I have a love hate relationship with my naturally curly hair. Back in 2016, I set off on the mission to learn how to properly manage my curly hair and appreciate its natural texture. I bought new tools and products and through a period of trial and error, I put together a manageable curly hair routine. And for a while, I loved my curly hair… until I didn’t anymore.
I wrote a post about going back to the curling iron and received a scathing comment from a reader who was offended as a curly haired person that I didn’t love my curly hair. But the truth is I love curly hair on others but I feel more put together when I use hot tools on my own hair. I still haven’t been able to style my natural texture in a way that keeps my hair out of my face but doesn’t include pinning the front back with bobby pins. The front of my hair is wavy at best most days while the back is super kinky. Some days I feel like my hair looks great naturally curly and other days, I feel like a hot mess. Most days I just put product in my hair, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.
I still feel more confident with the curling iron but motherhood means spending less time on myself and more time on my tiny human. So, I went back to embracing my curly hair because it is easier. I can wash it, throw in some product, and let it air dry. I don’t have to waste valuable alone time or take time away from my daughter to deal with my hair. Once in a blue moon (usually only for a special event) I’ll drag out the curling iron but for the most part I’m living au naturel with my hair again.
I’ve received a lot of blog traffic recently thanks to my curly hair routine post from 2016 so I thought it was time for an update. Most of the tools are the same but I’ve switched up hair products. I recently started doing research on the curly girl method (CGM), a method developed by Lorraine Massey in the book Curly Girl: The Handbook for maintaining wavy, curly, and coily hair. There are very strict guidelines about how to care for curly hair and what products to use. I’m not fully converted to the method but I have slowly been making a conscious effort to seek out better products for my hair.
Here is my current curly hair routine. As a full disclosure, the links I’ve included to products are affiliate links, which don’t cost you anything extra to use but drop a little bit of change into my tip jar.
Starting off in the shower…
Washing my hair is my vice. I have a really hard time not washing my hair, especially with using so much product. But I’m working on washing it less. Sometimes, as a compromise, I’ll wet my hair in the shower and not apply any products. When I do wash my hair, I use DevaCurl No-Poo Original and One Condition Original. I deep condition my hair once a week (when I remember) using Devacurl Deep Sea Repair or Melt Into Moisture, which I prefer. I usually apply the deep conditioner at night and rinse it out in the morning which really gives it a chance to penetrate my hair follicles. Once I get out of the shower, I squeeze my hair with my Hair Repear towel. Normal towels are really harsh on your curls. If you don’t have a microfiber towel, use a t-shirt.
Next I apply a product cocktail to my wet hair.
I find that the products apply more evenly when my hair is wet versus damp. I start with a detangling leave in conditioner. Right now I’m using Shea Moisture Coconut + Hibiscus Kids Extra Moisturizing Detangler, which is made without a lot of the nasty ingredients that the CGM preaches against. Plus, it smells good. I run a wide tooth comb through my hair. I follow that up with a towering dollop of Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Mousse. This stuff works well but I do feel like I have to use quite a bit of it. Good thing it’s cheap. Then I apply a few spritz of Pantene Curl Enhancing Spray Gel, which is not CGM approved but I still can’t find a spray gel that fits the criteria. I find that the spray gel is easier to apply and I like this kind in particular because the consistency is thin so it’s easier to pump.
And then I let it dry.
I like to let my hair air dry as much as possible. This seems to cut down on frizz. The downside is my hair isn’t a voluminous. When I do dry my hair with heat, I use a cheap Conair 1875 hair dryer paired with a DevaCurl Devafuser. I set the dryer to high heat low speed, flip my head over, and move the diffuser around my hair really concentrating on the roots for volume until it is dry. This diffuser makes all the difference. The “fingers” of the diffuser really get into your hair to add volume. Once my hair is dry, I shake it out with my fingers and use a pick comb on any places that need fluffing, usually the back. If it feels crunchy in spots, I just scrunch it a few times and it’s back to being soft. I pull the front back with a couple of bobby pins and voila! My masterpiece is complete.
I try to sleep with my hair in a high loose pony using a satin scrunchie, which prevents pulling on your curls. If I’m lucky in the morning, I can pull my hair down, spray it with water, apply a little bit more product (mousse and spray gel), and be good to go. But as I’ve admitted, I’m not very good with not washing my hair. Day two is usually a pony and by day three, I can’t wait to suds up.
When I start to notice that my hair is not as curly as it should be, I know it’s time for a hair cut. I’m really bad about remembering to get my hair trimmed (which is even more sad since I don’t pay for haircuts, thanks Nana!) but I do notice a dramatic difference in my hair when I get the ends removed. If you’re just starting the process of embracing your natural texture, I would advise you to get a substantial amount of your hair cut off especially if there is damage from heat tools or coloring. Believe it or not, hair actually grows faster when it’s healthy so by removing all that damage, you’re helping your hair heal and grow.
I would really like to commit to the CGM. I hear that your hair gets worse before it gets better (basically your hair and scalp go through a detox) but the end result is beautiful balanced curly hair. But until I can overcome my commitment issues and addiction to washing my hair, this routine seems to be doing the trick.
If you have curly hair, I would love to know what some of your favorite products are. I’m always looking to try something new.