My Curly Hair Routine
A little back story
When I was a baby, my curls were tight ringlets. People used to call me Shirley Temple. Somewhere along the way, about ago 5 or 6, my curls fell out. I have a hunch that my hair wasn't cut properly for the curls and so they fell out because of that, but I honestly am not sure. I had pretty frizzy, very thick hair for the remainder of my childhood and adolescence.
In college I straightened my hair constantly, and it was even blonde! (shaking my head now)... During my senior year I was sick of it being unhealthy so I chopped it all off, dyed it back to brunette, and started growing healthy hair again.
All during that time, if I let my hair air dry, there would be a few wavy or curly sections, and some sections that dried completely straight. It was so frustrating. Within a few days after washing, any wave would have totally fallen out.
When my curls "came back"
After Reaghan was born, I started learning more about natural living and went through a process of transitioning all of our household and beauty products. I started washing my hair with Branch Basics, and after a 3 month detox period (very oily hair...this is normal, you can Google it :)) my curls started coming back! I was shocked when this started happening but SO excited. I tried briefly to wear my hair curly but struggled to find products that gave me the results I wanted, and frankly I had no education on how to care for curly hair!
I guess you could say over the last 4 years I've been searching for something that would work for me to be able to wear my hair naturally and not have to curl it every day with my flat iron. As a mom, I just didn't want to have to curl my hair to stay at home with the kids, and honestly just wanted to be who God made me to be!
I started hearing about DevaCurl and asking around to curly girl friends. It was after talking with some friends that I realized that curls need to be cut in a certain way to not release the curl pattern and layered in a way that allows your curls to grow out nicely and not bulky. I also learned that I should ditch shampoo and wash with conditioner! This was SO overwhelming to me because I felt that leaving conditioner in my hair would make it greasy and flat (it hasn't, but more on that later). I think most women stop here because it truly can be very overwhelming and discouraging as you are re-learning how to do your hair, something that had become so second nature to me over the years.
I scheduled a DevaCurl hair cut and to be honest, I wasn't thrilled with the results at first. I have been used to having very layered hair, choppy and with a lot of dimension, and this cut felt boring. I also didn't know what products were going to work for me yet, and was still learning how to wash my hair and apply product, so it has taken some time to adjust. Now, I am excited about how my hair looks, feeling a lot more confident in it, and REALLY love the routine I have going right now. There's still some things I want to tweak, but so far it's working well and I've seen a big improvement in my curls!
Here are two resources that have helped me a ton - India Batson on YouTube, and this Curly Girl Method Facebook Group. Both have been really informative on how to adjust to the "curly girl method" (washing with conditioner, and using products that are silicone and sulfate free).
(A replay of the Facebook Live I did on my routine is at the end of my post)
- The first thing I do when getting in the shower is I apply As I Am Coconut Cowash on my dry hair, only on the scalp, and massage really well. Scrubbing your scalp is what cleans out the dirt and oil, not the suds of shampoo. I do use shampoo every few months if I have been traveling or just feel like I need some build up taken out. But truly my hair feels clean every week with just conditioner.
- Using lukewarm water (not hot, which will create frizz), I rinse all of the cowash out, and apply Suave Essentials Coconut Conditioner all over until it's very slippery. I let that sit while I wash my body.
- I detangle my hair with the conditioner still in, starting at the ends and working my way up to the roots. Once my hair is completely tangle free, I add a little more conditioner.
- I use the LA Looks Sport gel (clear bottle, blue gel) right now, but will probably be looking for a new one soon. It works great, but sometimes leaves some clumps of gel on my scalp after it dries. I add a palm size amount to the underside of my hair, and the same amount to the top of my hair and smooth it all over.
- Then I squish all the product in by scrunching my hair from all angles with the palms of my hands. This activates my curls and also distributes the product evenly all over.
- When I get out of the shower I add two pumps of the DevaCurl Styling Cream and rub it between my hands, then smooth over my hair and scrunch some more.
- I take a cotton t-shirt and only scrunch out the wetness 3-4 times... no more! I find this is my sweet spot, where my hair isn't dripping wet, but if I dry it with a t-shirt any more than this, it become frizzy and doesn't keep it's curl as well throughout the week.
- Then I let it air dry! It's awkward sometimes because it dries so crunchy. It looks pretty high school 90's so I have to fight the urge to tell everyone it's drying when I'm out, haha.
- After my hair is FULLY dry (no moisture AT ALL), there is a very hard cast of gel on all my curls. This locks in the moisture from the water and conditioner and keeps my curls looking good all week.
- I'll rub a pea sized amount of either the styling cream or conditioner in my palms and scrunch out the crunchiness. Then I usually pin my hair back a bit so it's out of my face, and I'm good to go!
Sleeping with your Curls
To sleep, I have been putting my hair in a pineapple using a scrunchy. A pineapple is a ponytail on the top of your head. This week I actually experimented with a new method and washed my hair at night, plopping it in a t-shirt turban to sleep, and it was still wet in the morning but curls intact. I then added a quarter size amount of conditioner + water, and a quarter sized amount of gel to just refresh it and let my hair air dry as normal the next day.
What I plan to do soon, is grab a buff from Walmart and sleep with my hair in that. You can look up videos of this in the Facebook group mentioned above. A buff is preferable, I think, because it wont absorb any moisture from your hair, like cotton does. That's why they say to wrap your hair in a silk scarf (my hair is too thick for that) or sleep with a silk pillowcase. That would freak me out sensory wise, so I'm going to go with the buff for now. I'll let you know what I think on Insta after I try it!
^^^ My hair air dried prior to the CG Method (left) and air dried after CG (right)
2nd, 3rd, 4th day Refresh
To refresh my curls on following days I add a pea sized amount of the styling cream or conditioner and water it down with water. I smooth all over my hair with "praying hands" (just palms closed over the hair) and then scrunch a bit. Water reactivates the gel, so I get bounce back in my curls and smooth away any frizz. If I have a lot of frizz because we've been outside playing or in the wind, I add quite a bit more conditioner and water to refresh.
I can usually get 4 good days out of my curls, then I either do a braid, or have my hair in a half up bun for days 4 + 5, then an actual bun on days 5, 6, 7 until I wash it again. I aim to wash my hair once a week. The more you wash, the more you dry out your hair, and with curls you do not want to dry it out ever. As much moisture as you can add back into your hair as possible, is what you want to do. My hairstylist says that frizz is just a curl waiting to happen, and now that I've been doing this method, I completely agree!
Let me know if you have ANY questions and I would love to help! Hope this helps you on your curly hair journey!
Here's my Facebook Live video going through my routine, if you would rather listen than read! ;)