Haircuts for Naturally Curly Hair – Part 3 of 3

Today’s post is the last installment on how to take care of Naturally Curly Hair.

In the first post, I shared some of the tools you need for caring for your curly hair, (along with grocery store products that work).

The second post was all about how to style your hair.

And today’s post is all about haircuts for naturally curly hair.Continue Reading

Curly Hair Styling Tips – Part 2 of 3

I’m so excited to share be continuing this series.  I think this series is really going to help you party curly hair!

Last time, I covered the challenges of naturally curly hair as well as products to use.

Today, I’m sharing my curly hair styling tips.


But first, there are 2 important guidelines to follow when dealing with curly hair.

1.  Don’t  brush your curly hair.  There are a couple reasons for this.  First of all, the dryness of curly hair makes it more prone to breakage. Also there is a propensity to frizz up.  We don’t like frizzies.  You can use a wide tooth comb in the shower when your hair is full of conditioner.  Never brush your hair when it is drying.

2.  Don’t blow dry your hair.  Of course you can blow dry your curly hair if you intend to straighten it, but if want it to have your natural curl shine through, you need to unplug the hair dryer.  I for one do not like looking like a wet dog but a blow dryer will just cause your hair to frizz and poof up.  (it can also damage it)  When you see how I recommend styling, you’ll realize why a blow dryer is your enemy.  One thing though, *if you really need to speed up your hair drying* use a defuser and try not to blow your hair around.

There are 2 basic routines I follow for my hair.

1st Up *Wash* Days

Wash Hair With Conditioner.  I talked a little about how to wash your curly hair WITHOUT shampoo here. Remember this is the time to comb your hair (when it is full of conditioner).  Most of the time I just use my fingers but, again, you can use a wide tooth comb. When rinsing your hair, you want to leave a little bit of conditioner in it.  This helps with frizzies and dryness.

Remove Excess Water.  After you have rinsed, you are going to squeeze the excess water out by scrunching your hair. I grab a large section of hair at the end and scrunch it up towards my scalp. All the while, you want to squeeze the excess water out.  This helps to relieve weight off of the curls and aid in them going to their natural curly bounce. Next I wrap my hair in a towel for a few minutes.  The Curly Girl Handbook recommends a microfiber turban.  I used that for a while but didn’t notice much difference from my regular terry cloth towel.

The main thing to keep in mind is you don’t want to work with overly dry hair and the right amount of moisture is important.  I try to get my hair out of the towel and fixed while it is still wet by NOT dripping.  If it is too dry, it is frizzy and less cooperative for styling.

Apply Oil to Hair.  Next apply Shea Moisture Argon oil onto hair. This product comes in a squirt bottle, but I find it’s better to just pour small amounts and smooth it directly on the hair.  Pay special attention to the dryer areas of your hair (mine happen to be around my face, the hair ends, and the crown of my head).

Apply Styling Gel.  After the oil, use an appropriate amount of styling gel (I like TreSemme).  Personally, I have very thick, long hair so I need to apply about half of a palmful but adjust as needed.  Avoid placing gel near your scalp and instead focus on your hair lengths and ends.

Part Hair.
 Once all the product has been applied your going to section your hair in half.  Below is a picture of my hair at this stage.  Everyones curls are unique this is jut to give you an idea of what my hair looks like at this stage.


Twist Ringlets. After parting, grab chunks of hair about 2-3 fingers diameter and start twisting the sections to form ringlets.  Alternate the direction of the twisting to get a more random look. At this point you will be able to tell if there is either too much or not enough gel.  Generally, if there is not enough gel, the curls will not hold their shape from your twisting and will un-twist.  Apply more gel as needed.

This is how my hair looks after I’ve twisted all the ringlets on the one side.

curly-hair-ringletsLet Hair Air Dry.  Do NOT touch your hair until it is dry.  The more it is touched and messed with, the more frizzy and out of control it will become.

Separate Curls.  The look you have going now is similar to Shirley Temple.  You may like that, if so, leave it but it doesn’t fit me.  So you’ll separate the curls. Here is my hair dry before separating…


And here is my hair dry AFTER separating…


It is a subtle difference, but matters in my opinion.

So that’s it for how to style Day 1 Curly hair.

Now for the Day 2 or Day 3 Hair


If you have longer curly hair, and plan on not *washing* your hair the next day, it’s important that you sleep with your curls protected.

You don’t have to get all crazy about it but if you hair is long enough, you want to do a very high loose ponytail so your curls sit safely at the top of your head.


This way the curls are relatively intact the next morning and you can restyle it without having to *wash* hair again.

The next morning, take your hair down…


It’s not terrible…but definitely bedhead.

For Day 2 and Day 3 Hair, I use this product…


Shea Moisture CES (Curl Enhancing Smoothie)

(I PROMISE I don’t own stock in Shea Moisture, I just love all their products that I have tried).

Take a small glob of the CES  and smooth it over hair to get tame down any dry or frizzy sections.  Some sections of hair will likely need to be re-twisted.  Add a little gel and water to those sections and if the CES doesn’t help conform those stubborn curls.



After I’m done smoothing out my hair it looks something like this…


At this point, it’s still a little wet and I try to leave it alone while it dries.  The end product is this…


On Day 2 Hair or Day 3 Hair, I often use a claw clip to loosely hold my hair back. Some days my curls last and I’m able to wear my hair down just as I do with Day 1 Hair.

For my hair, I *wash* it every 2 to 3 days.

So that is it for my curly hair styling tips.  It was a quick run down through years of trial and error.

Part 3 of the 3-part series is next, where I cover haircuts for naturally curly hair.



What to Do With Curly Hair – Part 1 of 3

All-About-Curly-Hair-Part-1-of-3I have fought my curly hair for years.  I really wish someone would have given me the low-down on what to do with curly hair.  I wish I would have had this information when I was younger.

Believe me, I’ve had my share of bad hair days.

Come to think of it, I really had bad hair YEARS.

I’ve also had a slew of bad hair cuts.  All of them were basically attempts to tame my tresses.  In fact, when I was 4, my mom butchered chopped off my cherub curls.  I looked like a little boy and neither of us knew how to manage my curls.

The reality is curly hair can be very difficult to care for IF you fight the curl or don’t understand what your hair needs.

But back to my curly hair…it was bad people. Really really bad! The picture below is me in that boy haircut.  I’m the boy on the left.


My hair was kept short until I was about 9 or 10. By then I had finally talked my mom into letting me grow it out.

For years I fought the curly hair. I always had it tied back and never let my hair down – literally.

Just before joining the Air Force, I chopped it to a bob and straightened it everyday. It still wasn’t right but I finally had the straight hair I longed for. When I joined the military, I cut it even shorter to a boy haircut again and straightened it as best I could. I was desperate and didn’t know what else to do to keep my hair under control.

Turns out humidity (I was first stationed on Guam) and straightened naturally curly hair are not a great combo, but I survived somehow and even got a few dates.

I finally decided to grow my locks out.  What do ya know…Mark loves me in long hair so I’ve pretty much had to learn how to deal with it over the years.

BUT for the past 5 years I’ve not just dealt with it, I’ve learned to embrace it.

I have found that there are really 2 things that make or break a curly head of hair.

  • Dryness
  • Control Issues

This is the first installment of 3, I cover how to wash your curls and what tools work the best.  The next, will be all about how to style your curly hair. And the last one is all about how to tell your stylist to cut your hair (if you’re looking for a long style).

So without further adieu…

How to Wash Curly Hair

1.  Give Up Shampoo.  Curly hair is just naturally dry and that is because of the structure of curly hair.  No way around it.  Curly-haired folks NEED to apply more moisture to their hair and avoid harsh shampoos.  I opt for NO-POO.

You read right.

I do NOT shampoo my hair.  Seems crazy? But believe me, I CANNOT shampoo my hair.  If I even shampoo my hair twice a week, it becomes very brittle and damages quickly.  Not only that, but it is frizzy and out of control.

It sounds gross, but if you have curly hair, you understand the dryness and need for moisture. Without shampoo, my hair is not funky. I don’t have any problems from not using shamPOO my hair.  But trust me, my hair is not nasty and neither will yours be.

2.  Wash With Conditioner.  So what do I do? I wash my hair every couple of days with conditioner.  I put a generous amount of conditioner in my hair and scrub my scalp.  I then run my fingers through my hair to remove any tangles.  I rinse out most of the conditioner but leave a little in there since my hair is a moisture hog.

3.  Periodically Clean Scalp. Every 2 weeks or so, I scrub my scalp with a  conditioner/sugar scrub mixture. I can tell when I need to scrub my scalp because it starts to get a little itchy.

For the scalp scrub, mix 1 tablespoon sugar to 3 tablespoons conditioner to make a paste and scrub that into my scalp followed by a good rinse.

Curly Hair Products ~ From the Grocery Store


At the time of writing this, I hadn’t found a salon-formula that I loved and we were on a strict budget.  I had been using grocery store hair products for years. I used 3 products on my hair and they were life savers.

  • Conditioner – TRESemme Moisture Rich Vitamin E formula.  It’s reasonably priced and gets the job done.  **UPDATE:  I’ve switched to a paraffin-free conditioner from Costco (Kirkland’s Signature) LOVE it as far as a grocery store brand conditioner goes.
  • Oil – I use an Argon oil blend by Shea Moisture, Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Elixir (it’s available from Target).  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this stuff!  I put it on just before I put gel on my hair (but I’ll get into that in the next post)
  • Styling Gel – I still use my TRESemme #4 Tres Gel.  The hold is just right.  #5 makes my hair crunchy, and #3 is not strong enough.  Just call me Goldilocks.

Recommended Reading

Curly Girl Handbook.  I cannot recommend this book enough!  It is full of so much information.  I read it years ago and what an eye-opener.  I’ve found what works for me from the book and made my own way.  If you have curly hair, this book is a great starting point!  It is packed with loads of information.

The author breaks curly hair down into seven 7 different types of curls.  For each type they have very specific tips and hints to work with your curl. The book has been updated from years ago when I first read it and it has even more valuable information.

Everyone with curly hair should have this book!  It also contains hair recipes and helps for getting a good cut along with other valuable information.

Here are some photos from the book to give you a peek inside.


Next we’ll cover curly hair styling tips

Until next time,