curl defining creams for wavy hair.

An added bonus: it makes up part of a comprehensive system that you can add to your routine to fluff out your curls and truly make them shine.

Boucleme Curl Cream

If you want to save your tresses while saving on costs, this one is a no-brainer.

Benefits: Free from sulfates and silicone; has a lovely, refreshing scent; can be used alongside other styling products


  • Boasts a 96% natural formulation of castor oil, coconut fruit extract, and shea butter
  • Offers a lightweight feel that doesn't weigh down your locks
  • Also good for dry and dehydrated wavy hair

This cream also protects your locks from humidity!


Another good buy, the Boucleme Curl Cream is a cruelty-free formulation that does not only add definition to your waves, it also safeguards them from the damage that humidity can do.

It even works for spot-treating specific areas if you wish to highlight particular curl patterns.

SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream

Need a wash-and-wear curling cream in your arsenal? Your search stops here.

Benefits: Suitable for twist-outs, braids, and other specific styling types; ideal for daily use; cost-effective


  • Hydrates, boosts shine, smoothens locks, and defines curls without weighing hair down
  • Especially ideal for those with thick, wavy hair
  • Cruelty-free

An added bonus? It's got a pleasant coconut and hibiscus scent to make your hair look AND smell great!

Widely considered to be one of the top products of its kind, this SheaMoisture curling cream packs a host of benefits in one small bottle at a very affordable price.

It’s also ideal for various hair types, not just wavy hair; in fact, it’s specially formulated for those with thick hair.

Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream

An all-in-one styler that delivers the best of curling creams, this product from Moroccanoil should be a mainstay in your arsenal.

Benefits: Ideal for various hair types; features advanced technology for better hair care; has a great smell


  • Formulated with a heat-activated technology that reduces frizz while enhancing curls
  • Provides multiple benefits without weighing hair down
  • Offers a smooth, silky finish

With one or two pumps of this cream a day, you're sure to turn heads and slay.

A powerful emulsion of argan oil and hydrolyzed vegetable protein, this Moroccanoil curling cream works for various hair types; in fact, many hail it as the top curl cream for fine wavy hair.

So many people love it that it won the 2020 and 2022 Allure Awards for curl-defining products.

Briogeo Curl Charisma

Want defined waves that are also soft to the touch? Leave that to the Briogeo curling cream.

Benefits: Provides a soft, flexible hold; boosts wave definition; protects against frizz; and hydrates hair; works for waves, curls, and coils


  • 95% naturally derived formula that 
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Contains rice amino, avocado oil, and quinoa extract to deliver multi-pronged benefits
  • Also protects against humidity

Even better? You can use this cream to achieve smooth, slicked-back strands.

The Briogeo Curl Charisma does all the things that a curl cream does, with the added benefit of being a styling product.

You can use it to enhance your waves, protect them against humidity, boost their volume and shine, and create unique hairstyles!

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream

Want curl definition AND defense against environmental aggressors? This one's for you.

Benefits: Works for all types of climate; safeguards hair from environmental damage; also great for damaged and color-treated hair; provides hydration and curl definition


  • Formulated with an Anti-Frizz Nanotechnology that offers gloss and moisture to your tresses
  • Combines the power of humectants and natural oils
  • Also comes with a dedicated UV filter 
  • Free from harmful chemicals
  • Cruelty-free

To up its benefits, you can use this cream alongside the brand's other climate control products.

If you live in a particularly humid area, you’ll want to protect your tresses while encouraging their best life. You can do just that with the Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream.

But actually, no matter the kind of weather you get in your area, this curling cream will do wonders for your mane.

OUAI Curl Crème

Need hydration, frizz protection, curl definition, and shine? This one from OUIA will have you saying yes.

Benefits: Delivers curl definition, shine, and frizz protection; Combines the power of four nourishing oils to hydrate, protect, and define curls; Ideal for all hair types and hairstyles 


  • Free from gluten, paraben, phthalate, SLS, and SLES
  • Available in scented and unscented versions
  • Cruelty-free
  • Co-designed with 150 community members and tested for over a year

It's also formulated to reduce your styling time so you can be on your beautiful way quicker!

This one from OUIA is one of the few products on the market that consulted the people and tested and perfected the formulation for more than a year.

The resulting product is one that offers multiple benefits for all hair types.

How To Apply Curl Cream to Wavy Hair

Coating your locks with a curling cream is a straightforward, convenient process.

Follow these steps:

  1. Start with wet or damp hair. Ideally, you should apply curl cream while you’re in the shower, but you can opt to dampen your hair with water or a leave-in conditioner.
  2. Put a little bit of the product into your palms and, gently, work it into your tresses with your fingers. Start from the back and work your way to the front.
  3. Make sure to evenly coat all your strands.
  4. Follow it up with other styling products.
  5. Scrunch your curls gently.
  6. Finish with air drying or with a diffuser, whichever you prefer.
a woman's back flaunting her soft wavy hair


Which Is Better for Wavy Hair: Curl Cream or Mousse?

Both curling cream and curling mousse are great at lending more volume and definition to your curls.

Whether one or the other is better depends on your needs.

Curling creams are lighter on your hair, providing light to medium hold. Curling mousses, on the other hand, lend more volume and hold.

If you have fine wavy hair, opt for a curling cream as it won’t weigh your hair down. 

If you have type 2C hair that you’d like to set in a twist-out, mousse may be more ideal, along with other styling products

Should I Use Curl Cream or a Leave-In Conditioner?

Comparing a curl cream to a leave-in conditioner is a lot like comparing a silk press to a flat iron; you might think they’re the same, but there are distinct differences between the two.

A curl cream, much like a leave-in conditioner, can hydrate hair, strengthen strands, and prevent frizz.

However, unlike a leave-in conditioner, it does more by helping define your curls and ensuring they stay in place longer.

If you don’t want more curl definition, you can do with just a leave-in conditioner, but if you need some hold for your tresses, go with a curl cream after applying your conditioner.

Can I Use Curl Cream If I Have Dry Hair?

It’s perfectly okay to use a curl cream on dry hair. In fact, it’s even beneficial!

Curling creams, much like hydration treatments, come with moisturizing ingredients that coat your hair strands with the nutrients that they need to stand up to the environment, avoid frizz, and achieve gloss and shine.

How To Make the Most Out of the Top Curl Creams for Wavy Hair

Regardless of which curl cream you’d end up buying, remember to work it into a comprehensive hair care routine to make results last longer.

Additionally, stock up on healthy habits that are good for your hair. 

Eat right, keep yourself hydrated, rest up before you get burned out, and find time to work out to encourage holistic health.

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  • Kat

    Kat brings a seasoned voice to our beauty blog with 13 years of dedicated writing experience. Her deep-seated passion isn't just limited to words; she's always on the pulse of emerging makeup trends. Beyond her articles, Kat crafts hand-made crochet swimwear and sundresses, and effortlessly steps in as a muse for beauty photoshoots. Kat holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.

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