Curls for Days // How-To Guide for Styling Curly Hair


As a naturally curly girl, I've had a love/hate relationship with my hair for as long as I can remember. I attempted to "straighten it" for years and years. Of course, that consisted of my Mom blow drying my hair (we didn't have flat irons back then) which would, undoubtedly, land me with triangle head. You know what I'm talking about, right? The poofy bangs and mass of frizz that just keeps getting bigger as it approaches the shoulders? If only I were born about 10 years earlier... I could have ROCKED that 80s hair.

Looking back, I guess I just didn't really know what else to do with it. My Mom and sister's had curly/frizzy hair, maybe even more so than mine, but they always kept it super short. Hardly any of my friends had curly hair and those that did were pretty much like me - wishing for a miracle cure to the madness. Funny enough, I vividly remember being a cheerleader in junior high and straightening my hair before cheerleading competitions just to put curlers in like everyone else. How insane is that?!

I didn't really start to embrace my natural curls until I was in high school. I guess I finally realized it was time to stop fighting and just work with them. I set-up a daily regimen for myself, and it really helped me figure out the "code" to my curls. I've worked to improve on that process ever since, and I think I've come up with a unique system that may work for some of you, too!

Since starting this blog, I've received a number of emails and messages asking what products I use on my hair and what my process is. I completely understand the trial and error of curly hair, so I'm more than happy to pass along some of the tips and tricks I've learned over the years. Please note, however, that I am by no means a hair stylist. I'm sure I'm breaking a number of "rules" when it comes to curly hair, but this is what works for me.

p r o d u c t s  //  s h a m p o o  +  c o n d i t i o n e r

Pure Care Dry Oil Shampoo  Go Blonder Lightening ShampooAlt Tag Loreal Paris

Dove Pure Care Dry Oil Shampoo  //  John Frieda Go Blonder Shampoo  //  L'Oreal Total Repair Extreme Conditioner // L'Oreal Damage-Erasing Balm

I only wash my hair 2-3 times per week - the fewer the better. I use Dove Dry Oil shampoo nearly every time I shower. It seems to help keep my frizz at bay. The John Frieda Go Blonder shampoo is used about once every other week. We have pretty hard water at our house, so I always think this helps remove any build-up. As for conditioner, I really like the L'Oreal Total Repair Extreme conditioner. It's great at de-tangling my curls and providing loads of moisture without weighing down my hair. I also use a deep conditioner about once a week - I would highly recommend doing so if you have curly hair!

p r o d u c t s  //  s t y l i n g

 Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Smoothing Milk             PSCHi Hold + Hi Shine Spray

Garnier Fructis Smoothing Milk  //  Herbal Essences Leave-In Cream //  Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls  //  Rave Hairspray // Aussie Shine Hairspray

I'm currently using the Garnier Fructis smoothing milk as my anti-frizz product, but my absolute favorite moisturizing lotion is from Herbal Essences. I haven't been able to find it for sale anywhere, so I'm trying to find a new product. (If you find it, please buy me a bottle!!!! :) ) After applying hair lotion, I move on to a product to help hold my curls. I found Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls about nine months ago and I am OBSESSED. This stuff works wonders. Previously, I only used gel in my hair, so switching to this took a bit of practice, but now I get big soft curls without any of the crunch. Plus, it smells amazing! I would highly recommend. Next up is probably the biggest hair stylist no-no, but I just can't get enough of Rave Hairspray. I've been using this stuff for as long as I can remember. It holds my hair without weighing it down or making it crunchy. I haven't been able to find any other product that is comparable. When everything is said and done, I give my hair one last spray of Aussie Shine Spray. It has a bit more hold than Rave and adds just a touch of shine.

**Please Note : I love to try new hair products and am always switching things up. I typically buy whatever is on sale unless I fall in love with something. The products shown above just happen to be what I'm using right now.

Just a few other things I wanted to mention....

1. Curls have a mind of their own. While this process has helped me obtain fairly consistent results, everything from temperature to humidity to down-right temperamental hair can play a factor from day to day. This process is not a guarantee - just a guide!

2. Do not brush curly hair once it has started to dry unless you want to look like you were struck by lightening. Seriously. A lot of curly hair experts say not to brush at all, but I find that my hair just turns into a giant rat nest if I do that. If possible, try brushing while you're in the shower. After that, leave it alone!

3. If you have even a little natural wave or curl to your hair, set down that flat iron and give this process a shot! You might be surprised. I don't have the curliest hair in the world, but even I can get some big, bouncy curls going (on a good day, of course). :)

To give a little better insight into my actual routine, I had Tyler (poor guy!) record my routine from start to finish. It may seem like a labor-intensive process at first, but I have it down to a science. I would estimate it takes me 30 minutes total, but I'm left with curls that will last at least 2-3 days. That's like 10-15 minutes per day if you spread it out.  I'll take it!