Cantu Define & Shine Custard: The £5 Curl Gel That Changed My Hair Game

I still remember the first time I unwrapped the curl product that truly changed my life forever. It was a Christmas gift from my mum around four years ago; part of a whole bundle of curly hair creams, custards, and leave-in conditioners. She knew I wasn’t satisfied with my tried and tested mousse anymore, and that it can be pretty costly to switch things up – after all, you can’t really try before you buy when it comes to hair products. So the wide range was designed to help me with all my trial and error.

I’ll forever be grateful for this thoughtful gift, because without it, I may never have discovered Cantu’s Define & Shine Custard. It’s the one hair care product that I always have to have in my beauty cupboard, no matter what other curl gels I might try out of curiosity. It’s not that the other products are bad, it’s just that Cantu’s custard is just that good. With its moisturising shea butter, the gel leaves my hair soft and glossy without compromising on curl quality. There’s also none of the dreaded crunch that so many styling products are liable to leave. And at just £5 from Boots, it’s budget-friendly to boot, which was (and still is) music to my ears.

I use this styling gel on wash days. After my shower, I lightly wring some of the water out of my hair so it’s not absolutely soaking wet. Then, I use a moisturising curl cream or leave-in conditioner of some kind. Unlike the curl custard, I’m not married to any particular kind just yet. Once I’ve distributed a 50p-sized amount of that from root to tip with my fingers, I do the same with the Cantu gel. That amount is all I need for the product to cover enough of my strands without leaving them crunchy or greasy, as so many other creams and gels do. After both of those products are in, I flip my head upside down and scrunch my curls for extra volume before wrapping it in a microfibre towel to dry a bit more. And the result? Soft, bouncy, curls and swirls that hold their shape for days.

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