Natural Curly Hair Care 101

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Is your hair naturally curly or a perm?

Chances are, if you stumbled across this blog post, you too have naturally curly hair. You may have even been asked a time… or two… or three… or every day…. the dreaded question above, “is your hair naturally curly or just a perm?” It’s almost as if you know the question is coming and can blurt out “its natural” before they even finish the sentence. Some will even go into detail on how “everyone pays for those curls… you’re so lucky.” So it might even be a little awkward when you in fact despise your luscious locks and chalk it up that it’s a pain in your ass and explain this to your unsuspecting curl lover.

still dread your curls lets change that

The Sentimental Mama

Before I can go into detail about what my routine is for my naturally curly hair, I think I need to explain to you how my hair texture is, how it evolved and what it actually feels like now. If you are checking out my routine for some helpful tips and tricks to try out with your own naturally curly hair, make sure you take into consideration your own texture and how your hair reacts to certain conditions. No two curly q’s are alike but I think if you test out some of my tips or try some of the products I used/have used, it will hopefully be of help to you and your curls.

Lesson 1: The 411 on my own hair

I haven’t always loved my curls. I was born with a pretty tight curl and it never… ever… went away. Growing up I always wanted bone straight hair. I hated how my hair was “poofy” and frizzed up to high heaven at the moment there was moisture in the air. Most of my 20s was spent with straightening my hair almost every day.

the evolution of my curl

Lesson 2: The Texture

I feel like my hair texture goes through phases especially if I am attacking it with a straightening iron more so than normal. My hair was very thick as a child. I remember breaking rubber bands on the daily. My Mom used to put my hair in braids during the summer months to tame my mane. As I got older the texture went from thick to thin but it didn’t matter because I still have a LOT of hair. My curl starts at the root which I have found some ladies (or men) curls don’t start there, more so towards the bottom. My hair is also pretty soft (I attribute that to my routine below) and I don’t have too much split end issues or signs of damage. Additionally, I try to keep my hair long. If I get anywhere close to cutting my hair towards my shoulders, my hair springs up to where I look like Carrot Top.

The Sentimental Mama

Lesson 3: Pregnancy + My hair

I heard horror stories of other ladies that had some crazy things happen to their hair. From all of it falling out in chunks to some curly girls suddenly having stick straight hair. When I got pregnant I was very interested to see what would happen. Throughout the 9 months, my hair definitely grew and got thicker. About 3-4 months postpartum, I noticed my hair shedding more so than normal. It never fell out in chunks but there were some times when I was a little paranoid that I was going to be bald. After all of that, now 3 years later, my hair is definitely different. My curls don’t curl like they used to and I feel like I have to play around with my routine a bit more to find a good rhythm that makes my hair not look so… blah.

Curly Hair
Image by: Josh Snyder Photography

Lesson 4: Color, processing + heat

I started to dye my hair (myself) in high school. There were maaaaany failed attempts (I even had black and white hair by accident at one time…) but for the most part I have fluctuated between being a brunette and a blonde. My natural hair color is a dirty blonde. I started to straighten (or attempt to straighten) my hair in high school with a CURLING IRON. Yes people, I don’t know what I was THINKING. With that said, I can totally tell a difference in my hair after dying and after excessive heat is applied to it. The curl takes some time to come back around after I damage the crap out of it. So take heed…. Mess with the color of your hair or use lots of heat,  your curls will be affected.

Woman washing her blonde hair.
Image: Adobe Stock

My routine

I have tried a variety of ways to do my hair each day. My routine has changed over the years and it is definitely not the same way I did it back when I was a teenager. In each step of my routine, I will tell you different ways I have also dealt with my hair. Feel free to try some, mix it up… I always say that my hair has memory and it gets used to how I do things one way over time so I have to change things up.

Lesson 5: Let’s Start in the Shower…

The bulk of my routine happens in the shower hence why there are no pictures of me showing you how I do this. So I am going to try my hardest to explain this to you. After I take off my skivvies and jump into the shower, I start on my hair. I shampoo almost daily because I have eczema on my scalp and excess oil creates issues for me. I do hear from other curly hair sisters that they shampoo once or twice a week depending on the amount of oil their scalp secretes. As far as shampoo products go, I currently am lovin’ on my NEXXUS:

shampoo and conditioner

Shampoo: NEXXUS Promend ($9)

Conditioner: NEXXUS Promend ($10)

So nothing too crazy up until this point. This is where people tell me I’m crazy when they find out what I do.

TIP #1: I don’t rinse out my normal conditioner. 

So after my hair has a nice amount of conditioner in it, I use a wide tooth shower comb and comb my hair out from root to ends. I then put my hair up in a pony tail and finish my shower. After I am all clean, I take my pony tell out and quickly run my hair under the water. I do this not to wash out the conditioner but to just add water to my hair for the next step which happens to be the next tip.

TIP #2: I only scrunch my hair when it is soaking wet in the shower

After I get my hair wet, I flip my head upside down and gently pull my hair away from my scalp while scrunching. I don’t run my fingers through my hair. When my hair is fully scrunched and the curls are looking pretty good upside down, I lightly place my towel on my head and wrap it gently. I do not pat dry. I have in the past used a 100% cotton shirt but I feel like my hair is too wet for a shirt. Some have had great success with using a towel though! After I get out of the shower, clothe myself – usually in yoga pants – I slowly take off my towel making sure I’m not pulling any curls while doing so.

The next step involves more products: mousse. I have used plenty in my lifetime but one that my hair has not gotten used to is Frizz Ease:

Frizz ease mousse

Frizz Ease Curl Reviver ($5)

I take about a palm size amount of mousse and gently apply while my head is again upside down. I make sure my roots in the front have some mousse coverage and then I work down to my ends. I do not run my fingers through my hair. 

Usually, I don’t have much time for much else with my routine. But if I do have some extra time, I like to apply some Moroccan Oil Curl Defining Cream. Mostly because I love the smell.

Moroccan Oil curl defining cream

Moroccan Oil Curl Defining Cream ($30)

When I started to do my hair routine this way, I thought that my hair was going to be too soaking wet but I found that it isn’t the case.

TIP #3: Let my curls air dry

While my hair is drying, I wait until it’s about 85% dry until I touch it again. I try my haaaaardest not to fool around with it. When it’s almost dry, I flip my head over again and do some scrunching. The mousse makes it a bit stiff after drying so once I scrunch, it breaks up the mousse and its a more softer curl.

Some other products I have used and I love:

 TIP #4: Brush my hair 1-2 times a week

Because I comb my hair in the shower when my hair is soaking wet, I don’t brush my hair after the shower. I feel that my scalp still needs stimulation in order to grow better and have good circulation. So I use a wooden paddle brush (because I have snapped brushes in half while brushing before…) and I will brush my hair after the shower focusing on my scalp. I leave these “scalp days” to days that I know I won’t need to have my hair down. I usually throw it up in a bun and mark it off as a bad hair day.

The Sentimental Mama

Lesson 6: When I’m in a rush

So there are times when I am in a rush and I don’t have time to air dry and I don’t want to show up where ever I’m going with a soaking wet head of curls. So in a time crunch, after I pull my towel off my head, I use the DevaCurl Hand Drying Gloves. These gloves are microfiber and absorb the water for the most part. After that, I use a blow dryer on high with a diffuser. DevaCurl also has an amazing diffuser but I have yet to try it out.

deva-curl

Lesson 7: DevaCurl

Now speaking of DevaCurl…. I have been a HUGE DevaCurl supporter (even modeled for one of their shows once) and while I don’t work for the company, I can speak based on my own experience from a customer’s perspective. Some parts of my routine I do now comes from what I learned with DevaCurl.

For those of you that don’t know what DevaCurl is, it is a whole system and routine strictly for curly hair. Additionally, they have professional stylists that know how to work with curl hair and use DevaCurl products on their hair. The link here goes to a starter kit with a few of their products to get you used to how they work. You can also find a stylist and get a “dry DevaCurl cut” here.

Because I have used a wide range of various products in the past, I feel like I can achieve the type of curl I want without DevaCurl (using my routine above.) If you are just starting out with learning to love your curls, I still highly recommend DevaCurl as they are what got me on the right path to knowing how to work with my curls.

The Sentimental Mama

So here ya have it! Those are my tips and tricks! Are you a curly girl? What tips and tricks do you have?

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I asked some of my Mama bloggers in my Luxe Access Facebook Group to let me in on their curly hair secrets for their kids! Here are some of their posts:

  1. CARING FOR NATURAL CURLS via keyes to style
  2. 5 Ways to Manage Curly Toddler Hair via And Hattie Makes Three
  3. A Guide to Multiracial Hair Care: Mixed Chick Hair Whisperer via Are Those Your Kids

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Curly Hair Instagram Inspiration

@frankeerose

A post shared by @curlyhairkillas on

@laurenlewiss_

A post shared by @ig.curls on

 

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Natural Curly Hair Care 101

Brianne Geiger
  • Diedre

    This post is everything! Wow! I love all the pictures of your hair evolution. I love how you talked about your feelings, and then brought us up to speed with your routine. Awesome post mama! I will be sharing this!

  • I hated my curl growing up and was so self-conscious of it. Checking out some of these products! My curl is so different after pregnancy and it just doesn’t look as good anymore. 🙁 That diffuser looks amazing too!

    • Girrrrl I’m right there with you!! Let me know if anything works out for you! ❤

  • Liz Cooper

    You were blessed to have both of you parents having curly hair. However, your dads side is where the Curly Sue’s curles comes from.

    My hair was mostly wavy when I was growing up. However, if they had hair products as we do now I think my curls would have shown through.

    It was Faliesha that introduced me to Frezz Ease.

    The first time I used it I was amazed what I had. Curles much like yours however, i believe your curles were much tighter than mine.

    I used the Shampoo, Conditioner and Gel. I didn’t care for the Mouse.

    As time has gone by I now only wash my hair 1-2 per week,
    Don’t rinse out my conditioner. When i apply conditioner i comb out my hair. Put the towel on my head and then when i take it off I may use more condtioner and use gel only. When adding more condtioner I only puts some on my ends and on my crown.

    I also crunch my hair while bending over.

    Note. Today I use shampoos that has natural derivatives. Conditioners have to be thick and has to Hydrate my hair. ♡♡♡

  • Megan Alexander

    ugh I have always dreamed of curly hair- this really just reinforced that! My hair is so straight.