Tangles, frizz, dryness… Desperation!
It's amazing how bad hair can put us practically in tears, isn't it?
I've been there, just hating my hair and the misery of dealing with washing, tangles, tearing, static, frizz… Yuck!
I even told my husband not too long ago that I now know why women cut their hair off when they get older.
Thankfully, my hair has recovered and I'm not chopping it off!
…it only took one night, one shower, one particular method of cleansing/conditioning my hair for its condition to change OVERNIGHT. For the better!
And in the past month, since that one night, I've learned and incorporated more tips and tricks just for curly hair… and my hair continues to get healthier, shinier, curlier, and less frizzy.
My life (and my hair) is forever changed… for the better! And my daughter Haniya can say the same thing.
So… on today's #AskWardee, I am sharing my definitive guide on how to care for curly hair naturally… including which products to use and how to get it cut!
It made a huge difference for me — and I know it will for you, too!
Original Podcast #AskWardee 116
Update Podcast #AskWardee 116
Original Video #AskWardee 116
Update Video #AskWardee 116
The Question: The Best Way To Care For Curly Hair Naturally!
Mary B. asked:
Could you tell me what you use in your hair and what you tell your hair stylist when they cut your hair? My hair is about the same curliness and length and I love the way yours is cut and styled!
Mary actually asked this question about 4 years ago. Can you believe it!?
My hair wasn't in bad shape then — even though I wasn't doing everything I'm doing today. It just goes to show that if you don't have issues (like dry climate, hormonal imbalances, and aging) going on, your hair has more resilience.
However, this past year or two I found myself with a tangled, dry, unhealthy, frizzy mess. Due to climate and hormone changes and age catching up with me, I'm guessing.
In desperation, I started looking for more answers and here's what I found…
Thank you to all my email and Instagram friends for the tips and encouragement! You all mean the world to me!
By The Way…
…In past podcasts, I have talked about how I care for my hair. While some of it was correct, now I know so much more. Please use this guide that you're reading right now as my final word on the subject. Take all my past discussions with a grain of salt, because they pale in comparison to what I know now.
And even though I will continue to tweak, I can say with 100% confidence — I am there!
What You Need To Identify Up Front
Although there is an overall right method to care for curly hair — which involves knowing it has a tendency to dryness and frizz and using products that help you retain moisture as much as possible — even within curly hair you'll find different types.
If you have curly hair, you must identify two things about your hair up front — its porosity and its curl type.
Knowing these two things will make the WORLD of difference when choosing products and tweaking the general routine to work best for you.
Well, if you've ever read a glowing review for a hair product, only to try it yourself and hate it… then you know what's going on here.
That reviewer's hair was different than yours. The product isn't necessarily bad. It's that it didn't work for you.
Wouldn't you rather know ahead of time what kind of hair you have so you can identify from the get-go which products are more likely to work for you?
The bottom line is, you'll have less chance of wasting money on products that don't work. (Notice I said less chance; it's not a guarantee but it will shorten the trial period considerably.)
Porosity refers to how porous your individual hairs are. They are either low (closed cuticles or low absorbency), medium, or high (open cuticles or highly absorbent). The photo above illustrates this.
A Wikipedia summary states:
Low hair porosity is when the hair cuticles are tightly shut. Low porosity hair has difficulty obtaining moisture but once moisture is absorbed it will remain moisturized. This porosity type is common with hair that has suffered little to no damage (either from heat styling tools or from chemicals) and thus it is the preferred porosity level.
Medium porosity hair is when the hair cuticles are loose, allowing moisture to be easily absorbed and retained.
High porosity is when there are gaps in the hair cuticles which allows the hair to easily absorb the moisture but also easily lose the moisture just as easily as it was absorbed. These gaps are caused by long term damage to the hair from things like over-manipulation, heat damage and chemical damage from hair dyes and relaxers. (Source.)
Picture a pine cone. The cuticles of the hair are like the scales. If the cone is young, the scales are tight to the cone. This is like low porosity hair (tight cuticles).
On the other extreme, if the scales are opened quite up, like a more mature cone that's releasing seeds, you could say this is more like high porosity hair's cuticles (open cuticles).
How To Identify YOUR Hair's Porosity
You might be able to identify if your hair tends toward low or high porosity with this quick list of “symptoms”:
- low porosity — shiny hair; takes a long time to dry; easily susceptible to product build-up
- high porosity — dries quickly; extra prone to frizz and dryness
(Medium is in the middle of these extremes.)
If this doesn't help, there are several “tests” to help you discover your hair's porosity, although it seems like none is foolproof.
The best one I have found, which is a bit subjective, is to take a strand of hair and put it between two fingers at the end of the strand. Now run your fingers back to your scalp.
Does the hair feel smooth, somewhat bumpy, or really bumpy? Smooth is low porosity, somewhat bumpy is medium porosity, and really bumpy/coarse is high porosity.
It's helpful to compare multiple people's hair at the same time! We did mine, Naomi's, and then Haniya's in a short span of time. We found that my hair is low porosity, Haniya's is medium to low porosity, and Naomi has areas of medium and high porosity.
Share in the comments what your porosity is and why you think so! Also, keep in mind that you can have different areas of your hair with different porosity levels!
Why Does Porosity Matter?
Low porosity hair needs lighter, protein-free and humectant-rich products that 1) won't sit on the hair, building up and causing it to look or feel greasy and 2) will draw moisture to the hair, especially in humid climates.
On the other extreme, high porosity hair needs more deeply moisturizing protein-rich products that add structure and shine to the hair, as well oils and butters to seal the hair to prevent moisture from escaping.
By the way… if you're investigating hair care products and the company or representative is not familiar with the idea of porosity, you can look for other words that will tell you what product would work for you.
For instance, if a product says “for fine hair” or “for light hair”… it should work for low porosity hair!
If it says “for light to medium hair” that means it's suitable for low to medium porosity hair.
And finally, if it says “for coarse or dry hair” it will probably be best for high porosity hair.
What's Your Curl Type?
One day I was browsing hair products for “curlies” and reading the comments, I noticed people asking questions like: “My daughter has 4b curls. Will this work for her?”
Or reviewers writing things like: “This product works great on my 3c curls!”
First, porosity? Now, 4b and 3c curls??? What is going on? What planet am I on? I thought.
So I did an internet search for curl type… and found out that I had indeed entered a new world.
You see, on Curl Planet, you have categories of curls called 2, 3, and 4; 2 is wavy, 3 is curly, and 4 is kinky.
And within those, you have degrees of curl, from lighter to stronger— 2a, 2b, 2c; 3a, 3b, 3c; and 4a, 4b, 4c.
My hair is a combination of 3a and 3b curls. My daughter Haniya has a combination of 2b/c waves and 3a curls. Finally, my younger daughter Naomi has 2a waves.
Another Way To Identify Your Curl Type…
In the book “The Curly Girl Handbook” (which I'll talk about in a bit), the author Lorraine Massey suggests other names for curl types such as fractal, zigzag, corkscrew, corkicelli, cherub, botticelli, wavy, and s'wavy. They're fun to explore, too. 🙂
My curls are a combination of botticelli and corkicelli.
Anyway, now that you know your hair porosity and curl type, we can move on…
How To Wash And Condition Curly Hair
Much of the following method comes from what I learned in “The Curly Girl Handbook” (pictured above).
The day I read this book, I washed my hair using the “method” that night. I didn't do anything else, not even switch products, although I did skip the shampoo that night.
My hair was immediately different: not tangled, not too frizzy, softer.
The differences were so big, in fact, that I realized it was pretty healthy, I just hadn't been treating it right. (I had thought it was damaged beyond repair… that's how bad things seemed.)
I wish I'd known of the damage I was doing to my hair by not washing/conditioning properly!
Although you need to read “The Curly Girl Handbook” for yourself, here are a few principles from the book to get you going now.
Please note: You will find when you read the book “The Curly Girl Handbook” that there are slightly different ways of doing all the these steps to best enhance your curl type, plus there's trial and error… also known as “figure out what works best for you”. And… be sure to use the right products for your porosity! I'll talk about products in a bit.
#1 — Throw Out Your Shampoo!
You either need no shampoo at all or a detergent-free, sulfate-free, non-toxic shampoo used less frequently. Regular shampoo is wayyyyy too drying, and causes tangles and tearing and frizz and pain.
Because I have low porosity hair that is susceptible to build-up, I wash more often than someone with high porosity hair… see how this comes into play?
The right shampoo will NOT tangle your hair.
On days that you skip the shampoo, massaging the conditioner into your scalp like described below will provide ample cleansing. Personally, I do not skip shampooing, because my low porosity hair needs to be cleansed from build-up frequently.
#2 — Always Condition Your Hair
Curly hair is drier hair and needs conditioning!
Carefully work a non-toxic botanical conditioner through your hair by massaging gently and using your fingers to detangle and comb your hair. Leave it in for a few minutes or the duration of your shower while you wash the rest of your body and shave, etc.
If you have medium or high porosity hair, you can leave some or all of the conditioner in without rinsing it out. (Low porosity hair that's sensitive to build-up should have conditioner rinsed out.)
You can also use a deep conditioner in place of regular conditioner, and leave it on for the duration of the shower or even overnight. Doing this weekly or so is good for most hair. See below for my product recommendations!
#3 — Ditch The Bath Towel
Instead of a terry cloth bath towel, which is excessively drying and causes frizz, use a 100% cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to scrunch dry your hair while your head is tipped upside down. Even better to do this before getting out of the shower.
The first night I tried the Curly Girl method, I used a t-shirt. Then I ordered this microfiber towel.
#4 — No Combs Or Brushes, Or Heat Tools!
Regular combs and brushes not only introduce frizz, they damage hair and make it break more easily. If you're using the right products, your hair will not be tangled. Although, if you like, you can use a wide-tooth detangling comb, very gently, in the shower when applying conditioner.
Also don't use heat tools such as blow dryers (except on low or medium with a diffuser; see below), straighteners, curling irons, etc. These cause so much damage!
Plus, they are just not necessary — let your natural waves or curl go free!
#5 — Apply Styling Products While Hair Is Wet
Apply your styling products (appropriate for your porosity), such as leave-in conditioners, styling milks/creams, and/or gels, while hair is still wet. Add the products while hair is sopping wet, then scrunch-dry the excess off with a t-shirt or microfiber towel.
I learned from my stylist to do all of this in the shower! She also said to use the products in the order listed above (whichever ones you use).
It's pretty cool to come out of the shower with your hair “done” — if you're air-drying it, that is. 🙂
#6 — Don't Touch Your Hair Until It's Dry
Once you're done adding products, don't touch your hair until it's dry. This keeps down the frizz.
If you use a diffuser to speed up the drying, see below under Tools for how to do it to minimize frizz.
#7 — Break The Cast
After your hair is dry, tip it upside down and gently shake out the curls with your fingers. This will break any gel cast and leave the curls soft and defined and fluffy. It really does work! If using, you could set the curls with a hair spray at this point. Although I don't usually use it, I like Monat's Flexi-Hold Hair Spray because it's light and my hair stays soft.
The Best Way To Care For Curly Hair: Which Products To Use
As you might know, I have high standards for which products I use on my body as well as which foods I eat. Toxic body products are a HUGE issue in hormone disruption, skin irritation, allergies, cancer, inflammation, chronic illness, and many other modern-day diseases.
(This is one reason I use and recommend only Monat hair care and Beautycounter skin care and makeup. I trust the safety of the products from either company. Beautycounter in particular has a list of 1800+ toxic ingredients they will NEVER use in their products. )
Shampoo & Conditioner
Around the time I first published this post, my daughters and I were using Shea Moisture hair products. It's hit or miss finding the different products on EWG.org's Skin Deep Database, so I entered the products' ingredient lists manually.
The Shea Moisture products we tried are rated 2 or 3 (out of 10; the lower number, the better). Three is as high as I want to go, so that's good.
Haniya and I used Shea Moisture's shampoo and conditioner line for low porosity: Low Porosity Protein-Free with Baobab and Tea Tree Oils. My daughter Naomi used their line for high porosity: High Porosity Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils.
However, after a few months of using Shea Moisture, I felt that my hair was too dry and frizzy, so I began searching for other products that would work better.
My daughters were unhappy for similar reasons even though we have different hair and were using varied products from the line! So overall, we concluded they are safe… but not necessarily high performing.
Personally, my requirements for shampoo and conditioner (and styling products) are:
- safe and non-toxic
- add shine as opposed to dullness
- nurtures individual curls to form, instead of a frizzy mass that looks “brushed”… when I don't even use a brush!
- adds volume and doesn't weigh down curls — even at the top of my head!
- hair should be soft and touchable, instead of build-up causing it to feel sticky, stiff, greasy, or flat
- I can skip washing on the 2nd day and not regret it… it doesn't feel greasy or flat
My search took a long time. I even, for a time, tried DevaCurl products, but didn't like the results (nor was I happy with the safety and toxicity aspect).
My hair stylist recommended Innersense hair care products, specifically their products for light to medium hair. I used them for about a month and felt that they were safe and good, but didn't give me all the results I wanted. Even though they smell amazing!
Then I Tried Monat & Here's What Happened
Then a very sweet lady offered to send me Monat hair care product samples, which are 3 or less on EWG and many of them 2 and 1. Since I was actively searching for the “right” products for me and I saw that Monat was safe and non-toxic, I said yes.
That led to some difficult months. Because, to be honest, I purchased the wrong Monat products for me. They have different lines for different hair types and my hair was so bad at the time that I was uncertain what it really needed… too dry? too frizzy? too flat? too ???
I tried three of the Monat “lines” before I realized which hair issue was the biggest and most important to fix (and then my other issues fell into place, amazingly!).
First, I tried Monat's Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner… because my hair was frizzy. While these did smooth my hair and stop the frizz, they also made my hair super flat and waayyyy too relaxed.
Then, I tried the Monat's Super Nourish Shampoo and Conditioner. These provided wayyy too much moisturizing for my low porosity hair, weighing down my hair and making it flat. Though they were moisturizing and that felt good!
At this point, I returned the Monat products for a full refund (they have a 30-day guarantee… so incredible).
I despaired of finding products that could possibly work for me… to provide moisturizing without weighing my hair down so heavily it was hardly curly.
I was ready to throw in the towel and give up entirely, but the one thing that made me try again was that I had seen testimonials for what Monat could do for curly hair (or any hair!)… and I knew I had to see it through with a different line. Because the possibility of “what could be” was so enticing!
So finally, I tried the Monat “Volume” line shampoo and conditioner (the Volumizing Revive Shampoo and Volumizing Revitalize Conditioner)… and third time's the charm! Immediately, with the very first wash and condition, I knew it was the right line for me with my fine and low porosity hair.
That day, my hair felt and looked really good. Such a relief… after weeks and weeks of either dry and frizzy or heavy and flat.
Now I am sold on Monat!
In addition to being moisturized, shiny, soft, curly, and bouncy, my hair has volume from the very top of my head, where it can often be flat.
I am sooo glad I tried again… and I encourage all of you to give it time and keep trying. Even though we can immediately feel results when we find the right products, we also have to remember that healing hair takes time.
It could take several months for hair to rebalance, strengthen and heal after using damaging products or “not right” products or from internal hormonal issues.
I've been using Monat products for going on three months now and I can tell you that my hair has improved during that time. What I've noticed is that it's less dry overall, it has more volume, it is curlier (even without diffusing), I have more “good” hair days… and the biggie is, I'm losing less hair in the shower so it's getting thicker!
I'm SO happy. I will be back in a few months to update again, Lord willing, and I'm hopeful it will look even better!
By the way, my daughters are also using Monat's products (though different routines… because have uniquely different hair types) and agree with me that they like Monat better than any other products!
How I shampoo and condition with Monat…
I follow Monat's recommendations to wash and rinse twice, using Volumizing Revive Shampoo, leaving the shampoo in for a few minutes each time before rinsing out, and then condition with Volumizing Revitalize Conditioner. (Every few days, I actually do my first shampoo with Monat's Renew Shampoo, just for extra hydration.)
I leave the conditioner in for a good 10 minutes before rinsing it out. Then I add styling products, while in the shower and my hair is still fairy wet, and scrunch dry with a microfiber towel.
This episode is not necessarily the place for me to show my full hair care routine, but I would be happy to do so in another video later on. Please let me know if you are interested in that!
In the last year, I've learned about the importance of doing a clarifying shampoo step frequently! This shampoo It's the best way to cleanse curly hair — basically, removing product and hard water build up.
My stylist told me that any time you feel like your products aren't working like they used to… then it's time to use a clarifying shampoo.
She recommends once per month for most people. More or less often depending on your situation.
I do it more often and that's because my hair is low porosity and build-up is an issue even if I'm using otherwise “light” products.
How I do this step: In the shower, I wash with Monat's Clarifying Shampoo, letting it sit for 5 minutes or so, then rinse. Then I wash two times with Monat's Volumizing Revive Shampoo. Then condition with Monat's Volumizing Revitalize Conditioner and/or Monat's Replenish Masque.
About as often (and at the same time) as you add a clarifying shampoo step to your routine, you can also consider doing a deep conditioning treatment. Monat has a bunch of deep conditioners (also known as masques).
Since I have low porosity hair, I don't leave mine on too long. Others with high porosity hair might leave a treatment on overnight.
Personally, I try to use a deep conditioner once per week, though I think probably at least monthly is a minimum amount.
How I do this step: After shampooing twice with Monat's Volumizing Revive Shampoo (with or without a clarifying step in addition to the regular shampoo), I spread a generous dollop of Monat's Replenish Masque throughout my hair and really squish it in. I let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then rinse out. Sometimes, after a few minutes and before rinsing, I also add some of my regular conditioner, Monat's Volumizing Revitalize Conditioner, and let it sit on there, too.
I love, love, love Monat's Rejuvenique Hair Oil (I use the Light version since my hair is fine)! It's a combination of healing and balancing oils that you massage into your scalp and hair every so often, at least 15 minutes before shampooing/conditioning or overnight.
It is pricey but you only use a tiny bit of it at a time so it lasts forever! Ok, not quite, but you know what I mean. 🙂
How I do this step: The night before washing, I massage a few drops of Monat Rejuvenique Light Oil at a time into my scalp and hair until I feel it's all softer and more hydrated. Then I sleep on it. It's not heavily oily so it doesn't get on my pillowcase or anything. In the morning, I wash, condition, and style as usual. I do NOT do a clarifying shampoo on this wash day because I think that would be counter-productive!
The Best Styling Products To Care For Curly Hair
Although I've forgone styling products for years because they weigh down my hair, I've finally found ones that WORK!
I will probably always use the light-weight and amazing Morrocco Method Blood Of The Dragon Styling Gel. All these years I declared I could only use a light-weight gel because otherwise I hated how stiff and heavy my hair becomes with heavier products.
Well, now I know why. It's because my hair is low porosity and sensitive to build-up!
This gel is PERFECT for me. Haniya uses this gel, too!
#2 — Water + Lavender Essential Oil
Also… water. Water in a spray bottle, with a little lavender essential oil à la Lorraine Massey, author of “The Curly Girl Handbook”, does wonders for resetting curls on in-between days!
(My glass spray bottle, pictured, is from Grove, and you can get a free one when you become a new subscriber to their pantry service. More info is here.)
I am playing around with Monat's Curl Defining Cream… just a tiny amount scrunched into hair after conditioning and before gel.
I find it helps give me more shiny and defined curls, but sometimes it's too much, so I haven't quite figured out the right balance there.
Also, I am now using Monat's Styling Taffy, just a tiny amount scrunched into ends as the very last step before I leave my bathroom in the morning (after my hair has dried a bit and had it's final scrunch with the microfiber towel mentioned below).
The taffy helps with volume and definition, and I can tell a difference for the worse if I skip this step.
Finally, I also put a tiny bit of Monat's Rejuvenique Light Oil on my hair after diffusing or when fully dry anywhere I have frizz. It's so light it doesn't weight it down, yet it adds shine and reduces frizz.
I have tried Monat's mousse and other products and almost everything else is too heavy for *my hair* except those I mentioned above.
I haven't given up, though. I keep trying them out from time to time in new ways.
If you have medium or high porosity hair, you'll probably LOVE the selection of styling products from Monat. I hear and see really good things! 🙂
Natural Vs. Synthetic Ingredients
I want to bring this up because it comes up a lot. Should we look for products that contain 100% natural ingredients? My opinion is… not necessarily.
You see, just because an ingredient is natural does not mean it is safe. For instance, soy is “natural” but I don't want to use it or ingest it because of it's hormone-disrupting dangers.
On the other hand, there are synthetic items and ingredients that are safe even though they aren't natural. An example would be the Vitamix blending container. It's a safe plastic (BPA-free, etc.).
Now, I wouldn't eat synthetic ingredients, but I would consider using them on my body… if they are safe.
And this is why I choose “safe” products over 100% natural. Natural is a bonus, but more importantly… the ingredients must be safe and high performing!
Monat's hair care and Beautycounter's skin care and makeup products are offered by companies committed to using natural ingredients whenever possible, but ultimately choosing safe (and avoiding unsafe) so that we all can experience good health with high performance!
By the way, if you look up any Monat or Beautycounter products on EWG and run into in numbers that scare you, please let me know so I can help you out. Whenever I run into higher numbers, I do extra research.
With these companies, I have learned that ingredients with higher numbers are not a concern due to the quality standards, concentration, usage, or the careful sourcing that these two companies follow. EWG can't account for everything, so while I turn to it for a basic understanding, I have also learned to double-check anything that might come up.
What About Fragrance?
Monat uses both natural and synthetic fragrance in their products. And in fact, if you input the ingredients of a product into the “Build Your Own Report” at EWG, you'll notice that some of them score higher numbers (higher is worse on the EWG scale).
These numbers don't necessarily tell the whole story. Why?
First, because often the toxicity level depends on usage and strength. So if an ingredient is at a very low concentration or is not used in the “toxic” way, the number doesn't necessarily apply.
And second, synthetic “fragrances” by default get high scores on EWG. (As a side note, essential oils get higher numbers on EWG, too.)
Yet, all fragrances in Monat's products have been clinically tested for safety to ensure they don't promote irritation or allergy responses. In addition, the fragrance ingredients in Monat products adhere to the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) and RIFM (Research Institute of Fragrance Materials) standards for safety.
Finally, Monat's fragrances are not petroleum-based like so many synthetic fragrances are. So I am comfortable using Monat products.
Having said that, I have found that Monat products are more heavily scented than I was used to, at least coming into using them after many years of using none or light-scented products. I've had to adjust.
Also, I'm thankful that the Monat products that work for me have scents I actually like. 🙂
How To Shop For Monat Hair Care Products
Just so you know… the products are concentrated so you use far less of these than other products each time you wash your hair. Which means they will last longer before you need to replenish them.
Four months per bottle is the average usage rate of shampoo and conditioner, and of course this varies according to hair type and length. With Monat, I use about 50% to 75% of what I used to use with other products.
Most people typically order a “system” or a mix-n-match shampoo, conditioner, and styling product with their first order.
It's helpful to aim for $84 and become a VIP on your first order because you'll get a minimum of 15% off (and additional 15%, 20%, or 25% off as your order total increases), free shipping, and a free product. Which product varies each month; it's usually valued at around $25.
3 Ways To Shop:
#1 — Retail
You pay full price plus regular shipping charges. No access to Flash Sales.
#2 — VIP Customer**
You get a minimum of 15% off (and additional 15%, 20%, or 25% off as your order total increases), free shipping with qualified orders ($84 or more), free product of the month with a Flex ship order, a coupon on your birthday each year, plus access to all Flash Sales! Flash sales feature different products and are discounted anywhere from 45% to 75%.
In order to become a VIP, there is a one-time, lifetime enrollment fee of $19.99. (Not yearly.) Your only commitment is to place your first order totaling $84 or more, plus at some time (whenever you choose) place 2 more Flex ship orders totaling $84 or more (always with free shipping). Your first order can be a Flash Sale, which means you'll get even more perks.
Once you have completed a total of three flex orders, you will remain a VIP and will always get all of the perks. Flex orders are set up for your convenience to run every 30 or 60 days but placing a flex is never required. If you aren’t wanting anything in a given month, you simply push the date out to a more convenient date.
I started out as a VIP so I could get the minimum 15% off and free shipping.
#3 — Market Partner
You get a minimum of 30% off all products, access to Flash Sales, free shipping on qualified orders (total of $69 or more), the ability to earn commissions and bonuses, no inventory, no monthly minimum, no quotas. This is for someone interested in Monat as a business opportunity as well.
I upgraded from VIP to market partner once I was sure the products were amazing and so I could help you out on your hair care journey.
I recommend anyone using Monat products to at least become a VIP.
This ensures you get minimum 15% off (and additional 15%, 20%, or 25% off as your order total increases), free product with each order, free shipping on all your orders for life, and a coupon on your birthday each year!
Click here to shop with Monat. When you go to checkout, choose the “Enroll as VIP” button (if you're not already; otherwise log in for checkout) and the system will guide you from there. It might be a bit confusing when you order for the first time, so email me if you have any questions about which products to choose or how to order!
Here's a video to show how to order as a VIP for the first time. Because they will ask you to set up your next Flex order at the same time, just add the Rejuvenique Hair Oil (regular or the Light Oil if you have fine hair like me!)… you can adjust the date and/or what's sent to you later! (I recommend getting masque or styling product in a future Flex order.) You can really make it work for you while reaping huge VIP perks!
The Best Tools & Equipment To Care For Curly Hair
Oh, yes, there are more things to look into for your curly hair journey!
#1 — Microfiber Towel
Mentioned above, a microfiber towel is far superior to a terry cloth towel for drying your hair. Terry cloth introduces frizz and strips too much moisture from curly hair.
I have this this microfiber towel (suitable for long hair). Remember to scrunch dry your hair (even with head upside down).
You can also use a 100% cotton t-shirt! Just no terry cloth!
#2 — Silk Pillowcase
Did you know that what kind of pillowcase you sleep on matters? Yes!
Because normal pillowcases, like cotton and cotton blends, cause itching, frizz, and tearing. On the other hand, silk or satin are smooth, cool, and don't irritate or encourage frizz.
I purchased this silk pillowcase right after learning this and the difference is astounding. Not only does my hair not itch me at night anymore, I don't wake up a frizz ball.
It's quite amazing.
Diffusing Haniya's hair so it would be completely dry for the photos we took for this post!
These pictures show how to gather up the hair in the diffuser as I explain below.
#3 — Diffuser
I used to use a diffuser in high school and college and gave it up because of the time involved.
Plus, with my low porosity hair, this means my hair is nearly dry in 20 minutes instead of 5 to 6 hours!
I learned from our stylist, Haley, how to do it.
You use low or medium heat, plus low or medium air flow.
You gently enclose a section of your hair in the diffuser and roll it up in the diffuser, bringing it all up close to the scalp (see photo, above). Just hold it there for a good 10 to 15 seconds before doing another section.
The best way to care for curly hair with a diffuser is to keep touch to a minimum. There's no need for scrunching while drying because that just introduces frizz.
Haley also said to diffuse only until your hair is 80% dry (to keep the frizz down).
I usually watch a video on my iPad or read a book while I'm diffusing my hair. It's restful and when I trouble myself to do it, I like the results.
A photo from this morning when I “clipped my roots” before and during diffusing for extra body on top of my hair.
You put these double prong hair clips in small sections of hair along both sides of the crown of your hair to lift your roots and add body there (instead of the top of your hair being flat). It's called “clipping roots”.
This is so new to me that I'm not sure how to describe how to do it, but I can say I really like the effect. I use about 6 to 8 total in my damp hair along both sides of the crown and leave in for about half of the time I'm diffusing. (See photo above for placement.)
At the beginning of diffusing, I just hold the diffuser about the top for a few minutes to simulate being in a hooded dryer. Then I diffuse the rest of my hair, stopping at about halfway dry to remove the clips and then dry the rest.
Tip: You can achieve body on top of your head without clips by diffusing with your hair upside down for at least the first bit!
Shared with me by a friend on Instagram! I love these hair ties!
No damage, no tearing, doesn't leave creases in your hair, and easy to get on and off. If you put your hair up in a pineapple at night, they work perfectly.
What's a pineapple? It's when you do a pony tail on top of your head.
Although women wear them at other times of day, at night, this protects your curls from being crushed or frizzed up during sleeping. 🙂
If you must comb, do it only with this type of wide-tooth detangling comb.
I was (and still am) shocked at how changing the products and method of washing/conditioning my hair has meant I no longer need to comb at all. This is what I doubted the most, because tangles were a daily headache.
My “before” and “after” photos from the day I got my first DevaCut!
The Best Way To Care For Curly Hair: Which Hair Cut To Get
You knew I was going to go there, right? If we've talked about everything else and the right way to do it, there's got to be a RIGHT way to cut curly hair.
And there is!
I confess, this was a revelation to me as well. I heard about it from Vicki B., who replied to one of my emails and told me about the thing called a “DevaCut”.
DevaCut??? A haircut just for curlies???
Yes! These stylists are trained in the BEST way to cut (and style) curly hair.
They cut your hair when it's dry and they cut it to best enhance your curls, whether a long or short hair cut. Generally, though, layers is the answer.
(Layers is another thing I have instinctively known since I was a teenager. With the exception of one time I got my hair cut as short as a boy's, I have always known that “long layers” was best for my hair.)
I will warn you, though… I called two certified stylists who told me they were full and couldn't take on any more clients.
There is a big shortage apparently! (Business opportunity!!!)
Yet one of them recommended her friend Haley from Nancy Jane Salon in Meridian, Idaho. (She's pictured above.)
Both Haniya and I got our first cuts from Haley and we are really happy and continue to go back to her!
Even better, at our appointments, which were our first of the kind, Haley gave us the whole DevaCut education — how to wash, condition, add products, and style hair. We learned so much and had so much fun!
What Happens During A DevaCut?
Here's what to expect during your first DevaCut!
- talk about what you want
- do the basic cut with your hair dry
- wash, condition, apply products (while learning how to do it yourself)
- “clip your roots” (see above in tools)
- sit under the dryer for 5 minutes to dry roots a bit
- remove clips
- diffuse hair
- cut a bit more to feature your curls
- leave oh-so-happy with bouncy, natural curls!
It takes about an hour and it's so fun!
If you're interested, DevaCurl has a directory of DevaCut trained stylists/salons right here.
What About Silver Hair?
I became a convert to embracing my silver when I read the “Silver Hair Handbook” by Lorraine Massey.
Previously, I was dismayed by the greys coming in and I feared looking “old”. Now I know that with using the right products, silver hair can be soft and not brassy.
Now when I see my silvers, I take it as a sign that I'm older and wiser (and better than I ever was!).
Although I'm keeping my eye out in case I need a purple shampoo in the future (to brighten the silver), I believe that with good water and regular clarifying, my silver shouldn't turn yellow or be unattractive. I will keep you posted!
How The Best Way To Care For Curly Hair Surprised Me!
I thought I would end with a quick section on my biggest surprises through this journey… things I never expected to happen as a result of getting my hair care right.
#1 — My grey doesn't stand out as much any more.
When my hair was looking really bad, dry, flat, and frizzy, those wiry grey hairs stuck out all over the place. You could see them a mile away.
When my hair is soft, shiny, curly, and moisturized, the grey hairs blend in a lot better. That is a surprise I didn't expect at all!
#2 — I thought my hair was in really bad shape.
I thought it was unhealthy and might take months to restore. Yet when I started treating it right, it literally only took one washing/conditioning to turn it around almost completely.
So it really wasn't as bad as I thought!
#3 — My hair doesn't itch me any more.
Who would have thought!? It doesn't itch on the pillow, it doesn't itch my neck, it just plain doesn't itch. Wow, total surprise.
#4 — I'm not dribbling hair all over the place anymore!
I still lose my 100 strands a day (which is average) but because my hair is staying curly, mostly they aren't falling out. They're getting hung up in the curls. So I collect them in the shower instead.
The floors are staying cleaner. Again, who would have thought???
Update: Since using Monat, I'm losing even less hair!
#5 — Gel doesn't make Haniya's hair feel greasy.
Haniya has two surprises to share, too. She used to hate using gel or anything because it made her hair feel greasy.
Yet when switching to these methods, she is now LOVING gel and her hair doesn't feel greasy, it feels soft!
She says she had to change her perspective so that “clean hair” feels saturated and velvety in the shower instead of stripped and squeaky. It’s a nice change and she's thankful!
#6 — It's actually easy!
Haniya was also surprised by how easy it all is. It was a little daunting at first to incorporate all these new steps but in the end, it made things easier. No more brushing, for one thing!
She has simplified her routine. All it takes is a quick shampoo, conditioner, scrunching her curls, and gel about twice a week.
For the sake of time, she doesn’t often diffuse or clip and her hair still turns out fantastic! So for any busy moms out there, it’s possible for you, too!
I think that's it!
Except plopping! LOL I never got to that! Actually, I have yet to try it… so I'll leave that to talk about in the future. 🙂
What do you think? Will you try any of these tips or the method for your curly hair? I do HIGHLY recommend you buy “The Curly Girl Handbook” to get the whole scoop!
Helpful Links On The Best Way To Care For Curly Hair
- FREE: 9 Natural Remedies For Common Female Infections
- Shea Moisture hair products
- Wikipedia article on porosity
- Pictures and descriptions of curl types
- “The Curly Girl Handbook” book
- “Silver Hair Handbook” by Lorraine Massey
- Microfiber towel
- Beautycounter safe and non-toxic skin care and makeup
- Monat Hair Care Products (shop all)
- Monat's Volumizing Revive Shampoo
- Monat's Renew Shampoo (for extra hydration every couple of days)
- Monat's Volumizing Revitalize Conditioner
- Monat's Clarifying Shampoo
- Monat's Replenish Masque
- Monat's Rejuvenique Hair Oil (regular or the this Light Oil)
- Morrocco Method Blood Of The Dragon Styling Gel
- Monat's Curl Defining Cream
- Monat's Styling Taffy
- Low Porosity Protein-Free with Baobab and Tea Tree Oils (Shea Moisture products)
- High Porosity Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils (Shea Moisture products)
- Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine (Shea Moisture products)
- Innersense hair care products
- Free glass spray bottle from Grove
- DevaCut trained stylists/salons directory
- Silk pillowcase
- Hair dryer
- Diffuser attachment
- Double prong hair clips
- Telephone wire hair ties
- Wide-tooth detangling comb
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What is the best way you care for your curly hair? If you have curly hair, please share your tips in the comments! And if you learn any surprising benefits from improving your curly hair care, share those, too!
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