My Curly Hair Routine

Since I’ve been raving so much about curly hair products, I figured I’d do a short description of my hair care routine and suggest some of my favorite products.

Before I get started, you should know that my hair isn’t wavy or even remotely straight. I have a natural tight but not kinky curl, and I have super dry hair. If that describes your hair, then this routine will likely work for you. If it doesn’t, it probably won’t.

Rule 1: No shampoo.

This is a lot more common nowdays than back when I started doing this about 10-15 years ago, but shampoo absolutely does NOT touch my hair. This is the most important thing to remember if you have dry, curly hair. Shampoo is too drying, and you can technically get all the bad stuff out of your hair simply by rinsing it with water. I personally wash my hair with conditioner. There are certainly a lot of cleansing conditioners out there now, but you can really use just about any conditioner you like. I find the best ones are the cheap ones, as you’re not necessarily looking for a heavy hitting conditioner just yet. I just want to get the gunk out of my hair, and the cheap brands are good and thin and perfect for it. You’ll use a good amount of conditioner to do this. Just work it through your wet hair and detangle with your fingers and then rinse. Follow up with your actual conditioner.

Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner
Suave Professionals Rosemary + Mint Conditioner

Rule 2: More Conditioner (if needed) and a hair mask at least once per week.

This part really depends on what you used to wash your hair. I find that if I use the Herbal Essences, I can just leave it in and be fine without using a separate conditioner in the shower. If I used something that’s thinner, then I might need to rinse it out as soon as my hair is clean and work a separate conditioner through my hair and leave it in while I finish up my shower. Once a week, I’ll use a hair mask for a good deep conditioning treatment.

Hair Food Moisturizing Hair Mask
SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

Rule 3: Use a leave-in conditioner AND a styling cream to control frizz.

Yes, even after you’ve washed your hair with a conditioner and even after you’ve used a deep conditioning treatment, you might still need a little something extra. The moisture boost of a gentle leave in plus the control of a styling cream will keep your hair frizz-free. I work in both while my hair is still damp from the shower and then I let my hair air dry. Let me emphasize that last part. My hair does not respond well to hair dryers. Resist the urge to speed up this process. Some of the best products out there work as both a leave in conditioner and a styling cream, so instead of two products, you only have to work with one.

SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Renewal Lotion
Curls Crème Brule Whipped Curl Cream

Rule 4: Use a leave-in to refresh curls the next morning.

First off, if you’re letting your hair air dry, and you have a lot of hair, you’ll likely be showering the night before instead of the morning of, which means we have to consider sleeping arrangements. I find two things to be helpful. One is a loose high ponytail to keep you from rolling around all over your pretty curls while you sleep. The other is a satin pillowcase. (Trust me, it’s worth the investment.) When you wake up the next morning, you’ll still probably want to freshen up your curls. For this, I dampen my hair with a light leave-in spray and put everything back into place.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-in Conditioning Spray
L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise EverCreme Nourishing Leave-In Spray

Rule 5: Dry shampoo on days in between washes.

Since I don’t use shampoo on my hair, it’s actually a little okay if I wash my hair every day, but some days I don’t have time. On days when I’ve skipped the night before, I hit my roots with a quick spray of dry shampoo.

Dove Hair Therapy Refresh + Care Volume Dry Shampoo