curly hair tips

not an expert, just what i do.

first off, you can feed any ingredients list to curlsbot for advice when picking a new product.

wash days

  • johnson’s baby shampoo
  • ecostore conditioner (optional)
  • garnier fructis’s hair food range in the big tubs. watch for when countdown has this on special ⁠— it’s good value anyway but it’s extra good value at $12 instead of $16. this can be used as a daily conditioner as well as a leave-in/deep conditioner and lasts a good while.

i aim to wash my hair twice a week, but i can survive on once and often do. the sequences are as follows:

shampoo day

once a fortnight, or as infrequently as once a month, i use the baby shampoo. first wash is just my scalp ⁠— i skim my fingers through my hair, rubbing at my scalp and covering it entirely. it won’t foam much if at all. second wash starts at the scalp and should lather enough to be spread through my hair. baby shampoo is made for baby heads. i need a few pumps for each wash, up to maybe ten.

(as a note: if i’m depressed or tired, i do this whole process upright. if not, i’ll have my head tipped forward so i can get at my crown more easily.

then, i put on the hair mask and detangle it ⁠— fingers or a broad-toothed detangling/shower comb. kmart has these, as do dollar stores, just simple plastic. i don’t ever otherwise detangle my hair, ideally ⁠— only with conditioner in, in the shower. by the time my hair’s all fully combed out and smoothly sitting lined up with itself, it’s probably been five to ten minutes, and i can rinse it out. if it hasn’t been, i plait the whole lot and pile it on top of my head and tie it there in some kinda bun so i can do the rest of my shower, then come back to it.

i rinse as cool as i can handle depending on the season.

not shampoo day

conditioner, in two rounds if i can be bothered, or just one if not: scalp, scrubbing with fingers, then lengths. detangle. that’s it. i rinse it mostly out, but not all the way.

optional adds to this process include a co-wash/non-foaming cleanser or fancy curl hair mask, but honestly i can’t say i’ll be buying either regularly. i sometimes also use diluted apple cider vinegar (in an old powerade bottle, lol, just a bit to a bunch of cold water) to degrease and remove any product from my hair, just before conditioner.

also, once i’m done detangling: i squish my hair upward and try my best not to rake my fingers through it. the conditioner rinse comes out leaving my hair in natural, clumpy curls. i squeeze them upward, and don’t separate them out more than a gentle shake would.

after wash

okay this is the magic bit. if you’ve at all heard of curly girl stuff, you’ve probably heard of the wash part.

i currently use a linen hand towel from bedthreads to dry my hair the moment i finish squeezing it dry. i twist it up and pop it on top of my head while i moisturize my body or just dry off and get dressed ⁠— linen absorbs water way faster than cotton, and it’s smooth/not terry textured so it doesn’t add friction. my hair takes hours to dry, so fuck the curly hair advice that says “never dry your hair too fast”. this first step is necessary. i am gentle and slow after it.

you can often get cheap, often bizarrely australian patriotic linen tea towels on trademe. those are large enough and would work perfectly for this purpose.

oil

the lady at urban kurl studio told me oil dries out curly hair. and to an extent, i never had luck with it on my actual hair, unless i was doing what my indian grandma does and oiling it to hell and back with coconut oil (which gives me acne and stains all my clothes, lol). that said, a little oil can be amazing.

i found the same to be true of my face: i stopped breaking out when i started oil cleansing my skin and keeping it moisturized bc my skin stopped making more oil to stop it drying out. i apply oil to my scalp, rubbing it in to get blood flow going. right now i use mostly almond oil, sometimes a little camellia, with tea tree and peppermint and a tiny bit of jasmine in it. the tea tree’s for dandruff/excess oil production/itching, whatever you call it, and the peppermint is for blood flow/hair growth/just feels really nice and soothing. the jasmine is for scent bc i’m indian and like it. i have better results when i don’t then comb it through my hair. i make this myself, and store it in a glass bottle with a glass dropper (from miniso, but an old bottle from a medical thing or pharmacy or food drops, as long as it’s glass on glass, will work).

which is mostly because i don’t comb anything through my hair and have it end well. i try to use the prayer hands method of applying product: flat hands, as in prayer, like the two sides of a hair straightener. no separating out curls at all.

excess oil on my hands goes on the very tips of my hair, which don’t get the oil from the roots bc it’s so long.

creme/gel/whatever

ratios and exact products depend on texture. my hair is thick as fuck, so often products for finer curls don’t have a strong enough touch. i’m still experimenting! the basic principle is: a gel without drying alcohols, and a creme or deep conditioner or anti-frizz serum or whatever. for thick hair, serums are bullshit. mix both together, using generous amounts but not enough to make your whole head one giant gel crunch (though: you can work this out with a bit of sprayed water and a t-shirt later). prayer hands the mixture on.

after

i pop my head upside down in a cotton t-shirt and tie it around my head so all my hair sits on top. this is called plopping (gross lol) and there are hundreds of tutorials out there. this is usually the point at which i go to work or do chores and leave it for like an hour, but honestly 10ish minutes is more than enough i’m just lazy and like to not think about wet hair on my back.

then it all comes down. air drying is what i normally do (sun helps a lot, don’t wear clothes that will cause super static or drape a t-shirt over your back if you do) but i am asking for an ionic hair dryer with a diffuser for my birthday! kmart has one for $27 and i’m hoping for that one 🙂 there’s videos on using a diffuser on curly hair on youtube: you put your hair in it, hold the diffuser pretty close to your scalp, and it dries the curls gently.

(if your hair comes out too crunchy from gel, re-wet it slightly or intervene before fully dry, and scrunch it with a t-shirt in your hands. you should be able to get soft definition unless you really put a whole pot on there.)

that’s pretty much it.

quick and easy depresso version

just conditioner, shampoo once a month, upright, no bending over. detangle quickly, tea towel dry, french plait or flat out wear the t-shirt tied on my head all day. sleep in the plait for a week. rinse and repeat. plaits are protective. in winter, i’ve been known to pop a warm stretchy beanie over the t-shirt and let the heat eventually dry my hair a bit.

non-wash days

honestly? i don’t do anything, lol. i sleep with my hair “pineappled” (read: ponytail, for me often doubled so the ends are tucked into it too) in a silk scrunchie i made myself, but any satiny/smooth scrunchie will work. you can also tie a silk or satin bandanna around your head. silk is better for not getting gross with oil and product, and silk pillowcases also help, but that shit is expensive.

in the morning, i undo, shake it out, and go. if shit is thoroughly fucked, i keep an old cleaning product spray bottle full of water, with a tiny bit of gel and some conditioner in it. (i’ve seen people recommend vitamin e oil or aloe vera in here too, but ymmv). i spritz my hair, grab the hair t-shirt to scrunch it out, and let the water hard reset whatever happened to it. detangling gently this way works too with a little tiny bit of deep conditioner, which you can just leave in.

i try to avoid hair ties outside of securing plaits unless i’m going running and need a proper high ponytail (and i wear a cap when running so i can keep the ponytail in place by threading it through the back, and not worry about flyaways), or it’s the day before wash and i just don’t care. i use silk scarves a lot, as bandannas or to tie lazy low ponytails; giant daiso hair clips also feature. i also use… i mentally refer to them as amish hair pins? u-shaped crinkle pins, that, yeah, the amish use and sell. two of those can hold a whole bun in place perfectly for hours unless i’m doing aggressive yoga. they work brilliantly and non-damagingly on most curls. bobby pins do not.

if i’ve gotten sweaty, i use face wash on my entire hairline while showering, but keep the rest under a shower cap until the next wash day.

yeah! that’s it! (i say, having made the longest blog post i’ve ever made).

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