IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

This curling cream gave my hair definition and shine — and it's just $14

It really delivers on its curl defining promise!
Courtesy Kara Quill

Shop TODAY is editorially independent. Our editors selected these deals and items because we think you will enjoy them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Items are sold by retailer, not TODAY. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

Curly hair can be hard. And I had the same experience most people with curly or wavy hair go through growing up — I tried what seemed like every cream, gel and frizz-control product on the shelves to add some definition to my hair, which is on the wavier side, all to no avail.

Even into adulthood all of the products I tried seemed to either not provide my desired look or would leave my hair coated in a gel-like film that looked more greasy than like the healthy curls I wanted. Which would usually leave me with one option: throw my hair up into a bun or high ponytail and call it a day.

But then I discovered Kristin Ess Curl Defining Creme, which has finally allowed me to embrace my curls the way I want.

Kristin Ess Ultra Light Curl Defining Creme

Through Saturday, April 16, you can shop the curling cream for 30% off during Ulta Beauty's Spring Haul Event. And for less than $11, I'm tempted to stock up!

It's the Goldilocks of curling creams

Admittedly, I don't like to spend a lot of time on my hair. I tend to gravitate toward options that are one and done — no seven step routines for me! Which means, I expect a lot from my hair care products. — I want it to defrizz, detangle, separate, define, shine and everything else all-in-one. So, finding one that's just right has always proved a challenge. To add even another demand to the products I use: I shower at night, so my curling cream needs to hold up throughout the night and into the next day. And this cream does just that.

Courtesy Kara Quill

The first thing that caught my eye about Kristin Ess was the packaging. It's simple, elegant and at 6.7 fluid ounces, I felt like I was really getting a lot of product for the price. I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I was sold on looks alone. And once I got it home and tried it, it proved to live up to its looks.

When I apply it, it leaves my hair feeling soft instead of crunchy, less frizzy without losing volume and super hydrated through the night and into the next day. Plus, it smells like an expensive product you would find in a salon.

Adding it to my routine has been so simple

I gave the back of the bottle a quick read and followed some of their easy steps. First up was tying my wet hair into a micro-fiber towel or T-shirt to help my hair dry and eliminate potential frizz. After leaving it in the towel for about 10-15 minutes, I combed out my hair and got to work.

The brand suggests evenly applying the cream from root to tip and then twisting your strands to help, "encourage the natural curl pattern." Since I have a lot of thick hair, I started by combing the product through my hair and then scrunching it up, top to bottom. I twirled a few unruly strands around my fingers and then let it air dry before bedtime. For more volume, the brand recommends diffusing your hair on medium heat.

Courtesy Kara Quill

It lives up to it's numerous promises

The bottle promises to tame frizz, hydrate, strengthen and leave a soft finish — and boy does it deliver! After going through the quick application process I tied my hair back in a loose braid and went to sleep. When I woke up, I was shocked by the definition. I didn't even have to do any touchups. The unpredictable spring weather couldn't even straighten them out — they held up even as I walked through a morning drizzle on my way to the office.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with how my hair turned out and I'll definitely be using this low-maintenance cream for a long time to come.

For more stories like this, check out:

Subscribe to our Stuff We Love and One Great Find newsletters, and download our TODAY app to discover deals, shopping tips, budget-friendly product recommendations and more!