Combing Creams Are the Genius Product Your Hair Routine Has Been Missing

*Apply liberally*

At the end of last year I visited Rio de Janeiro and the trip, among other things (opens in new tab), was one of the best lessons in haircare I'd ever experienced. While my thick, curly, and processed blonde hair frizzed out adjacent to Ipanema Beach, the locals had gorgeous, just-got-back-from-the-beach texture that seemed miraculously immune to the humidity.

It was there that I learned that Brazilian women do not mess around when it comes to their hair. And their secret weapons are often the powerful elixirs they slather onto their strands post-shower. In fact, a study (opens in new tab) conducted by the Household and Personal Products Industry (opens in new tab) found that Brazilian women use three times as many post-treatment products as women in the U.S.. One of the country's (and all of Latin America's) most popular categories is the creme para pentear, AKA combing cream, which is essentially a nourishing hybrid between a detangler and styling cream. And if it sounds like a curly girl godsend, that's because it is. 

"It makes the annoying experience of detangling your hair enjoyable," explains Ammon Carver, creative director of  L'ANZA (opens in new tab). "Yanking or combing your hair too aggressively can actually cause breakage and damage. Combing cream keeps that from happening by protecting your hair from damage caused by comb or brush friction." 

And while it's at it, it moisturizes, smooths out strands, and preps texture, especially curls, for styling. "It's not heavy, so will not weigh your curls down," says celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway.

The Styling 

"Apply a liberal amount to your palm and run your fingers through your hair while it's wet, spreading the product over as much of the hair as possible," says Carver, adding that because there's no major hold or weight factor, you hair will feel clean and fresh when it dries—even if you have baby fine hair.

And one application will take a long way. "For second day hair, water can reactivate your hair product," says Redway.

Trio of Combing Creams

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

1. Carol's Daughter Hair Milk 4-in-1 "Combing Creme", $10; carolsdaughter.com (opens in new tab).

2. Amla Legend Rejuvenating Ritual Combing Cream, $6.29; softsheen-carson.com (opens in new tab).

3. L'ANZA Keratin Healing Oil Combing Cream, $20; amazon.com (opens in new tab).

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Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.