How to Care for Curly Hair Naturally

How to care for Curly Hair naturally without chemicals

Note from Katie: I’ve shared many of my favorite hair care products, from mud shampoo to detangling spray and even ways to help hair grow naturally. On all of these posts, there were eventually reader questions I couldn’t answer and they all started with “I have naturally thick and curly hair…”  When my friend Julia offered to share her experience of caring for her gorgeous curly hair naturally, I jumped at the chance. (And for the record, she isn’t the only one with hair envy- the first time I met her, I was amazed by her curls!) Enter Julia…

I think I have always had hair envy for Katie. She has the perfect hair. It’s straight. And fine. *And* blonde. What about me? My mom has thick hair. My dad has ringlets. So naturally I have thick ringlets. Dark, coarse, tight ringlets. Don’t get me wrong, I have come to peace with my hair. I fought it for a while… tried to straighten it, but the pain and the time investment (hours and hours) broke me of that. I also learned how to care for my hair. So while I still occasionally have a pang of hair envy for straight hair, I love my own hair now because happy hair is pretty hair.

Caring for Curls

Due to the shape of curly hair strands, the hair tends to be under-moisturized. The curly-haired scalp, on the other hand, can get very oily. Curly hair care comes down to managing these two competing demands.

See, your scalp produces natural oil, sebum, to keep your hair soft and to protect it. Straight hair wicks the sebum down the shaft easily, so that the whole length of the shaft is moisturized. Brushing aids this process by distributing the oils thoroughly (thanks, Scarlett O’Hara, with your hundred-brush-strokes-a-day routine). Curly hair, on the other hand, is shaped irregularly and the oil has a hard time wicking throughout the length of hair because of the bumps and ridges. It’s also impossible (and often painful) to brush when dry, so brushing can’t help, either. In fact brushing curly hair often damages it. Your poor curly, dry hair is exposed to the environment without anything to buffer it from the wind or the sun, and so gets damaged easily. Further, the unused sebum ends up sitting on the scalp collecting dust… Literally. Grossed out? I promise I’ll teach you coping mechanisms in a minute.

Once you understand the relationship between your scalp and hair, there are certain rules that make sense:

Curly hair has one Great Commandment: Thou shall not brush thy hair when it is dry!

This wrecks your curl pattern by breaking up the hair strands that are forming curls. These groups of hairs are called “clumps”. Breaking up your clumps will make look like that triangle-headed girl from the Dilbert comic: frizzy. Not attractive.

Further, because your curls resist the brush (understatement of the year), brushing can yank your hair out at the root or break it into split ends or probably both. Remember, you are more likely to damage the hair shaft because it is not protected at all!

Always (always always) detangle your hair wet, preferably with conditioner in it so it has something protective coating it.

How often should you wash your hair? It is different for everyone. I know curlies who wash everyday and people with straight hair who have to go several days in between washings or their hair will dry out. Experiment!

If you notice your hair is always dry, try waiting a day to wash it… You might just solve your problem that way! I wash my hair every 2 days. More frequently makes my hair dry, less frequently and my scalp gets itchy and oily. When it was very long I would go 3 days.

A Word About No-poo and Co-Washing.

If you have been trying to learn more about how to care for curly hair, you have probably heard of these methods. What are they? Well, they are essentially the same thing.

The idea is that traditional shampoo is far too harsh for curly hair. Curly hair is not sufficiently oiled, so it takes a beating. It’s already fragile enough without marinating it in chemicals. Instead, you should use a combination of conditioner and gentle friction to cleanse your scalp. Sounds logical so far, right?

For me it breaks down in the practical application. My hair is really thick. Most conditioners are so creamy that I can’t actually get them to sink through all the layers of hair to reach my scalp. It’s really frustrating. Because what ends up happening is that the hair on top of my head gets moisturized but my scalp doesn’t actually get clean, so I get dandruff-style flaky buildup that is really embarrassing (and obvious since it is front and center).

I find that a combination of the no-poo philosophy of gentle cleansing together with a natural cleanser works best for me. I look for products that are a thin consistency but are detergent free. This modification to no-poo that I use is known as “low-pooing” or low detergent shampooing.

A lesser known (and less popular) variation is water washing: you use only water and friction to clean the hair. You can certainly try it, but I haven’t heard of many people with curly hair who found this a good routine. We use too many stylers for water to really cleanse our hair, and the friction without a protective oil or cream can be damaging. It works better (so I hear) for folks with straight hair.

Washing Your Hair

Shampoo/cleanser is for your scalp. Conditioner is for your hair. Don’t get it twisted.

In the shower:

Wet your hair. Apply a sufficiency of cleanser to your palm and massage it into your scalp ONLY. Do not rub it throughout your length. The detergents in shampoos can be very drying, and if you don’t have oil in your hair to protect it you will abrade and possibly even burn the shaft.

Even if you are using a gentle cleanser like a no-poo/co-wash, the agitation still does just that: agitate or irritate the hair. Try to avoid doing that. Angry curls are no fun to be around; they don’t tip at restaurants and generally embarrass you in public. As you rinse the shampoo from your hair, continue to massage the scalp to help remove any buildup.

Now load up your hair with the conditioner. Even if you plan to rinse it out, you still want use the moisture in the conditioner to help release the knots in your curls and relax them gently so that you can comb your hair.

Note that you should concentrate the conditioner on the length of your hair, NOT your scalp. Remember, your scalp makes all the moisture it and your hair needs; It just never distributes down the length of your hair. Therefore you need conditioner on your hair to replace the sebum that your hair needs but isn’t getting.

Distribute the conditioner as you can. If your hair is very tangled, squeeze the conditioner into the knots and (gently) worry at them with the comb to unravel. Otherwise cover your palms with conditioner and use your fingers to rake through your hair to distribute. This will start the detangling process. Then follow with a wide-toothed comb to make sure you get all the small snarls out.

Choose Your Own Adventure Haircare

Now from this point it gets tricky, and routines start to differ. There are a couple of schools of thought on leaving in conditioner, and how to do so. You will likely need to experiment (Can you tell I like to experiment?).

Here are your options:

  • leave in
  • rinse out
  • both

Leave In

If you leave in, do just that. Finish detangling, turn off the shower, and move on. You may want to do this if your hair is hard to style without the slippery conditioner to help smooth it out, or if you hair is very dry. This is what I do currently. Even with very short hair, the difference is tangible if I don’t leave in some conditioner. I simply cannot get my stylers to distribute throughout my hair.

Rinse Out

Rinsing out is also simple. Just rinse the conditioner out of your hair. Some people like to use cool water to do this. It can improve the shininess of your hair, but I find this uncomfortable. You are a good candidate for cool rinsing if you find that your hair gets really frizzy really quickly once you get out of the shower.

Combination

Then there’s the combo. I did this back when my hair was long enough to brush my bum a couple of years ago. Basically the idea is that if you leave the conditioner in straight from the shower, you may remove some of it when toweling your hair dry. Not a problem in itself, but if your hair is finicky and really needs that conditioner (like mine did), then if you remove it unevenly it can cause problems. Rinsing and then reapplying conditioner allows for greater control. This is a good solution for people with really thick hair, or with OCD 😉

What to Use

Products are really personal. I can give suggestions, but I promise they won’t work for everyone.You can make your own or you can research and purchase from a retailer that you like and trust. I generally take the latter route. I am a big diy fan, but I find that most diy hair stuff fails to live up to my expectations.

Some basic rules:

Avoid Sulfates, Silicones, and Parabens.

Sulfates/sulfites are the harshest of detergents and surfactants. They are extremely drying to the hair, and should be avoided.

Silicones are plastics. Their job is the coat the hair to make it look shiny. Sounds good until you realize that because they are synthetic they can only be removed by sulfates: natural cleansers just can’t get the plastic off. So the choice is between nasty persistent buildup (eeew) or sulfates (which are to be avoided because they barbecue your hair). Plus, while they make your hair look shiny, the coating actually blocks healthy oils and moisture from getting to your hair shaft.

Some silicones are water soluble and are identified by the suffix PEG. Those do not require sulfates to be removed. I still avoid PEG-type silicones because I don’t like to put plastic in my hair and even water soluble silicones block that ever-important moisture.

Avoid parabens (synthetic preservatives) because cancer. ‘Nuff said.

I suggest trying new products out for at least a week (or several applications if you wash your hair less frequently) before trying something different. Sometimes your hair will need to detox or get used to a certain product. It may not immediately recognize that it loves something.

Here’s What I Look for in my Products

Cleanser/Shampoo:

For a cleanser, I start off looking for something without sulfates in it. And beware, silicones do end up on shampoo too! You are less likely to find them, but check anyway.

You may need to test out several cleansers to find one that works. In practice, I look for a cleanser that distributes to my scalp easily. Also, after you rinse, compare how your hair feels to how it felt before you cleansed it. You should not be able to feel a coating of any kind, but it should also not feel dry.

If it feels dry, the cleanser is probably too harsh and you need to find something gentler or more moisturizing. Still give it a week! Your hair can change its attitude. Your hair should feel like your body does after you wash with good soap, not like it feels after you wash the dishes, if that makes sense.

Options to Try:

Conditioner:

Conditioners come in all kinds of textures and consistencies. I look for a few things. First, does it distribute well throughout my hair? If it is made of angel tears and unicorn oil but it won’t go where I put it, it’s useless.

Second, I pay attention to “slip” i.e. how slippery my hair feels. We are using it to detangle, after all. This slippery feeling is what makes it release those snags and snarls. It shouldn’t feel too slimy, but you want a silky, soft feeling. Think wet seaweed, not pond scum. And I want it to play nice with other products. This is only really important if you want to leave it in.

I once found a lovely conditioner that I really liked, but it would produce icky white flakes if I left it in and used anything else to style my hair. I had to toss it in the trash and start over. It may not be a concern for you, though.

I love SheaMoisture’s Restorative conditioner (very rich, good to leave in), and Kinky Curly’s Knot Today detangler (extremely slippery, will literally melt your knots). If your hair is happier with a lighter conditioner, you might even try Katie’s homemade detangler

It’s sort of the melding of both: a rich conditioner and marshmallow root, the active ingredient from the Knot Today. It’s a solid DIY that really works.

Stylers:

Ok, there are soooooo many styling products out there! Here is a basic rundown of what each type does and how it may help you.

Creams: labeled as creams or smoothies, these tend to be a combination of butters, oils, and waxes. The majority of your DIY Stylers will be creams, as they can be easily made with readily available ingredients (Katie’s whipped body butter is excellent example, although that is not the use she probably had in mind.

Heck, I bet her magnesium body butter would give great curl definition!). Cream stylers are ideal for people with dry hair that is thick and naturally voluminous. If you have fine hair you will likely want to avoid creams because they can be heavy and weigh your hair down. They can also make fine hair appear oily and limp. A little tends to go a long way. I use a little cream for my hair. I have an 8 oz tub that lasts about a year (this should give you an idea of how little I use).

Gels:

Some are natural, some are not. Most tend to be translucent and slimy/gummy. The half of DIY stylers that are not creams are usually gels (flax seed variety). They come in lots of different hold levels and tend to make hair shinier than creams, but can be drying (especially the chemical-laden ones).

Many contain silicones to make hair shiny so beware if buying from a store. I don’t use gel much as even natural versions are too drying for me, but I understand from People Who Know Of Such Things that EcoStyler is a great silicone-free and inexpensive brand.

Also, consider using plain organic aloe vera gel as a gentle gel.

Mousse: 

Long touted as the ideal styler form for curly hair, mouse is a light foamy concoction that works with the natural buoyancy of curls. Sounds good until you start reading labels and see that most a filled with alcohol (drying) and silicone (plastic). There are a couple good ones out there.

My sister swears by Herbal Essences “naturals” line of mousses. Mousse is good for folks with fine or limp hair, but I find it too drying for my hair. Also, it is virtually impossible to make mousse yourself. I’ve never even seen a recipe for it. If you find one, let me know!

Pomade:

Pomade is a styler that adds shine and hold to your hair. There are a few different kinds. Basically they are either waxy and stiff, or oily and smooth. Waxy tends to give more hold than shine, and vice versa with the oils. They are good for putting your hair in an updo or if you have short hair like mine (hello, Mohawk!). You can make either at home, although oil-based pomade is simpler. You can either make a combo of liquid oils in a tincture bottle (like this) or you can make a solid bar of it (like these).

Folks, keep in mind that these tips are not just for curlies… if you hair is dry, you might try something you see here. You might just discover the cure for your hair woes! Learning to care for your hair properly can be a path to finally loving your hair.

Do YOU have curly hair? How do you care for your hair?

Julia profile Wellness MamaAbout Julia: Julia is the owner of the gorgeous curly hair in this picture and the mom of that adorable little girl.

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Reader Comments

  1. I’ve tried literally everything on the market, natural and not, and have spent thousands over the past 10+ years searching for something to make my curls manageable and even beautiful. I’ve been using Morocco Method for a year now and although it worked wonders in the beginning, for the past two months my hair felt dry and my scalp was oily and flakey which is strange for me. I decided on a whim just last week to try my Dr.Bronner’s mild unscented liquid soap on my hair as a shampoo. After rinsing I used a diluted 50/50 acv mix and left that on for a few minutes, then rinsed. I cannot even explain how lovely and smooth my hair feels and my scalp has never felt so comfortable. My hair even stayed amazing for four days which is unbelievable for me. Please everyone give this a try!!!

    • I, too, have discovered this method of using a natural shampoo (i use nature’s gate…no sulfates) and a mixture of apple cider vinegar (acv) and water for conditioning. AMAZING! My ratio is about 2 Tbsp per 6-8 oz of water and use a repurposed squirt bottle for this. I place 4-5 squirts throughout my hair and work it through my hair. I leave it in as i would any conditioner then rinse. I promise it will not smell like vinegar when you are finished. I use plain old argan oil (i believe it is what’s in moroccan oil but it has no additives. Just straight up) for curl definition. I use about 15-20 drops for my whole head. I used to have really long hair now it is above shoulder length and i use the 15-20 drops. Much more and I get oily. Also, i have really thick hair. Thinner hair would not need as much. My hair is also a relaxed curl, so if you have really really curly hair like julia (who wrote the article) you may need more drops. I love the oil for curl definition. I will never use mousse again. It is nasty and gives me a headache now with all of the chemical odors.

      • just to clarify, the argan oil i use after towel drying my hair.

        • I love argan oil! I have a new head of relaxed curls (courtesy of chemo) whereas it was once straight as a pin and it has taken me months to figure out how to care for my curly hair and scalp! I had decided before my hair even grew back in that I wanted to go natural and cut out commercial products, but it is amazing how individualized hair is! I tried so many DIYs for curly hair and natural products, but nothing really worked until I started using Organixs Moroccan Argan Oil shampoo, conditioner, and mousse. I’ve been thinking of using Castile soap and making my own argan oil shampoo, but I may just try using it straight up in my hair. I’m also trying to help the growing process along and I’ve heard putting argan oil on your scalp is like a god-send. Its funny how its typically used to straighten hair but actually makes our curly hair look fantastic and defined!

    • I love the 50-50 acv method. I do that once a week.

      I pineapple my hair up at night loosly with a bandana or 100 percent cotton tshirt and secure using three bobby pins. My curls used to to super flat the next day. Now they work with me.

      I use coconut oil to style. I use about a half teaspoon in the AM and at night. I use morcan oil sparingly

  2. I’m a licensed cosmetologist with thick curly/wavy hair. I’m a white girl, but I find myself getting hair advice from African American natural hair blogs. My hair isn’t nearly as curly, but it’s dry and frizzy so what works for the bloggers usually works for me!

    I can’t stress enough that cheap drugstore shampoo isn’t going to do your hair any favors. You NEED to invest a little more to get the best results. A big advantage is that since professional products aren’t excessively watered down like drugstore brands, they actually last longer and you need to use less.

    I haven’t experimented with too much, but so far I’ve found that Davines, a high end Italian line of hair care products, has been some of the best stuff I’ve used. They are very devoted to environmental causes and they don’t use sulfates, parabens, or silicones.

    While at the salon store to buy some Moroccanoil shampoo and conditioner, which is fantastic but probably has artificial fragrance, the lady there told me that Keune is similar to Davines. She recommended a curl lotion that smells like flowers. Absolutely divine! I can’t wait to try more of their products and learn more about the company.

    A less expensive and probably easier to find brand that also doesn’t use sulfates, parabens, or silicones is AG Hair Cosmetics. Their shampoo and conditioner is a little runnier, but that’s fine because it distributes more evenly throughout the hair. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard great things about Devacurl too.

    For styling, I recommend hair oils (argan and roucou are my favorites) and a hair lotion. Mousse can be drying and more often than not, gives you an 80’s look. However, I’ve actually had some success with Davines’ curl enhancing mousse. Hair lotions seem to be a mixture of a conditioner and a gel so you get the benefits of both. High quality gels with a medium hold are great for definition.

    Air drying is best for all hair types, but if you need to blow dry your curly hair, get a diffuser for your blow dryer. Most dryers come with a diffuser attachment now. Devacurl’s is apparently the best, but once again, I haven’t used it so I can’t say for sure. One thing that’s really important to know about diffusers is that you don’t completely dry the hair. You want it to be just a little damp. Also, don’t move the diffuser around your head, it will just get frizzy. Try not to touch the hair either, use a tail comb or something similar to nudge the hair into the diffuser.

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope this has been informative! Good luck!

    • Hi Victoria! Thanks for your comment! I have spent a ton of money on products at all levels of expense and exclusivity (although thanks for feeding my inner product junkie… now I have to go try Davines), and I am simply sharing what works best for me… In this case, a couple of drug-store items and a couple of high-end items. Thanks for mentioning blow drying… I don’t do it myself (I’m an air-dry girl!) so I totally neglected it. You are absolutely correct about using a diffuser and leaving it damp-dry.
      ~Julia

      • I have dry hair and recently discovered de la cruz rose water and glycerin as a light leave-in conditioner. No chemicals at all and the rose fragrance is natural. Dilute the glycerin with water to suit yourself. That makes it less sticky. I bought a pink spray bottle. It is a great non-petroleum skin moisturizer, also. Just spray it on.

      • Hi Julia, I’m glad my input was helpful! I thought I’d mention blowdry in since a lot of people do it. I do it sometimes just because my hair takes hours to air dry, but I prefer to let it air dry when I can. I think it’s a great idea to talk about high end and drugstore products since some of us just can’t splurge on something like Davines. I love the stuff and I don’t buy it often! Drugstore products are great for what they are, however, high end products do go further since they tend to not be as watered down as their drugstore counterparts. I see high end products as an investment.

        Once again, I’m glad I could add a little bit of my knowledge to this post! Love the blog so much!!!

    • Hi~~
      Unfortunately Davines DOES contains silicone… ” dimethicone.

  3. if you haven’t tried Ava Anderson non toxic you should!! Hands down the best non toxic line that works amazing.

  4. Thanks for this! I’ve been using baking soda and then an ACV rinse on my curly hair for a few years. Then I recently read that this is damaging to your scalp and hair. I’ve now started using the Shea Moisture co-washing conditioner, and my hair is much happier. I liked the no-poo because it made my curls look so much better and I never needed products. It’s been fun to see how the natural things really make a big difference for the better. But I was getting the dry scalp/flaking you mentioned. I’m definitely going tot ry the Knot Today product you use!

    • Try using the baking soda and ACV once a week, once every 2 weeks or whenever your hair looks a little blah… This is what I do and it works wonders!

    • I used baking soda and ACV, it really hurt my scalp because its pH balance is off. Now I use a pH balanced ‘shampoo’ made of coconut milk and aloe vera gel (recipe found here: http://www.thankyourbody.com/ph-balanced-shampoo-recipe/) I love and suggest you try it out!
      I hope you like it as much as I do,
      Ruby xx

  5. I also have long, thick and curly hair. I used to only use Herbal Essences Mousse, but I have been making my own Curl Boosting Spray now for several months, and I’m loving it. Sometimes when I feel I need a little more hold I also combine it with a home made Flax gel – the basic 2 cups water to 1/4 of seeds recipe and boil for 10 minutes. For the curl boosting spray I use a 6 oz bottle: 1/2 distilled water, a bit less than 1/4 glycerine, and same amount 1/4 aloe gel juice – leaving enough room for 1 tsp vodka and 2 tsp of aloe gel. Shake and spray – also helps to de-tangle.

  6. I have naturally curly hair and the older I get, the curlier it gets. Two years ago, I started making my own shampoo blend and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! It’s inexpensive and very effective for my hair. I use one small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap (any scent) mixed with one can of coconut milk. That’s it. More recently, I have been adding about a tablespoon of castor oil to that blend to see if it will help my hair get thicker. I like the extra oil on my curls and I literally use no styling products. Usually, I just air dry and go.

    • What size bottle of Dr. Brother’s and what size can of coconut milk? Do you store in the shower? Does it spoil? Do you use a conditioner?

  7. I had some pretty good success making a homemade flax hair gel (just flax seeds boiled in water, strained & with some vitamin E and a drop of essential oil for some fragrance). I actually really like it for when I wear my hair curly, I just hate that I have to keep it in the fridge & that it has a short shelf life. I end up blowing out my hair (with various pure oils) because I can go longer between washing- and sleeping on my curls basically wrecks them. Great article & comments. I am looking forward to trying some of the recommended products.

    • I used to have the same problem with sleep screwing up my curls. I have 3c curls that are last my shoulders. Thankfully, I found a way to do it and now I go 4 days between washing. Four whole days!
      On nights that my hair is dry I use the pineapple method (http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/kinky-hair-type-4a/how-to-pineapple-your-hair/). I’ve noticed that I get some pretty awesome volume on top now.
      I wash on the 4th night and put it in a curly tee towel (found one on amazon, pretty amazing) after putting my products in and go to bed. In the morning I just take it off and let my hair air dry while I get ready. I also never use a regular towel because it breaks my curls apart before they even have a chance.
      It’s pretty awesome for how low maintenance I like my hair routines.

  8. I, too, have long curls but not necessarily thick. I’ve been cleansing with just conditioner for years and never looked back. I use Say Yes to Carrots conditioner to cleanse and condition (I get it at Target). Just scrub the scalp and rinse, flip my hair over/down, condition, detangle and rinse. I do try to leave a bit in when I rinse. For styling I use Jessicurl products (Rockin’ Ringlets and Confident Coils). It’s been a long time since I read through the ingredients but I don’t recall any scary stuff…but I do admit I don’t want to find out now since I love her stuff! It can be a bit pricey, but I wash about every 3 days and wait for free shipping, which she offers a few times a year.

  9. I have straight hair, but my daughter has curly hair that is kinky around her hair line. She pretty much only has her hair shampooed at the salon and I stick to using conditioner at home. I use a wide tooth comb while she’s in the bath then follow up with a leave in after the excess water is squeezed out. Using only a comb was leaving pinhead sized knots in her hair so the last time she went for a trim the stylist used a Tangle Geezer brush and it got all those knots out so I bought one. I works wonders while her hair is damp and sprayed with conditioner. I also use coconut oil occasionally for a deep condition.

  10. I like Morrocco Method too, but every few months I think it is good to use something with a little bit of detergent to shampoo and kind of strip the accumulated protective oils on your hair. It felt like I had lots of styling product even though I hadn’t used ANY (although I loved the curl definition I had! ) My hair needed clarifying, and then just continue using the MM as usual. I hated how my hair was very flyaway again but after a week (2 more shampoos with the boar bristle brushing at night) my hair was healthy, glossy, and protected, and still felt clean. The boar bristle brushing is important for all hair types. It is not supposed to style, of course it will separate curls, but it will distribute oils and balance the oily scalp with the dry strands. Then you style. 🙂

    • Brushing curly hair is a no-no, it should never, ever be done.

  11. Looking forward to your limp, fine, thin, straight hair edition! Hint hint…

  12. I did no poo for a long time (maybe a year) it was never great on my scalp, for a period of time I used a watered down version of Dr. Bronner’s with some essential oils and the vinegar rinse and my scalp just go so dry and flaky. Now I’m using “shower cubes” a frozen mixture of coconut milk and aloe vera juice that I use about twice a week (to avoid the itchy, flaky scalp) from another popular health blogger. I just rub the frozen cube around on my scalp and scrub it in with my fingers, then rinse with half white vinegar half water mixture. I squeeze the excess moisture out, then I add a generous amount of argan oil and a gluten free hair cream with argan oil and other nice ingredients. I usually have good curls for at least the first part of the day. Sometimes it gets fuzzy as it gets later. I sometimes wet my hair on days in between to spark up the curl, sometimes I just enhance the flat pieces with a curling wand in between. My scalp is not perfect, it sometimes itches or flakes, I try to avoid scratching it since that makes both worse. Overall the mixture winds up costing about .50 a week to use twice a week which I think isn’t too bad. Even though I know there are some commercial shampoo/conditioners out there that are gluten, paraben and pthalate free, they still seem to have more ingredients than I’m willing to put on my flesh. I’m pretty happy with my current method and hope it continues to work for me throughout the seasons.

  13. Do you use a heat protectant for your hair before you blowdry or do any heat styling?

    • Hi Alisha! I don’t blow dry my hair, so maybe someone else who does can chime in with more particular knowledge. My sister uses mousse on her hair prior to blow drying, but not something specifically labeled as “heat protectant”.
      ~Julia

  14. What a great post about the philosophy behind curly hair care, it reminds me a lot of Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl. I have blond loose curls and find that baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse (with a little cinnamon for the smell) in combination of homemade vodka (or whiskey!) gelatin hair gel works for me. I don’t mind the slight bleaching effect of the baking soda on my blond curls, but if someone has red or brown hair they don’t want washed out, then baking soda might not be for them.

    • Hi Amy! I LOVE Curly Girl… It got me through high school 🙂
      I don’t do everything that she recommends, but my hair love is definitely informed by the book.

  15. hi.you are doing good job katie.i am getting informative values through posts here

  16. Interesting post. I use Curl Junkie or Darcy’s Botanicals products depending on the season. Tried SheaMoisture line in hopes of finding a less expensive alternative to Curl Junkie, but my hair didn’t like it as much. I also use coconut oil on the last inch of hair since it dries out the quickest.

    Julie,
    Do you go to a stylist that cuts hair using the method in Curly Girl handbook? It took me years to find somebody who would cut my hair dry or slightly damp, but the difference was incredible!

    • Hi Kim! I actually get my haircut by a barber that I found serendipitously when my normal stylist got double booked by the salon. He is Aveda-trained and I love him soooooo much! I spent a long time not cutting my hair at all because most stylists a) butchered my cut and b) butchered my scalp (I have a very tender head). My guy Hunter is gentle and he magically can see the way to cut it when it’s wet so that it really looks awesome when dry, and grows out nicely. I have actually always wanted to try a devacut, but I don’t live near a stylist that is Deva-trained 🙁
      ~Julia

  17. Thanks for sharing this! I see tons of articles on natural hair care but most are impractical for curly hair. I am mixed (black/white) with very curly hair but it’s on the thin side. I need to wash my hair about every other day because I have to put product in it – otherwise I have a frizzy mess. Right now I go to an organic salon and I use a “gel” I bought from them, but it’s very soft, more of a lotion. I also use DevaCurl products (even though this isn’t a DevaCurl salon.) I definitely can’t use creams or pomades (way too much for my hair!) but I look forward to trying some of the other products. I’m a product junkie as well!The other key is to find a hair stylist who knows how to cut curly hair!! I am so lucky that not only did I find an organic salon but my hair stylist squealed with delight the first time she saw me and my “curlies” as she calls them 🙂 Please give us follow ups!!

  18. As a curly-hair girl, I learned to never brush my hair while it’s dry! The best time to comb it like you said is in the shower while hair is wet. I use only natural shampoos and conditioners and for styling I use only a little bit of pure argan oil. Works like a charm and my hair feels light, not sticky, and natural 🙂

  19. I have had a life long struggle very VERY thick, course, curly hair and in the past few years I’ve finally found ways to easily manage it. I have gone from the curly girl method to only natural conditioner to water only. The biggest boost to my hair health has been monthly henna treatments. I do now struggle with frizz because of my thyroid issues, but flax seed hair gel has helped with that. I may start increasing henna treatments to twice a month. Henna has greatly relaxed my hair, and as it has grown out it has become more like beach waves/curls than the spiral curls I used to have. It is strong and always shiny. If you don’t want to change your hair color, you can use cassia instead of henna and add indigo to henna for jet black hair. The effects will be the same.

  20. I also have curly hair and I struggled for years trying to manage it. Solution? I went to a curly hair salon!! It was the best decision I ever made. They actually taught me how to style my hair (and showed me what I was doing wrong all these years!) No other stylist was ever able to tell me or style/cut my hair properly. They would always straighten it, which is a cop-out. Here are the products I use: http://www.frizzoff.com (I go to the salon that originated the products). The products are absolutely amazing, non-toxic and even when it’s humid outside, my hair looks great and doesn’t become frizzy. I get compliments on my hair all the time and people ask me what I use on my hair constantly. The Curl Keeper is a must.

  21. I also recommend no poo plus henna. I have thin curly hair… since I went no poo, I don’t need any other product for styling and just do the occasional bicarb/vinegar thing if it’s getting a bit too oily. I use a 50/50 mix of henna/indigo to get the colour I want, and cannot recommend this combination enough.

  22. The one item I recently purchased that has improved my hair AND skin is a filtered shower head that I found at Lowes. I have long, thick wavy hair that gets tangled a lot, and I live in an area with hard water. The first time after I showered with the filtered head I noticed my hair was softer and shinier and the faint chlorine smell was gone. I love a line of shampoo/ conditioner called Simply U that my Wal Mart used to carry but no longer stocks so I had to find something else. Now I use the Organix line, and my favorite is the biotin and collagen.

  23. I have more wavy hair than curly but I have been using a clear aloe Vera gel for years now and I’ll never buy another hair gel again. My hair stays soft while the waves are pieced together. I also just started using Nature’s Gate shampoo and conditioner. It is paraben and sulfate free. I buy it at the ThriveMarket.com but I’ve hear you can find it at whole foods too.

    • And I use a wide tooth comb right after I get out if the shower to detangle. Hair brushes are evil for curly/wavy hair

    • My husband has used aloe vera gel in his hair as a hair gel ever since we met, and loves it too!

  24. Good information but this post seems kind of like you are talking down about your curly hair. Straight hair isn’t the optimal form of beauty and us curly haired girls just have to figure out how to deal with our less then desirable strands. You seem to lack true confidence.

    • Hi Tiffany! Yikes, I hope I didn’t come off that way! I LOVE my curly hair, and have been wearing it curly for many years with confidence. I don’t think that curly hair is less than desirable, it’s just been my experience (but maybe not yours) that curly hair needs extra care that straight-haired folks don’t seem to need to worry about. That is all I was trying to convey!

      ~Julia

      • I totally understood what you were saying and you didn’t seem like you lacked confidence at all. I can tell you love your curls. ?

        I am Latina with thick, coarse shoulder length curly hair. I have attempted to go natural on many occasions but I reverted to straightening it either with chemicals but more recently with a flat iron because my hair never looked like I wanted it to look.

        My husband loves my curly hair as does my hair stylist who reluctantly proceeded to straightened my hair. A few months ago I decided to have another go at going natural.  But this time I did some research as to how to take care of it (in my 60s?). I get many compliments and I’m determined not to flat iron it ever again.  However, my hair has a mind of its own?. It doesn’t move. My curls aren’t bouncy. So, I’m little frustrated. I use the Shea Moisture products (styling milk, shampoos) as well as oil treatments and deep conditioning once a week. Maybe if I get some more length on it it’ll look better. This week I started leaving the Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner on my hair overnight a couple of times. When I rinse it off in the morning my hair feels wonderful and more manageable. I just put some jojoba oil and a little bit of the styling milk and nothing else. So far so good.

  25. I’m curious if any curly-heads have used coconut oil as a conditioner in the shower. I hear that you apply it first and let it sit then wash it out. I like that’s it’s natural but I’m curious if it’s effective.

    I have thin, wavy-to-curly hair. Oily scalp. Humid environment.

    Thank you!

    • I’ve tried it as a deep conditioner, but always had to shampoo it out. What I do now is I wait until my hair is dry and then rub a little bit of oil on my hands and gently brush through my hair with my fingers. My hair is more wavy than curly, though, so if your hair is more on the curly side, try scrunching your hair with coconut oil on your hands.

  26. This goes out to anyone with advice. I’ve switched to all natural hair care, but am really having a hard time with it. I am so tempted to go back to the chemical laden yummyness that is silicone. I’ve tried all the different natural homemade shampoos and store-bought. I finally found the shampoo I like that is natural, it cleans without stripping or making my hair a sticky greasy mess, but now my scalp is so dry it’s flaking all over the place. Literally, I’ll wash my hair and then hours go by and I’m embarrassingly flakey. I’ve tried adding oils to my shampoo, to my conditioner, AS a conditioner…I’ve tried masks directly applied to my scalp. It’s driving me absolutely insane and I’m about to give up and by me some good ol’ Head and Shoulders. If ANYONE has any advice…please, please keep me from going backward. I don’t want to go back to the chemicals, but I’m at the end of my rope.

    • Hi, Veeb,
      I also have had problems with flaky scalp while trying various natural hair care products. My curly, natural hair care “journey” has taken several years . . . and I am still experimenting, but right now I am really happy with my hair routine. Since switching to my current routine, I haven’t had any problems– maybe some of these tips will work for you, too?
      1) A big tip that curly haired tutorials usually give is to not wash your hair every day– I used to think that meant that on the days when I didn’t wash my hair I should just ignore it in the shower, but that’s not what works for me! I take a shower every day, and even though I only wash my hair with shampoo about once a week, I still take time in the shower on days when I don’t wash my hair to wet it all the way through, and massage my scalp with my fingers for a few minutes, and then stand under the shower for another few minutes to “rinse” my hair. I use a bit of conditioner to detangle and co-wash my scalp at this time. This process lifts any scalp-irritating build-up or flakes from the scalp, and I can then rinse them away. It also feels great for my sometimes itchy scalp!
      2) Other than that, preventing flakes naturally has been about finding the right product combination that works not just for my hair but also for my scalp. I tried the baking soda/apple cider vinegar washing routine for a while (about six months . . . twice), but that worked for a few months, and then my flaky, itchy problems returned, and I got frustrated and went back to drugstore brand dandruff shampoos. I’ve also tried some drugstore sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners, but these tended to leave a residue on my scalp, and didn’t help any with my flaky issues. Right now I am using the “Kinky Curly” brand of shampoo (“Come Clean”) and conditioner/detangler (“Knot Today”) as well as their hair gel (“Curling Custard”). The shampoo especially is a miracle– this stuff is completely natural and sulfate free, but it also actually cleans my hair and gets rid of build-up, unlike a lot of other curly hair shampoos that I’ve tried! I have combination 2b/2c hair, and while these products are most often recommended for tighter curls, they work perfectly for me, too.
      3) One final tip is that, especially if you’re going for natural hair care brands, to be brand-exclusive. This may sound like a sales pitch, but I swear its not! Basically, I mean that if you’re using a shampoo from one brand, use the conditioner and hair gel/cream/mousse from the same brand. Not all natural hair products play well together– using two products that aren’t meant to work together can increase build-up or weird chemical reactions on your hair and scalp. By sticking to one brand, you can make sure that all your hair products work together, not against each other.
      Hope this helps! Let me know if I can answer any other questions about my routine!

    • Your scalp might be readjusting to life without silicone. When I was in beauty school, the people with the worst scalp problems usually used something like Pantene at home. I also deal with flaky scalp so what I do is I just go to a salon and get a scalp treatment. You could also do one at home, just brush your scalp with a stiff brush to loosen the flakes (Be gentle though! You don’t want to scratch your scalp to bits!) and then get your favorite carrier oil and put a couple drops of tea tree essential oil in it. Massage the oil into your scalp for a few minutes and then rinse, shampooing if you need to. Hopefully this helps!

  27. I have medium-thin hair, chin/shoulder length, now cut in a very layered bob — it’s naturally wavy/curly on top and ringlets underneath — a little looser than Julia’s.

    For what it’s worth, here’s the routine that saved my curly hair and made it awesome:

    1. Dr Bronners hand/body pump soap (not the castille, the pump is made with sugar and shikakai and is more moisturizing. Could use the Baby/Sensitive Castille maybe)
    2. Rinse with Dr Bronners citrus rinse (have tried apple cider vinegar but it wasn’t moisturizing enough for curls and dry skin like I have). Don’t leave in.
    3. Don’t dry hair AT ALL, add Dr Bronners hair creme (a little goes a long way) — I’m sure other hair creme’s/oils would work
    5. Flip method into a t-shirt and tie up like a turban with curls all squashed fatly on the top of my head (see naturally curly website for instructions)
    6. Leave in t shirt for 10 mins while dressing
    7. Take off tshirt — Have beautiful bouncy curls that aren’t greasy, stiff or sticky but hold together and dont’ frizz

    Additional points:
    I never brush my hair
    Since using Dr Bronners my scalp has beautiful skin (not flaky fuzzy white skin like I had my entire life prior to this)
    I wash every two days
    The days I don’t wash I do get my hair wet and I do the t-shirt routine with it without any hair creme. It doesn’t look as good on the 2nd day but still pretty damn good.

    I went through a LOT of trying to figure out this routine so I wanted to share in case I can save anyone some trouble.

    • Thanks for posting, I need to try this!!!

    • Hi Elsie, thanks so much for the info 🙂 Can I do your same procedure without the t-shirt? or is there a reason for the t-shirt? Could I still get awesome curls with just the Bronner’s creme only?

      • Oh, sorry there is some special towel that you’re really supposed to use that doesn’t soak up that much water. The purpose is to “set” your curls by leaving them piled on top of your head under the towel/t-shirt. AND you want to keep them wet so you don’t use a regular towel that will soak up too much water. I definitely don’t get this definition or bounce of curls if I just put in the creme and let my hair hang down and air dry.

  28. I use a natural -ish, herbal shampoo but found it still makes my hair too dry. Then after reading this article, I realized my problem. My shampoo never fully made it to my scalp. Because the shampoo is so thick, I was basically only drying out my hair. So I found a small squeeze bottle and squirt the amount of shampoo I normally use, about a tsp., into the squeeze bottle. Then add about 5 – 10 x that amount in water. Swirl until dissolved (shaking makes too many bubbles). I then squirt it directly to my scalp in zigzags and focus on cleaning only my scalp. Then I condition as the article says, just focus on the hair, not the scalp. After shampooing this way for 3-4 shampoos (1 week), my hair is totally different. Now I can air dry my hair WITHOUT hair oils and products to get rid of frizz. They never worked well for me anyway. Now my curls are soft and smooth. 🙂

  29. Would Julia kindly share a few more photos of her hair cut? It looks like we have similar hair and face shape and I would like to show her awesome hair cut to a stylist so I can have it too. Pretty please? 🙂

    • Hi Rebecca! Ah, I’m flattered! Honestly, I was looking through other pictures of myself, and that’s probably the best view of the cut. I didn’t take a whole bunch of “just got a new cut, here are all the angles” when I first got it done. I can try to describe it, though, which might help your stylist. It’s an asymmetrical layered bob with the front coming to just at chin level and the back at collar length (I would look down and he would measure to my collar in back). It’s designed to be worn with a side part and has a lot of “movement” in the top layer (it just doesn’t look like it in this picture because I had just spent 10 days in the hospital and had nothing but conditioner on hand to style it with). I hope that helps! Sorry I couldn’t find any good pics…

      ~Julia

      • Thank you, Julia! That helps a lot!

  30. What’s your guys’ feeling about brushing curly hair in the shower? From what it sounded like, you guys OK’d it with a long-tooth comb… But I’m just wondering because I’ve read online that brushing wet hair is bad because that’s when it’s most prone to breakage. Also, do you think there are any benefits to using a “tangler teezer,” in the shower, as opposed to a comb/ brush? I have black/ latina (very curly) hair that I love and want to preserve, and keep healthy. Please help!

    • Hi Mecca! I have used a very wide-toothed comb in the shower in the past, but now my hair is so short that it just does not tangle like it used to, and so finger combing is entirely sufficient. I think you can safely comb int he shower, just make sure that you are still using the conditioner to help keep those knots soft, and maybe try to get it started by finger combing. I would also suggest working in sections if you are going to comb in the shower… I found that it minimized breakage. I would do 3 sections, but your volume of hair will dictate how many you would use. I hope this helps!

      ~Julia

      • Thank you, Julia!

  31. I have very dry, frizzy curls. At least I did, until I completely gave up on shampoo and conditioner. I have been using baking soda & vinegar on my hair for about 6 months now and I love the way my hair feels! Even in the summer, frizz is just not that big of a deal anymore (compared to what I used to have to battle when I used shampoo) and I can go up to a week without washing my hair (depending on how hot it is, if I work out a lot, etc.). It doesn’t get greasy, stinky and my scalp is never itchy. I still use products such as Argan oil and mousse or gel (depending on how I’m styling my hair) which add a nice fragrance to my hair. But I only use about half as much product as I used to, as I simply don’t need it. Even if I put NOTHING in my hair post-wash, it still looks fine. I’m not gonna lie, I do miss that feeling of sudsing up my hair with yummy-smelling shampoo, but I just can’t ignore these fantastic results I’m getting!

  32. Just wanted to add that I have had good luck with using a homemade shampoo that has castile soap and raw honey (and a few other ingredients) and then using dr bronners hair rinse! I couldn’t stand the smell of an apple cider vinegar rinse so was glad that I found the other rinse. My curly/wavy hair is soft, less frizzy and not oily (I did have a transition period though of about 2-3 weeks, but it wasn’t too bad).

  33. Hi Julia! I enjoyed this post-where do you buy the shea moisture line? I checked at whole foods and it was a no go! HELP!

    • Hi Brittney! I actually get it at Target, but a lot of drugstores and groceries have also started to carry it (in my area of the world it can be found in Walgreens and Kroger). I think Wal-Mart carries it too. It is rare to find such a high-quality and natural product at such, hm, pedestrian markets, but it truly is great stuff!

      ~Julia

  34. Has anyone on here mentioned Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve??? I’ve used it for a month, and they’re now my absolute must-have shampoo! They sell natural, handmade shampoo bars with all different formulations for hair types TONS of choices!). My curls are springy and big and bouncy, not the flatter curls I’ve had all my life. It looks like I used a curling iron the day I wash! Some people say in their comments that they never had any wave or curl, but using these bars brings it out. I love the auburn henna. And I only have to wash about 2x week, but I do it more often sometimes because I love how my hair looks wen it’s just washed.

  35. I switched to Devacurl no poo and only use shampoo about once a week. I love kinky curly products! I use knot today detangler/leave in and the curly custard. I do the “plopping” routine every time I get out of the shower. Even sleep with it sometimes.
    I went out on a limb and bought Tigi Curlipops diffuser hair dryer. Very oddly shaped and took a few tries to get used to but I wouldn’t trade it for the world now! I can’t let my hair totally air dry ever. For some reason, it is never as pretty as when I diffuse it.
    I also find that you have to switch up your routine/products every few months to get your hair to curl right. I have Tigi catwalk curl amplifier I’ve used for years, also Ouidad tress effects gel etc. I’m always experimenting but my curls are perfect right now so I’m happy. My curls are 3B

  36. Good day,
    Just a quick note … I LOVE your website!
    I have always had skin that showed reactions to products and the last few years it started increasing. Earlier this year my doctor gave me two options; a) medication OR b) I go ALL natural (face, body, hair).
    This is tricky since it is not too easy to get most of the ingredients where I live. Some of it is readily available but most of the products I have to order online and often from other countries :(.

    My hair is FINE, VERY FINE and EXTREMELY curly (cross between spirals and curls).
    I wash my hair in the following ways, varying as needed;
    1. Just water
    2. Baking soda with honey / baking soda with Lavender or tea tree oil or ‘n combination of other all natural products

    I rinse with apple cider vinegar twice a week (more often makes my hair fall out).

    I made conditioner with the following ingredients;
    Shea butter
    Coconut oil
    Avocado oil
    A few drops of Rose EO, Frankincense EO and Sandalwood EO.

    Incidentally this conditioner works wonders on your skin too 🙂

  37. I absolutely love Amiri hair cream, It is super awesome, it makes my hair smooth and smells great. I can feel that my hair looks stronger, my hair used to be curly and dry and this cream has improved the quality of my hair.

  38. I absolutely LOVE Jessicurls products. I most often use the deep conditioner and the Confident coils, it works wonders!

  39. Does anyone use Acure? They are also a natural product line of shampoo, conditioner, face washes etc. I love their Argan oil shampoo.

  40. Hi everyone! I just wanted to tell y’all my hair story. Lol!
    I have 2a-2b hair. I love it so much. It’s beautiful shade of auburn (never dyed it) and sooo easy to manage. It’s light weight and bouncy and I could literally just sleep on it and wake up and it’s great! You would probably never guess that I’m a “no-poo’er” right? Yup! I haven’t used shampoo in 3 months! I occasionally use a very small and watered down amount of silicone free conditioner on my scalp and hair. So if you’re curious as to how my hair looks this great here’s my routine:
    Befor shower: nothing
    In shower: wide tooth comb and water. About once a week or after the pool I’ll use conditioner.
    Right after shower: wrap in towel. Take towel off. Air dry. No styling or products. Nothing!!!
    Before bed: braid it (it’s about half way down my back) and snooze till morning.
    My complete morning routine:
    Un-braid hair.

    So now you all now my secrets! Simple right? Hope you try it!
    -Hali
    14

  41. Thank you so much for the article Julia! I’ve been using several of the methods you mentioned for several years now, although I’m only now switching to more natural products instead of the mainstream sulfate free lines. I do want to say that using a microfiber towel to dry my hair has made a huge difference in #1 the curliness of my hair (my curls are quite fragile) and #2 the drying time. (In fact I think I’m falling in love with my Norwex hair turban) I’m really excited to try the SheaMoisture shampoo & conditioner you mentioned!

    Thanks again,
    Bekah

  42. So for those who say not to brush curly hair, what do you guys suggest? My hair will dread if I don’t. Lol.

    • I brush it in the shower. I wash then apply conditioner. I let the conditioner sit while I do everything else then brush my hair right before I rinse it out.

    • I’m with you on that. I have massive knots at the end of a “natural” curl day. I don’t have time to rewash or rewet hair every morning, nor do I like to leave the house with a soaking wet head in 30 degree weather!

  43. I have tried numerous products as well and I am always on line looking for the next best thing. So I was doing my research and came across using KY lubricant, apparently the ingredients are very similar to Curl Keeper. So I tried it and it worked out well. The next couple days curls even looked pretty good. Any reasons why this is bad to use. I guess the main ingredient is glycerin.

    • The only major complaint I have heard about KY Jelly is that can have a smell to it that is recognizable as KY Jelly to those who are familiar with the product when used in hair. I have never used the stuff myself (my hair doesn’t seem to like glycerin very much) but I imagine that if you use it in small quantities or with other, more strongly scented products, it may not be too distinguishable as such.

  44. Hi my name is Julieanna Lillard I want to wear my naturally curly hair but I don’t know how to show my naturally hair please help

  45. I need help! I have very curly hair, and it’s fairly thick. I use SheaMoisture brand, and have no complaints. My only issue is that my hair looks great when it first dries, but within an hour or two, the top half of my hair (near my scalp, to about halfway down) just goes to crap, isn’t curly anymore and looks horrible, while the bottom half still looks curly and great. How can I fix this?

    • It sounds like you need some / more/ shorter layers to keep the weight of your hair from pulling out the curl. You can still keep your length.

    • I have a similar problem when I let my hair hang loose to dry when there is still to much water in my hair. Probably the water weighs down the top part of my hair. I can usually fix this by flipping my head upside down and sort of using my fingers to rub the top of my scalp. It sort of loosens up the top half of my hair. I usually let my hair “dry” in a turbie twist microfiber after applying styling product for about 20 min before letting it hang loose and dry the rest of the way.

  46. When my hair was long that happened to me all the time! It was sooooooo heavy that the top just got pulled straight. I found that lightening up on the products I used (or being more selective with where I used them, like avoiding using heavy creams at the ends of my hair) helped a lot. The other thing you could try (although depending on the thickness and length of your hair this may be too time consuming for you) is finger curls. Basically, when you are styling your hair, pick a lock of hair that sort of goes together, and wind the lock around your finger, starting at the the scalp and working down to the ends of the curl. I would do it while trying to keep the lock twirling straight out from my head for extra volume help, too. You can do this all over your head to all your hair, or to just a few select pieces on top that are more noticeably misbehaving. It really helps keep frizz from forming by keeping the little flyaway sections together with the longer, well-behaved curls, and can also give definition to hair that is being pulled straight by the weight of the hair below. If your hair like being blow dried/diffused, you can blow dry it at the roots to help the finger curls really set and stay nice. I hope this helps!

    ~Julia

  47. Hi everyone,

    Thank you for the great post! I’ve been reading lots of them and I was hoping I could get my head around.. My hair is quiet curly I’d say 3A in can get very frizzy is I don’t put anything on, but I algo have a itchy and flaking scalp. Is there any product that could help with both? I’m also switching from normal shampoos to free chemicals products and more natural.

    Thank you in advance! I have spent quite a lot of money already!

  48. By the way I live in Australia and it seems quite difficukt to find good natural products around here.. I though about making the products myself.. Also can I use any conditioner for co-washing? Or is it has to be one that is made for that purpose? Thank you so much in advance!

  49. Just wondering if you had any suggestions for curly, color treated hair?!

  50. I did not like Jose Marin Argan’s oil – its was too oily ! The Somaluxe Argan Oil has improved the appearance of my thick coarse hair and has made it feel really soft and tamed my wavy/curly hair. What I like most about it is that it does not leave my hair with a greasy residue the way Jose Marin Argan Oil does.

  51. Hey WellnessMama i came across you homemade shampoo and i was wondering if you’d be will to do a homemade conditioner to go with it. I’ve been looking for and good and semi-easy diy conditioner base but i have found anything i like and i was wondering if you could help me out.
    P.S. i have curly hair if that give you any indication of the type of conditioner im looking for. Also any advice from anyone on here would be helpful
    Thank You 🙂

  52. I have been Rinse only Method for about 6 months now…and WOW! My curls are AMAZING! The definition and how they hold their shape without any styling product and no frizz. I sleep with my hair in a very high loose bun on the top of my head at night and can wear my hair down several days in a row, which wasnt possible before. I only ROM once a week, for 3 years prior I no-pooed, so I only had a 2-3 week transition period. I constantly get comments on how gorgeous and curly my hair is. My long curls have become even tighter sinse starting the ROM. I also plop my hair to set my curls after my shower and washing. These two together have been game changers for me and my hair.

  53. ALSO: towel drying can destroy curl pattern. I use a 100% cotton t shirt to ‘plop’ my hair in (please look up hair plopping, it helps define curls), I rinse about once a week with a 1:8 ACV or kombucha vinegar to water ratio, but otherwose just massage water into my scalp to break up excess oils and massage the oils down the hair shaft. I use a dime size amount of coconut oil with a silicone free leave in cream for perfect curls. I also know curlies who use aloe (pure aloe) instead of gel, though I haven’t tried it myself yet.

  54. Hey Julia love the post! I am an older curly who has spent THOUSANDS of dollars on hair products that don’t work, so I am always trolling websites for new things to try. It seems my hair changes monthly and what works one month won’t work the next, but for now I am loving the LOC or LCO method listed on naturallycurly.com. For reference I am white, 48 years old, have 2c-3b curls (they’re literally wavy in some spots and really curly in others) with high porosity, thick, super fine hair that breaks easily and yes, is colored. My hair hates glycerin, shea butter, silicones, and proteins. The LOC/LCO method is: leave in, oil, and cream. Your hair type determines which ones you use, and you use the oil depending upon what works best for you.
    I am currently using As I Am Naturally Coconut Cleansing Conditioner for my co-wash. This really gets hair clean and is not as conditioning as I thought it would be, but it cleanses very well. Target has for less than $10 a tub. Then use Curl Junkie Daily Fix as a conditioner and rinse out. Kinky Curly Knot Today for leave in (but this is going away as my hair hates it), Aussie Freeze gel, and plain extra virgin olive oil from the grocery store as an oil moisture lock in (see LOC/LCO method). Aussie Freeze leaves a cast, but it can be broken up with olive oil application for softer curls after lightly diffusing to not quite dry. Curls are defined and non frizzy.
    I have purchased and am waiting on these Curl Junkie products: their Argan and olive oil conditioner, daily fix cleansing conditioner (refill ’cause I love this stuff) Beauticurls Leave in (takes the place of KCKT), and Curl Queen Gel. Also purchased Camille Rose Aloe Butter Cream.
    Planning to do: As I Am Co wash, Curl Junkie Argan/Olive Oil Conditioner, Curl Junkie Beaticurls Leave in, then olive oil, then Camille Rose Aloe Butter Cream for the LOC method to see how that works, and may switch it up to LCO (which is just putting oil on at different time in the process).
    One thing I have noticed: like you pointed out, the scalp is well oiled but the shaft isn’t, and until I started using light oil on my hair, it felt dry and waxy. When I found the LOC/LCO method on naturallycurly.com, it really helped my bone dry winter hair. I will probably switch off the oil when summer is in, as I live in a humid climate, and will change up the routine also. Like I said, I have found that like deodorants that quit working on me after a while, my hair routine has to change every so often. I also clarify and cleanse once a month with Elucence Clarifying shampoo (no sulfates or bad stuff) and Elucence balancing conditioner to make sure all the junk gets out of my hair.
    Sorry for the long post, but wanted to get the LOC/LCO method out there, some of the products that have worked well for me recently and that aren’t TOO awful expensive (As I Am, Elucence, plain olive oil), as well as my own lengthy experience with natural curls! 🙂

  55. Davines ingredients:

    Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, Acrylates Crosspolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Creatine, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Seed Extract (Chesnut), Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Glycol Distearate, Coco Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyquaternium 7, Sodium Olivamphoacetate, Di Caprylyl Ether, Lauryl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Xanthan Gum

  56. I have curly hair, really thick and really long. I had no idea that other curries deal with oily scalp. This is not a problem for me at all. I wash my hair once a week (never more) with a no-poo and then condition. My new trick is to spray my hair down with a solution I made of half water and half apple cider vinegar. After washing I saturate my hair with this mixture (I just got a big plastic spray bottle from target And I keep it in the shower). I comb that through with a wide tooth comb. Next I add a little more water and completely saturate my hair with conditioner. I always do this first thing in the shower so it can saturate while I go about the rest of the shower. I rinse my hair last. Typically I turn the water to Luke warm or colder (when I can stand it) and rinse until there is just a little conditioner left. Next, I turn my hair upside down to squeeze excess water out gently and apply 5-6 pumps of neem oil (this stuff is amazing). I put it in a towel for 10-30 min and then take the towel off, turn head upside down and apply a few more pumps of neem oil and 2 pumps or Moroccan Argan curly hair cream. I let dry naturally. I gave up on blow drying awhile ago as it takes me almost an hour to dry with a diffuser. I usually only get my hair wet one or two more times a week and when I do I just use the apple cider vinegar and conditioner and product and skip the shampoo. Usually I sleep and go and shower with a cap. If the hair looks a little unruly I use a kiehls finishing oil(just a tad to smooth fly always). It took me 27 years to find this routine and it’s SO easy, such little maintenance and works like a charm!! (Ps the dirtier my hair is the more people love it. Makes me laugh). I typically like my hair best the days following the wash and not the day of.

  57. I’ve been trying for years to find a shampoo and conditioner that works for my curly, fine, oily hair. About a week ago I found a honey shampoo recipe that’s just 1 Tbs of honey and 3 Tbs of water and you just use it on your scalp and it works wonders. I’ve been using a 50:50 ratio of water and apple cider vinegar as a conditioner it its amazing. Once a week I do the Nourishing Hair Oil recipe from Katie and my hair has never been softer. It’s not as frizzy, dry, or oily any more.

  58. For a while, I made my own hair gel by boiling flax seeds in water… I strained the seeds out of the gel & I added vitamin E, some sweet almond oil & a few drops of essential oil. It worked so beautifully on my natural curls. The only downside: it needs to be refrigerated, or it goes bad. I want to start making it again… Simple and effective.

  59. I have wavy hair. I brush my hair prior to showering to get out all the tangles Once a week I shampoo my hair with Bubble & Bee Organic’s Tea Tree and Peppermint Shampoo which is designated for dry scalp or Healing-Scents Toxin Free Body Wash/Shampoo in Citrus Fresh. I ACV rinse daily and comb with a wide toothed comb to distribute it. I use oils or Healing-Scents Conditioner on the ends and again comb to distribute it daily. When I am done plop/plunk it in a microfiber towels I got from Jessicurl awhile back while I get ready. Take it down and let it air dry the rest of the way. I tried Morocco Method but didn’t realize I was still transitioning so will retry it again in the future. I’ve heard great things about Calia Natural and Living Libations so they are on my list to try as well. Today watched a homemade ones on the Annie’s Simple Life YouTube channel and they look good so I will try them. I like to switch up my products because they become less effective if I use the same thing over and over

  60. I have thick, curly/wavy hair and used to have the worst time with dry scalp. I’ve been doing an apple cider vinegar rinse once a week on my scalp before washing for a couple years now and it has balanced out my scalp miraculously. It also helps remove residue from products and pollutants that damage hair. Just another tip I wish I had known about years ago!
    Rock on girls with curls 🙂

  61. I am having hair fall very badly for the last 1 year. i have wavy hair. please tell me how to increase my hair length and volume and eliminate hairfall.

  62. Thank you for giving several hair care processes. My son has curly hair and it’s taken me 4 years to realize he needs a different hair care routine than myself or my other children.

  63. My husband and I are “curly girls.” About 15 years ago I read a book, “Curly Girl” by Lorraine Massey – I embraced her curly hair philosophy and have not looked back.
    Discontinued my relationship with Paul Mitchell products – actually returned for a full refund $75 worth of unused product – and switched to her way of thinking.
    Avoiding all those chemicals and muscling through the first three weeks of my hair going into shock. After we got over that hump – my fine curly hair has never been happier.
    Since her first book she’s written several editions and has created her line of hair care products, BUT I still rely on her recipes for styling, scalp moisturizing and keeping thristy curls halo free.
    Vegetable glycerine mixed with distilled water is amazing. We also use coconut oil to manage the halo. Now that we’re silver haired – those unruly curls just do their thing and we’ve never been happier together!

  64. I have very curly hair. I looked like Shirley Temple when I was little. I used to hate my hair too but now I’ve learned to accept its natural beauty. #EmbracetheCurls I too LOVE Shea Moisture’s products. I use their Coconut & Hibiscus products. I like its Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Smoothie and Moisture Mist. I also LOVE DevaCurl and Paul Mitchell, but the spending can really add up. I like Shea Moisture because its affordable (I can usually find it at Ross or Marshall’s for $5 a bottle of shampoo or conditioner). I normally don’t diffuse my hair; I like to air dry it to minimize frizz!

  65. Wow, thanks for the complete guide for curly hair, I appreciate it a lot. Hahaha I have a strict program for when I wash my hair and their all planned down to the minute so I can dedicate time fro drying and styling it. I always put a diffuser over my blow dryer when I use it. NEVER use it without a diffuser. But btw you should check out Tree to Tub, they sell good organic shampoo that have no toxic chemicals and are great for curly hair.

  66. Hi,

    These tips shared on how to maintain curly hair excellent. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  67. Great tips on caring for curly hair.