This $6 leave-in conditioner helped me love my natural curls

Goodbye, heat! This is the only product I need for my curly hair.
by Lindsay Lowe / / Source: TODAY
Cantu's leave-in conditioner transformed my curly hair.

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I wish my hair care routine was "wash and go." But, it's not.

My thick, curly hair can easily become one huge mass of frizz. I've tried everything to tame it: different creams, gels, oils and sprays. I even tried a flat iron, but the constant heat basically turned my hair into straw (not to mention, straightening took forever). So, after a while, I gave that up, too.

Finally, about three years ago, I found a product that allowed me to embrace my natural texture rather than constantly fight it: Cantu leave-in conditioning repair cream.

I bought it on a whim at the drugstore once. Now, it’s the only styling product I use.

Cantu’s leave-in conditioner is a white cream with a texture similar to body lotion. It has a light, pleasant coconut fragrance. It’s also a bargain compared to many other curl creams. You can snag a 16-ounce container for just $6 at Walmart.

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And, a 24-ounce salon-sized tub costs $22 on Amazon and lasts for months.

It's also easy to apply. After showering, I wring the excess moisture from my hair, gently blot it with a towel, and run a wide-toothed comb through it. Then, I take a quarter-sized blob of the Cantu cream and spread it over my fingers. I usually end up adding a little bit more. I apply it while my curls are still pretty damp to lock the moisture in before they start expanding.

After that, I gently scrunch my curls from the bottom up, trying to coat every spiral with a thin layer of cream. Then, I let air-drying take over. The cream is enough to keep my ringlets smooth and defined without added heat.

One thing I’ve learned in three years of using the conditioner: Don’t handle the curls too much because that’s how frizz gets out of control!

I use the shea butter variety, but it also comes in an argan oil version.

While I usually just apply it after the shower, I carry a little container of the cream in my purse to smooth flyaways throughout the day, too.

At first, I thought the Cantu cream was just a way to keep daily frizz under control. But it ended up improving my hair’s texture long-term. After I had been using the cream for several months, my stylist mentioned how healthy and strong my hair felt. I’ve also noticed fewer split ends.

Cantu cream has helped me see the beauty of my hair's natural texture and volume. I don’t even own a hair straightener anymore, and I don't miss it.

Here are some of our other favorite drugstore products for curly hair.

And below are some of the best-selling curl creams on Amazon.

Apply this cream made with essential oils to damp hair to define curls and protect them from humidity.

Organic shea butter, coconut oil and hibiscus combine to add moisture to damp or dry hair in this curl "smoothie." One reviewer says it's thick, but the cream does moisturize well.

This water-based cream is made to feel light while adding moisture to curly hair.

This version of the shea butter moisturizer was made to strengthen hair, prevent breakage and protect from heat.

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