A Curly Top's Guide for How to Achieve Perfect Curls Almost Every Day

Anyone with curly hair has at least been asked once in their lives, “have you ever straightened your hair?” At this point, it’s practically expected that people with even the slightest bit of texture wished their hair was stick-straight. Well, let me tell you, that is certainly not the case for me.

I have never straightened my hair professionally in my life. One time, I let my friend take a flat iron to my dry, brushed out hair, just for kicks. Rookie mistake. Two hours later I looked in the mirror and gasped when I saw the frizzy, lifeless strands sprouting from my head. I made a bee-line for the shower and immediately brought my precious, beloved curls back to life.

From my wild, toddler ringlets to my awkward, hormone-induced frizzy phase, I have always embraced my curly hair. Yet it wasn’t until I was around 13 years old, after an infamously bad haircut that left my hair in mismatched “layers,” when I really started to pay attention to my curls.

After that traumatic experience, I did some research and found a salon that specializes in curly hair called Ouidad. My world was rocked after that transformative cut, which showed me what my curls were supposed to look like while erasing all traces of my previous haircut disaster. My stylist explained how she had cut my coarse hair into a “mermaid v-shape” to complement my round face shape, and defined my classic curl pattern with some frizz-control gel and cream.

I have been perfecting my hair care routine from that cut, forward. I’m constantly tweaking my techniques and the products I use, but at the moment I feel that I have a solid method down to get my curls to look and feel their best. Here’s the rundown:

In the Shower:

Credit: Briogeo

I have tried dozens of shampoos and conditioners, but I recently discovered Briogeo products and now I’m hooked. My scalp gets super flakey and itchy (thanks, genetics), so I use an exfoliating scalp massager to scrub in Briogeo’s Charcoal and Coconut Oil Exfoliating Shampoo. This shampoo scrapes off all of the dead skin and hair product build up that sits on my head after not washing my hair for a few days. My straight-haired friends look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that it’s been five days since I’ve washed my hair, but my curly-haired friends understand that that is one of the great blessings of our texture. Five days is honestly a stretch for me; I typically wash my hair every three days or so.

Credit: Briogeo

In terms of conditioner, I use a formula that helps with my super dry ends. I can get away with using Briogeo’s Deep Conditioning Mask about twice a week, but if dryness isn’t your main concern, I would use their Smoothing Conditioner if you want to control frizz and make your hair feel super silky.

Credit: Briogeo

Out of the Shower:

Since my dry scalp is what gives me the most issues, I use a few drops of Briogeo’s Charcoal and Tea Tree Scalp Treatment on my problem areas right when I get out of the shower. The instant cooling sensation is borderline magical, and the formula itself has definitely reduced my flakiness.

Then, I brush out my hair with this great curved vent brush by Diva Professional. This brush works wonders for anyone with incredibly thick or coarse hair. All my curly-haired friends are well aware of the dangers of dry brushing, but if you really needed to, then this brush would be the best option since it won’t turn your hair into a frizzy mess.

Credit: Ouidad

After finding my part, I spray in some Mon Platin Multi-Action Hair Cream, but another great option is this leave-in product by It’s A 10. Finally, I “rake-and-shake” a quarter-sized amount of Ouidad’s Advanced Climate Control® Heat and Humidity Gel and two pumps of Iso’s BouncyCrème into my hair while avoiding my scalp.

Credit: Ouidad

If you’re not familiar with the “rake-and-shake” technique, then watch this quick tutorial. I will admit that this method can be a bit laborious, which is why I do a super casual version of this styling technique that requires no extra clips. I simply mix the gel and cream in my palm and run my fingers through my hair as I gently shake my curls. I try to avoid using a ton of product on my hair, so that’s why I only use a little bit of gel and cream. Sometimes I lightly towel off the extra product so it doesn’t get all over my clothes, plus it helps to define my curls even more.

Credit: Amazon


I rarely take showers during the day time, and that’s mostly because of how I let my hair dry. I like to sleep with my wet hair wrapped inside of this T-Shirt Towel, which you can also make yourself with any t-shirt. This drying method is weirdly called “plopping,” and is popular among curly-haired people who don’t love diffusers (a.k.a. me). It’s easy to use and I always love the results when I wake up in the morning.

Credit: Sephora

No-wash Days:

The key to washing your hair as little as possible is good after-wash care. This can be achieved by keeping your curls hydrated and shiny with some hair oil. I rotate between Ouidad’s Mongongo Oil (which I was recently informed is good to massage in and leave on for 15 minutes before washing), and this multi-tasking hair oil from OUAI. I only use these kinds of oils on my ends, but if any of your hair needs some extra hydration, then feel free to use it wherever you please.

Credit: Emma Kopelowicz

To anyone reading this who is just starting to embrace their natural texture, firstly, congratulations. Secondly, get ready for a long and ever-changing process. I have spent a long time working on my curl routine, and like anything else in life, it’s never going to be perfect. I am always discovering new products and ways to apply them. I try things, and if they don’t quite work out, then I keep searching.

It’s a never-ending journey, but it’s one I’m willing to keep exploring because I love my curls too much to let them fall flat.


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