The Curl Routine.
1) Use your cleanser as directed. Do not use a regular shampoo!
The biggest mistake that we do to our curls is to shampoo them. Many regular shampoos contain sulfates (Sodium lauryl sulfate or Ammonium lauryl/laureth sulfate, etc.). These are detergents that clean your hair by stripping away oils. Curly hair does not produce a lot of oils and can easily become overly dehydrated. Frizziness is the sign that your hair is dehydrated. Why are we stripping away our natural oils only to try to add the oil back in with products? Be sure to use a gentle cleanser without sulfates. We tend to overly clean our hair so there should be no reason to rinse and repeat.
2) Use your fingers to detangle your curls in the shower, not a comb
We lose anywhere from 75 to 100 hairs a day. Curlies can lose double that when using a comb, pick, or brush. Curly is an extremely weak hair type. A comb or brush can pull out hair that is not ready to jump ship. By using our fingers as a comb, we can gingerly remove any tangles when our hair is loaded with cleanser or, better yet, conditioner.
3) Condition your hair and leave in (silk to seaweed)
Preventing frizz should be our top priority. We were taught to rinse the hair squeaky clean. This does not work for curly. Curly hair is consistently searching for moisture. If it doesn’t have enough moisture, it will act like a sponge and pull it from the air which will cause your curls to look frizzy. So, we must leave in some of our daily conditioner. The following gauge will help you in determining how much to leave in: silk to seaweed. Before jumping in the shower, be sure to find out what the dew point will be for the day. Dew point is the most accurate measure of moisture content in the air. When the dew point is low (30 and under), go silky. When it is high (60 and over), go seaweed (slimy). This will take some practice on your end to know how much to leave in to get you to your acceptable frizz factor.
These articles are helpful in explaining the difference between humidity and dew points:
4) Right out of the shower, scrunch the excess water from your hair
Do not rub, or wrap your curls dry. Think of your curls as clay. When curls are wet, they are at their most malleable. If we wrap it in a turban, it takes that shape instantly and that moisture we want to lock in the hair is now being absorbed into the towel. Instead, you should scrunch your curls dry using a t-shirt or a micro fiber towel. Do this from ends to roots while head is flipped upside down or going from side to side.
5) Apply gel
In the past when trying to control our curls, we tended to use too much of a heavy gel leaving the curls crunchy. The truth is that the gel is there to lock in the moisture. If you leave in the proper amount of conditioner, you do not need a lot of gel. Start applying your gel by using about the size of quarter anywhere from 2 to 3 times scrunching from ends to roots. You should apply the gel in small dosages for even distribution. Try not to re-scrunch with a towel after applying the gel because you will only be removing the product.
6) Use hair clips to obtain height
The top of our hair seems to always go flat. To help avoid this, you should clip the roots during the drying process to give your hair height and to help the drying process. Just like hanging cloths on the line to dry, we can also hang our curls to dry. Using your fingers, pinch at the root, lift, and then place the clip at your finger tips.
7) Air dry or use a diffuser
Using a diffuser is okay but be sure you do not physically touch the curl with the diffuser until it is at least 70 to 80% dry. Just hold the diffuser further out until that point otherwise you might break up the curl and cause frizziness. Gently tilt your hair to the side and keep the diffuser at bay.
8) Deep condition at least once a week or as often as you can
This could easily be done during the day. You should start by wetting your hair and then towel dry using the scrunching method. Get out a good amount of the moisture. Apply your conditioner until it feels like seaweed. Gently wrap it into a bun and add a plastic cap past the hair line. Then simply apply a scarf or bandana and go on with your day.
If you don’t have the time for it during the day, try doing this while you sleep. Apply your conditioner on DRY hair (no one likes to sleep with wet hair!), coat it until it feels like seaweed, add plastic cap past hair line and get some shut eye. In the morning, rinse out and dry as usual.