Curly Hair Routine & Tips

Curly Hair Routine & Tips

I am by no means a hair expert--in fact, I am kind of lazy when it comes to hair. But a quick survey of my friends and family finds that most women in my life are actually looking for ways to be lazier with their hair--they want quick, easy tips that keep their hair routine to a minimum and get them out of the door a little quicker in the mornings.It takes time to find your own unique perfect routine! My mom's hair has some wave to it but she wan't used to ringlets when I was a kid and wasn't sure what to do with it so I had a pretty intense cotton ball look going on for many years before I started to discover products and techniques to create a more tamed style. Like most girls, I wanted what I didn't have: stick straight hair that behaved and easily fit into french braids, like many of my friends had. Now I wouldn't trade my curls with anyone except maybe Blake Lively. :) I still have bad hair days (cue the sock bun!) but for the most part my hair and I live together very peacefully.  So I thought it might be a good thing for me to share a few of the little tricks I've learned for how to keep my naturally curly hair (more or less) under control in just a few minutes.
Proof! I was pretty much a little fluff ball until I hit about 12 and learned about a little thing called embarrassment.

Less Heat Styling

I wear my hair naturally curly every day. I'm not saying that if you have curly hair you can never straighten it, but I am saying that frequent straightening and other heat styling techniques will lessen your natural curl a bit and it will take a couple of days wearing it natural for it to kind of bounce back. This is why some celebs start off with their natural curls, start to dabble in straightening, and then end up with it straightened all the time. It's hard to go back and forth and have the curly days look as good. I'm looking at you Taylor! (Although I love Taylor, and she looks great both ways, and she can do no wrong in my book. That's just the reason she never goes au naturel anymore.)

Put the Brush Down

I also never brush my hair unless I'm about to jump in the shower. Brushing your wet curls can cause breakage, and brushing  your dry curls causes you to look like you're auditioning for the Lion King. 
Instead, I recommend brushing it out (or using a pick) right before showering to get all the tangles out. Then, in the shower when you have your conditioner on, finger comb through it. This keeps it detangled and disperses the product more evenly. Once you get out of the shower, applying mousse or gel with your fingers will give  you a chance to finger comb it once more and kind of arrange it as well.

...Also Put Down the Harsh Towels

It's also better to use a head wrap made of soft microfiber type material, or even an old t-shirt or pillowcase, to wring excess water from your hair. The rough texture of regular towels will roughen up the cuticles of your hairs, creating extra frizz--nobody needs that!

Product is Your Friend

Being lazy when it comes to your hair doesn't necessarily mean no product. My entire hair routine takes about 3 minutes but involves a fair amount of mousse and gel. When I get out of the shower, I finger comb through my hair, flip it all upside down, and add product. Try a few different options and combinations to find what's right for your curls--all curly girls are different! I start with mousse and put more towards the top of my head and then work it down. I don't really put any product into the roots themselves, I start a couple of inches from the scalp and then 
With gel, I concentrate more on the midde and ends and then work what's left into the top portion. Keeping the gel (Biolage curl defining elixir has been my favorite for about 10 years) more towards the bottom half  or two thirds of the hair shafts helps prevent "crunchy" hair up top, while still giving a lot of definition to the ends of the curls.
Mousse helps with a soft texture but still defines towards the roots and keeps frizz down. I really like a mousse that has leave in conditioner to keep my hair as soft and hydrated as possible.  I then spray with a curl spray, usually the Aussie brand "Sprunch Spray" and then gather the curls in my hand and scrunch them up. 
Then I put all my hair up in a head wrap, still scrunched a bit, and do my makeup and get dressed. I come back and take the hair down, give it one final shot of curl spray, and kind of arrange it (ie, let it totally decide for itself where it wants to be parted but just use my fingers to kind of guide a few weird pieces up by my temples). I let it finish air drying on the way to work!

Don't Wash Too Often

 Due to the extra dryness of natural curls (especially if yours are also color treated, like mine), it's important not to over wash your hair. If you have a dryer skin type and scalp you could do two days between washes. I generally wash my hair every other day. My skin type is combination and that extends to my scalp so while I occasionally get too dry and get some flakes, I also tend to be a bit oily halfway through my second day. So to combat the oils, I spritz some dry shampoo onto my second day hair. It's great because it soaks up some of that oil and also gives a bit of texture to what might be flat roots on day two. I'm a big fan of Batiste for it's price tag and the fact that it comes in both blond and brunette tinted options so that you don't just have white powder residue showing on your roots. Dove is also a good affordable option, and if you're just looking to spend money I hear great things about Elizabeth & James Nirvana dry shampoo options as well. They are scented to match their Nirvana White & Nirvana Black perfumes. I can't bring myself to spend that much but people say it's awesome!

But Keep It Conditioned

Did  you know curls are naturally dryer than straight hair? It's extra important for us ladies to deep condition and use leave in conditioner! This mask by Shea Moisture and this one by Aussie are both good choices for curly hair. There's a moist option and a strong option for Aussie, depending on whether dryness or breakage is your biggest issue. 

Sleep Like Ariel

Sleeping directly on your hair will smush down your curls and cause them to be flat and frizzy in the morning. Sleeping with your hair up above your head on your pillow keeps hair the freshest for the next day. Try to get all your hair up there though, not just the back half. I used to imitate this hair toss constantly as a kid--glad it finally came in handy!

What are your favorite tips for your curls? What products do you find work the best? Do you embrace your curls or heat style them regularly? Let me know in the comments below!

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