Now that I am comfortable in my personal hair routine and know what is best for my curls, I finally get it. There are just some products that my hair does not need.
Image by iStock/John Sommer
What works for one curl pattern may not work for another. This is something that I did not understand as a young girl when I borrowed my mother’s hair products. Now that I am comfortable in my personal hair routine and know what is best for my curls, I finally get it. There are just some products that my hair does not need.
First things first: determine your hair type.
According to NaturallyCurly’s Texture Typing System, I have 3c with some 3b curls. They are low porosity and the majority of my scalp is low in density. The width of my strands are fine and the length is just below my shoulders. Knowing this vital information has helped with my decisions about what types of products, styling techniques, and tips are the best for my hair.
With my specific hair type, some products are going to work better than others. My struggle has always been a lack of volume, so products that weigh my curls down usually don’t make the cut.
Heavy creams and butters
In my experience, raw shea butter and heavy stylers that are rich in mango, macadamia, and cocoa always seem to make my curls fall flat. Even with the smallest amount, my hair feels coated and lacks the volume that I desire. However, I am not completely opposed if they are listed low on the package's ingredient list or even if they are in deep conditioners.
My substitutes include lightweight leave-in conditioners, creams, and mousses that leave my curls bouncy and full of life, such as:
Many of the heavier oils such as avocado, castor, and coconut oil give me the same result as the butters. These are not used in my regimen, with the exception of using as a pre-poo when mixed with another lightweight carrier oil. In addition to having lifeless curls, both heavy oils and butters cause buildup on my scalp. This has resulted in the appearance of thinning hair, clogged follicles and the occasional case of scalp acne.
My substitutes include lightweight oils like grapeseed, sweet almond, rosehip, jojoba, and argan oil.
As a styler, a small amount is used on my ends.
For scalp massages, I mix one of these carrier oils with a few drops of peppermint and rosemary essential oil into an empty dropper bottle. Then, I massage a few drops into my scalp before bed.
Crunchy Hair Gel
Before the explosion of product options for curly hair, there was a time when your alcohol-riddled hair gel left curls so crunchy that each strand felt like they might break in half. If you tried to shake out the curls to release the curl cast, count on a head full of white flakes.
My substitutes include gels that are non-drying, flexible, and leave my curls soft to touch such as:
What products can your curls do without? Let us know in the comments below!This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.