This past week, I refrained from washing my hair for four days straight. Now for most curly girls, that’s normal. For me, however, I wash my hair every-other day because it’s not drying to my curls and so I can keep a sheen by washing out the products frequently. So why’d I go four days this time? Good question. Simple answer: I was lazy. I wore my hair in a bun for the last three days so you can BET it was completely matted by the time I took out the ratty updo. My roots were greased enough to cook some grilled cheese and my ends were dryer than hay. I really tested my products through this mess. Keep reading to see how I tackled these lil worms that I call curls. 🙂 p.s. skip to the end to see my tips for curly-headed cuties.
I’ve gone through two bottles of this stuff already. The Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore (JBCO) has got to be my favorite shampoo ever. It’s Curly-girl approved plus JBCO is so beneficial for maintaining this mane that I just chopped. This shampoo never fails to thoroughly cleanse my scalp but doesn’t leave my hair dry. Keep in mind, I have thin hair that weighs down easily and gets greasy from products. If I were to use this shampoo every day or didn’t need to wash out products, it would be drying. If your hair is dry, try using a co-wash in-between shampoos. Not to mention, it’s so inexpensive for the size!
For conditioner I use the Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter and for my bi-weekly masking I use the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment. When my hair was matted and ultra-tangled, this masque didn’t immediately detangle my curls, but once I applied and let it sink in, it was nearly tangle-free when I rinsed and ran my fingers through. This mask is a thick, lotion-like consistency and can easily weigh down curls if applied too close to the scalp or too frequently. I used to use this stuff almost every time I washed my hair– oops. As for my conditioner, it was a silky and creamy consistency; didn’t slide off my hand but wasn’t a cream. This stuff is sometimes better at de-tangling than my masque (though not as moisturizing). Because of how easily my hair absorbs this, it instantly loosens up my curls for an easy finger comb-through. I just ran out of this conditioner, but I got risky and just cracked open the Maui Moisture Lightweight Hydration + Passion Fruit. I’ll let you know how it measures up!
Because of my fine and thin hair, I need products that lift and define my curls. I’ve turned to a couple gels and even more creams yet none seem to work. I always went back to my beloved Aussie Sprunch Mousse. Giving me fluffy yet defined curls…but also giving me unwanted silicones/dimethicones. If you’re unfamiliar with these ingredients, I can write an article explaining what they do to your hair and alternative products to gravitate towards! No matter curly, straight, or anything in-between hair, silicone is one thing to stay clear from. I now use either the Shea Moisture Mousse or the DevaCurl Foam. These three mousses differ in their ingredients and scents, but I haven’t tested them all individually to see how they compare in hold, lift, definition, and hydration. I am currently using the DevaCurl foam with other DevaCurl products to see their compatibility. Before this foam, I comb the Wave Maker through my hair, making sure to not get too close to my scalp. After scrunching in the foam, I scrunch my hair with a light dollop of the B’Leave In gel. The directions to say to use a generous amount, but because my hair is too delicate, I use just to give my hair the faintest crunch for maximum hold. I especially like this product when I sleep with my hair wet because I can wake up without any frizz and my curls are still fluffy and defined. My current experiment: will my hair hold the same throughout the day without this gel?
Curly hair tips:
- Always apply products in wet or soaking hair. This keeps the hair shaft open, allowing the products to deeply penetrate the cuticle.
- Scrunch hair with a micro-fiber towel or a cotton t-shirt to absorb excess water and products. This will make your hair dry faster, dry into it’s true curl patterns, and keep the products from leaving a heavy residue.
- When in doubt, plop it out. Not enough time to air-dry (diffusing is not an option)? Afraid your curls will get ruined in your sleep? Look no further. Wrap it up, girl. Plopping is a way of drying your curls while still retaining moisture and curl pattern.
- Don’t touch! Over-scrunching is a disease we’ve all been diagnosed with at some point or another. But have no fear: find the strong will-power (I know you have it) and do. not. touch. The only exception is flipping your hair from side to side to make sure your curls are loose and won’t set in an unwanted part. Once they’re dry? Delicate pulling apart or repositioning of curls is acceptable.
- Stay away from (mainly) silicones, parabens, and sulfates! Of course there are other ingredients that are infamously doing your hair wrong, but these are the main three.
- Refrain from heat and dyes. C’mon, you’re killing your hair and you know it! I’ve been there and done that about five times. I think I’ve finally learned my lesson after years of dry hair with waves that had the potential of being curls (my greatest nightmare).
- Your hair shouldn’t need to be washed everyday. Let the natural oils sink in before you abrasively cleanse them away. Washing your hair as much as every-other day or as little as once a week will make it easier to keep your hair hydrated. Of course, this depends on your hair and your products. Like I mentioned, I wash my hair every-other day/ every two days because the products will build up and leave my hair gunky and lacking luster. Find your balance!
- Watch the weather. Humidity is more of a friend than foe. The humid and moist air makes my curls spring up– the curlier the better! Rain though? No, nope, never. That’s just a disaster and we know it. You made need to explore with products depending on your climate (city with massive pollution, Seattle with the typical rainy-days, Australia with dry humidity). Minnesota, you’ve blessed me with it all. Thank you for teaching me how to wear a bun most days or a hat on others.
The last three bullets can be applied to anyone with hair, curly or not. I strongly recommend you take the time to research which ingredients are oh-so damaging to your precious locks. I’m sure I use products with something detrimental but I can’t help but be grateful that I’ve gotten rid of those gnarly three ingredients. My next self-care journey is finding healthy body washes. You know it’ll be shared on here!