looking after curly hair

haircare2Everyone will tell you the ‘secrets’ to looking after curly hair. Magazines pour over the content and google is full to the brim with rules and regulations on the matter. Which is odd…because it’s just hair after all. I’ve always had a pretty care free approach to my hair (oddly documented over the years on the blog, although I wouldn’t reccomend reading back that far!). Perhaps controversially, I don’t find my hair a nightmare to manage, although I have recently adapted my ‘routine’ slightly which is not only being kinder to my hair but is also even more of a breeze!1-2It never crossed my mind to examine what was in my hair products and whether they were actually good for my hair until I stumbled across a Curly Penny video on youtube. After binge watching lots of videos and doing my own research it became clear that the sulfates, silcones and phthalates which are pumped into most major brand hair products were in fact simply giving the appearance of smooth, silky hair by sitting on top of the hair follicles instead of actually nourishing and conditioning the hair (this is a very simple and definitely general explanation but I’ll link some of research at the end of the post which explains it way better than I ever could). So when I was using my usual L’oreal and Tresemme products -specifically for dry hair or curly hair- they weren’t really doing the job.

Following this revelation I bought the following products from Superdrug. Not only were they highly recommended by other curly girls they’re also free from the nasties previously mentioned and specifically designed to promote healthy hair and scalp.

Shea Moisture strengthen and restore shampoo – this has the oddest consistency and colour but smells incredible and feels gentle (but still cleansing) on my hair

Shea Moisture strengthen and restore leave-in conditioner – I completey smother my hair and scalp with this when my hair is damp. Again, incredible smell and leaves my hair feeling nourished and soft without being greasy or too heavy for my hair.

Cantu coconut curl cream -lastly, this is the styler I use after the leave-in conditioner. I only use a small amount of this as I tend to add a little more every few days. This is quite heavy so some may enjoy the cantu curl activator more as it’s more of a milk – especially if your hair is not as thick.haircarepostAs well as switching up the products I use, I’ve also switched up how I physically care for my hair. Using a leave-in conditioner has definitely been a ground breaking step for me. I’d used them on occasion before but actually ensuring I use it at every wash has made the world of difference.

The tedious process of looking after curly hair in my opinion is the drying time. As someone who spent a lot of time in and out of the swimming pool I found myself use to just having damp hair for most the day and then finally having it looking how I wanted it right before bed *sighs*. Now I’m currently wrapping my hair in a t-shirt when it’s wet (doing this instead of using a towel means there’s less friction so my curls stay in place more!) and then using a diffuser on the lowest heat setting to dry it (mostly). I’m not 100% sold on diffusing my hair (ooooh controversial) because it obviously adds heat, which if you’re maintaining your curls, isn’t the best idea. However, I really don’t think doing this on a weekly basis makes much of a difference, but it does mean I can get ready much faster and not have damp hair all wash day!haircare4

For me, the most significant change to my routine has been how I manage my hair during the week. I was used to ducking my head under the shower and soaking my hair everyday I wanted to wear it down. And that was as annoying as hell considering the drying time! Now I’ve found that using the products above has helped lock in my curls, so on a daily basis I just blast my hair with water (using a spray bottle) and then shake it about a bit, adding a bit more of the coconut curl cream if it’s a little wild. So. Much. More. Convenient!!  Doing this keeps my hair mostly dry (so I can head straight out the house) and allows me to wear my hair down pretty much daily…woo!

It feels like I’ve had a real revelation these past few months. Nothing here is new or unique but it sure does feel great to be so happy with a haircare routine which actually works for my hair type. It can often feel like trial and error with products but now I have faith in the shea moisture and cantu ranges, I’ll certainly be trying out more stuff from them.

Share the love and let me know any other curly hair routine tips in the comments!

Useful links!

How to fix curly hair – video by Curly Penny

10 tips to save damaged hair – video by Curly Penny

Curly hair 101 – video by BiancaReneeToday

 

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