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Product Reviews

Cantu Curl Activator Review & Steps To Use It on Wavy Curly Hair

January 8, 2018

Cantu products are a god send for curlies across the world. Coconut is used extensively in their products (nature’s best moisturiser) and it’s main target audience is people with curly hair.

Since Cantu Curl Activator is easily available in India via online shopping, many of my readers ask if they should get this for their wavy or curly hair. And once bought, how to apply it on their hair. Hence this very detailed post!

Now the Cantu Curl Activator is actually a curl cream or in popular natural hair lingo – a styler though many confuse it as a leave in conditioner. Granted it can be used alone in your curly hair routine, it is also used in addition to a leave in conditioner.

What is the difference between a leave in conditioner & a curl enhancer, you ask?

A Leave in conditioner only moisturises the hair & helps in fighting frizz. A curl enhancer will go above and beyond just simple hydration- it will add hold’ and ‘definition’ so that the curls last longer, help in clumping and hence they are used more for styling natural hair.)

Let’s get right to the review now. Don’t forget to look out for my styling video where I’ve shown how you can apply them YOUR natural hair.

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Cantu Curl Activator


Cantu for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream will define, moisturize and restore your curls, leaving them smooth, frizz free and full of life. Made with 100% Pure Shea Butter and formulate


Aqua (water), Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (shea) Butter, Polyquaternium-11, Parfum (fragrance), Cetyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate, Glycine Soja (soyabean) Oil, Olea Europaea (olive) Fruit Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Silk Amino Acids, Canola Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Hydrolyzed Silk, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Salvia Officinalis (sage) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (red Grape) Seed Extract, Urtica Dioica (nettle) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Fruit Extract, Persea Gratisima (avocado) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (jojoba) Seed Oil, Mangifera Indica (mango) Seed Butter, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Melia Azadirachta (neem) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Mangifera Indica (mango) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (grape) Seed Oil, Benzyl Benzoate, Coumarin, Hexyl Cinnamal.

Cantu Curl Activator Ingredients

Cantu Curl Activator Ingredients


  • Stearyl Alcohol is actually a moisturising alcohol, not a drying one, so don’t worry.
  • Sheabutter is a rich, creamy ingredient that moisturises and smoothes frizzy hair. BUT it can also lead to acne breakouts on your skin IF your face has a tendency to break out when you apply oils on your face. In such cases, exercise caution by not allowing your hair to touch your face as it dries. Also, wash your face after you’re done styling.
  • It also has many moisturising oils like Coconut, Almond, Avocado, Neem Seed, Carrot Seed etc & creamy butters. Do note that this is also exactly what can make it too heavy for some hair types.
  • Polyquaternium-10 will also give slight hold for your curls, which is why it is often recommended you add a gel after this cream to increase definition and non wash days.
  • Benhentrimonium methosulphate is an excellent conditioning agent which helps in ‘slip’, making it easier to detangle curly hair.
  • This has Glycerine, which is a humectant. For people living in extremely hot/dry or humid conditions, it might not suit your hair and lead to more frizz.

Is It CG Approved:

Yes. No Silicones, drying alcohols and no parabens either for those who are particular.

Don’t know what is CG Approved? Read up on this amazing technique here- What is CG


Rs.Rs.1060- Rs.1900 for 354 ml (Prices keep fluctuating on Amazon) so bookmark & keep checking.


Cantu Curl Activator is super creamy, however it can be oily for some textures  like Type 2/3A. It has fantastic slip  which makes it great for detangling.

Don’t know what hair type YOU have? Don’t miss this post!- Natural Hair Types


Strong & coconut-y! I LOVE how it smells!

How to Use Cantu Curl Activator:

The cream can be either used alone or in a product cocktail (layering 1-3 products) to style your hair, after your shower. Make sure your hair is soaking wet. If it’s damp, you will get more frizz & it won’t be the fault of the product!

  1. Method 1– As #OneandDone

    -On freshly washed hair when it is still wet, section your hair & take a small amount of the cream in your palms.
    -Smooth it on each section to make sure no hair strand is left.
    -If you have wavy hair, DO NOT COMB after application but simply smooth and scrunch sections of your hair
    -If you have curly hair like me, comb first to distribute the product and then scrunch up palmfuls of hair.
    -Use a T shirt next to scrunch up again and then ‘to Plop’.
    -Air dry or use a diffuser!

  2. Method 2As part of a product cocktail

    -Apply a light leave in conditioner on wet hair FIRST.
    -THEN, apply a small dollop of Cantu Curl Activator to different sections.
    -Combing after application to be done for curly hair, not wavy hair as it may break your clumps (best way to find out if combing suits you is by trial and error).-Add gel and/or oil if you like & then plop. (Video Tutorial Below)

  3. Method 3 – Encourage Clumping

    -First do Squish to condish with your favourite conditioner.
    -Next, take a small amount of the cream in your hands and scrunch up until you hear this lovely squelching noise.
    -Repeat with gel, if required.
    -There is no combing or raking in this method once you have detangled with conditioner.
    -This will especially work well for wavy hair or loose ringlets.

99% of the time, I will still use Method 2. Watch my video below to understand:

Want more styling methods to try? Check out 15 more ways to get frizz-free definition: The Ultimate Guide to Styling Wavy & Curly Hair

Cantu Curl Activator is Perfect For:

2C, 3A/B/C, 4A,B,C hair types. Like I also mentioned above, it can get heavier for 2C & 3A hair type so test the amount of cream you need to take over a few weeks.

I’m not saying wavy hair textures won’t get fantastic results, because I have many readers with wavy or loose curls that LOVE cantu.

Only with trial and error will you understand how much your hair needs. Do note that in the rare chance that you are sensitive to coconut in your hair products, this will not suit you.


  1. Big Bottle for a product you need only small amounts of
  2. Because of Point 1, will last you a long time (depending on your length)
  3. Great slip & coats the strands well so makes detangling incredibly easy.
  4. Fragrance lasts for a long time on my curls
  5. Great ingredients
  6. Lots of volume (if amount used is perfect)
  7. Curls are SO shiny!

See this fun slow mo video I shot after I styled my curls using Cantu Curl Activator.


  1. You have to be careful with the amount you use. If you apply too much, your natural hair can feel weighed down.
  2. If  you don’t like the smell of coconuts, you will NOT like this on your hair.
  3. Sensitive to coconut in your hair products? Then this might give you ‘straw-like’ or brittle strands.
  4. Might cause acne for very sensitive skins.

Will I Buy This Again:

That is a RESOUNDING YES! I LOVE this cream for my curls. You can look at the picture below & decide for yourself if it suits me. 😉

My Reader’s Experiences:

Here are some of my readers results with Cantu Curl Activator:

1.  Hinshara Habeeb – Totally love the product. I was recently struggling with protein overload and this non protein product totally helped my hair recover. In the following picture my hair is styled using the LCO technique –  L – As I am leave in, C – Cantu curl activator, O – one drop of Righteou Roots oil. Cantu works anywhere and everywhere.


Cantu Curl Activator

2. Holy Curl Riri–  I’m a big fan of Cantu’s Curl Activator Cream. Ever since I first tried it I got addicted to it. In addition, now that is winter time it works perfectly to prevent my curls from getting dry and a frizzy mess.

Cantu Curl Activator

3. Saloni DongreGot the Cantu Curl Activator from Amazon just a few months back and loved it to the core. It works magically on curls !!! This is my first styling product and is absolutely what I wanted. The best part is its ingredients. Chemical free and nourishing too. Very gentle on ur curls and gives them the perfect bounce if used in right quantity. I swear by this curl activator.

Cantu Curl Activator

4. Leyyah DobaI rake the cream in and then scrunch my hair to give my my clumps. After that, I plop my my hair. Plopping is a must for me!Cantu Curl Activator

Buy Cantu Curl Activator Online:

On Amazon

Get from Naturally You N Me (Use my code CURIOUSJALEBI to get a discount)


The links above are affiliate links which means if you buy the product using that link, I earn a tiny commission. This helps me keep the website running and afford new curly hair products to try out for you guys. 🙂 Also, products that might work for my hair might not work for you and vice versa! Please remember this is my personal experience of the product & your hair can behave differently.

I hope this helps you decide whether you need to add the cream to your routine & how to apply it on your waves or curls.

Have YOU tried this cream? Did you hate it or like it? What is the best curly products combination you have found with Cantu Curl Activator cream? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t leave without checking out other important posts on my blog. If you have wavy hair, not very curly, you will LOVE this section.

You can also follow me on Instagram (@thecuriousjalebi) & Facebook (The Curious Jalebi), where I post hair videos, tips & reviews. You can also subscribe to my Youtube Channel here & watch all my ‘How-To’ video tutorials for natural hair in India!

Have a question you want to ask? Join my Facebook Group- Ask Jalebi!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    Good day

    I have slightly wavy hair that is very dry and frizzy. Definitely no curls. I just wanted to know if this product can help me in any way?

  • Reply
    Joya Singh
    December 11, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    Hi. Would you recommend this for a 4year old girl with type 3A curls? Her hair gets pretty dry. Thanks

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      January 2, 2021 at 3:23 pm

      For 3A I suggest Ashba botanics leave in conditoioner. Not as heavy as this cream

  • Reply
    August 6, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Hi Pallavi!
    First of all a big thank you for writing elaborate reviews on different leave-in products needed for wavy and curly hair! 🙂 Your reviews are very informative and helpful.
    I have hair type somewhere in between 2A and 2B. And I am planning to try a leave in conditioner. But, I am confused between Ashba and Cantu-Leave-in Repair Cream (not curl activator cream as I don’t really have full curly hair). Would be great if you could advise me on which product I should go ahead with.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    my hair type is of sort both wavy and curly..! and its been years there isn’t any improvement in the growth of my hair(especially the length) so i kindly want you to suggest me any product for my hair growth.
    ps: is it a myth that curly hair wont grow in length ? because its almost been 8 years since then the length of my hair is till my shoulders.!
    i have recently started using your cg products and it feels good 🙂 thanx a ton..!

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      August 10, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      It’s a myth that products make hair grow! Your hair growth depends on your genetics, hormone and vitamin levels, stress, water quality and so. Plus we lose 100-150 strands daily, that’s normal. Also, since curls shrink after drying, it often looks like it’s not growing fast, it will look longer wet. It’s absolutely normal.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Hi, any idea if Curl activator can be used on permed hair too?
    In general the curls loose their shape next day and frizzy, so in that case, what would be the best option or regime to follow? Any ideas would be great.
    Thank you

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      July 24, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      Yes can be used, experiment with quantity to see what works best for your hair type

  • Reply
    January 11, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Am confused , is it a leave in conditioner ? If not then do I need to apply conditioner first ?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      January 13, 2020 at 11:59 am

      Hi Ashwini, leave in conditioners and curl creams are very similar and often the labelling can be exchanged. But one main difference between them is a leave in will provide just moisture, a curl cream has an additional styling trait- it helps to define, clump curls better. Not everyone needs both- usually depends on your hair type.Cantu curl cream is a curl cream not a leave in conditioner. You need to apply it either- After rinsing out the conditioner OR after rinsing out the conditioner+ applying a small amount of leave in+ applying a small amount of curl cream. What is your hair type?

  • Reply
    August 2, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Hi! you mentioned that it is not suitable for hot climate (I am from Malaysia), just wonder do you happen to know any good natural based products that are suitable to be used in hot climate country?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      September 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      Natures Gate, Petal fresh are apparently available at Watsons! I think theyll have more products there

  • Reply
    Priya Arun
    January 30, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    I like Cantu but how do I avoid the dry, brittle feel it gives the hair? I apply it diluted on wet hair, with wet palms. I sometimes apply Set Wet Blue Gel over that. Now, is that a problem?

  • Reply
    Shubhi Mukta
    January 1, 2019 at 8:11 pm

    As you know Amazon is famous for counterfeit products so yes I do want this .but how to get the real product?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      January 16, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Get it from NaturallyYouNMe instead! She stocks it too, it’s an indian site and she sources the products directly. Use my code CURIOUS10 for a disocount!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Hey.. do you apply cantu On dripping wet hair or only wet hair.. cos when I do it on dripping wet hair.. it forms foam when I squish .. and gets on to me scalp sometimes..

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      October 30, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      I apply it on wet hair! Make sure you emulsify it well in your hands before you apply on your hair.

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