There’s more to your hair than just the way it looks. Believe it or not, your locks reveal a story about you. Whether it’s a specific shade that looks just like your mother’s or the coily hair pattern you inherited from your ancestors, your strands hold history. Your specific hair type and color are the outward expressions of the DNA in your strands. And for so many of us, hair is a crucial part of our identity, making healthy hair all the more important.
This year’s Prevention 2022 Healthy Hair Awards are all about celebrating our uniqueness and making the most of our strands. Our team of haircare experts highlighted the products they swear by for the four main types of hair textures: straight, wavy, curly, and coily.
We know how important it is to choose the right products to nourish your strands, which is why you can rest assured these expert-approved picks will help you get your best hair yet. Can’t get your curls to stop frizzing? There’s a styler for that. Need your straight hair to look more vibrant and shiny? We’re sharing an oil for that too. From 1A to 4C, no matter your hair type, you’ll find the formulas that will keep your strands healthy and flawless.
Ahead, find all the expert-approved shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays, and creams that our experts swear by—it’s time to step into your best hair ever.
Meet Prevention’s Expert Panel:
- Sophia Reid, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist with Trokhan Dermatology and Medical Director of Reid Dermatology in Northern New Jersey.
- Hope Mitchell M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mitchell Dermatology in Ohio.
- Andrew Fitzsimons, a celebrity hairstylist based in Los Angeles and founder of Andrew Fitzsimons hair.
- Jennifer Korab, a hairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa in New Jersey.
- April Franzino, beauty director at Good Housekeeping, part of the Hearst Women’s Lifestyle Beauty Group.
- Sienree Du, a celebrity hairstylist based in Los Angeles and Mane Addicts Brand Ambassador.
- Sabrina Porsche, a celebrity hairstylist based in Los Angeles and Mane Addicts Brand Ambassador.
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Hair Type #1 – Straight: “Straight hair is not as simple as it seems. Did you know there are different straight hair types? Determining the difference will help you achieve the best results for your hair,” says Korab.
There are different divisions to categorize the types of straight hair, known as 1A (hair that lies flat), 1B (can hold a curl), and 1C (has a slight wave when air-dried). “Straight hair has challenges such as dryness, limp locks, and lack of shine, so the proper use of products will help combat these issues,” Korab adds.
Best Anti-Frizz Treatment
Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment
“This is the friendliest and most lightweight serum to apply to the hair prior to air drying. Hyaluronic acid helps draw in and maintain moisture within the cuticle. This product specifically helps reduce frizz, protect the hair against pollution, and improve shine.” —Reslan
Best Hydrating Hair Oil
Renew Repair Hair Mist, Argan Oil and Aloe
“Hair oils can be intimidating to use due to fear of making strands greasy, but there’s no risk with this argan oil and aloe mist. Sprayed on damp strands before drying, it leaves them soft and supple with no heaviness or oily look,” —Franzino
Best Blow Out Cream
“This product uses a natural approach with guar gum and mallow (both plant-based ingredients) to help with providing hydration but also helps seal the cuticle to make your blowout last longer. Plus, it also reduces the drying time.” —Dr. Reid
Creme de Coco Conditioner
“This collection is among the best conditioning I’ve ever experienced for my hair that’s dry and damaged due to coloring and heat styling. It contains high levels of coconut oil, which a study found is able to penetrate strands, preventing the loss of protein that makes up hair and preventing damage.” —Franzino
Best Dry Shampoo
FIRST CLASS Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo
“One of the key ingredients is the detoxing charcoal powder, which helps lift dirt and buildup while absorbing oil and sweat. It’s great for anyone with fine, medium, or coarse textures.” —Du
Hair Type #2 – Wavy: This hair pattern is not quite straight and not completely curly. The different wavy hair types are divided into 2A (slight waves), 2B (more defined S-shape waves), and 2C (very defined S-shape pattern). The type of wave can also range from fine and loose to thick and defined. “Because of the difference in the natural structure, wavy hair requires a different approach when washing, drying, and styling,” says Reslan.
“Wavy hair requires more moisturizing shampoos and conditioners balanced with the perfect amount of protein to help restore the structure and seal the cuticles. The best method to dry and enhance wavy hair is to maintain as much moisture as possible by either keeping your hair up in a loose bun or wrapped in a microfiber towel,” says Reslan.
Best Volumizing Mousse
Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse
“This is my absolute favorite. Its weightless formula conditions and lifts the hair to megastar heights. It’s also made with heat protection for great wet-to-dry styling that builds a foundation for more involved styles.” —Korab
Best Air-Dry Creme
Weightless Shine Air Dry Creme
“This product is an ultimate time-saver. Just apply it to towel-dried hair, and it smooths while adding shine, separation, and texture on all hair types.” —Fitzsimmons
Best Curl Activator
“This easy-to-use spray helps lock in moisture for enhanced waves and curls using glycerin and aloe. The more you apply, the more defined your texture becomes. Spray in towel-dried hair and allow to naturally air dry for a frizz-free finish.” —Reslan
Best Finishing Styler
“This lightweight but moisturizing crème conceals dryness and split ends, helps protect from heat styling, and gives hair a shiny finish.” —Du
Best Texturizing Treatment
Thickening Treatment with Biotin
“Since my hair can fall flat on its own, I apply a volumizing or thickening spray every time I wash when it’s damp to help bulk up the texture. This formula, made with strand-plumping caffeine, feels like water—zero stickiness— yet once it’s dry, makes hair feel and look noticeably thicker. I can definitely tell the difference when I use it!” —Franzino
Hair Type #3 – Curly: If you have curly hair, then you know all too well it’s a hair type that requires a little extra TLC. This hair pattern tends to clump together and winds around in a spiral shape forming ringlets. It’s divided into 3A, 3B, and 3C. A starts off with a looser curl and C ends with very tight corkscrew-shaped curls.
“Curly hairs are produced by oval follicle shapes and the bends in the follicle lead to wavy and curly hair patterns,” says Dr. Mitchell. But because of the shape, the natural oils from the scalp have a harder time making their way down the spirals, which is a reason why this hair type tends to be drier.
Best Hydrating Mask
Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Mask
“Packed with oils, emollients, and antioxidants—the ingredients from beginning to end are clean and provide a good balance between moisture and protein. Algae may have hair-growth-promoting properties, thanks to its omega-3s and omega-6s. Studies suggest that’s true if you eat it, but it can’t hurt to use it topically as well. Also, it’s silicone-free.”—Dr. Reid
Natural Hydrating Hairbath Shampoo
“Curly hair is more susceptible to static friction and frizz. This product contains sulfate-free cleansing fatty acids from natural coconut oil and shea butter, which are key ingredients that lessen static while moisturizing and help maintain the natural oil from the hair. It’s also mild and non-irritating to the scalp and has a rich foam that makes hair cleansing more effective.” —Dr. Mitchell.
Best Leave-In Conditioner
Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner
“To help seal in moisture, Ouidad’s leave-in incorporates prickly pear and green tea extract to help hydrate and smooth curls. The result is shiny, healthy hair that’s touchable and soft.” —Korab
Best Curl Definer Cream
Perfect Texture Curl Cream
“This new curl cream provides a touchable hold while providing definition, bounce, and frizz-free shine. It also acts as a heat and UV protectant.” —Fitzsimmons
Best Heat Protectant
Style Shifter Society Heat Screen Heat Protectant Spray
“This heat protectant protects your curls from any heat styling up to 450 degrees. This leave-in heat protecting spray is lightweight that protects against heat damage and adds a glossy shine.”—Korab
Hair Type #4 – Coily: Also known as Type 4, coily hair refers to strands that form tight curls in a zig-zag pattern from the scalp. Within the coily hair type, there are three subcategories: 4A, 4B, and 4C. A starts with small coils that are springy and C tends to have tighter coils that can be fragile.
“Day-to-day maintenance of natural, curly hair is all about hydrating as much as possible since curlier hair types are prone to be dry and frizzy,” says Fitzsimons. “If you want your curls to look polished, try a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week to restore the luster and strengthen by adding in a leave-in conditioner daily,” he adds.
Best Pre-Shampoo Cleanser
Mongongo Oil Pre-Shampoo Treatment
“This does not contain harmful chemicals and can be used on all hair types. The best ingredients are almond oil, sacha inchi oil, and mongongo oil, which stimulate and condition the scalp. It’s used to pre-condition the hair and scalp for easier shampooing and detangling.” —Dr. Mitchell
Best Leave-In Conditioner
Coily Miracle Leave-In
“Coily hair needs all the emollients it can get and this has avocado and coconut oil, both well-known ingredients that contain large amounts of fatty acids. The formula also has thermal and UV protection.” —Dr. Reid
Best Hair Oil
No. 7 Bonding Oil
“The best hair oil for curly hair to me is the Olaplex bonding oil. It helps penetrate the cuticles as well as make your strands stronger from the inside out!” —Sabrina Porsche
Best Deep Conditioning Treatment
“The main ingredients of this mask that are responsible for adding strength, softness, and hydration to hair are the rice water ferment and moringa seed extract, an ancient natural treatment that leaves the hair feeling pampered, silky, and hydrated. It also gives the hair more defined, bouncy, and elongated curls” —Dr. Mitchell
“A wide-tooth comb is one of the best hair tools for thick, coily hair. Consider this your go-to hair tool, whether your hair is wet or dry. A wide-tooth comb lets you get through the knots and tangles a bit more seamlessly.” —Du
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