I’m going to let you in on two little secrets:
1) I only wash my hair every 3-5 days.
2) I haven’t used shampoo in nearly 7 years.
I know, you’re thinking “what in the world?! That’s disgusting!” But let me tell you some other things:
1) Curls are fundamentally different from the root from straight hair.
2) Curls dont benefit from shampoo whatsoever. In fact, it’s super bad for them.
3) By cutting out the super harsh drying sulfates in shampoo (which are the same ones as the ones you clean your dishes with) and cutting out the non-water soluable silicones in other products, you don’t even need shampoo!
Which can make my curl care routine seem strange to some people. When I explain what I do to care for my mane, I get lots of weird looks. So here’s a little breakdown.
This method of hair care is called Curly Girl. There’s even a book. But this blog post is my favorite break down of curly girl. The biggest first step to adjusting to Curly Girl is knowing your curl type (I’m 3B/3C) and figuring out what products work best for your locks.
Then all starts in the shower. I have three products that I absolutely swear by and almost never deviate from (with a few exceptions).
The Suave Naturals conditioners are entirely sulfate and silicone free. They still contain surfactants, which are the chemicals that get the hair clean, but not really harsh and drying ones that make my curls all sad and limp. The key to curl care is moisture! I use this conditioner wash (co-wash) where I normally would shampoo. I also detangle with this. No combs, no brushes. Just fingers. Your hands are the best tool that you have, after all. Though according to the Curly Girl hair care method, you could get away with a super wide-toothed comb.
DevaCurl One Condition is a super moisturizing conditioner that is actually part of an entire line of Curly Girl friendly products. So friendly, in fact, it was created by the person who discovered Curly Girl! Can’t get more legit than that. I usually use 3-5 pumps of the stuff after I’ve co-washed but before I wash the rest of me to make sure as much moisture as possible sets in my hair. This is also super good as a deep conditioning treatment. Which I occasionally use it as.
Post-shower, I loosely wring my hair out and add in a pea-sized squirt of the One Condition as a base for product. I then follow it up with the Herbal Essences Set Me Up Gel which I scrunch in. For that, I flip all my hair over so I’m bending over. I get the product in my hands, and I grab handfuls of curls and loosely squeeze upwards towards my scalp. This evenly distributes product and coats it the way my curls will fall.
Once that’s done, I plop my curls. For this, do not use terry cloth! Use either a microfiber towel or, my weapon of choice, an old t-shirt. Terry cloth encourages frizz and pulls too much moisture from your hair. The cotton of a t-shirt will get out the excess, help set curls, and leave your hair frizz free. I use a long sleeved shirt and use the sleeves as ties.
This is about the time in my routine that I will apply make-up. Hair’s out of the way and face is completely clear.
Once I’m all made-up and ready to go, I take my hair out of the towel and add clips to give volume to my roots.
“Wait, Dannie, curls are big hair! How can you not have any volume at your roots?” Because Curls don’t equal volume all over all the time. I need to give mine a little help to avoid the dreaded triangle head.
This is also a second potentially good place to apply make-up. Hair is clipped kind of out of the way depending on how you clip it. I leave my hair clipped until it’s about 75% dry. This sets everything up but means that I won’t have weird clip marks around my head. I remove the clips, give my roots a gentle shake, and then I do not touch my hair again until it is dry.Â
When curls are drying with product in them, the product is setting up a cast of sorts. By touching your hair during the drying process, you break that cast and basically invite frizz to the party on your head. Nobody wants that. So just leave the hair alone. No touchy!
It takes m hair a while to dry just because, well, curls. But after an hour and a half or so, I’m dried, my curls are defined, moisturized, and super happy. And I’m good to not touch it for a few days!
What specialized techniques do you use to care for your hair? If you’re curly, are you going to think about switching to Curly Girl? Share in the comments!