A woman applying hair product to curly hair

A woman applying hair product to curly hair (Photo by ShotPrime Studio on Shutterstock)

Air-dry creams are like your hair’s best friend, making those low-maintenance, natural waves or curls a breeze to achieve. Finding the right one feels a bit like discovering a secret weapon for your daily hair routine. No need to fuss with heat styling tools – apply the cream and let your locks air dry into effortless beauty. We have listed the seven best air-dry creams on the market that make styling easy for everyone.

Let’s face it: heat styling can be a double-edged sword. While it grants us the power of sleek blowouts and bouncy curls, the damage caused by scorching temperatures is undeniable. Enter the air-drying movement, a wave of appreciation for embracing your hair’s natural texture and ditching the heat damage. But air-drying isn’t just about avoiding harm; it’s about celebrating your hair’s unique beauty and unlocking its hidden potential.

Benefits of air-drying:

  • Healthier, happier hair: No more heat-induced dryness, frizz, or split ends. Air-drying allows your hair to retain its natural moisture, resulting in shinier, stronger, and more manageable strands.
  • Time-saving magic: Ditch the lengthy blow-drying routine and reclaim precious mornings. Air-drying is the ultimate low-maintenance approach to gorgeous hair.
  • Embracing your texture: Whether you have waves, curls, or coils, air-drying enhances your natural texture, defining your unique pattern without harsh styling tools.
  • Boosting volume: Forget limp, lifeless locks. Air-drying often results in natural volume and lift, especially when paired with the right styling products.

But wait, there’s more! While air-drying is amazing, it’s not always a walk in the park. That’s where air-dry creams come in. These leave-in conditioners are specially formulated to combat frizz, enhance definition, and reduce drying time, all while nourishing and protecting your hair.

What’s delightful about these creams is how they leave your hair feeling soft to touch, yet kind of messy like you didn’t even try to look good. It’s a fresh-out-of-the-salon look even when you don’t feel like going there or that beachy windswept look year-round, without the sand in between your toes. This is why StudyFinds has created this list of the best air-dry creams that were most recommended by 11 beauty experts. Let us know if we missed you favorite product in the comments below!

➡️ How Our “Best Of The Best” Lists Are Created

StudyFinds’ “Best of the Best” articles are put together with the idea of taking the work out of common consumer research. Ever find yourself searching for a product or service on Google and reading multiple reviews to find items listed across many of them? Our Best of the Best lists are created with that process in mind, with each item ranked by how frequently it appears on expert reviews or lists. With Best of the Best, you are getting consensus picks — making them truly the best of the best!

Curly hair
Curly hair (Photo by Noémie Roussel on Unsplash)

The List: Best Air-Dry Creams, According to Style Experts


1. JVN Complete Air-Dry Cream

JVN Complete Air-Dry Cream
JVN Complete Air-Dry Cream

You may recognize the name of this brand because of the celebrity behind it. Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness developed his own line of stellar haircare products. He is known for transforming people’s hair on the show and has been a hair stylist for over 15 years, so it is no wonder that his brand ranks as the number one air-dry cream. New York hair stylist Mia Santiago tells Allure that JVN’s Air-Dry Cream is a “killer cream” that “adds amazing shine” while keeping the hair soft and never crunchy.

From beauty experts to regular women with busy schedules, they all agree that JVN is a win. CNN testers say it performs across all hair types. The hemi-squalane used in the formula helps to reduce frizz and activate shine, without leaving any heavy buildup behind like other products. It also strengthens strands for less breakage.

JVN packs a lot into its formula. According to InStyle, the air-dry cream is their favorite from the entire JVN haircare lineup. They say it gives a “soft, touchable hold, allowing your natural texture to shine, sans frizz and flyaways.”

2. R+Co Cool Wind pH Perfect

R+Co Cool Wind pH Perfect
R+Co Cool Wind pH Perfect

Verb Air Dry Cream caters specifically to those with straight to wavy hair, offering a lightweight formula that promises effortless style and beautiful results. CNN‘s Brooke Rubenstein highlights its ability to create “a soft, touchable, airy texture,” ideal for those who want to embrace their natural waves without sacrificing manageability.

But the benefits go beyond texture. Who What Wear delves into the nourishing ingredients, including apricot and watermelon extracts, soybean oil, and mango butter, all working together to hydrate, prevent frizz, and maintain volume. So, you can achieve air-dried perfection without worrying about dryness or unwanted frizz.

Editorialist offers a technical breakdown of the cream’s magic. They emphasize its pH-balancing properties, which help tame hair and facilitate effortless styling.

3. Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It Air Dry Styler

Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It Air Dry Styler
Bumble and Bumble Don’t Blow It Air Dry Styler

Bumble and Bumble’s Don’t Blow It line caters to a range of different hair types. Let’s explore the options:

Fine to Medium Hair: For those with fine or medium hair that craves texture and volume, Editorialist highlights the “first-of-its-kind” fine hair cream that enhances these qualities for the perfect air-dried style. Rank and Style agrees, placing it among the best air-dry products for fine hair, ensuring it won’t weigh down your delicate strands.

Medium to Thick Hair: If your hair is thicker and you struggle with frizz and flyaways, InStyle recommends the Thick Don’t Blow It cream. This decadent formula conditions, de-frizzes, and adds control, allowing you to embrace your natural texture without sacrificing manageability. It even speeds up drying time, leaving you with shiny, soft hair faster. Just remember, a little goes a long way to avoid weighing down your locks.

So, no matter your hair type, Bumble and Bumble’s Don’t Blow It range offers a tailored solution to help you achieve beautiful, effortless air-dried styles.

4. CURLSMITH Weightless Air Dry Cream

CURLSMITH Weightless Air Dry Cream
CURLSMITH Weightless Air Dry Cream

Calling all curl queens! Curlsmith’s Weightless Air Dry Cream is formulated specifically to address your needs. Editorialist explains how its blend of nourishing butters, moisture-locking oils, and hyaluronic acid delivers deep, lasting hydration without any greasy residue. This is especially important for curly hair, which can be prone to dryness and buildup. Plus, it washes out easily with your regular shampoo, so you don’t have to worry about long-term product accumulation.

But the love doesn’t stop there. Rank and Style dives into the impressive list of natural ingredients, including murumuru butter, babassu seed oil, ginger, castor oil, and dragon fruit pulp. These powerful ingredients work together to deeply nourish and define your curls.

Who What Wear highlights the shine factor, assuring you that despite its lightweight feel, the cream packs a punch. And for those with stubborn curls, Editorialist offers a pro tip: use the finger coil method after applying the cream to enhance definition and achieve flawless results.

With its nourishing formula, weightless texture, and easy wash-out, Curlsmith’s Weightless Air Dry Cream seems like a dream come true for curly girls. So, ditch the frizz and embrace your beautiful, defined curls with this haircare hero.

5. Odele Air-Dry Styler

Odele Air-Dry Styler
Odele Air-Dry Styler (ulta.com)

Fine-haired beauties, rejoice! Odele Air Dry Styler promises to unlock your natural texture without frizz or crunch. Allure gives it a thumbs-up, highlighting the hydrolyzed rice protein that strengthens and smooths, allowing you to ditch the blow-dryer and flaunt your natural waves.

But frizz control isn’t its only strength. Rank and Style praises its “clean ingredient list” and lightweight moisture that seals out frizz and defines strands, giving you that effortlessly tousled look.

The magic goes beyond ingredients, with InStyle mentioning the signature Odele fragrance composed of cucumber, oak moss, and ylang-ylang. Don’t worry if you have sensitive senses, the scent is subtle and pleasant.

However, keep in mind that less is more with this product. InStyle warns against over-application, as it can weigh down hair and leave residue. A dime-sized amount is enough for fine hair, and it works across various textures, from straight to wavy to curly.

6. Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Air-Dry Anti-Frizz Cream

Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Air-Dry Anti-Frizz Cream
Garnier Fructis Style Smooth Air-Dry Anti-Frizz Cream

Garnier Fructis Style Air-Dry Cream seems like a promising option for those seeking frizz-free, naturally beautiful hair. Pinkvilla‘s reviewer put it to the test and was impressed by its fast-absorbing formula enriched with Moroccan argan oil. It effectively controlled frizz without heat styling and left her hair smooth, shiny, and flexible, with no product build-up. The versatility of using it on both damp and dry hair adds to its appeal.

InStyle features expert advice from curl specialist Ahmed, who recommends this cream for all hair types, including curly hair. His tip is to apply it on soaking wet curls, layering it with other products for optimal results. Good Housekeeping further validates its effectiveness, citing Beauty Lab tests where it won for smoothing and frizz defense. Testers lauded its ability to control frizz even in rainy weather and praised the smooth, bouncy texture it leaves behind.

Overall, Garnier Fructis Style Air-Dry Cream seems like a budget-friendly option for those seeking to tame frizz, add shine, and embrace their natural hair texture without the use of heat styling tools. Its lightweight formula, versatility, and positive reviews make it worth considering for your hair care routine.

7. Ouai Air Dry Foam

Ouai Air Dry Foam
Ouai Air Dry Foam

Dreaming of effortless, beach-inspired waves? Ouai Air Dry Foam might be your answer. Editorialist describes it as the key to “beach-day hair dreams,” suitable for both curly and straight hair. Its feather-light texture eliminates frizz while adding tousled definition, thanks to hydrating kale extract. And for an added sensory experience, it boasts the brand’s signature North Bondi fragrance with notes of bergamot, citrus, and florals.

The magic goes beyond texture and scent. Stylist delves into the nourishing ingredients, highlighting carrot, lemon, and kale protein that work together to soften, smooth, and fight frizz, leaving you with those coveted tousled waves.

Budget-conscious beauty lovers will appreciate Pure Wow‘s review. They mention the affordable price point and emphasize the product’s multitasking abilities. It delivers instant waves while conditioning and detangling, all without a crunchy finish.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Te-Erika Patterson

Te-Erika is the Publisher of The Feisty News for Women, the only full-service news source for women. Te-Erika is also the author of How To Love a Powerful Woman, Leave Your Baby Daddy and Loving Female Led Relationships: Relationships that Empower Women. A graduate of The University of Florida, Te-Erika enjoys a thriving career as a digital content creator that has spanned more than a decade. She enjoys chocolate, wine and solitude, and she is currently living a quiet life in Montgomery, Alabama. Follow her @Te-Erika

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