How many times have you heard I wish I had curly hair so I can just jump out of my bed and go! But the reality is that’s not what we do. We have a curly hair routine. We work at it, we perfect it, we cry about it, and if we’re lucky our curls behave a few days out of the week so we can start the process all over again. Just me? Ok.
People ask me on a regular basis what my curly hair routine is, when asked in person I am a stumbling mess trying to explain what SOTC is and how to diffuse, the truth is my hair routine changes frequently. I try new things, I go back to old things, I switch it up. I do not do the exact same thing every time because, even if I did, my curls would not react the same every time.
My hair follows no routine, has no boundaries, and takes shit from no one including me. It’s me who follows a routine, tries to stick to a wash and deep conditioning schedule, and uses a Denman brush to help define my curls – my hair laughs. I’ll outline a basic curly hair routine, you can call it my lazy routine, my starter routine, my quick routine, however you classify it, this is what I do when I just want to go back to basics.
The products I use change from time to time as well but I always go back to these basic items, they are my go-to items if you must. Shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, cream, gel, oil. I do not specify which products I use as everyone uses hair products that cater to their specific hair type. It is not the product as much as it is the technique. (Just to clarify I only use curly Girl Method approved products – so if you use silicones, sulfates…etc. It DOES matter).
- Deep Conditoner
The tools I use are easy and simple. The diffuser and Denman brush are the only items I wanted to research before diving right in.
- Denman brush
- Spray bottle
- Favorite hair clips
- Hair tie
- Satin Bonnett
Here is my curly hair routine: Sunday – Saturday:
Sunday – Wash Day!
Sunday – Wash day! I’m always off on Sunday’s so I use this time to shampoo, condition, and deep condition my hair. In the shower I have all three items and my Denman brush. I shampoo my hair, gently massaging it and rubbing my scalp to help remove any excess products. I do not use my nails only my finger tips then rinse out the shampoo and condition my hair to detangle.
To detangle I use my fingers and then the Denman brush to spread the conditioner all around. I wash out the conditioner and with my hair semi-soaking wet apply the deep conditioner going from my roots to my ends. I grab a few hair clips and clip my hair on top of my head (my lazy plop) and get out of the shower.
Once dressed I put a plastic cap on and use my blow dryer to add heat to help my hair gain the moisture from the treatment masque (deep conditioner). I do this for about 10 minutes and then let it sit for another 20 minutes.
I rinse the deep conditioner out of my hair with cold water and start adding the cream to my hair. I finger comb the conditioner in and use the Denman brush with my head upside down and comb side to side so my hair doesn’t get stuck in any one position. While applying the product I scrunch up which helps to form my curls. It is important to wash and condition your hair with warm water to open your hair pores and rinse with cold water to close them and lock in the moisture.
After my curls are formed to my satisfaction (or not) I place a glob of gel in my palm spreading it between both hands and using the praying hands method (think of how your hands are when you are praying) start to apply the gel. I use the praying hands method because when I finish applying the cream I don’t want to disturb the curl pattern that just formed.
Gel is a bit sticky and will not make your curls bounce up it only helps retain the definition but it does not create the definition.
Before I start diffusing my hair I use a microfiber towel to remove excess moisture. I put my hair upside down and scrunch up releasing the moisture into the towel.
This is where I let my hair dry. I use a diffuser alternating between cool and warm air, on high. I diffuse upside down then side to side so I do not dry my hair in a funky position. This is where your curls really start to take shape.
I use my diffuser until it is about 95% dry and that is simply because I cannot make it to that 100% no matter how long I diffuse! It’s like a secret magic power I do not possess so I let my hair air dry the last 5%. While it is air drying my curls are starting to get crunchy from the gel.
The crunch is desired because it’s what helps shape the form of the curls – no worries- we won’t leave it that way, this isn’t the 90s.
Finally my hair is dry! I spread a couple drops of Shea Moisture 100% Argon oil on my palms and flipping my head upside down I begin to gently scrunch up to break the hard cast the gel formed. Breaking the gel cast is called scrunch out the crunch (SOTC) or cast.
Because I like volume I will then grab a wide tooth comb and fluff my hair. Flipping my head upside down I gently comb from my roots upward under my head where the curls aren’t visible. This gives me a bit more volume and I am ready to start my day with fabulous curls!
Preparing for bedtime!
When I go to sleep I put my hair in what is called a pineapple, basically I just get a hair tie, put my hair directly on top of my head but a bit more forward and place a satin bonnet that I bought at Walmart over it. Sunday is the most intensive day because it is wash day and deep condition day, the other days are not as crazy.
Monday – On this day I take off my satin bonnet, take off the hair tie, and with a spray bottle I lightly spritz my hair while gently scrunching it. This is just to wake my hair up. Depending on the day I may use a bit of oil but usually water is all that is needed and I am ready to go once again. See? Easy peasy.
Tuesday – If my hair behaved on Monday then only the same routine is needed Tuesday. If my hair decided to be a bit more independent then I may wet it more and use a slab of conditioner to move it along. If all else fails, pigtail are my friend.
Wednesday – On this day I wet my hair completely in the shower and re-comb it. Sometimes there is still enough product / conditioner in my hair where I don’t need more or I will add more. Either way I need more gel by now – follow the rest of Sunday’s routine.
Thursday – Friday
Thursday – same as Tuesday just a nice refresh.
Friday – Refresh.
Saturday – Usually I am in braids by now. It has been a long week and I am over it. If I have plans and somewhere to be then I will do a whole new refresh but I am not going too crazy as I know wash day is the next day.
It seems like a lot but when you add plopping, root clipping, the bowl method, still haven’t figured out what MAP method is, and clapping, it’s really not that bad! The best part is any of these items can be deleted or added as needed. None of it is required so it can be as much or as little as you want. This is what makes my curly hair routine mine. It’s what works for me and makes me feel comfortable and confident walking out the door in the morning. I try new things all the time! Sometimes I do not use gel and stick to conditioner. I have yet to try co-washing but I am intrigued. Make it what you want it to be and own it like it’s yours, it is your hair after all!