I love my curls. It wasn’t always like that. There were times when I wished I had straight hair like all the other girls around me who looked so sweet and normal and could be pretty anytime with just some quick brushing. Instead I got stuck with my unruly and disobedient curly hair. It had a constant frizz that gave me this electrocuted look. Thankfully, today I can say that my misery is over. After many years of experiments and accumulated knowledge and experience, I have found what works for me and I am happy with the way my hair is. Since numerous women recently asked me about what I use for my hair, I decided to share my entire curly hair routine and recommendations here on my blog.
1. Get a good haircut
A good haircut starts with a talented hairstylist who knows how to work with curly hair, knows how to listen to the client, knows what to suggest, and is able to manifest her vision. It helps if you bring photos of hairstyles that you like and make sure that your hairstylist can repeat in his/her own words what your idea is. I prefer when my hair is cut at a 45 degrees angle from the bottom. This gives the face a nice framing and allows the curls to bounce nicely on top of each other.
2. Use a gentle shampoo
Curly hair is dry by nature. It is recommended to avoid any harsh chemicals and salts, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which dry out the hair. Hair, like skin, can show sensitivity to some products; when you try a new product, notice if it makes your hair feel dry – that’s your sign that it’s not good for your hair. Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo for dry hair is my favorite shampoo. iHerb offers the best price that I know of.
3. Switch your conditioner with hair mask
Hydration is important to the health and beauty of dry hair. There are conditioners designed especially for dry hair, but hair masks give even better results. My favorite hair mask is Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Intense Moisture Masque, which I get on Amazon. A cheaper option is Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask, which you can find in almost any grocery store or pharmacy.
4. Use a microfiber towel
Regular cotton towels are too rough for the hair and cause frizz. Using a towel with fine fibers allows you to gently dry the hair while leaving it soft and silky. I got my Aquis microfiber towel from Pharmaca.
5. Style your hair when it’s wet
When your hair is towel dry, that’s the time to add all your hair products and style your hair. Trying to design curly hair when it’s dry is not a good idea – you will end up with frizzy hair.
6. Prep your hair with natural oil
Instead of expensive serums or leave in conditioners that usually fail to keep the moisture in your hair, I found that using natural oils on towel dry hair is the best way to lock the moisture in for a long period of time. I love to use fractionated coconut oil (meaning coconut oil that doesn’t solidify at low temperature). There are several options on Amazon that are relatively inexpensive – between $10-$13 for 16oz (500ml). One bottle lasts me about 3 months, and I use the oil liberally. When my hair feels dryer than usual, I mix the coconut oil with vitamin E oil (I use Trader Joe’s), which has a heavier consistency than the coconut oil.
7. Style with hydrating cream
Oil will give your hair moisture but will not provide any styling quality. This is where you apply styling gel or cream to really define your curls and give your hair a very well made look. My favorite product is Beautiful Curls: Activating Cream babies and Sensitive Curls. Best price on iherb. I completely drench my hair with this product – about 2 heaping tablespoons for my over-the-shoulder length hair. It absorbs completely in my hair and doesn’t flake when it dries. Less than this quantity and I end up with frizzy hair within a couple of hours.
8. Use hair clips to give your roots a lift
Curly hair tends to be flat closer to the roots. If you want to give your hair a little lift from the roots, use medium size hair clips such as 1¼inch (3.5cm) wide. After styling with products clip the section of hair that you want to lift, and leave it there while getting ready for the day.
9. Let hair dry naturally or semi dry it with a hair diffuser
Natural air dry is best for natural curly hair. If you are in a hurry or it’s very cold outside and you don’t want to go out with wet hair – use a hair diffuser to dry your hair gently, while being careful not to mess up your curls. Stop drying before your hair is completely dry. Over drying your hair will cause frizz.
10. For added volume, shake hair when dry
After styling your hair with your favorite products and letting it dry you will have tight curls that are close to the face. If you want more volume and movement simply bend your head forward, insert your fingers into your hair closer to the skull and shake from the roots. You can separate some big tight curls this way, but don’t over do it or you will end up with frizzy hair.
|L - open curls R - tight curls|
I hope all these tips help the curly girls out there. If you have products or styling technique that you like, please share in the comments below.