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Last week, I had a follower send me a DM asking for curly hair tips. I was so excited to get that message because I’ve had quite the curly hair journey, just as probably everyone else with curly hair has. We’re taught to hate our curls. Society tells us that beautiful hair is silky, smooth, and tangle-free. But that’s just not a reality for us curly girls. It took years of heat damage, straightening treatments, and a global pandemic for me to finally embrace my curls. But I’m here and they’re prettier than ever. Now that I’ve been wearing my hair curly every day for a few months now, I have a good routine down. It’s important to remember that curly hair is a process. It can take months of constant care for curls to be at their best. Six months in,
here are my best tips for getting your best curl:
1. I identified my hair as 2c and catered to that. I had mostly defined waves with some spirals. The looser your curls, the lighter you need your products to be. The tighter the curls, the heavier you can go. I was using Shea Moisture and it was totally weighing my hair down. I switched to some lightweight Ouidad products and that changed everything. Now that I’ve been customizing my hair routine for my particular hair type, my curls have gotten stronger and tighter. I now have mostly 3a hair with more spirals than waves!
2. I never brush my hair when it’s dry. I only brush my hair using a wide-tooth comb after I’ve shampooed and while I’m rinsing the conditioner out. I used to always brush my hair before I got in the shower and I was causing so much damage. Not to mention it was extremely painful! I never thought I’d be able to get all the tangles out by using a wide-tooth comb on wet hair but man does it work well!
3. I use a moisturizing shampoo. Curly hair is highly susceptible to dryness, so it’s important to make sure your hair is properly hydrated and moisturized. This helps with frizz a lot and is great for curls even though it’s not made specifically for curly hair. Unlike my shampoo though, my conditioner is made for curly hair, which is what matters. I always rinse it about 90% out and leave just a little bit in as a primer.
4. I apply my gel while still in the shower (after I turn the water off) to soaking wet hair using a raking method so it’s evenly distributed – I don’t just immediately start scrunching. If I need to wet it again slightly after applying the gel, that’s ok. I personally like to style my hair very wet so the curls clump together creating bigger curls. Since I started using a lighter gel, I found that I can use a lot more product than I expected. I use a quarter-sized amount of gel for the left half of my hair and the same for my right half. Then, I use another quarter-sized amount and rake it through all over, making sure my crown is getting some love. Finally, I use another quarter-sized amount to scrunch in.
5. After scrunch-pulsing with my head upside down and side to side, I get out of the shower and let it air dry for a little bit. If I’m in a rush and must scrunch with a towel to dry it a little, I use a microfiber towel or a t-shirt.
6. Once my hair is about 30% dry, I can start diffusing if I need to. Many times I just let it air dry completely – it just depends on the day and how busy I am/if I need to go anywhere. As it dries, I always scrunch intermittently but leave it alone otherwise. No fluffing or separating curl clumps until it is fully 200% dry!
7. When it’s time to sleep, I put my curls in a high, loose pony tail, also known as a pineapple. I love using silk or satin scrunchies so I don’t damage my hair or cause breakage. The rosé collection from Bellefixe is my current favorite!
8. On day 2-5 hair, I turn my head upside down and fluff it out. If needed, I’ll use a curling spray or even water to reactivate the curls. I shoot for washing my hair once a week. Dry shampoo is a curly girl’s best friend! I recently discovered Bathpack products and I love their dry shampoo and dry conditioner! The conditioner adds shine and makes me feel like I just left the salon – it has that fresh and clean scent hairstylists always spritz on at the end of an appointment. Yes please!
Like I said, curly hair is a process! It takes a lot of work, but honestly, I’ll take this over spending hours blow drying and damaging my hair with heat. It feels good to know I’m actually taking care of my hair instead of fighting it. Every once in a while I will blow it out just to switch it up, but those days are becoming fewer and further between. I still feel like I’m learning more about my hair every day and I look forward to continuing my curly hair journey through quarantine and beyond!
What are your best healthy hair tips?
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Photos by Ryan Carpenter.