There is more to getting perfect (or near-perfect) curls than just adhering to the Curly Girl Method of hair cleansing. It takes work both in and out of the shower. From all my experimentation now that my locks are long, I’ve found the following techniques work the best for getting your best curls each and every time you need to ‘wash’ your hair.
How to Get Your Best Curls Right Out of the Shower:
- Apply leave-in conditioner. As a final shower step, after the water is off and you’ve rinsed your conditioner out, take your leave-in conditioner (I actually use the same conditioner I used in the shower) and scrunch a small amount into the ends of your hair. The longer or thicker your hair the more you can apply. You want your hair to feel and sound a little like squishing seaweed (sorry if that is a gross visual.) I use about a quarter-sized dollop on my hair, but honestly as long as I stay away from the scalp area I’ve never found that I applied too much leave-in conditioner.
- Do NOT use a towel. It can be tempting to want to ring, squeeze or dab your dripping hair with a towel. Don’t do it! The towel removes too much water and usually ends up leaving your curls separated, which means your hair is already on the way to being frizzy rather than curly. Instead, scrunch your hair upward as a way to remove dripping water. I’ve also found the wetter I leave my hair the better the curls are later. Not sure why that is, but for my hair it is totally true.
- Apply your taming product immediately! Again, apply this in a scrunching manner, always trying to maintain and enhance your curls. Need product suggestions? I’ve got a whole list of Curly Girl products that are curly girl approved and personally tested. While applying try to apply as evenly as possible but with as little manipulating as possible. The less you touch, tease and tame it the better.
- Let it air dry. Yes, on occasion I will use a diffuser but that is only when my hair needs to be dry quicker than usual. Otherwise, I let it air dry. Yes, that does mean I walk around with wet/damp hair for a couple hours but since using this routine I only cleanse my hair twice a week so that isn’t too much of a burden. (I think applying heat is one of the six ways we ruin our curly hair.)
- Stop touching your hair! The more you touch it the more it frizzes. So, after applying the taming product of your choice leave your hair alone. This goes for the rest of the day, which can be really difficult, but certainly it applies to the time it takes your hair to dry. In order to not touch my hair when I am trying out different outfits for the day I use a technique called hair plopping and leave my hair up in a 100% cotton t-shirt during the entire dressing and makeup application process. Once that is done I carefully pull it out of the t-shirt and then try not to touch it for the next several hours.
- Own the crazy curls. So often I see curly girls pulling their hair back almost as soon as it is dry. Heck, I used to do that too. But now I own the curls. I let the wind tangle them in the car and sleep rumple them in the night, but for the most part I leave the curls long and flowing. From what I’ve read this is also good for the further creation of ‘curl memory’ so that each time you wash your curls they know exactly how to curl again. Pulling them back destroys their memory.
Do you have best practices for your curly hair? I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below and let me know how you deal with the curls.