It’s not so hard to have lovely curly hair, as long as you take care of them and practice good maintenance routines. I started letting my hair go curly earlier this year and have learnt a lot about how to get perfect curls. And, of course, creating flawless curls with all-natural ingredients! I’ve narrowed down my tips and tricks to 10 ‘how to’ steps.
The secret to achieving perfect, natural and moisturized curls is to treat the hair with the highest respect, forgetting all the products and procedures that can damage it. The main culprits are straighteners and curling irons, as well as chemical products found in most of the products we use for our hair.
It’s worth noting that my hair is naturally fine. At chin to shoulder length, my curls tend to be loose spirals with some waves. If you have very thick hair, or tight spirals, I can’t promise that the products I use will work for you – but the overall steps are good for any type of curly hair. Here are list of my good habits for the beautiful natural curls routine!
1. Start with a great haircut
I know, I know – you want to hear about products and styling techniques! But truly, a great haircut is the foundation for great curls. Layers are great for curls, so that hair from the top of your head remains shorter and lighter so can curl better. If you have problems where your hair on top is straight or wavy and the hair underneath is super curly, then you need to cut your hair into layers. A great hair stylist will know what to do, so be sure to find one that knows curly hair.
2. Use the right shampoo and conditioner
Finding the right shampoo and conditioner for curly hair is hard. If it’s too light, your hair will be frizzy. If it’s too heavy, your curls will go limp. Three brands that I personally love are:
This duo is the lightest of the three listed. It doesn’t help my curls be super curly, but doesn’t make them go limp either. It’s a great every day shampoo and conditioner that has really helped my hair be healthy.
This is a very gentle shampoo. It’s a thinner liquid that almost has a jelly like feel to it, it reminds me of aloe vera a little bit (which it does have aloe, but farther down the list). And the smell! Oh, it’s lovely. It smells like ylang ylang, which is one of my most favorite scents.
If your hair is very oily, or has a lot of product build-up, you may need to use this twice or use a stronger shampoo. I really like this for every day use though, it’s super gentle on my hair but cleans it well.
The conditioner is super conditioning without weighing my hair down. It’s a thick, whitish cream. It is super moisturizing, but what is amazing is that this doesn’t weigh down hair at all. It is probably one of my most favorite conditioners I have ever used, ever (natural or not).
I have been using this duo for the past month and really like it. While the shampoo says “gentle”, it is actually a stronger shampoo. A little goes a long way, so I have to be sure to only use a dime size amount so I don’t use too much and dry out my hair. The Curl Charisma Conditioner is similar to Surya Brasil. It’s thick and creamy but doesn’t weigh my hair down – the perfect combo for curls! Together, these have been great for my curls. While not quite as moisturizing as Surya Brasil,my curls still look fabulous with this duo.
3. Dry it properly
This one is super important. When you get out of the shower, the worst thing you can do is take your normal terry cloth towel and rub your hair, and then wrap it around your hair. I used to do this, so I know it can be a strong habit. But I finally stopped once I realized that it’s awful for curls.
I’ve read that it roughs up cuticles. To be honest – I’m not sure if that’s true. I have found though that it dries hair TOO much. Here is the secret to having great curls, you don’t want to dry your hair too much, it needs to stay wet while it dries. I know that sounds odd, but you’re just going to have to trust me on this. I’ll get into this more with styling. But for now, just trust me – stop using your normal bath towel to dry your hair.
Instead, you can use an old t-shirt or what I have been using, DevaCurl Microfiber Towel. It’s not very big, but it doesn’t need to be because you aren’t going to wrap it around your head. You will lightly scrunch or dab your hair so it’s not dripping all over the place, and then you will leave it alone. For now.
4. Gently comb
I have read other curly hair tutorials that say to not comb. Well, I can tell you that if I didn’t comb my hair after a shower it would look like a tornado had gone through it. The trick to combing hair is to gentle comb it with a wide-tooth comb. You don’t want a bunch of thin strands of hair hanging out by themselves from combing with a brush or thin comb. You want thick/clumped-together strands of hair that will dry together, which will decrease the chance of frizz.
This comb is the closest I can find to the one I have (which is very old). This kind of comb works really well for me so now it is all I will use!
5. Add the right product for your hair
So at this point, your hair should still be rather wet (but not dripping), and should be combed out, but in thicker strands.
This is where what product you will use will depend on your hair type. I have found that using Surface’s Trinity Protein Cream is enough for my hair. It provides a light moisture without weighing it down and helps define my curls. Since it’s a spray, I can spray it directly on and not have to touch my hair (which is a huge bonus!).
I have also used DevaCurl’s Ultra Defining Gel. While not the greenest, it is better than other more traditional hair gels. It provides a nice hold and doesn’t leave my hair with that ‘wet’ crunchy look (which I don’t care for).
I have have heard good things about John Masters Organics Styling Gel but have not tried it personally (but it’s on my list!).
If you are going to use a gel, the trick is to rub it in your hands and then lightly scrunch it up into your hair. you don’t want to run your hands through your hair and create a mess. Or if you do, then re-comb your hair so strands are evenly separated, thick strands.
Read also: Extremely Effective Tips For Healthy Hair
6. Lightly scrunch
Some people may disagree with me on scrunching after you add product, so if you are one of those – you can switch step 5 and 6 and scrunch before product.
Once adding my product, I usually let my hair sit for awhile for it to sink in (about 5 minutes or so). Then, I take the my DevaCurl towel and lightly scrunch. Don’t go crazy with the scrunch, just once for each area of hair is enough.
7. Separate hair from the top of your head
This is one trick I have learned that works well for my hair. My curls have a habit of not wanting to curl for the first 3-4 inches of my hair on top. I then found that it was because my hair was sort of ‘stuck’ to my head. To fix this, I take my fingers and very gently push through my hair to my scalp and move my fingers very gently to ‘de-stick’ my hair from my scalp. This isn’t a big movement, it’s very subtle.
If at this point you are noticing your ends are getting dry and a bit frizzy, then gently scrunch in some water at the ends. I know it seems counter-intuitive to add water to drying hair but you don’t want the ends getting all dry and frizzy. You want your hair to be wet so it dries in ‘clumps’ so to speak.
8. Don’t touch your hair
Now that you have added product, scrunched your hair and separated it from your head. Don’t touch it. At all. Let it be and naturally dry. This is probably the hardest part because if you are like me, you like playing with hair. But you don’t want to touch it until it’s dry.
Some people use a diffuser but I have never had any luck with them. I don’t think they add all that much curl or volume from my steps above, and the heat isn’t good for hair. So I let my curls dry naturally.
9. Finish off the style
Once your hair is dry, it may need a little pomade or spray. Here are my favorites:
Rahua Hair Wax: this wax/pomade provides a light hold. Unlike many pomades, it doesn’t look greasy or super shiny, so is great if you are looking for an all-natural curl/beach curl look. It doesn’t have a strong hold, so is best if you only need a little touching up.
Max Green Alchemy Pomade: this pomade is more of a traditional pomade. A little goes a very long way and provides a good hold with lots of shine.
Intelligent Nutrients Perfect Hold Hair Spray: I.love.this.hair.spray. It’s great at holding curl and the ingredients are super natural. It does leave a more ‘wet’ look so use sparingly, but a little is all you need anyway.
Giovanni LA Hold Hair Spritz: this is a lighter hair spray than Intelligent Nutrients, but also doesn’t leave the ‘wet’ look so you can spray it a lot.
10. Enjoy your awesome curls!
The most important step of all, enjoy your awesome curls. There is something very liberating about letting curls do their thing and not worrying about drying and straightening and forcing hair to be something it’s not. Enjoy your curls and you will see your hair become MUCH healthier and happier.
I’ve also found my curls have become curlier the longer I go without straightening my hair. Sure, I still straighten it from time to time (usually if I know I won’t be able to have it air dry and style later), but my hair is so much healthier now, I don’t really miss straightening it much.