Curly Girl Routine: How To Refresh Limp CurlsJump To Recipe
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My Dad is Jamaican, so I am blessed to have inherited his hair type from him. My hair as a child was always wavy, but when I hit puberty, my hair started to curl more.
On the curl chart spectrum, I am in between a 2C-3A. My hair has always been wavier on top, and curlier underneath. Sometimes when my hair is behaving for once, I’ll get nice defined 3A curls on top.
I do not like going to the hair salon because 1) they are always rough and painfully yank out my tangles and 2) when they wash my hair it is longer wet, and they seem to forget that when it dries, it is going to be even shorter than if I had straight hair.
Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Nicole recommended I try her hairdresser, Molly who is amazing with all different hair types and is gentle! Thank. God.
I had to learn through trial and error on how to manage my curls.
Also, the awkward years were never a good teacher, so until I learned about products for curly hair, I would use my brother’s hair gel to slick back my hair in a ponytail… oyy. Thankfully in 7th grade, I started to get a hang of how to deal with my hair. No more men’s gel for me!
I discovered a whole new world of hair mousse, leave-in conditioner, curl cream, and hair serum!
I high school, my friends would jokingly call me Mufassa because my hair would get so frizzy! Sadly, even if I did put product in my hair, it would still manage to frizz up.
Some girls would freak if the weather became humid, or it would start to rain, in fear of their hair getting frizzy. I would always be rolling my eyes in my head because I’d think, YOU THINK THAT IS FRIZZY?! Have they seen my hair?! Known my struggle?
My hair knew no bounds. Sunshine, rain, humid, windy, hot, cold, didn’t matter. It would still frizz up and tangle.
Now tangly hair…what a demon to battle. All through high school and college, I had the worst cases of tangly hair. Every. Single. Day.
My mom would help brush out my knots and tangles at night, you’d think I had been shipwrecked for 60 days with nothing but a spoon to brush my hair. It would take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to detangle all my knots. Sometimes the knots were so stubborn, we had to get the scissors. 😥
I typically have medium to long hair, so I think that was one big reason for constant tangles. (Also my years of boycotting hair salons probably didn’t help either).
What changed the game for my hair was I started buying shampoo and conditioners without sulfates and parabens!
Most shampoos contain all sorts of sulfates, parabens, plastics which dry out curly hair! When I switched shampoos, I noticed my hair was more manageable, less frizzy, and fewer tangles.
No two curls are the same, and it is important to understand your hair before you know how to manage it.
My Curly Girl Religion:
I air dry my hair.
I can probably count on one hand how many times I have used a hairdryer to dry my hair. Mainly as a kid, I didn’t like how long it took, and also it made my hair extremely frizzy and dry so I always air-dried my hair. Now I know curly girls use diffusers, but I just prefer not to. If my hair is wet at night, I just wrap it up in a hair towel. My mom bought these for me years ago for Christmas and it is a hair must when I wash my hair at night. They say microfiber towels are better for hair than terry cloth towels, however, since I don’t use friction at all (I wrap my hair and leave it alone) my hair isn’t being roughed up during the drying process.
I don’t use heat.
In middle school, high school, and a little bit of college I’d straighten my hair a few times a month. It was nice having smooth hair, it made me look so different. It would take about an hour to straighten my hair, and again I didn’t have the patience for it. Also, we didn’t have air conditioning so the heat from the flat iron would heat up my little room! NOT very comfortable. I have always loved my curly hair so a few years ago I gave up my flat iron to a church rummage sale. Never looked back! Now I will admit I do have two curling irons (one small barrel and one medium barrel) for special occasions when I want to change the look of my curl pattern. But on a day to day basis, my hair goes heatless.
I detangle my curls with a wide-tooth comb and my fingers.
I do own a brush, but it does not see the light of day very often. Thanks to my mom (love yah mom!) she would buy me wide-tooth combs to detangle my curls. Brushes are just overwhelming for my curls, so I need to comb through my hair sections at a time. I do play with my hair a lot, mostly out of a bored habit I guess, and secondly I can find little tangles at the ends and detangle that way.
I don’t use gel or heavy curl creams.
I talked about not knowing what to do with my curls when I was younger, so I’d slick my hair back with gel. Gel would make my hair crunchy and flaky. When touching my hair, my fingers would get the gel residue almost as if I had dried linty glue on my fingertips. Yuck. I’ve also tried hair creams that are like paste and weigh down my hair. It did take some trial and error, but I have found my favorite curly hair products are Aussie Miracle Curls products. I love that they are affordable, smell incredible, and has coconut and jojoba oil in them.
I don’t wash my hair every day.
If you have been following the Curly girl method, or by simple observation, you already know this. Washing hair every day can strip the hair of its natural oils, and for us curly girls, dries out our hair even more. Finding a shampoo without sulfates/silicone/parabens was the best thing for my hair. I’d wash every 2-3 days, but when I switched shampoos, now I wash about once or twice a week. I do have to make sure I do a thorough scrub and rinse to make sure I get any product or oil build up off my hair.
I protect my curls when I sleep.
I sleep on satin pillowcases. Cotton tends to draw in moisture which can dry out my curls and make my hair frizzy. Satin is also more gentle, even on your face, (goodbye sleep lines!) and for me who tosses and turns, it helps cut down the friction. If I go to bed with an awesome hair day, I use a satin hair cap to keep my curls close to my crown. As mentioned before, if I have wet hair, I just wrap my hair in a hair towel. Since my hair is thick and holds a lot of water, sometimes it leaks through the hair towel, and I do not like sleeping on a wet pillowcase so I put down an extra towel to absorb the excess water.
I try crazy things.
Yes, I’ve gone to the kitchen once or twice to find DIY hair mask remedies. Coffee, apple cider vinegar, mayonnaise, olive oil, coconut oil, baking soda, vitamin e oil, almond oil, peppermint extract, eggs. I love anything DIY, and if I can save a buck making something at home, it is well worth it. I think hair can benefit from nutritious food and beverage too.
Next, I am going to share how to care for your curls as well as keeping them gorgeous!
Here are the Brass Tacks for Understanding Curly Hair:
Curls LOVE moisture. Even just hydrating your hair by spraying water on them can bring your curls back to life. Keep curls happy by using products that lock in moisture and do not dry out over time.
Curly hair is prone to tangle because of its coil pattern, plus curls tend to dry out making the hair shaft less smooth. Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle curls from the bottom up. Also a detangler without sulfates and parabens will help make it easier.
Pay attention to split ends. If you pick up a strand of hair and notice huge splits, it is time to cut the ties and get a fresh haircut.
Avoid hair products and shampoos + conditioners that have silicones, sulfates, parabens, and plastics. These dry your hair out, cause for build-up, stresses out your hair, and make your hair brittle.
Hair is made up of protein, so if your hair is still limp after moisturizing it, your hair could need some protein! There are lots of products on the market that offer protein for your hair, but a simple and affordable hack is to put a bit of castor oil in your palms and disperse through your hair. Don’t put too much protein (or oil) in your hair though because it can weigh it down, make it look greasy, and even backfire by drying out.
Wash your hair less. Your hair produces natural oils that nourish the hair strands. Washing too often can strip the scalp from these natural oils, and can even make hair overcompensate by producing too much oil. For thick curly hair, it is recommended to wash once a week. If you have a high-quality shampoo, you can definitely get away with washing your hair once or twice a week. I use L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner which does wonders for my curls.
Massage that scalp! If you have anything from thick curly hair to REALLY thick curly hair, that is a lot of weight on your dome piece! Break up that tension by gently massaging your scalp before you shower to help promote blood circulation and to break up any dead skin cells that have settled. Plus a good scalp massage promotes hair growth!
Don’t forget about sun protection. Just like skin, curly hair needs protection from harmful UV rays. Protecting your hair from UV rays can prevent the melanin in your hair from fading, and if you have colored hair, it will help from the hair dye from fading as well.
How To Refresh Limp Curls and Revive Curls
- Start with fresh hair.
Put a generous amount of sulfate-free shampoo in your hair and massage into your scalp for about 1-2 minutes. Leave the shampoo in your hair for another 1-2 minutes before rinsing out. If possible, use a water a shower head that has a filter to reduce chlorine, sediment, and other contaminants from your shower water. Next, apply sulfate-free conditioner to your ends to the middle of the hair, then rinse after about 3 minutes.
- Use your wet hair to your advantage.
Gently squeeze out excess water in your hair. Now is the time to let your wet hair soak in the curl enhancing products. Use curl creams like this one (insert link) to tame frizz and encourage shine, and add in a detangler or leave-in conditioner to get out the knots. Adding product to wet hair helps your hair look its best, without it looking crunchy.
- Flip your hair and start to scrunch.
Use your fingertips to lock in the moisture by squeezing the curls and lifting your hair up towards your head. Scrunch. Scrunch. Scrunch. 5 minutes of upside-down scrunching will be beneficial to get blood flow to your head and give you some volume.
- Pump up the volume.
Curly hair is often thick, so thick hair + soaking wet hair equals gravity pulling your hair down. Part your hair in a zigzag formation. Next, use root clips to pin up your roots and keep your hair from lying flat against your head while air drying. This will also encourage more curls at the crown of your head. Let the clips stay in your hair until your hair is completely dry. I recommend using a hair towel after pinning your roots to aid with the drying time.
- Final scrunch and shine.
Your hair is almost done! Your hair should be 90-100% dry by now, so add a curl refresher and scrunch your hair again. Flip your head and do these two things: massage and fluff! I use these two words because you need to be gentle (don’t break your curl pattern) and but you need to be fast to get more volume to your hair that will last all day.