After spending hours on the internet, sifting through countless articles and tutorials on curly/wavy hair care, it can feel a little…heavy.
What started out as “I think I want to wear my natural hair pattern” turned into a super complex “I don’t even know where to start” conundrum in one quick hurry.
Talk about going down a rabbit hole!
There’s nothing like a blast of super complex (and often conflicting) content to make you feel confused about something that is actually quite simple.
What if I told you that I can teach you how to simplify curly wavy hair care if 5 simple steps?
My goal since day one has been to clear some of the content clutter out of the way and bring you curly/wavy hair care in its most simple form.
Because if there is one rule I live by when it comes to creating content, it’s this.
“Confuse you lose”
Too many curly/wavy woman have thrown in the towel because it’s just too dang confusing.
So, in order to better serve my readers I have developed a simple 5 step framework to curly hair care that will give you the necessary fundamentals to truly have great curly/waves.
Today I will be breaking down this 5 step proven system into actionable steps to get you the results you deserve without confusing the heck out of you.
And I even came up with a fancy acronym to make it easy to remember.
You can actually join my FREE Facebook group where we discuss this entire process as well as many other curly/wavy tips and tricks.
5 Steps To Simplify Curly/Wavy Hair Care (type 2a-3a)
STEP ONE: Carefully access and learn about your curls
The #1 rookie mistake I see people make (myself included) when wanting to start wearing their hair naturally is to run out and get all the hair products. Which is followed by a disaster of a washday which leads to feeling defeated after spending all that time and money just to get started.
The very first thing you need to do before you purchase any products at all is understand your hair, it’s current condition, and what it needs.
I designed a super helpful “curl assessment” tool in my “Curly/Wavy Masterclass” workbook. You can get the workbook for free by clicking here.
Important note: When it comes to understanding your hair, it’s important to not get hung up on your curl type. This is something that has been incredibly over complicated on Youtube and Instagram.
Technically, curl types range from 2a-4c. However I don’t believe it is super important that you know EXACTLY what “type” your hair falls into for a couple reasons.
1) It’s super common to have multiple curl patterns throughout your head and 2) trying to get super specific can get confusing.
I like to group hair type into 3 main categories: Wavy, curly, coily.
You’ll notice I use the term curly/wavy often because a lot of people (including myself) fall into one or two categories. My hair for example is truly curly wavy.
You’ll find waves and spirals throughout my head on any given day.
So for the sake of keeping this framework simple, rather than feeling super confused about your curl type, I want you just to choose between one for the three listed above, or a combo like “wavy/curly” “curl wavy” “curly coily”.
The second thing you need to know about is your hair is the texture. Is your hair fine, medium or coarse? This will give you a baseline of how much moisture your hair can support. It also plays a role when choosing products.
Next, you want to make a note of the current condition of your hair. Ask yourself questions like:
- Is you hair dry?
- Is it damaged?
- How often do you use heat?
- Is it colored?
Each of these questions will give you a good idea of the current condition of your hair and what type of treatments would support it best.
Lastly, it’s important that you set a goal. Because having healthy hair won’t happen in one wash. Write down what you would like to achieve in the next 30 days with your hair, make a plan to achieve that goal, and stick with it!
STEP TWO: Use consistent healthy hair habits
The “U” in C.U.R.L.S stands for “use consistent healthy hair habits”.
The name of the game is consistency! It’s so tempting to make a dramatic shift to compensate from years of damage.
For example: Anyone who has spent even 5 minutes learning about curls will tell you that YOU NEED MORE MOISTURE!!
However, this is a little misleading and can even be damaging.
When you jump into your curly girl journey and start using a deep conditioner, followed by a leave-in conditioner, and then top it off with oil because your hair seems so dang dry, it can lead to hygral fatigue.
Which means you’ve added too much moisture/water and can damage your hair shaft.
Now you don’t need to be too worried because hygral fatigue doesn’t happen overnight and you will see a ton of warning signs. But it’s something that not everyone talks about.
Most people are not even aware that curls need two elements to thrive. Moisture AND protein. And if one or the other is off, your curls will not be happy.
My point in telling you this is that having great hair takes time.
You can’t go from neglecting, over-processing, and heat damaged curls, to bouncing, frizz-free spirals overnight by a few deep conditioning treatments.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, curly friend….
When it comes to having gorgeous curls, the best thing you can do is use consistent healthy hair habits and over time, you will see results.
So rather than getting all the moisturizing products, instead set up a daily and weekly schedule of healthy habits and stick to them.
There are many different habits we could talk about but today but I want to stay focused on these 5 steps to simplify.
If you would like to know how to establish healthy habits, you can get my FREE workbook that walks you through exactly what habits you need to establish to produce healthy hair.
In this workbook, there is an entire section on creating healthy habits including how to create a schedule that ensures your hair is getting everything it needs to thrive!
STEP THREE: Right techniques are crucial for healthy curls
Now that we’ve set some key foundational steps in having great curl/waves, it’s time to move on to a fun topic…
……and that is how to apply curly hair products.
The “R” in the C.U.R.L.S framework stands for “right techniques are crucial for healthy curls”.
long ago, I remember stopping girl’s in the store who had pretty curls and asking what products they used.
Back then, I was under the impression that If I had a magical product, my curls would be pretty.
That is only partially true.
Don’t get me wrong, the right products play an important role in the life of a curly girl, but they will only be as good as the user.
How you apply products and treatment to your curls is a game changer on your curl journey. And when it comes down to application techniques it’s important to remember that because all curly hair is so different, what works for me may not work for you.
SOOO many times it is not a product problem but a user problem.
But before we get started I want to tell you that applying products isn’t nearly as complicated as many people make it seem.
A few things to keep in mind…..
Always read the application recommendations on the bottle since some products need to be applied to wet hair while others can be sprayed on damp or dry.
When it comes to application techniques it comes down to four main categories.
That being said, there are many ways to customize a technique to fit your specific curls which is why you will see so many people doing different things.
But really, applying curl products comes down to four main techniques.
This technique is commonly used for wavy curls. The idea behind it is to help maintain curl clumping and not break up curl pattern
How to: Apply styling products to hair in a praying motion. This technique helps keep large curl clumps together and is recommended for loose curl patterns.
Rake and scrunch
This technique is used more for curly than wavy hair and helps to apply products evenly.
How to: Rake products through hair and scrunch to encourage curl pattern.
Use a curly friendly brush like the Behairful Brush Or Denman Brush to gather curl clumps, distribute product evenly and create definition. <<<INSERT
How to: Apply product to your hair and use a curly friendly brush on small sections at a time to encourage curl clumping.
NOTE: It’s important to do this on wet hair to be able to gather curl clumps. Otherwise it can cause your hair to become stringy.
Hybrid styling method
This is my favorite method to use because I (like many other curlies) have many different curl types throughout my head.
I combine all of the methods above to encourage and hold my curls.
Now it’s your turn!!
The ONLY way to find out what application technique works for you is to test and experiment with different products and techniques.
But keep in mind that it can take multiple times to find the method that works best for your hair.
Don’t get discouraged! Stay committed to trying everything at least three times before you discount it.
And always always always track what works and what doesn’t.
In my FREE Curly/Wavy Masterclass Workbook, you will get access to a helpful daily tracking sheet that allows you to track your progress along the way. Click here to get your FREE copy!
STEP FOUR: Learn to choose the right products
The “L” in the C.U.R.L.S framework stands for “Learn to choose the right products”.
When it comes to curly hair products, it can be so overwhelming trying to decide what to get.
While there is certainly a level of experimenting and tracking what works and what doesn’t work, there are a few things to keep in mind during the product choosing process.
Always read labels
Curly hair products do a pretty good job marketing their products. If a product is labeled “for wavy hair” then it will probably not be heavy enough for curly to kinky hair.
Likewise, if a product is labeled, “intense moisturizing hair butter” and you have wavy hair, chances are the product will be too heavy and will make your curls oily and stringy.
A good rule of thumb is that if your hair is wavy-curly, stick to mousse, gel, and light leave-in conditioners. And if your hair is curly-kinky, you can incorporate more butter and oils.
You can check out my favorite products to get started with through the link below:
Keep in mind that you should always use a product at least three times before you write it off. I try to go through the complete container using different application methods and applying it at a different time in my wash routine while keeping detailed notes of how my hair reacts to the product each time.
Example: If a deep conditioner is too heavy, try using it before you cleanse.
As for protecting your curls, I have a complete detailed post that you can check out here.
STEP FIVE: Save your curls by protecting them
The last step in the C.U.R.L.S framework is to save your curls by protecting them. When it comes to preserving your hair and protecting it from damage, you have to be proactive.
Many things can cause damage to your hair including…
- Your diet (yes, what you consume has an effect on your hair)
- The products you using
- Night protection
- Damaging hair ties
- Brushing incorrectly
- The Environment
- Not cleansing your hair properly
- Color treatments
- Chlorine from swimming pools
As you can see, there are many factors that play a role in protecting your hair from damage.
And in order to preserve all the hard work you have put in up to this point in giving your hair everything it needs to thrive, it’s important that you finish up the last step with preserving all that hard work.
Below I’ve listed the top 3 things you can do today to start protecting your hair. In my FREE workbook, I go into greater detail on curl protection.
Top 3 Types Of Damage To Protect Your Hair From
- Damage from friction & dryness. Since curly/wavy hair is more prone to damage, traditional materials can cause friction which creates unnecessary damage and frizz. Try swapping out your pillowcase for a silk one instead. This reduces friction while you sleep and allows your hair to gently slide along your pillowcase without causing damage. Silk also allows your hair to retain moisture rather than many other materials that absorb moisture from your hair while you sleep.
- Hair Loss. Those old school rubber hair ties wreak havoc on your hair when you take them out. Try an invisibobble or puffcuff instead. Both will hold your hair back without pulling healthy hair follicles out. Detangling improperly is another way to cause unnecessary hair loss. Be sure to use a gentle detangler in order to reduce hair loss.
- Heat – Both heat tools and the environment can wreak havoc on your hair! It’s important to use heat protectant products to protect against heat tools and the environment. (yes your hair can get sunburned)
Though curly and wavy hair varies from person to person and can be difficult by nature, the process can be simplified by breaking it down into 5 actionable steps that will put you on the right track for having great hair!
Use the C.U.R.L.S acronym to easily remember these steps.
Carefully access and learn about your curls – You have to know where you are going before you can get there. It’s super important to get a better understanding of your hair before you buy a single product.
Use consistent healthy hair habits – The magic is found in consistency. You have to be willing to spend some time giving your hair what it needs to thrive in order to have healthy hair.
Right techniques are crucial for healthy curls – Remember, technique is greater than product. You must learn to master the right technique that works for your hair in order to get the results you want.
Learn to choose the right products – Once you’ve mastered the three steps above, it’s time to get some products. Always read the labels to be sure the product will be a good fit for your hair.
Save your curls by protecting them
Ditch the damaging hair ties, sleep on silk, and invest in a good diffuser to protect your hair from damage and keep it healthy.