You know how people say that no two snowflakes are the same? Well, no two
curls are the same, either. Every curly haired guy and girl can sit you down and tell you their routine — and it'd be totally different from your friend's, sister's, or coworker's.
Like any other beauty or
skin-care routine, maintaining your curls is all about trial, error, and a whole lot of product sampling. And admittedly, it can be a headache. But healthy and bouncy hair is so worth it in the end.
Ahead, five R29 staffers with type 2, 3, and 4 curls share their routines, along with the products that keep their waves, curls, and coils springy. Check them out, then let us know your favorites in the comments below.
photo courtesy of helen ray.
Helen Ray, Associate Social Media Editor Curl Type: 2B
"It took me a long time to love my curls. After years of straightening them or trying every drugstore curl product I could get my hands on with little success, I'm at a happy place with them now. I have very thick, wavy/curly hair. It's cut into a shoulder length bob right now, so it tends to curl more underneath than on top.
"My hair definitely looks better a little dirty, so I've reduced the amount of times I shampoo to twice a week, but I'll condition my hair closer to three or four times a week. Right now, I'm using Peter Lamas Avocado & Olive Oil Ultra Smoothing Conditioner. It has hydrating avocado oil which helps a lot. "While still wet, I towel dry my hair with a microfiber towel, which is supposed to reduce fizz since curls can get caught in terrycloth towels, then it's on to products. My favorite curl cream of all time is the Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer. It's the first curl cream I've used that doesn't make my hair feel crunchy or weighed down. I take a quarter-sized amount and scrunch it into my hair, emphasizing the top half that usually loses curl when it dries."
"Next, I'll layer
Hask Argan Oil for extra moisture and to reduce frizz."
Argan Oil Repairing Shine Oil Vial,
"Finally, I'll add in
Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray (especially if I shampooed) because again, my hair looks much better when it's 'dirty.' Plus, I think it helps set in the products and hold my curl. I always shower at night so my hair can dry while I sleep. And in the morning I'll touch up any curl that's gone limp or out of place with a curling iron."
Not Your Mother's
Beach Babe Sea Salt Texturizing Spray,
— PAID — Nourish your roots and help curls grow long and strong with As I Am's pomegranate- and passion-fruit-infused Long And Luxe line. As I Am Long And Luxe Curl Enhancing Smoothie, $10.95, available at
As I Am.
Candace Whye, Insights Manager Curl Type: 3C Most Places, 4A In Others
"Moisture. Moisture. Moisture. My skin needs it, my hair needs it, everything needs it! That's why I swear by the
LOC method to keep my curls happy and healthy. If you're unfamiliar, the LOC method relies on locking in moisture with a sequence of liquid, oil, then cream. And like most curlies, I don't wash my hair more than once a week. "On a typical morning, I start my L phase by hydrating my strands with steam in the shower. I follow that up with Paul Mitchell Leave-In Conditioner. After that, I'm ready to seal in all that liquid with an oil. I separate my hair into sections (about four), and saturate with Trader Joe's Coconut Oil. Finally, I end the process with a Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk by Shea Moisture. I am the wash-and-go queen, and love a bit of frizz and volume, so I'm actually quite stingy with the C phase and how I apply this cream styler. "I allow my hair to grow exponentially throughout the day (with a little manual fluffing), and by mid-afternoon, my crown has reached its full glory. I compensate for the air-dry and minimal cream by always sleeping on a satin pillowcase — that's the real secret for moisture retention."
Photo courtesy of arianna davis.
Arianna Davis, Features Writer Curl Type: Somewhere Between 3B & 3C
"My curl routine is pretty simple: I shampoo and condition with just about any shampoo that's made for curly hair, from Deva Curl to Herbal Essences. I don't stick to just one brand. I usually go for whatever's on sale, especially because I've heard that switching up your shampoo and conditioners regularly is actually a good thing. Before I rinse out my conditioner, I detangle in the shower with a wide-tooth comb. When I do rinse, I always leave a tiny bit of conditioner in there because it helps keep my curls moisturized.
"After that, it's pretty simple: I just spray a couple of mists of Ouidad's Botanical Boost Curl Energizing & Refreshing Spray through my hair, then divide my hair into three or four sections."
Botanical Boost Curl Energizing & Refreshing Spray,
"Next, I'll run Ouidad
Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel through each part — and that's about it. If I immediately need to run out the door, I'll put a diffuser on there, alternating between hot and cool air, but I typically prefer to wash my hair at night and let it air dry for a few hours before going to bed. (I sleep with my hair up on the pillow thanks to my mom, who trained me from a young age.) "Ouidad and other curly hair salons will recommend you get a cut at least every three months or so, but I typically just go twice a year for a trim and my curls stay pretty healthy. Any longer than that, though, and I start experiencing split ends, which shows up even worse on curly hair. "Last tip: When I'm on vacation, I make sure to put some conditioner in my hair before I get in the pool and try to either braid it or put it in a secure bun. My hair gets crazy tangled in chlorine or saltwater, and then I have to tear out all the knots in the shower!"
Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel,
Ariana Romero, Entertainment Writer Curl Type: 3C
"Calling my curly hair routine 'involved' would probably be the understatement of my life. I have type 3C hair, so I’m always trying to get as much length as possible. I shampoo about every two weeks, even though I know a week-and-half would be better, buildup-wise. When it comes to wash days, I comb my hair with a wide-tooth comb with a mix of combing cream (currently from
Amla Legend) and leave-in conditioner spray (currently from the Carol's Daughter's Black Vanilla collection)."
SoftSheen-Carson Optimum Salon Haircare Amla Legend Combing Cream,
"On the daily, I condition and don't rinse the product out. That way, it helps weigh down my curls for length. Right now I’m using the
Lotta Body Hydrate Me Moisturizing Conditioner."
Lotta Body Hydrate Me Moisturizing Conditioner with Coconut & Shea Oils,
"And, finally, the
Ouidad Heat and Humidity Gel. After adding products, I tie two buns on top of my head, do my makeup, and then take the buns out to blow-dry using a high heat on the low setting. Then, I blast my hair with the cool shot button (especially the back since my hair traps heat really well) and finish with a strong hold hairspray."
Advanced Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel,
Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer Curl Type: 4C
"I'm still figuring out how to take care of my natural hair, but what's worked for me so far is this:
lots of moisture. My hair is thick and dries out very, very fast — it sucks water and product up like a sponge. That's something that I keep in mind while washing. I shampoo about once a month. Lately, Devacurl's No-Poo Decadence cleanser has been my saving grace. While my hair is still wet, I'll finger comb to get the tangles out."
No-Poo Decadence Moisturizing Milk Cleanser,
"Then, I'll condition. Right now, I'm really feeling Devacurl's
One Conditioner Decadence — it makes my hair feel crazy soft. If I have time, I'll do a mask. The Carol's Daughter Almond Milk Ultra-Nourishing Hair Mask works really, really well. "Once I rinse out my mask, I stretch using the coolest setting on my Amika Immortal Power-Life Dryer. I'll hold pieces of my hair as taut as possible, using the concentrator on my roots... but not too long, because I'm not trying to dry it out completely. "My nighttime routine gets a little tricky. Again — I am not trying to spend an hour twisting or braiding my hair... but sometimes, it's necessary to fight the tangles. I'll either do four big, chunky cornrows after hydrating with the activator creme, or just slip on a Grace Eleyae satin-lined cap when it isn't too hot. "At a recent visit to Hale Organic Salon, the stylist that I worked with showed me a hack that's similar to the pineapple method, since my hair's too short for that. I simply take a scarf, hold both ends tightly, and put it on from the back so that my 'fro falls forward. I tie it in the front and tuck both ends in before falling asleep on my satin pillowcase."
One Condition Ultra Moisturizing Milk Conditioner,
"Normally after that, I'd do a twist-out. But frankly, I just don't have the patience for that these days. Plus, I really like what my coils look like without manipulating them. I've been trying out
Creme of Nature's Moisture & Shine Curl Activator Creme. Not so turned on by its strong scent, but love how it coats my hair and makes my curls come alive."
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