For almost my whole life, up until about a year or two ago, I was a chronic straightener. I think most of us curly hair girls hate our curly hair when we’re growing up. Us curly girls are usually made to feel like only straight hair is pretty, or even curls from a curling iron, but not our natural texture. But recently there’s been more of a movement for embracing natural texture, and I hope it continues because I’m really feeling it.
When I moved to Portland a little over a year ago I found the guru of curly hair, who also has a curl course out. Which is a better more detailed version of this, if you can afford it, I highly recommend it. She taught me a game-changing technique that works for wavy to kinky curly hair. She made me fall in love with my curls and took them from a frizzy mess to beautiful shiny curl locks. She also taught me to simplify my routine. I didn’t need a billion products to create something nice, I just needed a shampoo and conditioner that helped lock in the moisture instead of stripping it. And a good gel that would help lock in the curl pattern, while still leaving the hair soft and not crunchy.
However, I will warn you, my hair products are not green, gasp, I know. Here’s the thing, with the texture that my hair is, I have yet to find something green that either doesn’t strip it too much or is too heavy and makes my hair look weighed down and greasy. Not only that but, since I have to use so much gel and conditioner, I like to get liter sizes of products to help my budget and to make it last. If I get a regular bottle size, I’m usually out after like 3 washes as opposed to a liter which takes me a little over a month to get through. Also, a regular bottle of green curly hair care is about $22 and my liter is like $40, so my wallet could never handle it. So for now, I use Deva Curl. But you should use whatever works for you, this post is about the technique, not the products. So let’s get to it!
Virtually the whole routine happens in the shower, with just a little bit after. I start with cleansing my hair like normal, and I make sure I rinse the shampoo out really well and I leave it sopping wet, don’t ring it out. Then, when it’s still sopping wet, I’ll get about 5 pumps (the size of a quarter to the size of a silver dollar) of conditioner and coat the conditioner from mid-hair shaft to the ends. After that, your hands should have barely any conditioner on them, almost like a conditioner “glaze” should be on them. Glaze your roots, this way the ends of your hair are getting the hydration they need and the roots aren’t being weighed down. Then I’ll scrunch my hair, while the conditioner is still in, to really get it into the hair and help promote the “locking” of the curls.
Then I will roll my head back into the water for a quick rinse. You want to do this quickly because you’re not rinsing it out yet, you just want to help it get all over the hair more. After I’ve done that quick 2-second rinse I get about 5-10 more pumps of conditioner (just depends on how dry my hair is feeling) and I’ll scrunch it into just the ends again. While the conditioner is in my hair, I’ll finish up the rest of my shower routine to let the conditioner really sink in. Once I’m done with everything else in the shower, I’ll comb out any tangles I have left in my hair, with a wide toothed comb and before rinsing. After this, if you feel your hair needs more moisture take a few drops of conditioner and rake it through. Then scrunch again, then “drizzle” rinse, this means some conditioner gets left in the hair. I usually drizzle rinse for about 7-10 seconds.
Again you’ll be leaving the hair sopping wet, get a few pumps of gel and glaze the product over the hair. Don’t run your fingers through or anything anymore. At this point the more you mess with it, the more frizz you create. After your hair is coated, scrunch the gel in. It should again sound like squishy noodles since your hair is still sopping wet. If you feel you need more gel at this point, get some and scrunch it in. I would say in total I use about 5-7 pumps of gel, maybe even 10 some day. 🙂
To dry your hair, you don’t want a normal towel, those make curly hair frizzier. I like to use these bamboo wraps from Hubalou, but you can always just use an old t-shirt. So you’re not going to wrap your hair like normal, you’re going to again scrunch it, with the towel (or t-shirt) to get most of the water out. Squishing the water out, I let it dry one of 2 ways. If I have the time, I usually just lay on my couch with my hair hanging off the edge and read till it’s done air drying. If I don’t have the time, then I pull up small sections lift it at the root and pin them at the crown of the head. Then I will take my diffuser and for lack of a better term, I’ll orbit around my head with it until it’s 80% dry. After it’s 80% dry, I’ll flip my head over and use it how you would normally use a diffuser. Once it’s completely dry, I’ll give it another scrunch to break the gel cast to make it look soft and pretty instead of hard and crunchy.
Voila! Hydrated curls 🙂