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Everything you need to know about Cantu Curling Cream (and how to use it)

by Luke Carthy

Sep 2022

Cantu coconut curling cream
Cantu coconut curling cream

Whether you’re new to the world of afro hair products and hair care, you’re a veteran or hobbyist that’s been finessing their hair for years, there’s no doubt that you’d have heard of Cantu curling cream before.

A staple in many people’s hair care routine for styling and equally a controversial choice when it comes to styling products for others too.

We’ve put Cantu Coconut Curling Cream under the lens, reviewed the pros and cons and we’ve helped you to decide whether you should make it part of your hair care regimen or it off your shortlist.

What is Cantu curling cream used for?

Cantu Coconut Curling Cream has a few uses, which is why it’s super popular. Let’s look at each of its uses.

Firstly, Cantu curling cream helps to define your curls

Even if you’ve curly, coiled or kinky hair, you’ll know that sometimes your curls need defining or enhancing to really help your style pop.

Alternatively, your curls may already be on point but you need something that’s going to keep your curls fresh throughout the day.

This is exactly what Cantu curling cream is good for. Firstly, it defines and maximises your curl pattern and provides a light hold to keep your style looking its best throughout the day.

As an additional plus, it also doubles up as a hair moisturiser to hydrate your tresses too. Ultimately dry curls lack definition and that’s precisely why it’s important to keep them hydrated.

Secondly, Cantu curling cream can even help make straight hair curly

One of the most common questions we’re asked when it comes to Cantu curling cream is whether it can be used on straight and European hair types. The good news is, the answer’s yes!

If you’ve mostly straight or lightly wavy hair and want to add light yet juicy curls to your hair, Cantu Coconut Curling Cream can really help.

Word of advice though – if you’re going to use this product on straight or lightly wavy hair types, it’s recommended that you only apply it to wet and freshly washed hair to avoid build-up and avoid that heavy clumpy feel. Additionally, your curls will likely come out better if you apply it to damp or wet hair over dry hair.

Is Cantu Curling Cream good or bad for your hair?

The short answer is – it’s good for your hair. It moisturises your hair and strengthens strands too – but there are some important things to note.

It’s no secret that Cantu’s hair products are often met with controversy – but why is that? All products in the Cantu shea butter range of free of silicons, parabens and most other harmful ingredients.

On the whole, Cantu is mostly a good choice for your hair but there are a few things to note which may mean Cantu isn’t a great choice for you

Cantu contains coconut oil

For some people, coconut oil is a no-go when it comes to their hair care regimen. For some people, it can irritate their scalp making it sore and/or itchy. However, for many coconut oil is fine to use. It’s all about finding what works (or doesn’t work) for you.

Cantu curling cream contains alcohol (spoiler: it’s mostly a good ingredient!)

On the surface, alcohol in a hair product would seem like a bad choice as depending on the type and quantity of alcohol present. Alcohol can dry out your hair. Bad news – particularly when it comes to styling and defining curls which require your hair to be well moisturised.

However, when it comes to Cantu Curling Cream, the alcohol used is Cetearyl Alcohol which is actually an emollient and this has the opposite effect in that it conditions, moisturises and makes your hair softer to the touch!

Better still Cetearyl Alcohol is great at adding slip which means it’ll be even easier to glide your fingers, brushes and combs through your hair to define your curls and remove tangles.

However, Cetearyl Alcohol has a few downsides too.

Firstly it’s not water soluble so to wash it out, you’ll need to use a good clarifying shampoo. As a result, if you’re using this curling cream multiple times between washes you could end up with build-up and flaking compromising your style. So, if you’re avoiding using clarifying shampoo in your hair care regimen, you’ll probably want to avoid Cantu Curling Cream and other products that contain Cetearyl Alcohol.

To reduce build-up and avoid weighing down your hair, you’ll want to use this product sparingly. Fortunately a little goes a long way.

To make the product go further, make sure you apply Cantu curling cream to damp or wet hair as this will really help to distribute the product through your curls effectively and spread it throughout your strands.

Can I use Cantu Curling Cream every day?

We highly recommend that you use Cantu Curling cream no more than twice between washes – particularly if you’ve low-porosity hair! Applying it too frequently or every day is likely to cause build-up which could lead to flaking and an irritated scalp.

If you want to get your curls back in shape, rather than re-applying Cantu curling cream, we recommend that you simply spritz your hair with water and then lightly brush/comb and detangle with your fingers. Applying water will help to re-activate the curling effect without causing build-up and you’re using less product too. Win, win!

Should I apply Cantu Curling Cream to wet or dry hair?

We’re going to keep it real with you on this one. Cantu themselves recommend that you can apply their coconut curling cream onto dry hair and we strongly disagree. Cantu curling cream should always be applied to clean, damp (ideally wet) hair and here are a few reasons why:

1. You’ll likely need to use a lot more product (good for Cantu, bad for you)

Dry hair is naturally more ‘grippy’ as a result, any product you add to dry hair isn’t going to travel as far through your hair. So to compensate, you’ll get through more product and actually weigh down your hair.

As a result, your curls will be heavy, less defined and the product won’t be distributed as well revealing uneven coverage! This also brings us on to the second point…

2. You’re much more likely to fight with build-up applying to dry hair

Because of the extra product you’re going to need to apply because your hair’s dry, you’re much more likely to experience build-up which can lead to flakes, an itchy scalp and will compromise the final look of your curls.

If it’s not wash day and you wish to apply curling cream, we recommend you spritz your hair with water first to dampen your hair then apply the curling cream. You’ll definitely have better results that way – thank us later!

What hair types is Cantu curling cream good for?

A pretty simple answer for this one – all of ‘em. Even straight hair! Whether you’ve kinky 4c hair and you’re styling up a cool twist-out or you’re defining looser 2a curls; Cantu Curling cream can be a good choice for you.

What really determines whether Cantu curling cream is good for your hair is your hair porosity.

Cantu curling cream is quite a rich product so if you’ve super low porosity hair, you’ll want to be sure you use this sparingly to reduce build-up.

However, if you’ve higher porosity hair, you can afford to be a little more liberal.

What other Cantu products work well with Coconut Curling Cream?

If you’re looking for extra hold (ideal if you have a tighter curl pattern, rocking a twist-out or just want some extra hold for your style) we recommend you follow up with Cantu Twist & Lock Gel.

This complimentary product from Cantu will help fix your styles into place for longer with a firmer hold.

So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about Cantu coconut curling cream. Give it a try and let us know how you get on!