Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls

When it comes to finding the right curly hair products, it can be a little overwhelming. And even with the best of products, it often takes some experimenting to find exactly what works. Today I’m sharing Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls I hope to help you better understand the testing process involved when it comes to curly hair products. 

Having curls my whole life, I have spent hundreds of dollars on curly hair products. And it can be so discouraging investing in products that don’t work or even worse damage your curls. 

So I developed a 4-step system for choosing the right curly hair products and I compiled it into a downloadable file as a quick guide to help you make an informed decision when purchasing products.

You can print this download or save it to your phone as a quick reference. 

Click here to get the 4-step cheat sheet for choosing products

Product Guide

Click here to get the 4-step cheat sheet for choosing products

My trash can was full of hundreds of fresh crisp one-dollar bills. I began to regret everything.

It wasn’t full of one dollar bills in the physical sense. 

Although to me that’s all I saw as I tossed yet another set of products that had gone unused in my shower for months until I finally decided to ditch them.

You see, I suffered from this thing I like to refer to as “had no idea what I was doing when it came to curly hair products”.

Back then, I was under the false illusion that styling curly hair had to do with spending a ton of money on fancy products. And if you couldn’t do that then you just couldn’t have pretty curls. 

But that was the farthest thing from the truth.

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You see because we live in a “this magic pill will fix your problems” society (thanks to all those fancy marketers out there) I fell prey yet again to believing that all my curly hair struggles could be solved with one simple “buy-in”. 

But that’s just now how any area of life works. 

The secret to having great curls is found in how you care for them daily. And I wasn’t putting in the work.

likewise, the secret to finding the perfect curly hair products is learning to test and experiment over and over again. 

Today, I want to break down a few simple tricks I use when trying new products to determine whether they will be a good fit for my curls. 

My favorite curly hair product line

Note: My curly hair product recommendation list is continually updated since I am always testing new product lines. 

My latest curly hair product fav is a line called EVOLVh

EVOLVh is a high-end curly hair product line that that is committed to formulating innovative products that heal your hair from the inside out. 

Many companies fill their products will harmful ingredients that act as a band-aide for your hair but don’t deal with the root issue. Long term, this causes your curls to become dependent on harsh ingredients.

EVOLVh’s products are formulated with clean ingredients that are friendly to the environment. Their goal is function and performance. 

A couple of things I love about EVOLVh

  • The products have a light pleasant smell – Strong smells in products give me a headache after a while
  • Formulated with clean ingredients – It’s a great way to swap out your toxic hair care line with a clean toxic free line
  • The products last a long time – A little bit goes a long way 
  • Free from: Sulfates, gluten, parabens, propylene glycol, silicones, phthalates
  • Hydrates, without weighing down – It’s the perfect amount of moisture for my 3a curls 
  • Medium hold – I love the super defining cream because it offers the perfect amount of hold. 

I use and highly recommend EVOLVh. You can check out my full EVOLVh product review here.

>>>>>>Click here to shop EVOLVh products 

Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning that If you purchase through clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

What is the purpose of the product 

The first thing you need to take into consideration when it comes to testing a product is what was the product designed for?

Too often, we pull a product with the intent of adding moisture when it’s been designed for hold. 

There’s a big difference between the two.

Before you get excited to try that new product, be sure to read the label and make sure the product’s purpose is to deliver the results you are looking for. 

When it comes to caring for and styling curly hair, each product plays a different role.

I have listed a brief description below to give you an idea of what products are used for:

  • Clarifying cleanser – Strips your hair of build-up, oil, and dirt. Designed to use occasionally when your hair needs a fresh start. 
  • Curl friendly cleanser or co-wash – Your go-to when it comes to cleansing your hair every week 
  • Conditioner – Detangling agent and moisture boost
  • Deep Conditioner – A moisture boost meant to penetrate the hair shaft for deep conditioning 
  • Protein treatment – Adds protein to help hair maintain the structure of your hair strand
  • Leave-in conditioner – An additional coat of moisture to help retain hydration throughout the day 
  • Curl cream – A combo of leave-in conditioner and gel. Offers moisture and some hold
  • Light gel – A product with slip and hold. Perfect for curl training or light hold 
  • Stronghold gel – Locks your curl pattern and moisture in
  • Mousse – A soft hold product that helps create volume and hold your curl pattern 

So if you are using mousse when your curls need moisture<<<insert moisture post, the chances of you ending up with stringy curls are fairly high.

Likewise, if you are adding a leave-in conditioner when your curls need hold, you will end up with limp curls. 

You need to determine….

  1. What your curls need 
  2. Which product is best to fulfill that need

To know what your curls need, you have to take the time to learn about your curls. 

And the two most important things you need to know about your curls are: 

  1. What is your hair porosity 
  2. What is the texture of your hair 

Once you’ve determined these two crucial factors, it’s easier to narrow down which product to test. 

Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls

Read the label

Products are designed for a specific purpose but also to be used in a specific way. 

If a product label says “use on wet hair” and you use it on damp hair, you may end up with product flaking or other issues. 

Rather than blame the product, be aware of how the product was intended to be used. 

Many products need moisture from water to activate which is why it will say to use on wet hair. 

Other products, like oil, for instance, need to be rubbed together to properly activate. 

If you don’t follow the instructions, you can’t possibly expect to get the full use of the product. 

One time, I purchased a curl custard that everyone raved about on Instagram. In my excitement to try the product, I failed to read the instructions. 

When my hair was completely dry all of my curl clumps were coiled together in luscious coils. 

I was so excited to fluff them out and see the results. 

But when I began to pick out my curls, I saw a flake, then another, and another.

My hair was snowing. 

That entire washday was wasted because I forget to read the label.

After reading about the product and talking to some of my curly friends, I discovered that specific product needed to be applied to super wet hair. 

My hair was damp when applied it which caused the product to not fully stick to my hair strand and caused product flaking. 

Make a habit of reading the ingredient label, product intent, and product usage before you apply it to your hair so you don’t end up with a washday fail like me.

Premix Test

When it comes to pulling products from different lines, doing a premix test is super important. 

Because when you cross-match product lines, you run the risk of throwing your curls off balance. That’s not to say it can never be done. 

I have a few fail-proof products that my hair loves.

But you have to know your product and your hair well before you can successfully marry products. 

One test you can do when pulling from different product lines is a premix test. 

Simply apply a dime-sized amount of each product together on the back of your hand and mix it. 

If it mixes seamlessly with a smooth consistency, it’s a good indication that those products will mix well on your curls. 

But if there air bubbles and or lumps after you mix, then that could be a good indication that those products won’t sit well together on your hair strand.

Make a habit premixing product on your hand before you apply them to your hair.

Track everything 

Because there are so many factors that go into having curly hair, I always recommend tracking your progress. 

Especially if you are just getting started or if you are trying a completely new product line. 

You will want to keep detailed notebooks of these things…

  • The dew point in the weather (yes, this affects your curls) read more here
  • What technique you use to apply products
  • A weekly schedule of when you will wash your hair and what products and treatments you will use
  • What was the outcome of your washday
  • A list of each product used
  • What would you change next time to better your washday

By planning out your week, it enables you to schedule your washday around events as well as plan out what treatments you will use and when.

I cannot tell you how many times I didn’t plan my wash day and ended up either having to do a refresh or go with 5 day-old oily curls.

Neither scenarios are fun.

One of the best things you can do to ensure that your curls are getting any special treatments needed (like deep conditioning and protein) is to put your washday into your schedule and make it non-negotiable.

When it comes to tracking your progress, 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 has been an amazing tool to help with product testing. 

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

>>>>>>>>>>You can get a copy of the Daily Curl Tracker Here

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 🙂

Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls

Commit to using a product for at least two weeks (but a month is better)

Resist the urge to toss a product if it doesn’t work the first time.

I know it can be frustrating to take the time to style your hair and not get the results you want. But sometimes you need to tweak the way you are using a product before you can find what works for your curls. 

And sometimes it takes your hair a little time to adjust to new products. 

Rather than give up on a product, commit to trying different amounts and application techniques before you do.

There have been so many times that I was about to give up on a product but ended up getting the best results by simply tweaking how I used it. 

I highly recommend going through the entire bottle and tracking how your hair is reacting before you make a decision.

Break the rules 

Now that you know what to look for when it comes to testing products, it’s time to break the rules.

Because after all, rules are for suckers. 

Like anything in life, rules are good to set a foundation and get a grasp on a topic. However, breaking rules is many times where the magic happens. 

I mean, what would have happened if Nike was so concerned with proper English that they never trademarked the sentence fragment “just do it”?

Got milk? Sounds like yet another sentence fragment to me. Yet those two trademarks have paved the way for powerful branding. 

My point is not that proper English is useless. Rather that there is a time and a place for rules. 

Many times success lies just beyond the rules that are dared to be broken.

It’s the same with testing curly hair products. 

If a product is too heavy, try moving it up in your routine. Use that deep conditioner before you cleanse. By switching up when you use it, the cleanser will take a slight edge off the heaviness of that product. 

And it will sometimes make for the perfect combination. 

Is that gel just too heavy for your curls? Try adding water to your hands and mix it to create a light hold gel with all the benefits of the stronghold. 

Or even try mixing it with a leave-in conditioner. 

Remember how we talked about product usage? Yeah, that rule can be broken too! 

I always recommend to start by using the product for what it was designed for, but you can switch it up. 

If you are following the user instructions and not getting the results you want, don’t be afraid to change the game. 

You may just find a secret application that changes everything for your curls. 

Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls

In Conclusion:

When it comes to product testing, there is a level of trial and error involved.

But there are a few steps you can take to get the most out of testing each product. 

Be sure you know exactly what the product’s purpose is. Example: Don’t use a moisturizing product when you really need hold.

Always read the user label. They are there for a reason and if products are not used properly you could end up with a flakey mess. 

And nobody wants that. 

When combining product lines, do a quick premix test. This will give you a good idea if your products will mix well or not. 

A tracking system is essential to see success in any area of life. Same with having curls.

Keep a detailed log so you will be able to look back and see your progress as well as what works and what doesn’t on your curls. 

When it comes to testing products, stick it out rather than throwing in the towel. Because finding the perfect combination for your curls can take some testing. 

You may be surprised to find out that your favorite product may end up being the one you thought wasn’t working by simply experimenting with new application techniques. 

And at the end of the day, rules are for suckers. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and experiment. Many times success lies just beyond the rules that are dared to be broken.

Xoxo

Colleen

P.S >>>>>>>>>>Click here to get the 4-step cheat sheet for choosing products

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Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls

3 thoughts on “Curly Hair Products: How To Test And Experiment On Your Curls”

  1. Hi Colleen! My name is Ashley. I love your curly content and would love to join your Pinterest group board ‘Curly Girl Method.’ My Pinterest is called Spiraling Into Control- I’m new to blogging and I’m trying to find ways to contribute to the curly community and help people embrace their natural hair! Can’t wait to hear from you!

    Reply
  2. Hi! My name is Ashley and I emailed you earlier about joining your group board. I included my website but I just got my own domain so it changed. I have included the new website below. Thank you!!

    Reply

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