As anyone with naturally curly hair knows, it can take years to master the ultimate routine that suits your unique hair type and curl pattern. I myself have been through many painstaking months of experimentation with crunchy gels, limp styles, poufy frizz, and the many more woes that come with the territory of natural texture. Needless to say, I am always lurking around the internet, hunting for some new, perhaps radical, but overall better techniques. Recently I was casually wading through a sea of videos on YouTube to find tips from others on how they care for their hair and what products and methods worked well for them. I somehow stumbled upon the user DianasBeauty and her video called Big Curly Hair Routine which has since completely changed the way I treat and style my hair. Her tutorial wasn't completely revolutionary in theory, however I hadn't ever thought about changing up my techniques in those particular ways, and little did I know it would be the best thing that I have ever done for my these unruly locks of mine. I feel like I finally have a routine down that creates the best potential for my 3B curls to blossom into the beauties they are, and were all along. All curls are created differently, but this process works wonders for me and provides relatively standard results to fit my current (somewhat busy and carefree) lifestyle.
WashingHow often I wash my hair differs from week to week, however I try to keep it under a minimum of three times per seven days. Usually for one of those washes I use a regular color safe shampoo for a deeper clean, and for the other two a gentle cleansing conditioner to remove any excess oil and dirt without stripping the hair completely. On shampoo day, I will condition my entire head using a mix of different types of intense, deeply nourishing formulas. On the other days where I don't need a good wash, I give the ends a little treatment with any type of conditioner that is lying around. One tip Diana shares that has completely saved the integrity of my hair is to carefully comb it out before washing while it is still dry. I found that even with gentle strokes and a wide-tooth comb, untangling my hair while it was soaking wet in the shower was too damaging as it ripped out more strands, created knots, and took twice as long to do.
StylingI like to let my hair air dry in a cotton hair towel for a couple of minutes to sop up any excess water, or if I am starting from an already dry state I will rewet it with a spray bottle filled with water until it is damp enough to apply product to. Next I mist it with either the Aphogee Pro-Vitamin Leave-In Conditioner or their Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer and lightly comb it through to detangle. I'll then split my hair into a left and right side and apply a nickel-sized amount of a light conditioner from the ends working up to the roots, followed by a palmful of my favorite Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Mousse. Before most recently changing up my routine, I would have never considered using a conditioner as a styling product, but it has completely made all the difference in moisturizing my hair and creating lasting definition. I find the Suave Professionals Sleek Conditioner works well as it combats frizz and doesn't weigh down the strands. At this point I will comb out my hair again and let it fall into a natural, uneven part. I then separate the two side sections once more and run some pure argan oil through the mid-shaft and ends to seal them with extra moisture.
DryingOnce all the product is now evenly saturated and my ends are coated in serum, I take a pure cotton t-shirt and gently scrunch and shape my curls while soaking up any extra dampness (Diana demonstrates this well in her video if you need a visual). This step is a vital part of the routine as it gives such great definition to my hair, and as it air dries it forms into a collection of the perfectly shaped tendrils of my dreams. If my hair is relatively wet after this step, I will take a clam clip and pin up the sections around my face to add volume and keep it out of the way as I do my makeup.
FinishingI let my hair be until it is mostly dry, then scrunch it a few more times to fluff up any limp strands and soften the mousse a bit. I finish it off by smoothing on a small amount of argan oil and some spritzes of hairspray all over to hold it all in place and control any forming frizz. I particularly love the ones by Dove and right now the Suave Flexible Control Finishing Hairspray as it creates a strong hold and some texture without that crispy or stiff feeling.
MaintenanceI try to wash my hair only once a week so my color doesn't fade and my curls don't dry out. On mornings where I wake up and my curls look manageable, I will separate sections and spray each one with a bottle of plain water until it is damp, but not soaking. Then I take a little of each styling product, scrunch with the t-shirt, and let it set and dry. On a good day this technique will work to refresh the hair, but sometimes I can't salvage the mess and I will lightly comb out my hair and rinse it in the shower to restyle. If my roots are getting a bit oily by that time, I use the Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Cleansing Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair to cleanse the scalp and recondition my ends.
Have you mastered your hair routine?