My Guide to Carefree Curls (Hair Care Routine)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

If you have naturally curly hair, you'll know exactly how dramatic it can be.  One day it'll be perfectly manageable and actually look semi-presentable; the next it's shrunk by what seems to be a foot or so, and there's a very noticeable and quite unfashionable halo of frizz surrounding it.  So I'm sure it comes as no surprise that growing up, I saw my curls as more of a curse than an attribute.  Most of my life was spent fighting the evil frizz monster, running through hundreds of different products (and rejecting most), learning that brushing dry curls was most definitely a big, fat no-no, and so on until I found what worked.  That is to say, I'm still not exactly sure what works, but I've found a combination of products and procedures that works for right now, and that's more than I could have hoped for!

This is going to be a long one, so click the "Read More" button so I don't have to overwhelm the homepage!

Before I move on to what does work, I thought I'd list what I've discovered really doesn't (for me, at least).

  1. Heat: In any form, heat can damage curly hair.  So if you're the type that heat styles quite often,   or even just once in a while, use a heat protectant!  John Frieda Frizz-Ease Daily Nourishment Spray works a treat, and can be bought for around the $5 mark.  Hot water can also be damaging, so make sure you wash your hair with warmish-to-cold water (well, as cold as you can stand it).
  2. Brushing: The jury may still be out on this one, but from my own experience, brushing my hair, even when wet, creates a frizzier style.  That being said, it should be noted that no matter your preferred mode of detangling, you should always brush/comb/whatever when your hair is wet.  End of discussion (unless you were actually going for the Red Foo look).
  3. Dry styling: Yet again, probably another obvious one, but it's important that curly girls know that styling products will be their most effective when applied to wet hair.  To reactivate the product on no-wash days, simply dampen your hair with a spray bottle (full of water) and run a tiny bit more of the product through your hair.
  4. Shampoo: To anyone with naturally straight or wavy hair, the thought of going shampoo-less may seem utterly repulsive, but most shampoos are far too drying for curly hair (which is actually the driest hair type!).  Some conditioners can be just as effective as shampoo at cleansing the scalp (these are called "co-wash", or "conditioner-wash").
  5. Washing every day: Curls are delicate, and perform best when they're not messed with.  It's important to give the divas of the hair world their breathing room, and that means limiting washing to about 2-3x a week (unless you want to see the frizz backlash that will undoubtedly result).
  6. Towels: While we all want to look like the women in the movies who jump out of the shower with that glamourous towel on top of their head, it's just not a possibility for curly girls.  Towels create frizz by interrupting the curl pattern, and although it's slightly annoying in the winter, you'd do best to let your curls air dry (or use a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment).
Now that the negatives are out of the way, I'd like to move on to my recent curly 'do lineup that has resulted in longer, smoother and chunkier curls.  As a sort of disclaimer, this does contain quite a few Aveda products, and I would like to mention that, although I don't presently, I did work at Aveda in the past during which time I went on a sort of hair journey, and learned what did and did not work for my curls.  It should be noted that I did not pay full price for any of the Aveda products because of the employee discount.  I am not being compensated for my views on these products, and I most definitely would not share something positively if I didn't love it and know it to work.

Here's what I use!

I am not, and have rarely if ever been, loyal to a conditioner.  At the moment, I am mixing one part Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment with two parts Optimum Care Fortifying Conditioner and running that through the entirety of my hair in the shower.  I comb through with just a simple Conair wide-toothed comb, and rinse out right before I jump out (about 10 minutes in hair, total).  I've had a lot of luck (knock on wood) with this combo recently, and have had minimal frizz as a result.

Once every three weeks or so, my curls may need a little extra TLC, which is when I slather on Aveda's Dry Remedy Treatment Masque for about ten minutes (combed through wet hair, of course).  The bergamot and rose geranium scent is just an added bonus, but it leaves my hair super silky soft and defined.  After washing (if I remember!), I run Aveda's Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair through the ends of my hair to keep the split ends at bay.

Now, the fun bit!  I've learned from years of trial and error that curly hair really just wants to be left alone, which is why I use as few products as possible.  That being said, I do have four styling products in rotation at the moment.  When my hair is freshly washed, I wring it out as much as possible just using my hands, and then apply Aveda's Be Curly style prep from root to tip to aid in creating a frizz barrier until my next wash.  A bit of some Be Curly Curl Controller gets applied mid-shaft down to lengthen my curls, and finally a mixture of one part Aveda Confixor to two parts Be Curly Curl Enhancer goes on from root to tip for curl definition and some hold.  After all that, I usually just let my hair air dry.  Some days, however, I have to help my hair along by doing it up in a French braid so that it dries the way I like it, long and defined.

As any naturally curly girl will tell you, curls are fickle friends.  You can can have a really great hair day today, then do the exact same thing to your hair tomorrow, and have it look like complete crap.  What I mean to say is that this routine may not work for everyone (it may not even work for me in a week!), but I wanted to share it in case it does, because I've never had as many good hair days (in my opinion) in a row as I have since switching to this product lineup.  Watch what happens, now that I said that...

* The pictures may look a bit strange...I'm working with a new set-up and lighting in my room.  I'll clean it up in future, don't worry! xx


  1. My hair isn't super curly, but it definitely has a pretty intense frizzy wave. Like you, I can't brush my hair while dry - that's just ASKING for frizz and need to style it wet. However, since my hair never tangles, I barely have to brush it at all (which I am so grateful for!). Great post! And I love Aveda products too! :)

  2. Hi! I have curly hair too but its more like your curls on the top rather than your super tight curls on the bottom. I find it will curl up better if i diffuse it with a dryer. It is sorta just ends up being wavy. what im experiencing though is the hair underneath is so long that it dont curl much anymore so i suppose it needs cut. I am currently trying out the aveda curl cream you have pictured but it has not been working for me so i am glad i read this, i will mix it with a bit of gel and see how it works out. I also think incorporating a conditioning mask is a great idea that i will try too. and laying off the shampooing everyday. What do you think about serums? I have been reading your blog about 3 weeks now and I have already bought korres lip butter glaze in laurel and origins ginger gloss spray THANK YOU so much for writing about them because they are both new staples! next after the aveda curl gel and the Dry remedy mask, I will be trying the MAC foundation you recommended!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! It more than made my day :) I didn't find that the Aveda cream did much for me on its own, but mixed in with confixor it was much more effective. I actually think serums would be a great addition to a curly hair routine, and you've made me want to do some research now, so you may see some pop up on the blog in the near future! I hope the hair products work out for you :) xx

  3. It'd be the happiest morning of my life if I woke up with hair like this!
    UK High Street Fashion

  4. beautiful....


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