Curly Hair 102: (A 10-tip refresher course for curly hair care)

Are you still trying to figure out how the heck to make your curly hair happy? Or has the routine that used to work for your ringlets suddenly stopped producing acceptable results? If so, today’s post is for you: 10 tips to try if your curls are behaving badly.

FYI, this is an update of this curly hair post.

#10 Consider a Curly Hair Specialist

Sure, some curly girls have decent luck with a “regular” hair stylist cutting their hair, but I really believe in the power of a curly hair specialist. Typically curly hair professionals will cut your hair dry and curl-by-curl.

For a certified Deva Cut in West Virginia, I schedule an appointment with Larry Bragg, owner of 712 Salon in Charleston.

If I don’t have time to make the 2+ hour drive, I depend on Holly Brimm at Untangled Salon in Morgantown. Holly, a curly girl herself, does a fantastic job of cutting dry and curl-by curl. By the way, the beautiful transformation in this post’s featured image is Holly’s work.

#9 Drugstore Shampoo & Conditioner

TRESemme Botanique Nourish and Replenish Shampoo and Conditioner

I came across this recommend on the Fat Mascara Facebook page. The gal who posted the suggestion claimed these products are curly girl-friendly, but I just checked the shampoo ingredients and they include sodium laureth sulfate which is a no-no in the Bible of curly hair care: The Curly Girl Handbook. Sigh…

With that said, these two products have been  in my cleanse-condition rotation for over a year now with no ill effects. My hair is moisturized, bouncy, and smells fantastically coconutty when I use these products.

 Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo

Last year when my dermatologist informed me the red bumps and itchiness on my scalp indicated atopic dermatitis, she suggested this product. I sent an email to Wendy over at the Scienc-y Hair Blog and she assured me that it was okay to use this product every now and then.

A number of magical things happen when I cleanse with T/Sal.

  • My scalp calms down. The bumps disappear. The itchiness ceases.
  • The product build-up on my hair goes down the drain. My hair is always very happy after a T/Sal experience.

#8 Deep Conditioning BEFORE Cleansing

If you’ve done any research at all on curly hair, you know curly hair is thirsty hair. The sooner you quench your hair’s thirst, the sooner you’ll tame your hair’s frizz.

Several months back I started weekly deep conditioning treatments. Before cleansing. The process goes like this:

  • Wet hair.
  • Apply a deep conditioning product.
  • Detangle hair and clip it on top of your head.
  • Wait at least 20 minutes before cleansing. I’ve kept it on for hours with no problem.
  • If desired, apply heat* for 5 minutes right before you shower.
  • Rinse out  the deep conditioner in the shower then cleanse and condition like you usually do.

Deep Conditioners I Like A Lot:

Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Treatment Masque

DevaCurl Heaven in Hair

Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!

#7 Aquis Ultra Absorbent Hair Towel

As promised, this microfiber towel greatly reduces drying time. After applying my “holy grail” flax seed product (see below) and one of my favorite gels, I gently wrap my curls in the Aquis towel for 10-15 minutes.

When I remove the towel my hair has way less water remaining than when I use a long-sleeved t-shirt.

#6 Satin Pillowcase

Satin pillowcases are way better for your curls than cotton or flannel. The satin really minimizes frizz. I travel with a satin pillowcase. That’s how important I think it is. You can find these on Amazon, Sally Beauty, and in some department stores.

#5 Feed Your Hair Protein

Applying a protein treatment 1-2 times a month is a must for me. If your hair also loves protein, I recommend three options.

  • DIY Protein treatment: I use this recipe from Wendy’s Scienc-y Hair Blog
  • MooGoo Protein Shot Leave-in Conditioner
  • Neutral Protein Filler (Sally Beauty): I add 2-3 drops to my conditioner in the shower. Do not use on the same day that you did a DIY protein treatment.

#4 Diffusing until 90% dry. 

For optimal curls, Larry—my Deva dude—recommends diffusing sooner than later. If you let your hair air-dry significantly before diffusing, the water in your hair will weigh it down, possibly pulling out some of your curl.

Ever since Larry told me this trick, I’ve been diffusing with my Black Orchid diffuser  shortly after my shower and I really like the results.

#3 Hooded Bonnet* for Deep Conditioning

A ton of curly girls suggested this gizmo. It’s a bonnet that connects to your blow dryer via a hose.

To enhance the effects of a deep conditioner, I pop on this bonnet and heat it up with my blow dryer for 5 minutes, tops. Heat opens up the hair shaft to allow conditioner to better penetrate and moisturize your curls. Hooray!

#2 Shower Drain Protector.

A month ago, I found myself ankle-deep in shower water. Because hair that I’d shed clogged the drain to the point where it lost function.

My husband snaked the drain. And did the baking soda + vinegar + boiling water trick. Then repeated those steps a few more times. Sorry, Tony Bear!

To make sure this never happens again, I purchased a pack of Hair Snare Universal Drain Covers. If you want to enter a drawing to win one of these miracles, send me an email here.

#1 My Soigne Flax Seed Gel

For several months I made my own flax seed gel using this recipe from the Scienc-y Hair Blog. And though making your own flax seed gel is pretty much a pain-in-the-butt, it worked great. As long as I remembered to run the gel down to the fridge after my shower. So it didn’t go bad:/

Then someone raved about My Soigne Flax Seed Gel on Instagram and I gave it a try. It was love at first sniff because this product smells exactly like roses.

My Soigne Flax Seed Gel is now my “holy grail” curly hair product. As long as I use this glorious concoction, I can pretty much use whatever cleanser-conditioner-gel combination is next in my rotation and get beautiful results.

UPDATE: This product has been reformulated and unfortunately, I do not like it as much as I used to. It no longer smells like roses and the texture is much thicker now. I may try making another batch of my own.

Bonus Content: My Current Curly-Girl Routine

If there’s one thing curly girls love, it’s knowing what your curly girl routine is, so here’s what I’m doing right now.

  • Deep Condition OR DIY Protein Treatment
  • Rinse in shower
  • Cleanse hair and rinse
  • Apply conditioner, clip hair up, soap & shave, then rinse hair.
  • Squeeze out excess water and apply My Soigne Flax Seed Gel (Squish to incorporate.)
  • Apply gel (Squish to incorporate.)
  • Squeeze out excess water and product then gently wrap in an Aquis Towel and leave for 10-15 minutes
  • Diffuse until 90% dry

That’s all I’ve got right now on curly hair. If you have recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comment section!

Note: This post includes a number of Amazon Affiliate links.

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