I’ve had a lot of posts on my blog about taking care of my hair and the products that I like to use. At this point in time, I really feel like I’ve found the best products for my very curly hair! I used to be the curly that would wake up early to condition my hair every morning – I know, a lot of work. Now that I’ve perfected my routine, I can usually wear second-day hair to work. This is especially nice now that I’m working earlier than at my previous job and Minnesota as been in a deep freeze for the past two weeks – freezing hair is no fun.
The key to really loving your curly hair is knowing how to take care of and manage it. Keeping it moisturized, styled with the right products, and being gentle on it are the secrets. My curls are between a 3B and 3C, but I really believe this routine is great for all curly hair types. If you’re interested in determining your curl type, check out Naturally Curl and you can take a Texture Typing test.
Moisture, moisture, moisture.
I can’t reiterate enough that the key to keeping curls frizz-free is to make sure they are moisturized at all times. This applies in both the winter and the summer. In the summer, hair tends to be frizzier than normal and and everyone runs to the store to buy products to combat it. While humidity is causing the hair to have more frizz, the best way to help that is with more moisture. If your hair doesn’t have enough moisture when it’s humid out, hair absorbs the moisture in air causing frizz. During the winter curly hair can become frizzier due to the dry air in the house and buildings – it can dry out the curls, which are already drier than straight hair, and cause frizz.
My favorite conditioner to use for daily use is the Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture. I love this product for moisture, detangling, and co-washing. This conditioner is honestly better than the salon conditioner I’ve previously used and it’s a fraction of the price. I raved about this conditioner in my November Favorites and Empties, and recommend this to all curlies or anyone with hair that needs extra moisture. Another great conditioner I’ve found for my curls is the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration – I always pick this one up when I go on vacation. Finger detangling is recommended for curly hair, but if your hair longer I recommend a wide tooth comb and only do this when your hair is wet.
Shampooing curly hair is not really recommend due to the sulfates in shampoo that tend to dry out curly hair, stripping the hair of natural oils. Curly hair should still be cleansed, just with a different method. Every curly is different so be sure to read about different care methods for curly hair and use what works best for you. I co-wash my hair with the Tresemme conditioner, since it’s silicone free, when I’m doing a quick wash to cleanse my scalp. I tend to shampoo once a week with a sulfate-free shampoo, usually the same day I deep conditioner. I think shampooing once a week is even too much, but since I’m active and sweating a lot throughout the week I really need to cleanse my scalp of any build-up. To dry curly hair, a micro fiber towel is a must as opposed to a traditional cotton towel. I recommend picking up a Turbie Twist at Target or drugstores which is a microfiber towel designed to wrap easily around your hair. I usually twist my hair up for a few minutes after I condition to get any excess water out of hair before adding styling products.
As for a deep conditioner I’m in between products at the moment. I used to love the OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment, but the last one that I purchased seemed to have a thinner consistency that didn’t have enough moisture to it than those I had purchased in the past. I may switch back to the Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque since I had great luck with it in the past. Please leave any deep conditioner recommendations I should try!
Before adding a product for holding curl, I like to use a smoothing cream to help with frizz. I’ve been using the same leave-in smoothing cream for years and it’s the L’Oreal EverSleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing Humidity Defying Leave-In Creme. I see this product on clearance at drugstores and Target on and off, and I’m so worried that L’Oreal is going to discontinue it. While I’m sure I could find a similar product, I love this one so much for the quality, it’s silicone-free, and the price. I’ve been getting mine at Walmart the past few months and it runs around $5 or $6 – such a deal! I highly recommend trying this out if you can find it!
For holding curl and adding definition, my holy grail product is the Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Gel. I put off trying this product because it was a gel styling product. Gel hair products have always made my hair crunchy and wet looking even after drying. After reading a ton of rave reviews online and curlies seeming to really love this gel, I finally gave it a try and I’m hooked for life. First, this product is Curly Girl friendly – silicone and sulfate free – so it will rinse out without sulfates and shouldn’t cause a lot of build-up. It holds curl amazingly well, works amazing during the summer to lock out frizz and lock in moisture, doesn’t leave hair crunchy or wet looking, and it’s available in the drugstore. If you wait for a sale, you can get this at CVS for $3.50 or 2 for $7! You can’t beat it. I highly recommend this product for all curlies, even if you have thinner hair, just play around with the amount used.
The final step in perfecting curls is plopping. It sounds like the weirdest thing and I was skeptical of it for a long time, but it really works. Plopping is wrapping your hair up in an old T-Shirt, plopping on top of your head, and letting your hair dry. Give this a try with Aussie Instant Freeze – it will change your curls! Tying avoiding a hair dryer and other heat styling tools since it can be damaging on curly hair.
As mentioned I used to wake up to condition my hair everyday before work. After I got my new job and winter was slowly moving in I was able to work with the awesome products I mentioned, and now I’m able to wear my second-day curls. To keep curls frizz-free overnight, I absolutely suggest purchasing satin or silk pillowcases. They’re easier on the hair and aren’t going to cause as much frizz than traditional pillow cases. You can also opt to sleep with a satin cap on – these can be found at CVS for pretty cheap. Finally, holding your hair up with a scrunchie instead of using a traditional hair tie keeps kinks and knots out of almost any hair type. The only time I’ll use a hair tie to is when I workout, since it has a tighter hold than a scrunchie will have. A lot of curlies also put their hair up in a pineapple at night – putting your hair up in a super high pony tail. My hair is too long to do that right now, but a lot curlies swear by this method so it’s worth trying!
Having a few products on hand that can add some moisture back into the curls is also beneficial. Plain water seems to work really well for a lot of curlies, but it’s not my preferred method for re-moisturizing my hair. The two products I currently use when I want to perk up my curls is the OGX Coconut Mousse and the Cantu Comeback Curls Revitalizer. I’m a really big fan of the OGX mousse, and it’s recently been reformulated for curly hair – Coconut Curls Moisture Mousse.
I’m still testing out the Cantu Comeback Curl Revitalizer and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. First off, I really dislike the nozzle. It doesn’t distribute product evenly, but rather squirts a dollop on a central spot in my hair. I tried switching out the nozzle for a better one, but it didn’t help so I think it’s really coming down to the thicker consistency of the product. The performance of the product itself is pretty good – it adds moisture and helps my curls reactivate on second-day hair. I enjoy the scent of the Cantu products which include shea butter in the ingredients, however the scent does linger throughout the day and those sensitive to smell may not like the product for that reason.
My last recommendation is to buy a drain cover for your shower and this goes to all ladies – and guys – with long hair. It will save your drains and plumbing big time. I’m always open to trying new products on my hair so please leave any suggestions! I have a lot of products that I consider holy grail status, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great products out there. I’d love to know what are some other great hair products to try adding to my routine!