It’s been over one year since I started embracing my curls and going on my natural hair journey! If you read Part 1 of my curl journey then you know that getting started can sometimes be the hardest part. I’ve learned a lot over the last year, what products work for me, what styling methods work great, and how to have patience through every step of the journey.
I address a lot of the places you should start in my first post, I also link it to my Curly Hair Glossary and some of my Favorite Curly Hair Tools (both of which get regularly updated). This post will be dedicated more toward what my current favorites are, some tips I learned along the way, and answers to a few common questions I’ve been getting in my inbox or seeing across social media.
A few things I want to reiterate if you’re looking at starting the Curly Girl Method, the biggest thing is stop using the following:
- Sulfates — found in shampoos that rid the hair of moisture, oils and protein.
- Silicones — found in conditioners and stylers, these prevent moisture from getting into your hair; builds up and weighs down curls
- Drying Alcohols — found in styling products, these alcohols will dry it out your hair (avoid products with Ethanol/Ethyl/Propanol/Isopropyl/Isopropanol/Benzyl Alcohol)
- Heat Styling Tools — flat irons/curling wands will damage your hair. The exception is blow drying, but using it to diffuse on low-medium heat
It’s not all negative though, a few positive things you get to start doing are the following:
- Deep Conditioning — helps restore and replenish moisture to prevent damage
- Regular Trims — helps keep split ends at bay and encourage new hair growth
- Silk or Satin – sleeping with a cap or on silk/satin pillowcases decreases frizz
Current Favorite Products
I’ve recently been learning the balance between protein and moisture; I had a bout where I suffered from hygral fatigue (over moisturizing) which left me with stretched out and sad curls. It took a few months of focusing on products with a little more protein all while still not neglecting my moisturizing needs.
When it comes to cleaning your scalp and hair follicles, I jump between two types of products: a conditioning cleanser (aka a “no-poo”) or a conditioner suitable for cleansing (aka “co-washing”). You should look for one that is non-greasy that leaves a clean feeling while removing any buildup.
My current favorite cleansing products:
- Bounce Curl’s Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo
- As I Am Cleansing Conditioner
- Not Your Mother’s Curl Defining Conditioner
- Bouclème Curl Conditioner.
Deep conditioning or using a protein treatment is crucial for the balance of moisture/protein with curls. Any product that you choose should penetrate deep within the hair follicle, giving you a bump of protein or moisture for the next several days. I personally use these any time I use a clarifying cleanser or a shampoo, so it can put moisture back into my hair.
My current favorite treatments are
- Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment
- Not Your Mother’s Matcha & Wild Apple Blossom Rich Butter Masque.
- Bouclème Intensive Moisture Treatment
- Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
I stepped away from using leave-in conditioners and switched to styling creams and lotions. This has helped my wash days to last longer and lower the likelihood of frizz. The best part is that I can choose to add a gel on top if I need to but it isn’t always necessary. Ideally, in a good styling cream I look for something that doesn’t feel overly oily and doesn’t weigh my hair down.
My current favorite stylers are
I used to think that gels were the enemy; they made your hair hard, immobile, and left it looking like uncooked ramen noodles! Over the last year I learned how incredible gels can be for curly hair. They can add a protective layer to our hair while providing long lasting hold. I look for gels that (once scrunched out) leave my hair soft, defined, and offer a good hold.
My current favorite gels are
- Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel
- Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel
- MopTop Curly Hair Custard
- Devacurl Ultra Defining Gel
Sometimes products can only go so far if you don’t have the proper tools to support your curls. Above I mentioned my Curly Hair Tools Guide but here are a few that I’m currently loving on that aren’t mentioned.
My current favorite curly hair tools are
- Rëzocurls Collapsible Diffuser
- Curlkeeper Flexy Brush
- Rëzocurls Microfiber Hair Towel
- Slip Silk Pillowcase
Sometimes it can seem vain but taking pictures and tracking how your hair performs when you introduce new products is the best way to learn what works best, not to mention it can save you money in the long run.
All the products listed above I have personally tried and are current in my product rotation as of October 2019. I have 3A/3B hair and these are the products that are currently working for me. However, if you have curly hair then you know that no 2 days are the same! Don’t be afraid to experiment and give your hair time to adjust before determining if something doesn’t work for your curls. If you have your own list of ride or die products, feel free to share in the comments section below!