Hair wax is a truly ingenious product: It provides texture, personality, control and that lived-in feel—all without looking like you tried too hard. When it comes to looking for wax for curly hair, the challenge lies in finding formulations that define your ringlets without deflating them or imparting a prissy, crispy look that just screams “done.”
The Best Wax for Curly Hair
How do you know whether you need a wax as a styling product? It all essentially boils down to how much time you have to style your hair. Gels and mousses can be applied to wet hair almost directly after towel-drying; waxes and putties, on the other hand, are harder substances that are more effective on damp-to-dry hair.
In terms of end results, gels give a wet, slick-back finish with the ability for extreme, all-day hold, whereas waxes and pomades are more pliant and malleable throughout the day, giving a more matte or velvety-looking finish. They also don’t make hair feel sticky, which is one of its main advantages.
What to look for in a wax for curly hair.
Those who like enhancing the natural texture and shape of their curls usually turn to a curl-defining cream. Since curly hair is often on the drier side, creams and conditioning products provide much-needed moisture. These formulations also help seal down its cuticles and protect it from frizz, especially when the weather changes or when humidity spikes.
Although considered a more unusual choice, using wax on curly hair isn’t unheard of. Mostly used by men, or women who want a more controlled look with their updos, wax can give curls a controlled, more manageable look.
The best wax for hair for curls is one that is more rubbery or tacky in texture. Look for formulations that separate easily between your fingers, with a slight stickiness. For street-ified looks, we like the matte consistency of Bed Head by TIGI Manipulator Matte Cream, which texturizes and gives edge to either wet or dry hair without too much traction.
If you’re in the market for a hair wax that also imparts shine, look for formulations that have an oilier feel. We have to caveat: These won’t provide as much hold. Best preserve these latter formulations for the guys or if you want to keep a shorter hairstyle under tight rein. Bed Head by TIGI Manipulator Cream has an awesome, fiber-like slip that also gives a modern finish.
If you are looking for a little more shine in your hold products, you can give Suave Professionals Define & Shine Serum Gel a try. Apply this on its own or add a tiny amount after applying the heavy duty wax.
Bonus: Hard wax hacks
If you really want to get some mileage out of your hard hair wax for curly hair, it’s best to take a finger-swipe of the product and rub it between your palms so it warms up and effectively softens. Concentrating the product more on your fingertips, coil sections of curls around your fingers, coating them with the product as you do so. You can also scrunch hair with your fingers, lightly packing on the product as you texturize your coif.
Give this hack a go with the tried and true Bed Head by TIGI Wax Stick. We love how long lasting this wax is and how easy it is to warm up and use.
You can also employ this trick when you want to refine and smoothen down the base of a curly updo. After gathering your hair into a ponytail or bun, take a small amount of warmed-up wax in your palms and pad down any frizzies or stubborn flyaways that go against the grain for a pristine, locked-and-loaded finish.