Curly Hair 103: image of two young women and one young man all with curly hair

Curly Hair 103: How to make your curls great again (All my curly and wavy hair tips)

Greetings Curl Comrades

I’m back with an abundance of curl commentary–all my new curly and wavy hair tips–about products and processes that have worked for me and my wavy curls. Or not. If you have not yet read my other two posts on curl care, check them out here:

Curly Hair 101

Curly Hair 102

First, let’s get a few fails out of the way.

I was excited to try two product lines, but alas, they didn’t work for me.

Curly World 

I really wanted to love this line by Lorraine Massey, the founder of the Curly Girl Method* and the original line of Deva Curl products. Lorraine’s products are all lemongrass scented and packaged in environmentally kind pouches. 

My pushbacks on this line:

  • The gel was not firm enough for me. I didn’t get much of a “cast” at all.
  • I experienced a heinous allergic reaction on my neck and chest. In fact, I had to visit my dermatologist for a cream to resolve the rash.

Bounce Curl

I didn’t have time to tell whether I got good results from this popular line or not. Because these products also gave me a dreadful rash. I looked like someone slapped both of my cheeks. Using the prescription cream I now have on hand, the itchy flush resolved quickly.

Curly and Wavy Hair Tips Category #1: Hair Products I Adore


I love this line because it is super pure. In fact, it’s organic. Not only that, the products smell divine!! Here are the products I use and my “review” of each.

  • Shampoo: I love the shampoo because it smells great and does a great job cleansing. 
  • Conditioner: Innersense conditioner is soooo rich. And it smells sooo good. 
  • Gel: This may be my favorite gel EVER. Because it is super strong.
  • Leave-In Conditioner: This product is a spray and I prefer a cream. Also, it’s supposed to smell like lavender and it does not. But, I’ll use it until it’s gone.

EcoSlay Orange Marmalade Flaxseed and Aloe Curl Definer

I originally tried this product because I saw it a lot over on Instagram, on all the pages of the curly and wavy girl  influencers. I agree with them. It is awesome. 

Imagine my delight when Untangled Salon‘s Holly Brimm, the keeper of my curls, gave me not one bottle, but two of the Orange Marmalade product. Her hair didn’t care for it. Yay me! When the Curly World line wasn’t a win for me, I gave my almost-full pouches to Holly and she really likes it. Having a curl community is fun!

MalibuC Hard Water Shampoo*

The last time Holly trimmed my tresses, she used this product on me. It was a: 

Game Changer

Benefits of MalibuC:

  • Smells lovely!
  • Removes the effects of hard water from your hair.
  • Clarifies your hair. 

PRO TIP (from Holly): All “chelating” shampoos will clarify your hair, but not all clarifying shampoos will chelate your hair.

For years I’ve been clarifying my hair about once a month. Going forward, MalibuC will be my go-to product for this purpose. I’ve used it twice now and both times it made my hair SO happy—super bouncy and curly. Don’t overdo it with clarifying or chelating, though. It’ll strip your hair and dry it out.

Everyone needs a Curl Whisperer.

As I’ve said in my other curly hair posts, I highly recommend having a Curl Whisperer in your life. This may be a Deva-certified stylist, or it may be someone like Holly who has watched hundreds of videos in order to teach herself the art of dry-cutting curly hair, ringlet by ringlet.

The last time I went to see Holly I whined, “Help! I broke my hair!” For some reason, my curls were nowhere as awesome as a year or two ago. 

“Please make my curls great again.”

So Holly asked me a ton of questions. 

  • Was I using a new product line?
  • What was my current routine?
  • What special treatments was I using?
  • When was the last time I loved the way my curls looked?

And voila! Holly figured it out. I had overdosed my hair on protein. In the beginning of my curly girl journey, I discovered DIY protein treatments, made with Knox Gelatine. They made my curls so fabulous that I started utilizing them every other week. Which was too much. 

Holly also suggested I go back to the product line I was using when I loved my hair. Which was this regimen:

  • No Poo by Deva
  • Deva One Condition
  • B’Leave-In by Deva
  • Deva Arc Angel Gel

UPDATE: A couple of curl friends reminded me about the Deva Debacle, a situation where hundreds, maybe thousands, of Deva customers had adverse reactions to Deva products. Make sure you read about it here before you go out and buy a bunch of Deva items.

Finally, Holly made me promise to:

K.I.S.S.: Keep it simple, silly!

She suggested I use the Deva routine for a whole month. No switching allowed. GASP! My routine had been to change my routine every single wash day. Which may have been part of my problem. 

After a month of using only Deva products, my hair seemed healed. I did make one change, though. I replaced the Deva B’Leave-In product with EcoSlay Orange Marmalade Curl Definer. It seems to have more weight to it which makes my curls behave better. 

Since that appointment, I’ve been rotating product lines for four weeks at a time using:

  • Deva Curl
  • Innersense
  • Raw Curls

Using a product line several times before changing things up really lets you see how your hair responds to the line. 

Get to know these gals with their tons of curly and wavy hair tips

There are dozens of wavy and curly hair influencers. I follow a few over on Instagram. Right now my favorites are:

All of these gals review products and routines for your curl consideration. Which brings me to:

Curly and Wavy Hair Tips Category #2:Techniques to try on your tresses

Thanks to the influencers I mentioned up above, I’ve experimented with a number of different tricks in the past year. Here are my curly-wavy hair wins.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

The lovely @powerdomi swears by ACV rinses and linked to this article which claims benefits like: less frizz, more shine, clarifying properties. I followed the directions and loved the results. If you’re in a hurry, try these shortcut directions.

  • In a clean squirt bottle, combine 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I like Dr. Bragg’s.*) and 8 ounces of very warm water.
  • In the shower, cleanse your hair and rinse well.
  • Squirt all of the ACV mixture onto your hair to thoroughly saturate. Leave in for about 2 minutes. Rinse and then condition your hair. 

In the middle of the drying process, add this product.

I think it was @WelshCurlGirl who suggested this step. She says she diffuses for a while then sprays her hair with liquid gel (or even hairspray!). Then she diffuses some more. This seems to give your curls staying power. Like on Day 2-5. I agree. It’s working for me. 

Leftover from my curly product binge purchase era, I had a bottle of Deva Spray Gel. I don’t know if they make this anymore, but that’s what I’m using. When it’s gone, I plan to mix water with gels that are languishing in my product stash to use them up. 

The Wet Plop (An unfortunate term, to be sure)

For years I’ve been dry plopping my hair in between the shower and diffusing. Dry plopping is when you wrap your hair in a t-shirt, flour sack towel, or microfiber towel to absorb some of the moisture in your curls before you diffuse or air-dry.

One of the curly influencers above swears by wet-plopping which is when you tuck your tresses in a shower cap for 5-10 minutes to let all the products that you’ve faithfully slathered onto your curls penetrate. 

Good news and bad news about wet-plopping.

  • Good news: I’ve gotten great curls the three times I’ve done this.
  • Bad news: It takes much longer to dry your hair after wet-plopping than dry.

Random act of curliness

Last week, on a whim I significantly increased the amount of Orange Marmalade Curl Definer. Which means I used 6-8 pumps, instead of 4. 

Holy wow! This resulted in some of the best hair days I’ve ever had. If you saw this Instagram post, this was Day 2 or 3 after Double Orange Marmalade. 

Bowling, bowling, bowling. Keep those curls a rolling!

Have you heard of the Bowl Method? This is another favorite trick of @welshiecurlgirl. The video I linked to shows exactly what to do.

This process ensures the hair is evenly saturated with all the products you’ve applied. Which is super awesome if, like me, you sometimes scrunch out the crunch only to discover you under-applied gel to half of your hair. 

My personal  treatment schedule.

If you’re curious, here is my hair care “treatment” schedule. I cleanse twice a week and on the cleanse day that’s closest to the weekend I rotate these pampering processes.

  • ACV Rinse
  • DIY Protein Treatment (read about it here)
  • MalibuC clarifying/chelating cleanse
  • Deep Condition (Any curly-girl-approved DC will do!)

By all means,

If you have any game-changing curly and wavy hair tips or techniques, please tell us all about them in the comments!

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