GIRL TALK - My Curly Hair Routine
I've read endless guides on how to tame my curls, and each tell you do this, do that...as if all curly hair acts the same way. Well let's just start this off by saying one thing : Two peoples curly hair is NOT the same. Person to person, even DAY TO DAY, curly hair changes like the wind. Within the space of a week I find my hair can feel thick, fine, wavy, coiled, dry, soft ( the list goes on ). And since it’s so diverse, wouldn’t it be better to get advice from someone who shares a curl pattern similar to your own? I've put together my step by step wash day routine, plus I've chatted to 3 of my trusted curly gal pals to get some all round curly-haired advice today. Is simple better? Jess thinks so. Or should you be shampooing upside down like Sofia ? Or maybe you steer clear from heat like Molly . I've gathered all the gos to give you the best Inpso when it comes to taming the mane!
Where to Start
A great place to start is by defining your curl type. This way, at least when you do want to research into new products you know what your looking for. Your curl type is determined by the shape of the follicle that your hair grows out of from your scalp. When this is flatter or more of a oval, your hair is curlier. The more circular, the straighter your hair. Alongside this your curl can also be indentified but the shape - kinky, coily, wavy, curly. Most people with textured hair have more than one type of pattern on their head, so you are likely to have a combination of kinky, coily, wavy, and curly. Sometimes the easiest way to determine your shape is while your hair is sopping wet.
"A simple breakdown: Type 1s are straight, Type 2s are wavy, Type 3s are curly, and Type 4s are coily. The sub-classifications of A to C are based on the width or diameter of your wave, curl, or coil pattern. Type As have a wider pattern size, Type Bs medium, and Type Cs the smallest of the three.'
The greatest thing about identifying your hair type is that you get the best understanding on how to care for your texture so you can have more versatility and can style with more ease ( with minimal nervous breakdowns) !
Back in time ( before consideration into how I cared for my curls was a thing), waking up in the morning was always a suprise. I had wonderful days. The kind where my hair was magazine ready without any styling needed and I'd feel grateful for having curls. On other days however...there were tears. And a bad curly hair day can be hard to rectify in a rush, to the point where it would probably be easier to just shave it off! Throughout the years, I have developed a solid routine to keep my curly hair healthy, strong, fast growing, frizz-free, and more. It works for me, and I've realised although everyones hair is different, the baseline routine is similar, and today I would like to share it with you! Heres a simple curly hair routine at as a starting point :
Step 1: Shampoo Your Curls Once every 7-10 Days
When shampooing, focus on applying the product on your roots. Combing it through your ends is fine, but the roots are the most important areas to have the shampoo work through! This will ensure the product cleans up any oil or dirt that may have accumulated on your scalp since your last wash. Shampooing too often can really dry out curls. Although only washing every 7-10 days sounds a bit mad, it all makes sense when you introduce Co-wash. Co-washing is short for “conditioner-onlywashing.” It means skipping shampoo and relying solely on conditioner. However there are so many cleansing specific conditioners on the market now.
For me I switch between OGX SHampoo ( I don't have to use one in particular but Coconut Curls, Argan Oil, Tea Tree and Mint and Shea Smooth are my usuals!) and Briogeo - Banana + Coconut Nourishing Superfood Shampoo ( this smells UNREAL ). I wash my hair every 7 - 10 days, and then in between washes if I want to cleanse I use Briogeo - Avocado + Quinoa Co–Wash or Aveda Co-wash. Aveda is one of my favourite hair brands, and just smells AMAZING.
I always wash and rinse my hair upside down. This is a real key factor for me now! Sometimes I wash my hair standing up straight in the shower, however I always conditioner and do my final rinse upside down
"For my hair, I always wash upside down, as it find it helps them fall the way they were cut " - Sofia
I find this triggers the roots memory to stand up and creates volume. If you think of how much time you spend in the shower, and how much hot water is focused on the top of your head. to water can be drying ( and drying is not good for curls) Therefore washing your hair upside down cuts back the amount of time that hot water is concentrated only on the top of your head. I used to find that the curls on top was looser, and this is why! If you want to step this up another level ( which I sometime do when I'm in the mood ) then do your final rinse with Cold Water. Cold water shuts the hair cuticle and also closes your pores. This protects the scalp pores from things like dirt and grease but also helps your root memory when you use this trick upside down.
Bonus Step 2 : Apple Cider Vinegar
This is a step I have only recently indulged in, and learnt through Youtube...but wow, I LOVE IT! I probably do this step once every 1-2 weeks, or on a Sunday to prep for the week ahead. I tend to save it for the very thought out showers ( you know the ones ) where you have a bit more time and everything top to toe is given extra TLC.
Why Apple Cider Vinegar?
Fundamentally, using ACV in your hair routine helps restore your scalps PH levels and removes any build up of products. Thanks to its antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities, Its FAB for getting rid of dandruff! I always long for smooth shiny curls without the frizz and roughness and ACV really helps with that. Apple cider vinegar will help keep your scalp protected by killing off bacteria and keeping a balanced pH level. This also means that it stimulates hair growth!
How to use
I recommend mixing 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water in bottle, applying it to the scalp and massaging it in. After 10 to 15 minutes of letting that sit, you can then shampoo! Alternatively if you have less time, you can mix this same quantity with shampoo and wash as normal!
Step 2: Condition, Condition, Condition
Any good conditioner, that is hydrating and moisturises will be sufficient for curly hair. One thing I do find is sometimes if conditioner is too balmy or oily I find it hard to style my hair after. I tend to steer clear from really oily conditioner as it is too heavy for my hair and stick to ones that are creamy. Conditioner I switch up a lot!I love using Cantu, Briogeo, OGX or Ouai or as these hydrate my hair and make it feel silky! I ALWAYS brush my hair in the shower while I have conditioner in it, and as silly as it sound this is an absolutely essential step for me! Try to allows much time as possible in the shower to let your conditioner sit.
Step 3: Hair Mask
Occasionally, maybe once a fortnight - a month, I will use a mask rather than a conditioner, which I will apply instead of a conditioner, and leave for 20 mins before rinsing. The IGK, Cantu and OUIA are my favourites!
" I use Castor Oil when my hair hasn't been washed in a few days. I rub it into my scalp, pop on a headscarf on and sleep with it in. Then I wash it out the next day" - Sofia
Step 4: Style Your Hair When It's Sopping Wet
When I leave the shower I add styling products to my hair when it is WET (not damp) and dry my hair ASAP. If I have to I will run a wide tooth comb through my hair, otherwise I will only use my fingers gentle and won't brush properly again. The more you manhandle curly hair, the more you create frizz. The key is to cut down on friction, so stop rubbing your hair and instead gently blot it (after you apply your product of choice). I wrap my hair loosely in a micro fibre hair wrap to stop it dripping. At the moment I'm using Aquis Turban which is a kinder towel to help with frizz. It does not stay in this long, just while I run from the shower to the hairdryer!
Styling products high in alcohol give curls a "crunchy, ramen-noodle" texture—they suck up every last bit of moisture so I tend to avoid anything with this ingredient. A lot of curly girls who know their hair well, will tell you that it behaves much better when you cut out all the rubbish ingredients in products. No alcohol, sulphates, gluten...you'll see a difference for sure!
I tend to use Cantu Leave in Conditoner mixed with Briogeo Farewell Frizz Oil. If I am looking for something more cheap and cheerful, I will buy an Argan or Morocan oil from Boots, and Mix with Boots Curl creme, but I will never skip the mix of creme and oil! I also make sure that products have heat protect in it too, as this is really important to keep the hair healthy. The creme I use liberally and spread evenly throughout my whole head of hair. As my hair is thick, I do have to divide it first.
I love Briogeo Farewell Frizz , and this brand as a whole as their products are naturally derived, gluten, sulphate and cruelty-free ; and this product in particular helps my hair shine, controls frizzy flyaways and contains SPF.
" I avoid using oils, as my curls are quite corse and I find all it does is make my hair go greasy!" - Jess
"Generally I steer clear of scrunching gels as I find that this makes my curls smaller and they end up crunchy. The gel from Amika, isn't a scrunching gel and I find it really hydrates and defines my curls - which Is why I love it! " - Sofia
Step 5 : Drying
" I never use heat on my hair! I literally leave it dripping wet, run some Boucleme Curl Conditioner through the ends and don't soak any of the excess water out at all. I feel like this makes my hair dry in a tighter curl, which I love! " - Jess
I will ALWAYS have to dry my hair, unless it is very short and I'm living somewhere that is hot but not humid ( these are all very unlikely), so a diffuser is a necessity for me. I never dry my hair without a diffuser. A regular nozzle focuses hot air on one small section at a time, while a diffuser dries curls evenly for a full, uniform look. I tend to dry from the root out as the ends can airdry if i run out of time,but the roots hold moistire like crazy. I love the Toni and Guy Diffuser head for travelling as its collapsable. At home I tend to use any Large diffuser head, but have recently tried Deva Curl DevaFuser Attachment which looks crazy, but works amazing!
"If I have time I'll diffuse my hair, but that's quite rare! So I usually just let it air dry, and I also find that too much heat can make it frizzy." - Molly
Step 6 : Restyling
After drying I will always have a good spritz of Living Proof - Dry Volume Blast! I love this product! Its a lightweight dry shampoo which leaves my hair feeling soft and voluminous. It helps to create volume and brings an airy texture to the hair. I have this in a small size swell, which I take everywhere in my bag. As my hair is very thick, sometimes it gets weighed down throughout the day, so a blast of this gives me a volume boost. It also helps my shorter layers stand out, which gives me more texture. It also smells amazing and fresh!
Sometimes between washes I restyle my hair, if I have slept on it a few nights and don't want to repeat the entire routine. I love the Babyliss Tight Curls wand, for a quick hair revamp. This is great for my curl, however The Mark Hill Pick 'N' Mix extra-long corkscrew is a great add on to the Pick ‘N’ Mix handle. This handle is a great investment and means you can interchange the barrels you're using if you want a different curl! Excess heat does alter the proteins that give curls their spiral shape; so if you notice curls become more limp then limit blow-drying to just once a week!
Last but not least..
Step 7 : Switch to a Silk Pillowcase!
Cotton soaks up moisture from your hair, and creates friction, causing frizz. A silk pillowcase cuts down on friction and keeps things smooth. I love Slip's Silk pillowcases! They're a bit pricey but worth it if you like to re-wear your hair, and save time and products through the week!
I hope these insider tips have helped you enjoy your curls!!