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I Discovered I Actually Have Curly Hair—Through This Routine

Have you ever described your hair as: frizzy, poofy, not curly but not straight, or somewhat wavy? If yes, you probably actually have curly hair but are treating it as straight hair. 

For all my life I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my hair because it looked untamed when brushed through naturally, but took hours to straighten. As a result, I wore it up most of the time. Once I discovered I actually had textured, curly hair, everything changed. This routine inspired by a friend immensely helped me change the way I wear and think about my hair. (No plopping involved, just air-drying!) Here are the seven items you will need to complete it!

Shampoo and conditioner for curly hair

This is essential for obtaining curly hair. There are plenty of great brands out there, but I stick with the Maui Moisture brand, as I have seen the most results with it.

Leave-in conditioner

I personally use the Shea Moisture Jamaican black castor oil leave in conditioner. The ingredients used are all natural, and it is sulfate free. 

Curl activator

Curl activator is great for helping to define your curls, in addition to giving them moisture and fighting frizz. I use the brand Twisted Sista for this, but there are plenty of other brands available as well.

Curl enhancing/defining cream

Curl-defining products are meant to sculpt, tighten and smooth your curls, as well as make it easier to style. I have been using the brand Girls With Curls for this step of the routine.


Mousse is another product that further retains the shape of the curls, with minimal crunch or stiffness. For this I use the Herbal Essences Totally Twisted mousse.


The gel is probably the most important part of the process as it’s the stiff, hardened coating that holds the curls together. I use the brand Twisted Sista once again for this.

Satin head wrap

Lastly, the satin head wrap is what you can sleep in to ensure that the curls hold overnight! Satin is known for helping the curls stay, and most people use Satin pillowcases in addition to the wrap. These are available in most stores, but I would recommend getting a decently priced one from Target or Marshalls. 

Now that we’ve gone through every product you’ll need, here’s my long-awaited curly hair routine! The first step is to shower as you normally would, ideally during the day. Brush your hair while the conditioner is in. To best maintain curly hair, you should only brush your hair while it is wet. After the shower, split your hair into two parts. For the following steps, make sure your hair is dripping wet. Do not wrap it in any kind of towel! Run through the leave-in conditioner. Brush it through with your hair brush. Run the curl activator through your roots (not your scalp). Run through the curl enhancing/defining cream. Then, run the mousse through. For each part, you should use approximately a handful. After you are done running it through, scrunch the hair 2-3 times, pulsing at the scalp. Run the gel through your hair, scrunching another 2-3 times while pulsing at the scalp. Let your hair air dry. Do not scrunch while it is in the process of drying. Too much scrunching can actually be detrimental! Wear the satin head wrap to bed. However, don’t just bunch it all at the top like you would with a bun: lean over as if you are plopping your hair, take both your hands and continuously scrunch parts of your hair to the top of your head, alternating hands if you need to. Continue until you’ve gathered all your hair at the top. Then, cover it with the headwrap.

With these tips, your natural curls will get the TLC they deserve!

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Originally from CT, Emily is a junior at Boston University studying Film and Television with a minor in Psychology. Her hobbies include drinking too many vanilla lattes, reading, writing, and watching movies.
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