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If you know me solely through FujiFiles then you may not know that in addition to blogging and freelancing, I’m the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly. I’ve been working here for over 5 years now and in that time I’ve experimented with products, cuts, colors, and techniques. I think it’s fair to say I have a bit of experience in this area now that it’s high time I share over here on FujiFiles.
My hair type
I have naturally wavy hair, and if you subscribe to the NaturallyCurly Texture Typing system it is Type 2C waves mixed with 3A curls. My hair is coarse, medium density, and right now I have highlights so I have high porosity.
Step 1. Cleanse
Everyone says you should shampoo as little as possible when you have curly hair. This can be challenging since I go to hot yoga 5 mornings a week, but I have cut down my cleansing to about twice a week. My general rule of thumb is if my scalp feels itchy, I wash it. Depending on the season and what’s going on with my skin I do tend to get an itchy scalp and I’ve learned that not shampooing will only make that worse. Once I apply my cleanser to my scalp (just the scalp), I like to take my shampoo brush and rub it back and forth on my scalp. Stimulating the scalp can be beneficial for hair growth, and honestly to me it just feels really really good. If I don’t have my shampoo brush with me I just don’t feel clean these days.
Step 2. Condition & detangle
Unlike the shampoo, I apply the conditioner to the length of my hair, making sure to focus on the ends. Once my hair is saturated I take my wide tooth comb and comb through my hair removing any knots and shed hair I may have. I take the hair that was shed while detangling and stick it on the wall so I can throw it away later. This is important for preventing a clogged shower drain – my least favorite chore on the planet.
Once I’ve combed through my hair I won’t be combing or running my fingers through it again – this is key to avoiding frizz.
Step 3. Rinsing upside down
Once my hair is detangled, I flip my head upside down (be careful not to get water up your nose) and rinse all of the conditioner out of my hair while upside down. This helps my curls clump in an upward formation – which translates to more lift and volume later on.
Step 4. Getting out of the shower
Yes, this is its own important step. After I turn the shower off, I divide my hair into sections and wring them to get as much excess water out as possible. I like to twist the hair away from my face when I wring it out.
Then I dry myself and plop my hair in the towel for a few minutes while I brush my teeth just to keep my hair out of my face, but no longer than a few minutes. If I leave my hair in a turban for too long it can stretch out my curls and bend them out of shape. Wavy hair is more temperamental than curly hair, one misstep and your waves disappear, so something as simple as that can make a difference.
Step 4. Blot & air dry
Then I blot my hair with a t-shirt or microfiber towel and let my waves dry about 30% before I apply a styler. This is just a personal preference, I like my hair to be as big as possible (I work with so many amazing heads of curls, I always wish mine was bigger!) and this helps me achieve that volume. I’ll usually apply my makeup or get ready for bed during this time. If you prefer your curls to be super defined and you hate frizz, then I recommend you apply your styler to soaking wet hair instead.
Now that I’ve removed most of the water from my hair, I spray it with a leave-in conditioner so that it’s moisturized and less prone to frizz later in the day.
Step 5. Scrunch in styler
I apply about 2 quarter-sized amounts of styler to my whole head, which I scrunch through my hair from ends up to the roots. Sometimes I just scrunch in a leave-in conditioner that has light hold and skip the styler, because this helps me achieve 2nd day hair (but more on that later). Don’t forget to scrunch.
Scrunch scrunch scrunch scrunch scrunch scrunch
This is the difference between limp, stringy waves and bouncy, defined curls. It’s important that you don’t run your ringers through your hair or do anything that will break your curls apart at this point. So scrunch gently.
Then scrunch some more.
Step 6. Diffuse
If I really want my hair curly, voluminous, and look its best, then I diffuse. Diffusers used to scare me and I thought they just created a lot of frizz, but now that I know how to use them they’re a lifesaver.
First, I like to hold the diffuser over my roots because the roots typically take the longest to dry (and look flat if they dry incorrectly). To help create lift and volume, I actually pick up my roots with my fingers, a technique I learned from my stylist Natalie Morgan at Nova Hair Collective.
Then flip your head forward so that you’re upside down (sometimes I sit on a bed or on the floor to do this) and with the diffuser off, cup a section of hair and push it up toward the roots, then turn the diffuser and hold it still for 10-30 seconds. Then turn the diffuser off, and place it on another section, then turn it on and again for 10-30 seconds. I do this over and over until my hair is mostly dry. Then I flip my head back upright and voila! Curls!
Turning the diffuser off every time is a tip I picked up from one of our NaturallyCurly contributors Sandra, aka JustCurly, and it helps me prevent frizz. I use the cool setting whenever possible, but when I’m in a rush I do use the warm setting.
If diffusing has created frizz, then you can take a little bit of styler on your finger and wrap a curl around your finger to give it definition.
Typically at this point my hair is pretty defined, but since I like my hair to be big I do one more step to create a bigger, lion’s mane effect.
Step 7. Fluff
I like to flip my head upside down and loosen up all of the curls at my roots with my fingers. When I flip my head back it’s like a totally different head of hair. I like to do this throughout the day or right before a photo for a quick refresh. I picked this up from NaturallyCurly Co-Founder Michelle Breyer.
That’s it! Of course, that’s just day 1, I have a whole different routine for achieving 2nd day hair which I’ll now have to write about in another post.
Some of my favorite products
Thanks to the perks of my job I have over a bathroom, closet, and sometimes kitchen pantry, full of hair products (I’ve actually cut down) which means most days I’m testing something new. When I go back to a product again and again, I know it must be special.
Here are a few of my favorite curly hair products, I’m working on a full post with all of my favorites and why I love them, coming soon.
- Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino Avocado Leave-In Defining Crème
- Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel
- Kevin Murphy Killer Curls
- Jessicurl Spiralicious
- Curl Junkie Spiral Lotion