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The best Sun Bum curly hair products to shop in 2021

This Sun Bum collection brings a little bit of paradise (and shine!) into my hair care routine.
Writer Jillian Ortiz showing step by step usage of Sun Bum hair products
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Jillian Ortiz

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My curly hair and I never really got along until I learned how to take care of it. I, like many of my friends, spent most of my teenage years flattening it with a straightening iron and trying to get rid of any sign of a curl.

However, as an adult, I've learned to embrace my bouncy curls and no longer try to hide them. Now, I always say: The bigger the better! In fact, I've since ditched most of my heating tools and replaced them with a hair regimen that lets them shine on their own.

There are a few styling products in my routine that I find myself returning to, but I am always on the lookout for new hair care that can deliver. Earlier this summer, I had the chance to try the Sun Bum (yes, the brand that makes sunscreen) Curls and Waves collection and jumped on it, partially because I was curious as to how the brand's lesser-known products would perform, but also because SPF for your hair in the summer is a must.

The ingredients check all the boxes

The entire line consists of six products (shampoo, conditioner, detangler, leave-in conditioner, styling cream and a mousse), plus, a new limited-edition T-shirt hair towel that makes plopping a breeze.

There are six products in Sun Bum's curly hair collection — and they all smell amazing.

After products from OGX were brought into the spotlight for containing the preservative DMDM hydantoin, I've been paying close attention to the ingredient lists of every product that I use in my beauty routine. Luckily, all six Sun Bum products are DMDM-H free, as well as vegan, cruelty-free and UV-protecting. But what matters most to me and my color-treated hair is that these products are also color-safe and sulfate-free.

Ingredients like coconut oil, seaweed protein and kukui nut oil, which help protect your locks from breakage, can be found in almost every product in the line. Everyone with curls knows how important it is for them to be hydrated at all times (particularly during the summertime when frizz runs rampant), so I'm happy Sun Bum's collection does a good job at keeping them nourished and moisturized.

Everything smells amazing

Sometimes hair products are either overly-fragrant, or they simply don't smell good. Every single one of Sun Bum's products smells like a tropical vacation, from the shampoo to the mousse. My favorite has to be the leave-in conditioner, which is formulated with banana pulp, peel and banana leaf — and not only makes my hair feel soft, but it smells sweet all day long.

Sun Bum Revitalizing 3-in-1 Leave-In Conditioner

While scented products can be a turn off for some, I like that I can smell the products throughout the day, so that I know they are still holding in my hair. Plus, during the hot days of summer leading into fall, my locks always smell and feel fresh, too.

The process

I try to use the Sun Bum products in the same cadence that I do my usual hair products, but some items, such as the detangler and styling cream, don't need to be used in a specific order for you to reap the benefits.

Out of habit, I try not to shampoo my hair too much (it can dry out curls faster), but working this shampoo into a lather feels like a luxury experience — and even better when you throw in a scalp brush. After I rinse, I apply the conditioner to my ends and let it sit for a couple of minutes so my hair can really soak up the softening and moisturizing benefits.

Scrunching my hair helps to make sure the product is thoroughly applied and reinforces the curls.

To capitalize on curly hair, you have to take advantage of when your tresses are fresh out of the shower (remember, curls thrive on moisture). I use the T-shirt towel to lightly squeeze out excess water and then apply the leave-in conditioner and detangler so that I can comb through my hair and work through knots with ease.

Sun Bum Curls & Waves Detangler

The T-shirt towel helps prevent breakage in my hair while I dry it, but it is also the perfect size for plopping and locking in all the product.

Sun Bum Limited-Edition T-Shirt Hair Towel

If you're not familiar with the process, plopping essentially involves putting your hair in a mound on the top of your head and using a T-shirt to protect your hair while it dries. I usually leave my hair like this for an hour or two after applying a few drops of the styling cream and then move on to the next step.

Sun Bum Curls & Waves Styling Cream

After plopping, I'll scrunch the styling cream through my hair again to ensure a frizz-free and shinier finish. Then, I apply the mousse to finalize my style before heading out the door.

Sun Bum Curls & Waves Whipped Mousse

I used to avoid applying mousse, but this formula doesn't feel sticky on my hands or in my hair and only takes a few seconds to absorb. The best part? It doesn't leave my hair feeling crunchy either.

I love everything about this Sun Bum line, but I do wish that there was some kind of curl refresher that I could use on the days between washes. Other than that, I think I just found the perfect way to bring a little bit of paradise into my hair care routine.

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