Review and giveaway: Curly Q hair products

In the 8 years since our first Ethiopian daughter came home, I’m pretty sure I’ve spent more money on hair products AND more time doing hair than the rest of my life combined.  (And yes, that includes my own hair-obsessed teen years!) Keeping up with four girls’ hair is no small thing.  We’ve found a few products that we like really well— TRESemme conditioner used as a leave-in is a perennial favorite — but we’re always willing to try new things.  So when we were asked to try out the Fairy Tales Curly-Q Shampoo  and the Fairy Tales Curly-Q Natural Curl Maker Gel  we accepted gladly.

We have three girls with 3C curls, and one with type 4A.  The ‘3c’ girls use shampoo pretty routinely, followed by leave-in conditioner. The Curly-Q Shampoo worked well for them.  They liked the smell, and it did a good job cleansing their hair gently.   My 14 year old said her hair feels very soft after shampooing with this

Our daughter with 4A hair, age 16,  generally avoids shampoo.  It is too harsh and drying for her delicate hair.  (Instead she typically uses conditioner twice — once as shampoo, and then a bit more that she leaves in after washing to keep her hair manageable.)  She did give this shampoo a try and said that this was more gentle than others.  However, she was the only one of the four girls who didn’t like the smell, so I think she will pass on this anyway.

All of the girls tried the Curl Maker, which is a curl-defining gel.  I liked using it to smooth hair as I was braiding.  I think it kept fly-aways down and helped the braids look smooth longer.  It is also useful for smoothing back fly-aways at the front edge of the hair– it holds the hair down and adds a bit of shine.  It was less stiff than normal hair gel, but still did have a bit of heaviness about it.  We don’t tend to leave any of the girls’ hair loose for very long, since it gets tangled quickly.  But the one time I used this product for my 7 year old, it did seem to slow the tangling a bit.  Overall we were pleased with it.

This weekend I’m giving away one bottle of Curly-Q shampoo.  To enter the giveaway, comment below and tell me one curly-hair product that you’ve tried and liked.  I’ll announce a winner Tuesday morning!


  1. TCB olive oil. It smells really good. I also like motions leave-in conditioner.

  2. Mary,
    Can you tell me what you’ve liked for using on your daughter with 4A hair? that’s what I have with two of my girls…haven’t really found anything that I love yet…


    • Chris- the Tresemme works ok for her as a leave-in, esp if she combs through her hair in the shower with a wide-toothed comb. We’ve also perm-straightened her hair several times which hasn’t made it truly straight, but makes it lots easier to handle.

  3. So, I apparently have 3b type. That would be why while I was growing up my father always was asking me if I’d combed my hair yet…. “yes, just now” was the usual answer. (I inherited it from him! but his was always short, so poor guy had no idea.) Now I frequently don’t, because it just turns it into a frizzy mess.

  4. If I am feeling rich, then products from Hair Rules – other wise a deep conditioner and some Suave curl spray.

    • I forgot to mention FHI Heat Hot Sauce. It is great if I am going to blowdry my hair. It is for people who use flat-irons, I think – the heat drives moisture into your hair. It works very well for me.

  5. I read your first sentence and thought “Yes, me too!”. I am still struggling/learning how to do our daughter’s hair.
    I have just discovered Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier and love how it helps brush through her tight, kinky hair.
    Thank you for the idea of conditioning twice instead of shampooing!

  6. I’ve liked serums like Biosilk in the past to tame my curls a little (but I still haven’t found my perfect products and often resort to a straightener or a ponytail when I can’t tame them!)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I’m still trying to learn how to deal with African hair. The nannies here like to do the tight, stiff braids–partly because they don’t have to deal with combing for a few days. I’d like to experiment and find a new solution. I’m checking out the website with the 4A information now.

  8. Rebekah J says:

    My girls and I have a range of 3C to 4A hair, all fine to medium. I definitely don’t shampoo but co-wash (conditioner wash) and we use either Herbal Essence Hello Hydration or Sauve coconut conditioner. Two easy relatively cheap options that are still good compared to what I’ve bought and used in the past.

  9. I’m wondering what the ingredients are in these products, especially if they have a conditioner in the line. Specifically, we avoid alcohol and glycerine for my daughter’s 4b hair. Mostly I co-wash, but sometimes blend in a little shampoo, or occasionally straight shampoo if she’s gotten especially dirty. We use Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner, but it’s so thick that I don’t like it for co-washing. All of the other appropriate, reasonably priced conditioners I can find have the ingredients in them that dry or crunch her hair, so I am constantly on the look-ut for a good conditioner, especially for co-washing. The only product I really, really love for her hair is Darcy’s Botanicals Madagascar Vanilla Styling Cream.

  10. So far, all I’ve tried is Pantene for colored women while we were in Ethiopia meeting our sweet girl. But once we get our baby home, we’ll be sampling products until we find what works.
    Fixing her hair is what terrifies me the most. I can hardly fix my 4-year old’s hair which is straight and smooth. I think I’ll find a tutor!!

  11. Our daughter’s hair is a challenge. Recently a teacher at her school recommended Nexus shampoo and conditioner. We like it but her hair still breaks easily.

  12. My 9 year old daughter has long curly hair (3b-3c). I have struggled with her hair for years with lots of tears on her & my part when it came time to brush her hair.

    Lately I am finding I like the Suave Professionals Captivating Curls (which is supposed to be like Redken). For Christmas my daughter recieved a paddle brush that has a combination of shorter soft natural bristles with longer plastic bristles. If I had known what peace it would bring in our house I would have bought that brush years ago. Just 5 minutes ago she came in the livingroom asking me to brush her hair.

  13. I always love to try new products, but the bulk of our haircare routine is made up of Oyin Handmade products. It’s a small company with fantastic prices (compared to some of the bigger known lines!) and their products are all natural.

  14. I love using the Sunsilk Therma Shine detangling shine spray. It works way better than I thought it would! I use it on their dry hair, even though it says wet to pick through it.

  15. Curls Rock is my favorite cream- doesn’t leave a heavy feel at all but still can tame frizziness. 🙂

  16. We have used numerous products on our kids hair. We are using Shea Butter cream, something I picked up at Target. It doesn’t do the job.

  17. I haven’t found anything that works on my 11 year old’s hair. I would love to try the shampoo for wavy hair!

  18. My ET girl (age 11 – and her 3 brothers) has been home for 7 weeks. I have lots to learn! Would love to win the Shampoo or anything good for her hair!

  19. I am a whitre with straight-as-death-hair girl married to a black man with the kinkiest of curls. My 3 yr old son got my hair with slight curls at the end. My 1 yr old daughter has the 3c curls. Ignorant as I am, I have been just using the usual baby shampoo with my usual Suave conditioner, but I can tell its not working. Her hair is too dry.
    I’m so excited to have discovered your blog, especially since we have another on the way and whi knows what kind of curls he or she will have!

  20. Mary, I left a comment earlier for the contest. I have to share this with you. My adopted daughter is 9 years old. We were her foster parents for four years and then were blessed to adopt her. I have never heard of hair types. We’ve been to anyone I can think of for help and I researched but did not find much help. After reading your post, I found a chart and she has 4b or 4c hair. We’ve been doing all the wrong things. I also found a video demonstrating a pre-conditioning treatment and hair washing techniques. We pre-conditioned tonight and combed out tangles and are ready to wash in the morning. He poor hair was so thirsty. Thank you for sharing this. Her hair has been breaking off for years from being over-processed and dry. Thank you!!!

  21. We adopted our 10 yr old domestically three years ago, and have experimented with different styles and products. She has 4b type hair, and she has had puffs, braids, cornrows, and recently we cut off her dreads, and she has a short afro now. We used Loc Butter for the scalp, and Tui Hair Smoothie conditioner from Carol’s Daughter at Sephora.
    Trader Joe carries shampoos& conditioners without sulphates, alcohol, and silicone which are reasonably priced. But all that said, we’re game for using new products.

  22. Carol’s Daughter’s Hair Milk has worked best for us, but is pricey. I usually keep my daughter’s hair braided so that I am not combing it out and breaking it so much. That has really helped it grow over the last year. I am starting dreads on my son and really struggling to get them to loc. I am always looking for new affordable products!!

  23. We are a family with very curly and very dry hair. My youngest has the driest hair and my oldest has the curliest. The poor things inherited my mass of locks. We also all have the nerve to have tender scalps. Sigh. Anywho, our preference is Healthy Hair Butter by Carol’s Daughter. And in the cold winter months, we like Marguerite’s Magic, also by Carol’s Daughter.

  24. We are just beginning the adoption process of our 17-month-old who is African-American and Hispanic. She has the cutest and tiniest little curls that everyone loves. It has been a challenge to do her hair as she dislikes the process, even though we put a lot of leave-in conditioner in it! We are currently using Circle of Friends Maya Papaya leave-in conditioner that you can buy through I had tried a sample of something (don’t know what it is called) from my hairdresser and even tried making my own leave-in stuff, but this seems to be the best. I use Dove conditioner in her hair at bath time which helps, too. I have heard of the Mixed Chicks brand (found on-line and in some salons), but am waiting to run out of what I have to try it. I am willing to try out the stuff you recommend and are giving away:) to help her not cry and to make those curls even better moisturized.

  25. Tiffany A says:

    I love shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie and my new favorite is
    Le kair cholesterol. Le kair its the bomb dot com for type 4 hair.

  26. We love curly cake shake by Blended Cutie for our daughters full head of B5 hair. It is all natural with no harsh chemicals to irritate her delicate skin. It smells great and holds curls and twists well. Although my two year old tries to eat it sometimes…(well, the bottle does say “cake” on it)!!

  27. Stephanie says:

    I know exactly what you are saying about the cost of hair products is crazy, but so worth it. I haven’t yet tried Curly-Q products but would love to.

  28. I use DivaCare Conditioner. I use it to “shampoo” and then leave a little bit in when I get out of the shower. I only comb in the shower while the conditioner is in my hair. Then when I get out I squeeze my hair damp and do not rub at all with towel. I put DivaCare Gel and scrunch my curls up.
    I have to wet and condition everyday. I am white with 3C curls.
    I inherited my curls from my mom who never knew the best way to care for curls. She always kept her hair very short just so she wouldn’t have to deal with it.
    I found the book Curly Girl and have never looked back. I have tried some other conditioners, but always end up coming back tho the Diva Curl products and now that they are available at Ulta it’s even easier for me.

  29. As the mother of a beautiful biracial son, I have tried many hair care products but the best is Miss Jessie’s It is a bit pricey but Target is now carrying it and you can sometimes hit a “buy one, get one” sale it. Leaves soft curls without the heavy stiffness.

  30. We have used the detangler from this company. We liked it, but go through is way too fast for the $. 🙁

  31. for our curly blonde haired daughter we have usd Biologe frizz control. She is a 3B/3C.

  32. I haven’t tried any products, but I’ve added conditioner to a spray bottle of water and it has seemed to work.

  33. My daughter is almost 16 and we have yet to find a good product for her curly hair. I will have to give this Curly Q stuff a try. How did you find out the letter/number combo for their hair?

  34. What haven’t I tried on my daughters hair in the last 10 years! I like the Redken All soft line but it is expensive. Currently we are using dove deep conditioning or something like that (I can look tonight if you are interested). We have tried various products for curls but nothing we have loved yet. We are going to try Carol’s daughter line too, but again its pricey. I use Johnson detangler.

  35. I like the “Just for me” hair milk spray for my daughter, she has tight but doesn’t get a lot of knots. I also sometimes use my Ouidad Moisture Lock leave-in conditioner on her, but that stuff is more expensive and harder to find (except online) than Carol’s Daughter.

  36. Sherry Lykins says:

    I have VERY curly hair and so do 2 of my daughters. The other one is stick straigh, go figure, lol I have tried alot of products but have never really found one that I love!

  37. Meghan Finley says:

    I’m a coconut oil fan here


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