Curly/Wavy Hair: Wash Day Tips For Soft Frizz-Free Curls

When it comes to having great curls, everything rises and falls on a bomb washday. Having the ability to choose the right products and really nail your washday will determine the health of your curls and how long you can wear them. Every curl girl knows the struggle of spending hours on your hair only to end up with stringy curls. Today I’m sharing Curly/Wavy Hair: Wash Day Tips For Soft Frizz-Free Curls. My goal is to empower you to know exactly how to rock your washday.

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This guide will help break down the process of caring for and styling curly hair.

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When I started my curly girl journey, I felt so confused about what kind of cleanser, conditioner, and products would be best for my hair. 

Terms like clarifying cleanser and co-wash are often used in the curly world. I didn’t know the difference nor the purpose of each product. 

I’m not someone who wants to buy a bunch of products before I do my research on them so I was hesitant to make a purchase just because people were talking about certain products. 

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Because I tend to be a minimalist by nature, I wanted to start the curly girl method with as little products as possible. I really wanted to take my time and learn about my curls while experimenting with both drugstore and high-end products. 

And I wanted to take my time. 

After many months of research, trial, and error, I’ve finally been able to nail my wash day consistently, and know exactly what products my hair likes and dislikes.

As a point of reference, my curls are made up of 2b-3a curls throughout my head. I have medium density and fall somewhere in the medium-coarse category regarding texture.

I like to describe my curls to readers in a decent amount of detail so you will have a good idea of my curly type and texture.

That way, If your hair is similar to mine (or even a bit more wavy or curly) some of my recommendations may be a good fit for you.

As always, all curls are different. You will need to test and experiment with what works best for your curls. 

Curly/Wavy Hair: Wash Day Tips For Soft Frizz-Free Curls 

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Choose the right cleanser

Understanding how cleansers work is an important step for wash day. If you are using the wrong cleanser it can dry out or over wash your curls which will strip them of all the natural oils they need to thrive. 

Below I’ve broken down each cleansing type in greater detail. 

Clarifying Cleanser

A clarifying cleanser is used for the sole purpose of removing any build-up, dirt, or oil. Its main purpose is to cleanse your scalp and can be drying to your hair strands. 

Because of this, when you use a clarifying wash, you should focus primarily on your scalp and always follow up with a deep conditioning treatment. 

Signs that you may need to clarify are…

  • Limp curls 
  • Excessive or dry frizz
  • Recently went swimming
  • Dry or itchy scalp
  • Hair feels weighed down
  • Hair is more oil than usual even after cleansing
  • A dull residue throughout your hair
  • Low porosity hair will get more product build-up than others

It’s important to use a clarifying wash from time to time to keep your curls healthy. I recommend doing a clarifying wash to start your curl journey as well as at the beginning of each month. 

This is a great way to start each month with a clean slate.

In the first week of the month, I schedule a clarifying wash in my calendar (yes, I do keep a curl schedule that looks like this).

Curly/Wavy Hair: Wash Day Tips For Soft Frizz-Free Curls 

On the day that I clarify, I let my hair air dry with no product in it. This helps give me an idea if my hair is lacking moisture or protein. <<<<Add protein moisture post. 

Then I make a note of what my hair needs, schedule out my wash week around any upcoming events, and experiment by adding more protein or moisture to my routine. 

These are two great clarifying shampoo options

Moisturizing Or Gentle Shampoo

If you have wavy to curly hair, a moisturizing or gentle shampoo is what you will use throughout the week.

You will see curly girls around the internet that can stretch their washday for up to 5-8 days. I encourage you not to get caught up in the “who can go longer without washing their curls” bit. 

If you can go multiple days without washing then that’s great. 

But some curlies are not able to stretch their washes that long and it’s perfectly ok. 

I will usually go 3-4 days without washing. 

You will need to find out what’s right for you. Typically speaking, you will want to wash your hair two to three times per week.

Using a moisturizing wash helps to cleanse without drying. 

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These are two very popular moisturizing cleansers. I’ve used both and like them equally. 

Co-Wash

The idea of a co-wash seemed very confusing to me when I was first researching about the curly girl method.

Co-wash: Using a conditioner product in place of your shampoo. Also known as co-wash.

You need to be careful when it comes to doing a co-wash because if you are using any old conditioner or leave-in the conditioner, it can irritate your scalp. 

There are co-wash products on the market that are designed to replace your cleanser. So if you are going to co-wash, you’ll want to use a product that is designed to cleanse your curls. 

Co-washing is too heavy for my hair which 2c-3a curls. 

I’ve used multiple co-wash products and they always seem to irritate my scalp or weigh my curls down if I use them consecutively. 

If you have wavy hair a co-wash may not be for you. 

This is a super popular co-washing product

Important Note: Always track how your hair reacts to each new product you are introducing to your curls

Be sure to keep a detailed log of any new products and techniques you are using daily. This will help you determine exactly what your hair needs. 

Keeping a detailed log of your curl journey is super important especially when you are introducing new products. 

So much of having great curls has to do with knowing exactly what your curls love and what they do not like. 

You can easily keep track of your curly girl journey with a pen and paper but if you want to get fancy, I created a custom daily curl tracker to help guide you on your journey.

This Daily Curl Tracker Includes…..

  • A Curl assessment that will give you a good idea of your starting point
  • Before and after section – to document and compare photos of your progress
  • A “how-to guide” on how to get the most out of the My Miracle Curls Daily Tracker
  • 32-day reusable daily tracker
  • Weekly curl schedule to help you plan out your wash days, treatments days, and refreshes
  • Detailed daily routine to track what products you used and how you applied them, and what the dew point in your area is (yes, that affects your curls too)
  • Daily inspirational quote about curly hair Additional notes
Curl Tracker

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psst – You can get a discount on my curl tracker if you join my email list. But don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our little secret 🙂

Choose The Right Conditioner 

Conditioning is one of the most important steps during your washday. This was another thing I was a little confused about when At the beginning of my curly girl journey.

Do I use a regular conditioner before a deep conditioner? When Do I Use a leave-in? What do I do if my conditioner is too heavy for my hair? These among others were all questions I found to be a little confusing. 

Regular Conditioner 

A regular conditioner is one that you typically grab for on wash day. It contains enough moisture to add hydration to your hair but not enough to deeply penetrate the hair shaft.

I always recommend using a duo cleanser and conditioner from the same line because they are designed to complement each other. 

Meaning that most hair products are meant to be used with each other to balance moisture and protein. 

That’s not to say you can never pull from different product lines. 

You certainly can. But keep in mind when you do, you run the risk of ending up with too much protein or too much moisture. 

These are a couple different product duo’s that I recommend for curly or wavy hair

Deep Conditioner And Masks

The purpose of a mask and or deep conditioner is to add moisture and nutrients back into your curls. Depending on the porosity of your hair, your curls may lose moisture and protein quickly. 

Doing a deep conditioning treatment or mask is a way to add those necessary elements back into your curls which make them bouncy and frizz-free.

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I always recommend starting with a deep conditioning treatment once per week and adjusting as needed. 

If your hair is wavy, that may be too much. But if you have hair similar hair to mine or more curly, a weekly deep conditioning treatment is essential. 

My two favorite deep conditioning treatments are

Important Note: Keep in mind that any time you try a new product, don’t write it off if you don’t get the results you want right away. 

I try to use an entire container before I decide on a product. If it’s too heavy, try adding it to the front of your routine. Meaning use your deep conditioner first, then follow up with your cleanser. 

Rules are meant to be broken. So don’t be afraid to try something new.

I’ve gotten some of the best results by tweaking when I use a product in my washday lineup. 

Just be sure to keep a detailed log of how your hair is reacting to each application. Then you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

Leave-In Conditioner Or Curl Cream 

A leave-in conditioner is designed to stay on your curls keeping them moisturized throughout the day. 

When it comes to adding protein to your curls, products that stay on do the most amount of good. So if you need a protein boost, reach for a leave-in that has protein in it. 

A leave-in conditioner should be the last step in your washing process and the first step in your styling process.

I apply mine right before I get out of the shower by squeezing out excess water, then applying the leave-in. I like to let it sit for a bit before I start styling my curls. 

This is my favorite curl cream because it adds moisture without weighing my curls down.

Choose The Right Treatment 

You will never have great curls until you take the time you learn about them and experiment with different products. Only then will you be able to find out exactly what your curls need. 

Most new curly girls will immediately grab for moisturizing products because it makes sense. Curls need moisture, everyone knows that. 

But one missing link to gorgeous curls is adding protein as well. Curls are made up of 80-85% keratin which is protein. Protein is what gives your hair strand structure. 

If you are not adding protein to your curls, you could end up with a moisture overload which is why it’s super important to keep track of how your curls are reacting to products.

As always, this varies from person to person because no curls are the same.

Just be aware that your hair needs both. 

If your curls don’t curl as much as they used to, or feel mushy toward the end, you need to add protein to your routine. 

My favorite way to add protein is my doing a fermented rice water rinse.

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In Conclusion 

Having a bomb washday has a lot more to do with planning than it does luck. 

Start by learning about the texture and porosity of your hair. This will help you better understand what products will work on your curls.

Clarify once per month to start with a clean slate and then use a moisturizing cleanser or co-wash to gently cleanse your curls without stripping them of their natural oils which are essential for healthy curls. 

Carefully choose and experiment with different conditioners and how often you need to do a deep conditioning treatment on your curls. 

Find a leave-in that will add moisture without weighing your curls down or making them stringy. 

And lastly, try adding a protein treatment to your curls from time to time to replenish your curl structure. This will make your curls more “curly”.

Xoxo

Colleen

P.S >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Get your FREE Curly Girl cheat sheet here!

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Curly/Wavy Hair: Wash Day Tips For Soft Frizz-Free Curls

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