Last week I got a much needed hair cut. I lobbed off a good three inches of my hair and said goodbye to frayed ends. And my curly hair rejoiced!
As the weather gets warmer here in Florida, the less I want to fight my curly hair into submission. I can spend an hour blowing it dry and curling it with an iron just to watch it fall flat the moment I step outside into the humidity. Or I can embrace the natural curl and let my locks go wild (and get an extra few minutes of sleep every morning). Wild hair it is for this girl!
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my curly hair and struggled to find a good curly hair routine. My hair type ranges from 2c/3a depending on the day. (If you don’t know what type of curly hair you have, you can find out here.)
I have gone through A LOT of trial and error with both drugstore and salon products and it’s only been recently that I feel like I’ve finally figured out a solid list of curly hair products and techniques that work for me. Each styling session requires a cocktail of products and a handful of gadgets but the payoff is worth it and I’ve received so many compliments on my “new” curly look.
A healthy, frizz-free curly hair routine starts in the shower.
If you’re still shampooing your curly hair, quit right now. Even the best shampoos strip hair of its natural oils. By nature curly hair is dry and needs all the moisture it can get. Instead, try using the no-poo or cowashing techniques. I’m a recent convert of DevaCurl No-Poo and One Condition products. (If you have wavy hair, try the DevaCurl Delight line. If you have super curly coarse hair, try the DevaCurl Decadence line.) Once or twice a week, I use No-Poo to cleanse and condition my hair. I use One Condition almost daily to really hydrate my curls. While I’m in the shower, I use a wide-tooth comb to remove any tangles.
I’m a strawberry blond by nature with daydreams of being a real redhead. But red dyed hair requires a lot of commitment and I just don’t think I’m ready to go steady. My compromise is using Overtone color depositing conditioner. Once a week, I mix a dollop of Vibrant Orange and Vibrant Red together and apply it to my hair for about 10 minutes. I’m left with a light shade of copper that satisfies my desire to be a redhead without the commitment.
Alright, now that my hair is clean and tangle free (and red), it’s time to get out of the shower. One of the worst habits I had to break when it came to appreciating my curly hair was wrapping my head in a towel. Don’t do it! Towel fibers are super harsh to curls, pulling and separating them. Instead, wrap your hair in an old t-shirt, a jersey pillowcase, or a t-shirt towel. I’m obsessed with my Hair RePear towel and use it to dry and plop my hair every single day. (We’ll go over what plopping is in a second.) Now it’s time to apply the products.
Whipping up a top shelf hair product cocktail.
If you’re a one-and-done hair care kind of person, you’re probably going to cringe when you see the amount of products I use in my hair. (And if you’ve found that magical one-and-done product let me know because I haven’t found it yet.) Once I get out of the shower, I spritz my hair with a leave in conditioner and detangler. I use the cheap stuff – Suave Kids Apple Detangling Spray – because it works and I like the way it smells. I run a wide tooth comb (I like this one) through my hair one more time just to make sure I’ve removed any tangles.
Over the years I’ve tried A LOT of products and I’ve found that creams work best for my hair. Right now I’m using the MoroccanOil Curl Defining Cream but I’m also a fan of OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream and hear that the DevaCurl SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler works great as well, though I haven’t personally tried it.
You’ll want your hair to be really wet for this part. If it’s dried some, spritz it with a water bottle to rehydrate. I tilt my head to the side and rake a generous amount of curl cream through my hair then I do the same to the other side. Once I have both sides done, I flip my head upside down and apply a small amount of product to the front and ends of my hair, really scrunching the product into my hair as I go.
Once I’ve applied the cream to my hair, I plop my hair into my Hair RePear towel. What is plopping? Plopping is basically loosely wrapping your hair in a t-shirt or hair towel allowing your curls to really form and keep their shape even after they’re dry. While my hair is plopping, I apply my makeup.
The right tools for the job.
You can go out and spend a lot of money on a high end hair dryer (DevaCurl even makes one)… but I really don’t think that’s necessary. I’ve found that my good ol’ $20 Conair dryer does the trick. Just make sure your dryer comes with the option to change heat levels and speeds and a diffuser (or buy a one separately). Now that my makeup is applied and my hair has been plopping for a while, it’s time to dry.
There’s not an exact science to this whole drying thing. I usually start with my hair flipped over or to the side and move the diffuser around a lot as my hair dries. When my hair is mostly dry, I spritz it with spray gel. I like the Pantene Curl Enhancing spray gel mostly because it sprays as more of a liquid than a gel so your fingers don’t cramp up trying to pump the bottle… but the formula is good too. I like spray gel over normal hair gel because I feel like I can apply it more evenly to my hair.
Now that the gel is applied, I finish drying my hair. But this time I use the DevaCurl DevaFuser instead of my normal diffuser. This is not exactly necessary; your regular diffuser will work just fine. But the DevaFuser is made to really get into the root of your hair which adds volume to your style. I stick the “fingers” of the DevaFuser into my hair and shake the dryer a little bit to really pump up and separate my curls.
When my hair is completely dry, I flip my head over and scrunch OGX Argan Oil (though I prefer real MoroccanOil) through the ends of my hair. Then I run my fingers into my hair and really shake out the curls. I flip my head over to fix my part and fluff up my hairline using a pick comb. If my bangs are being annoying and laying in my face, which they do 99% of the time, I pull them back into a poof with a couple of bobby pins. A few spritzes of Pantene Airspray flexible hold hairspray to finish everything off and voila! I’m left with bouncy, soft, and frizz-free curls.
I hope that I continue to appreciate and maybe even learn to love my curly hair. I don’t love it (yet) because some days styling my hair can be really frustrating and I don’t always feel fully put together. But I know there are women out there who would kill to have my hair texture so I’m happy to have a curly hair routine that makes my hair more manageable and enjoyable.
Tell me about your curly hair routine. What are your favorite curly hair products?