Coily and curly people know moisture is the key. The key to what, you might be asking? The key doesn't just unlock hydrated curls. But you open the door to an easy washday sans fighting for what feels like hours to detangle your hair. And there's one MVP that can help do all things: a steamer.
The Benefits of Hair Steamers
We use steam for everything from ridding clothes of wrinkles to prepping the skin for a facial. But how does steam help hair? Haiya Eliza, curl guru and owner of salon HerCurls, tells us, "[Steam] helps open the cuticle of the hair so that the conditioner penetrates deeper." And it's important to note that hair steamers are helpful for any hair type.
However, adding a hair steamer into your routine is an especially strategic step for anyone with low-porosity hair, as steam can help ensure the water and the nutrients from a conditioner don't just roll down the hair without actually penetrating. You can also use steam pre-wash and during the cleansing process. If you're dandruff-prone, this can be especially helpful, as steam can increase blood flow to the scalp.
Now, I can't be the only one who keeps their conditioner on far longer than the 20-minute directive on the jar. But with the addition of steam, Eliza says you only need five to 15 minutes of marination for your curls to benefit. So that means less time walking around conditioning (a benefit I'm personally very excited about).
So what kind of steamer do you need to start getting the added benefits? Eliza tells us she's a fan of the Takara Belmont Micro Mist Steamer ($2925). "It is incredible," she tells us. But if the pro version isn't in the budget, don't worry. There are quite a few options to choose from that fit your budget, and of course, we rounded them up! Keep scrolling for the best hair steamers that get the expert nod of approval.
Q-Redew Handheld Hair Steamer
This multi-use handheld steamer can stretch, detangle, and of course, add much-needed moisture to the hair without the need to sit under a steam cap. Whether you need to deep condition or add moisture into your curls midweek, this tool can do it all.
Kingsteam 2-in-1 Ozone Hair and Facial Steamer
We know we’re talking about hair health at the moment, but we have to note this handy dandy gadget offers both hair and facial steam. Designed with an advanced PTC ceramic heating element to vaporize clean water, it's ready to steam in seconds.
Artist Hand Professional Hair Steamer
Want to steam your curls and give them a deep condition while you work in your office or kitchen or any other nook in your home? No problem with this rolling, portable option. With timing and temperature settings, you’ll never run the risk of overdoing it with steam.
Vicarko Hair Steamer Thermal Heat Cap
If you still prioritize caring for your curls on the go or have a small space that can’t house a traditional steamer, this easy-to-pack (or hide away) cap gives the hair all the TLC it needs. All you do is place the cap on, switch on the button, and you have a steaming session in 60 seconds.
Tifara Beauty Cordless Deep Conditioning Heat Cap
With no cords to plug in, this is an optimal design for someone on the go or who enjoys deep conditioning and multitasking. Just pop this cap into the microwave for a minute and you’re ready to roll.
Kingsteam Professional Spa Ozone Facial Steamer
For a shampoo and steam, this simple design offers a nozzle long enough to reach the sink and an adjustable body to ensure your steamer is the right height.
Products to Complement the Best Hair Steamers
If you’re dealing with dandruff, pair your cleansing with a steam and a gentle shampoo with salicylic acid.
Each week, I apply this strengthening moringa seed extract, hibiscus, and rice protein infused mask and add steam. My low-porosity curls drink it up, and my wash-’n’-go curls are soft and elongated.
It’s not every day I use a treatment on my hair that stops me in my tracks. Well, this one has been a game changer. Formulated with shea butter and almond oil, I audibly acknowledge how soft my curls are each time I deep condition.
This is another mask worth the hype and investment. Made with murumuru and mango seed butter blend, coconut oil, and Oribe’s signature complex, it treats your curls to all the nutrient-rich goodness this mask offers. When my ends are especially dry, this helps revive them.