SheaMoisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie Is Helping My Thirsty Coils Thrive

This curl definer holds up as a smoother, frizz-fighting styler.

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SheaMoisture Coconut  Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie Review Photos
Readers' Choice
  • Readers' Choice
  • 2020
TL;DR:
  • What It Is: A conditioning leave-in cream styler
  • What It Does: Helps to hydrate hair, smooth and define curls, prevent frizz, and add shine
  • Who It's For: Thick, curly, and textured hair types

Like so many others with curly hair, I'm pretty loyal to my curl cocktail. I mean, it only took years of trial and error to get my curl-defining and frizz-fighting lineup right, so naturally, once I found it, I was pretty locked in. The challenge is, as a beauty editor, there's always a new product to try — and honestly, I'm always game. So testing out the SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, a coconut oil-based leave-in conditioner to hydrate split-ends, was a no-brainer.

But the thing about curly hair products, particularly in the styling category, is that there a million-and-one options to choose from and a very real issue of styling for multiple curl patterns on one head. My curls are a lot tighter in the back of my head than they are in the front (thanks, heat damage), so I tend to go more lightweight products in the front that won't further stretch out my already-compromised curls. The back of my hair takes to defining products a lot better, but then there's also the issue of shrinkage, so I actually need products that are a little heavier to help lengthen those curls a bit.

In general, my texture overall is dense but fine. Heavy oils and creams can quickly weigh down my hair and leave it feeling greasy. Knowing this, I can usually tell from the look and feel of a product if it's going to work on my hair or not. 

That being said, after opening the jar of SheaMoisture's Curl Enhancing Smoothie, I immediately noticed it was right for me (and my hair). Although I was skeptical of the cream's thickness, when rubbed into the pads of my fingers, it breaks down into a lightweight, oil-like texture (thanks, to its coconut oil-based formula) — without any added greasiness. Already a good sign.

Nykia Spradley SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie Wet

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Now for the application. Typically, when trying a product for the first time, I try to stick to the instructions as closely as possible, because I don't like to chance it. However, we it comes to my curls, I have a pretty good read on what works (and what doesn't).

Although the instructions note to apply the curl definer to towel-dried or damp hair, I applied to soaking wet hair for my best results. That's because, in my experience, when product is applied to wet hair, the definition of my curls tend to dry better. Plus, it's easier to see how my curls are shaping up as I smooth-in the cream.

Here's how I did it: I washed, conditioned, and detangled my hair, making sure that it was knot-free. Then, I sectioned it off, from ear to ear, starting from the back of my head and working forward, finger-combing the cream through each section. In the back, where I need more stretch, I pulled my hair out a bit, as I spread the product through. In the front, I did the opposite, scrunching as I smoothed in the cream.

Like I said before, I can usually tell how my curls are going to dry from the look of them when wet. Compared to my usual curl cocktail, the definition of my curls while applying the SheaMoisture cream was definitely visible. The coils were a lot finer than usual (normally I end up with chunkier curls), but the goal is always definition and smoothness, both of which were visible even at the wet stage.

Nykia Spradley SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie RCA 2020

To finish up, I did a head flip forward and worked more product through the back of my hair and my ends, and then I let it air-dry. My hair usually takes forever to fully dry, so at bedtime, I gathered it all into a scrunchie at the top of my head and threw on a bonnet. In the morning, I took down my hair — and although still slightly damp in the middle — the curls had remained intact and were a little plumper than usual.

There was zero crunch and overall, my curls were defined, smooth, and soft. The instructions say that the cream can also be used for twist-outs, which I'll definitely try another time. I think it would do particularly well with protective styles. For an easy, one-product wash-and-go, I'm impressed with the 2020 Allure Readers' Choice Award winner.