Since starting on my curly girl method journey, I get a lot of questions about what I am using and what techniques I use. By all means, I am not an expert and am only about 3 months into my journey. However, that being said, I am always willing to discuss the things I have learned and researched with others. That being said, let’s get into what I am currently using! (You can click on any of the product pictures to take you to the products.)
Please note that any of the product pictures can be clicked on to take you to a link to view and/or purchase the products. Any Amazon links are part of my affiliate Amazon store front and I do earn a very small amount of money from any purchase made from that link. Scrunch It Curls is also an affiliate link in which I earn a very small amount from any purchase from from that link. All other links are not part of any affiliation.
Shea Moisture Low Porosity Shampoo. This is something that I use as a “low poo”. To me, a low poo is something I use when I do not need to use a clarifying shampoo. Some following the curly girl method only co-wash (conditioner washing only), however, I personally wash my scalp every time I am in the shower. I will take a little of this shampoo and massage my scalp helping to break apart any build up that may be there. As I wash out the product from my scalp, the suds will run down the rest of my hair giving it a good wash.
Kinky-Curly Come Clean. This shampoo is a clarifying shampoo, meaning it is really going to strip my hair of products and/or build up. Since my hair is low porosity, product build up can happen more easily. This build up will then weight the hair and curls down. Typically, I use this clarifying shampoo about every other week. However, I will use it sooner if I notice any build up or that my curls are being weighed down/look a little lifeless. I focus the Come Clean shampoo on my scalp, but I will then take a little bit and focus on the rest of my hair as well. You will get some good suds with this shampoo, so not much extra shampoo is needed to wash the rest of your hair.
One of the most important things with curly hair is moisture. So how can you get the moisture that is needed? Water, of course; and conditioner. While there are different types of conditions, let me just go over what I am currently using.
Not Your Mothers Curl Talk Conditioner 3-in-1. This is something I use every time I shower, unless I am deep conditioning during my wash day. I focus the majority of the product on the rest of my hair than on the roots. Since I have not colored my hair or used heat for the last few years, that part is fairly healthy and does not need as much product since it’s the younger part of my hair. I will say that my hair is pretty long and I have not drastically cut my hair for the last 2-3 years. While using the conditioner, I will try to section it off a little bit so I can work it in as evenly as possible while trying to also finger detangle my hair.
I will also use a wet brush to detangle my hair after I finger detangled my hair. At this point in my wash routine, I will flip my hair down (like I am touching my toes) working the wet brush from the base of my skull brushing through my hair down the the ends. Here is the brush that I use to do this process:
Once I have combed through my hair and made sure it is completely detangled, I will then squish the conditioner in. This is often referred to as squish to condish in the curly girl community. You take your hands (palms up) to the ends of your hair bringing all your hair up to your scalp and pulsating at the top. This helps to form your curl pattern and really helps that conditioner get in your hair to moisturize.
Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Ultra-Nourishing Mask. This mask is something I use as a deep conditioner. I use this exactly the same way as the conditioner.
The only step that is different while using this product versus the other conditioner is that I also use a heat cap. Since my hair is low porosity, using some heat helps open those cuticles to allow more moisture in. Here is the one that I use:
After I have squished to condish with the Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Mask, I will then put the heat cap on. Often I will have my husband or my son go heat it up in the microwave while I am still in the shower so that I do not have to get out and get water everywhere. The directions recommend 10-15 minutes for deep conditioning. While I am in the shower with the heat cap on, I will do the rest of the things I need to do to finish my shower (shave, wash my face, wash my body).
Once the conditioning is all done (with either process), I will then wash my hair out with either warm or cold water. The temperature really depends on what I feel my hair needs during that time. Since I do have low porosity hair, that warm rinse will really open up the cuticle of the hair. However, if I feel there is enough slip (how lubricious the products have made my hair feel), I will use cold water to rinse my hair.
Curls Blueberry & Coconut Hair Milk. This is by far the best leave in conditioner I have used since starting this journey. I use this every time after getting out of the shower on wash days. This product is a milk which means it is going to be more lightweight. This works great for me because of my low porosity how that is prone to build up. I want to keep it as lightweight yet moisturizing as possible. To use the product, I will add just add product to my hands and finger comb it through my hair.
I will also use a Denman Brush to help distribute the product while also helping to define my curls.
Once it is all brushed in a evening distributed, I then again squish to condish. This is one part in my routine that I recently did switch up because I was having issues with my hair being matted in the back due to styling. The curly girl method really calls for you to do all the conditioning and styling with you bending over allowing your hair to drape down over your head. Instead, I now tilt my head to the side and then kind of body roll my hair to the opposite side. I prefer this technique because then I don’t have this weird area in the back of my head that is kind of matted down when I go to diffuse it or let it air dry.
Curl Defining Products
While this is not a step you have to take, it is something that I really started doing after finding a product I am absolutely in love with.
BounceCurl Avocado & Rose Oil Clump and Define Cream. I think this product does a great job of forming and clumping my curls. I use this product the same way that I use the leave in squishing it into my curls while using that head tilt to really get that curl pattern forming. I will also use the Denman Brush during this process as well. I will brush the hair down and away from my face. My hair will then start to curl and clump together, it is really kind of magical to watch.
Gels & Mousses
This is the product area I probably have the most amount of products. I have tried so many things, but I have found the three best products (for me personally) that I use. These three are not always used at one time. I do like to change things up a little bit so sometimes I will use all of them, sometimes I will use only one. To apply these products, I use the technique called “praying hands”. This is where you will take the product, rub it in your hands, then lightly run the product over your curls in a prayer hand formation (with your curls in between your hands). This helps not to disrupt the curl pattern you formed in the above steps. Once the product is applied, you then squish it into the curls by lifting your hair at the ends to the roots and pulsating once you get to the roots. Again, I tilt my head from side to side to apply the products and squish so that I do not get this weird flat, matted spot in my hair.
Not Your Mothers Curl Talk Curl Activating Mousse. I find that mousse doesn’t give my hair enough of a cast. So often, I will pair it with a gel using the technique called mousse-gel-mousse. It is how it sounds using mousse first, followed by gel, then followed by mousse.
Aussie Instant Freeze Gel. This is a really great product. It will give a great cast (remember to scrunch out the crunch after your hair is fully dried). I tend not to use this product as much anymore because I found another gel that works really well with my hair. However, when I do any sort of wet/damp plopping over night, I use this gel because it gives such a great cast.
Kinky-Curly Curling Custard. I honestly think this is magical. I heard a lot of great things about it and decided to buy it. I do not regret it at all. This is always my go to gel and it just works so nicely with my curly hair.
Once all the product is in, I use a microfiber towel to remove the excess water. This helps in air drying time as well was diffusing time. A tshirt can also be used if you don’t have a micro fiber towel or do not want to buy one.
At this point, you want to allow your hair to full dry before you touch it! This is very important. If you touch it before it is dry, it can cause your hair to frizz. You want to make sure your hair is fully dried before you then scrunch out the crunch. This is a technique where you scrunch your hair from ends to roots (pulsating at the top) in order to get the crunch from the products out. Once you have scrunched out all that crunch, you are left with amazing defined curls.
I can often go 3-6 days without washing it. However, I do refresh my hair. This process can be done many ways with many products. Personally, I will either wet refresh or dry refresh.
To wet refresh, I will use a continuous water mister to wet my hair. I will then detangle my hair by finger detangling followed by the wet brush detangler. Then I just start at the leave in conditioner going through all the steps down the to gel. Again, you want to make sure you hair is fully dried (air or diffused) before scrunching out the crunch.
On days that I need just a little curl boost and my hair hasn’t gone limp or became too frizzy; I will just use a refresh spray.
Witch I Love Your Hair Hair Magic. Not only does this stuff smell amazing, it really works well for dry refreshing. I just spray a little on my hair, then will use praying hands over my hair followed by squishing the hair from ends to roots pulsating at the root.
This product is also really good to use if you have an itchy scalp.
Other Tools/Items/Products I Use
Here are some of the other products and items that I use:
The Puff Cuff. I am not even sure how to put into words what this is. It is basically a plastic circle that has these two hooks to open it up and secure around your hair. It is very lose fitting, so this is something that does not pull at your hair causing breakage. At night, I will put my hair as far at the top of my head as possible, and then secure it with this cuff. I personally use the micro size.
Scrunch It Sleep. I have tried a couple different bonnets to wear to bed at night. However, none of them fit as comfortable or are as thin as the Scrunch It Sleep. At night, I will use The Puff Cuff and then throw my hair into the Scrunch It Sleep. This helps project the curls from breakage, drying out, and keeping the curl pattern longer.
Satin Pillow Cases. One of the biggest things I found out (other than I shouldn’t be using a towel on my hair) that shocked me, was my pillow cases were more than likely drying out my hair and causing breakage. I switched to satin pillow (or you can use silk) to make sure that didn’t continue to happen. Since purchasing them, I have added that Scrunch It Sleep cap, but if it were ever to fall off, I would still be okay not having to worry about damage to my hair.
Satin Scrunchies. Before starting this curly girl journey, I was using elastic hair ties. These were terrible on my hair! Back when I was a kid, I did not like scrunchies. However, since purchasing some satin ones off of Amazon, I will never go back ever again. I do not get the pulled hairs, I lose less hair, and my head doesn’t hurt from them.
ZazzyBandz. I am trying really hard to wear my hair down more. Not only is it better for the curl pattern and strain on the hair, I can also show off all my hard work. However, the biggest issue I have is I hate hair in my face. I was lucky enough to come across ZazzyBandz. These are headbands that fit more like how sunglasses fit when you put them on top of your head. This not only does pull the hair back with teeth (they have a small silicon like band instead of normal headbands that have small teeth), but it also fits more loosely. I have had a lot of issues with headaches and migraines. Using a normal headband would cause my head to hurt, a headache, or a migraine. It is a great company that gives a portion of every sale to support the children and their caregivers in the Peniel Centre Orphanage located in Zimbabwe.
Blow Dryer & Diffuser. I do typically air dry my hair. However, there are some days I just need to get it dry because I have to be somewhere. I will use the Xtava blow dryer with their Black Orchid diffuser on the end. I will use the medium heat setting but then for the last 10-15 seconds switch it to the cool setting before moving on the to next section.
Curl Keeper Roller Jaw Clamps. These are something that I recently added. I have hair that does not contain a lot of volume. An issue I have had is volume at the roots. I do hair flip (flip my hair to different parts as it is drying), but I wanted something a little more. I purchased these roller jaw clamps and use them both while air drying or if I am diffusing my hair.
Righteous Roots Pre-Poo Oil. This is also something that is new. The night before I have my wash day, I will section my hair into 4 and apply this oil to my hair while finger detangling. I found that this saves time during my wash days because sometimes my hair is a tangled mess by the time I go to wash it. After I section my hair into 4 sections, I take one at a time and apply about 3 drops to my finger tips and rub them together. I then go into my scalp in that section that I am working on and gently massage my scalp. I will then take about 3 more drops and start applying it to my hair in that section from roots to tips. Gently, I will start to finger detangle my hair. Once it is all detangled, I then will braid it and secure it with a small hair tie. I do this to the other 3 sections as well. Once it is all done, I will throw my hair into the Scrunch It Sleep cap and go to bed. Once I get into the shower for my wash day, I will take my hair out of the braids and wash day goes so much more smoothly than it did before.
Whoa, that was a lot of information and products. That covers everything I am using and how I use each item. I am not a writer by any means, so hopefully you held with me through all of that. If you should have any questions, please feel free to leave any questions in the comments!