THE CURLY GIRL’S GUIDE TO WINNING THE WASH DAY BATTLE
Washday for curly hair can definitely be a nightmare if you’re not using the right curl products. You have so many things to worry about like controlling frizz, keeping your curls hydrated and not damaging your hair. Because you have curly hair, it’s a little harder to handle when wet.
You have to be careful and gentle with it to prevent causing any further damage. If you’ve recently gone natural or if you’ve simply never learned how to properly wash and care for your curls, we’re here to help guide you through the process and conquer the dreaded washday.
The process of finding the right products and routine for your curly hair can seem endless and confusing. You’ve spent so much time and money at your local drug store trying to find the perfect products for your curls but something just isn’t working.
Your hair is unique, which means your wash day routine may slightly differ from the next person’s, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because your hair is unique, it just means your routine and product choices should reflect your personal hair goals and needs. We’re here to help take the guessing game out of the process.
To help you find the perfect combination of personalized wash day products take our FREE Personalized Hair Care Quiz. We’ll curate the perfect combination of products specifically tailored to your personal hair needs and goals. Best of all our products are all non-toxic and cruelty free.
Ready for washday? Let the fun begin...
WASH DAY ROUTINE FOR CURLY HAIR
prep your hair
The first step is preparing your hair, also known as no-poo (no shampoo), pre-pooing or co-washing. If you have coily, kinky or dry curls, your hair care routine would likely benefit from this first step. The point is to reduce damage by placing a shampoo directly on very dry or fragile hair by introducing moisture before you wash.
To prep your hair, use a co-wash product like Davines Love Curl Cleansing Cream, or apply a moisturizing oil to your hair overnight. This will help prevent unnecessary breakage and allow your hair to soak up some extra moisture. We love Rare Elements El'Treatment Pre-Shampoo Serum.
DETANGLE YOUR HAIR
Gently detangle your hair while it’s still dry. Wet hair is more susceptible to breakage and damage, so detangling it while it’s dry will prevent unnecessary breakage. Detangling is especially important if your hair was just in a protective style during the preparation process.
Use a anti-breakage brush like Tangle Teezer Thick and Curly Detangling Brush. Start at the ends, then slowly move toward the root as you detangle each section.
USE TEPID OR WARM WATER TO SHAMPOO
Hot water is extremely drying, so wash your curls with tepid or warm water only. Cold water is the best, but that's coming. :)
SHAMPOO GENTLY WITH A MOISTURIZING SHAMPOO FOR CURLY HAIR
After wetting down your hair, gently add shampoo. Do not pack your hair to the top of your head and rub the shampoo in it. Sure, it looks fun in commercials, but it’ll just reverse all the detangling work you did. Curly and textured hair tangles easily, so make sure to gently comb through with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb while you wash.
While shampooing, it’s advisable to divide your hair into sections and wash each section separately. This way, you can be confident that all the energy you put into detangling doesn’t go to waste. Focus the shampoo on the scalp area, then massage it into the hair. Rinse through your hair with warm water and prepare to add conditioner.
For the best results, use a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo. There are clarifying shampoos specially designed for curly hair, which won’t strip your hair of its natural texture.
Best shampoo for curly hair
CONDITION AND DETANGLE
After rinsing the shampoo off, gently squeeze out the excess water and apply some conditioner to your hair. Start applying it from the middle —or mid-shaft— to the ends while simultaneously combing your fingers carefully through your hair, detangling it.
Once any major tangles are out use a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush for wet hair, like Tangle Teezer Ultimate Detangler Brush and start from the ends of your hair and gently work your way up to your roots. Rinse it out of your hair as soon as you’re done detangling.
best conditioner for curly hair
DO A COLD SHOT
Once you have finished conditioning, rinse your hair out. For thicker, frizzier hair types you can choose to leave a slight amount of conditioner in your hair. Turn your shower over to cold and do a quick cold shot of water all throughout your curls. This closes the cuticle, causes hairs to grab and wrap around each other, and cause more curling.
SQUEEZE OUT MOISTURE
After your cold shot, carefully squeeze out any excess water in an upward motion to give your curls support. Never wring out your hair as this may cause breakage and disturb your natural curl pattern.
If you need to remove some excess moisture, use a microfiber towel, like Aquis Hair Towel, or a man's t-shirt to squeeze out moisture. Always squeeze in an upward motion. Never wrap your your hair as this stretches out and loosens your curls.
APPLY A LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER OR HAIR SERUM
Leave-in conditioners or hair serums are essential for curly hair. They provide the much needed moisture that curly hair needs.
Some of our favorites by hair type include: Innersense Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner for fine hair, Evolvh Smart Curl Leave-In Conditioner for medium hair, or Naturally Drenched Watermelon Dreams Oil for thick hair.
SEAL THE MOISTURE AND CREATE HOLD WITH A CURL CAST
After moisturizing your hair with a conditioner, typically you would seal the moisture in with a gel cast. Take an adequate amount of gel and begin to apply it to the sections of your hair. The best method to use is the raking technique. It allows you to spread the gel while simultaneously combing through your hair with your hands.
During the drying process after gel is applied to wet hair, the gel will harden around the curls, creating a gel cast. A gel cast actually helps to hold the curls in their natural formation until the hair dries while simultaneously protecting the hair.
You can also opt for a more hydrating natural product that will help lock the curls in place.
DRY YOUR HAIR
You can air dry your hair or use a diffuser on your blow dryer to add extra bounce. A diffuser is essential to create volume and definition. Drying also helps form the gel cast.
Diffuse until your hair is 80% to 90% dry, as diffusing all the way can cause frizz and heat damage.
CRUSH OUT THE GEL CAST
Once your hair is completely dry, either by diffusing or or leaving it to air dry, it’s time to crush out the gel cast. You can do this by rubbing a hair oil on your hands and crunching out the gel. We recommend a hair oil like Innersense I Create Shine.
Carefully work your way from the ends through the roots. Once you’re done, your hair will be bouncier and have a much softer texture.
Seal it with a hairspray or finishing spray, like Davines Strong Hairspray, to seal the cuticle and prevent frizz.
Wash Day may seem long and tedious, but when done consistently using the right products, your curls should last for days.
Extra tip: To make your curls last longer, sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase or wrap your hair in a sleeping bonnet to keep them in place.
All North Authentic products are free of: Sulfates, parabens, EDTA, 1,4 Dioxian, and many more all provided in our Hair Crimes List. While we work with our brands to become even more conscious, we identify additional "Free Of" ingredients on every product page.
Shop "Free Of" ingredient preferences using our Filters. You can also take the North Authentic Hair Quiz to get your personalized hair care prescription of the best products for your hair curl type.