Starting to take care of your curls naturally can feel very overwhelming at first. Which products to buy, and what’s my first step? So here are my top five curly hair tips I suggest starting with so that you can get started today! This is all based on the Curly Girl Method – check out this post if you’re not familiar with it!
This is a Process – Be Patient with the Journey!
Okay curlies, first I gotta give you a ‘lil pep talk! All of us have different types of curls, in different climates, different diets, stress levels and lifestyles. So what works awesome for one curly girl, may not be great for you. The process to switch your hair over to the Curly Girl Method will take time and experimentation, but my curly hair tips are here to help guide you. And remember: any products you use and don’t like, you could give away to a curly friend because they could work for her! Then maybe you won’t feel like you’ve wasted products.
If you’re not familiar with the Curly Girl Method, then make sure you see that post first before reading this one, as it is the basis for all of this!
1 – Clarify
The first of my curly hair tips: clarify. To start with a clean slate, I suggest clarifying your hair first. You’ll need to remove any product or silicone buildup. For me, it took several clarifying washes to get all of the silicones out, but I spread them out over several weeks so my hair wouldn’t get too dried out. Some curly girls have used a shampoo with sulfates just this one time to get all the junk out. ⠀
Here are some clearing shampoos I recommend that are Curly Girl Friendly (no sulfates, silicones or mineral oil with botanical ingredients):
- Kinky Curly Come Clean
- Shea Moisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo
- DevaCurl Buildup Buster
2 – Protein or OlaPlex Treatment
So, now that your hair has been reset to remove product or silicon buildup, I suggest doing a protein or Olaplex treatment to start healing the damaged hair. I had to do THREE protein treatments (I did the 2-Step one from Aphogee, but it does contain some silicones) and an OlaPlex treatment the first month to fix my hair after years of being dried out and using silicones!
Olaplex restores broken hair bonds. It’s when the cuticle lifts up due to damage from styling, heat, bleach, color, relaxing, perms, straightening, etc. This product is AMAZING! It reverses hair damage and my curls are always popping after I use it.
So, feel your way through this – you know you need protein if you color your hair (especially bleaching) and/or have hair that is dry, frizzy, and won’t hold curl, even with products on.
3 – Deep Condition
Follow up with a deep conditioning treatment. I have an entire tutorial devoted to deep conditioning because it is such an important step! My favs are Melt Into Moisture and the Shea Butter Mask from Maui Moisture. But there are many good ones on the market! Just make sure it doesn’t contain silicones (anything ending in cone)!
Heat helps to open up the cuticle so the humectants and moisturizers can really get in and begin healing your hair. I like to use a thermal heat cap or a Q Redew Hair Steamer to drive the moisture into the hair cuticle.
4 – Styling
Styling is a huge part of having curly success! Here are some of my best styling curly hair tips:
Ditch terry towels
They cause a lot of frizz and breakage. Use a cotton t-shirt to scrunch out excess water. I love the Hair Repear towel for plopping (wrap your hair in the towel, twist it onto the top of your hair and leave on for a few minutes to remove a lot of excess water) and for scrunching out excess water.
Apply products to soaking wet hair
A trick of the trade is to take your styling products with you to the shower and apply them with your head upside down while your hair is soaking wet. This helps to lock in moisture as you style, like rubbing on lotion to already wet skin – it’s much more effective.
Scrunch or Finger Coil to Encourage Curl Pattern
You can scrunch while you condition your hair, and style to encourage your curls to curl and pop! Another option is to finger coil – see my Instagram story highlights on my account to see my finger coiling technique video (@mymerrymessycurls).
Use a Diffuser or Hooded Dryer
So, you don’t have to give up drying your hair to have beautiful curls! I know if that were the case, I’d be in trouble because it takes me like 17,000 for my hair to air dry! I use a hair dryer that has a low and high setting, and a high, medium, low and cool heat settings. So while I dry, I alternate between low and cool heat to have minimal heat damage to my hair.
I start by drying my hair with a portable hooded dryer. I find this really sets my style and causes NO frizz – I love it and it’s only $20!
My favorite diffuser is the Xtava Black Orchid diffuser because it’s BIG and can fit huge chunks of my hair at a time in it. This allows my to dry faster!
5 – Take Care of Your Curls While You Sleep
Sleeping takes up a big chunk of the day, so this is one of the most important curly hair tips: take care of your curls while you sleep! Sleeping on a cotton pillow case causes a lot of friction and can contribute to frizziness, tangles and breakage. To remedy this, simply wear a buff, satin or silk bonnet, or sleep on a satin or silk pillow to drastically decrease frizz while you sleep.
See my curly hair page to get all of my tips and tricks!