Hydration is a major focus for us at NaturallyCurly. So much, in fact, that I have scoured the internet to figure out just what in the world will keep dry, curly hair hydrated all year long so you won't have to! After all my searching and testing, I can tell you with complete confidence that keeping curls hydrated in cooler temperatures is doable.

Being the curl nerd I am, I wanted to test Design Essentials Naturals products via an updated version of my wash day routine.

So, a hydration experiment ensued.

5 items from the Design Essentials Natural Coconut & Monoi collection for curly and coily hair

Photo retrieved from @designessentials

I hypothesized that if I changed my regular wash day routine with hydration-centric steps, I would be able to keep my curls hydrated, free from breakage, and primed for styling.

I followed these steps for a week before getting a protective style.

African-American woman with large afro smirks at camera.

My selfie game is getting as strong as my 'fro - @gerilynhayes

Yes, that's my super hydrated Afro. Keep reading to find out how I took care of my curls to pull this style off.

Here are the steps I upgraded my wash day routine with:

Hydrating Curls: My Step-by-Step Process

1) Oil the scalp via the pre-poo method - Since shampooing can strip the scalp of sebum, or naturally occurring oils, I wanted to make sure that my scalp would be able to absorb and retain all the hair superfood I was about to feed it. Because the plan was to use the Design Essentials Natural Coconut & Monoi Coconut Milk Nourishing Shampoo, I chose coconut oil as my pre-poo.

Haven't pre-pooed before? It's simple: depending on your curl density and length, make several sections of hair and then twist each section. At this point, you will want to unravel the sections, one by one, and apply your oil to your scalp and hair, firmly sliding your fingers from roots to ends. Make sure you retwist the moisturized section of hair and move to the next section until you're done. Next, grab a shower cap to cover those sections, and take about 20-30 minutes of much-needed chill time. Then, move on to the next step: shampooing!

2) Cleanse scalp with a gentle shampoo - Feeling good about the pre-poo method, I moved on to shampooing. My recommendation, especially to those of you with dry curls that only seem hydrated for a few hours, is to shampoo with a gentle cleanser. If you need to wash your hair twice to ensure that every curl is free and clear of product buildup and scalp debris, go for it! Keep in mind that you will need to reintroduce balance back to your hair strands post-shampooing which takes us to the third step in the updated regimen.

3) Condition, post-shampooing, twice a week - Having a tried and true washout conditioners for your curls is a must, my curl friend. Depending on your curls' needs, apply a deep conditioner, a hair mask like Coconut & Monoi Deep Moisture Masque, or a specific treatment for scalp and hair issues you may have. Basically, if you do not condition your hair, you will not be able to properly seal your curly hair strands with the oils and goodies it needs to retain hydration. It's just that simple.

4) Trust the leave-in conditioner - No matter what texture type or curl pattern you have, I will always encourage you to use leave-in conditioners. For this experiment, I used the Coconut & Monoi Coconut Milk Leave-In Nourisher which further confirmed my theory about these hydration-centric steps: you have to add and retain hydrating formulas on a regular basis to keep your curls in peak form!

After completing my hydrating steps, I wanted to benefit all of that hard work by styling my hair into Bantu Knots before getting box braids. You know that I've been a fan of the Coconut & Monoi Curl Defining Gelee since day 1, so of course, I reached for it. I knew that the hold would be perfect for at least a couple of days, and when taking down the knots, I wouldn't experience dried out hair strands or breakage. You also know that I'm extra when it comes to stylin' and profilin' online. That's why I chose the Coconut & Monoi Moisturizing Edge Control Glaze to capitalize on my 2 days of cute, hydrated curls because I like to complete my Bantus by showing off these baby hairs... NBD.

So, what did I learn from all of this?

I learned that products are designed to keep our naturally curly hair and scalp moisturized and hydrated in cooler, drier temperatures need to be used regularly. There's no magical timeline; you have to find what works best for your curls. In the end, you have to put in the work to get the hydration you need. It takes time, but it is worth it for those Insta-slammin' selfies you'll be taking this Fall!

Want to try this method with the products I used? Great!

NaturallyCurly and Design Essentials Natural want to treat you, dearest curl friend. That's why we are giving you the opportunity to WIN the entire Coconut & Monoi Deep Moisture Collection! Keep reading for giveaway entry details.

Serena Williams holding up Wimbledon Cup

Enter for a chance to WIN!

Hydrate Your Curls with Design Essentials Natural Coconut & Monoi Giveaway!

When

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - Thursday, October 19, 2017

Prizes

5 lucky winners will receive:

Coconut & Monoi Coconut Milk Nourishing Shampoo Coconut & Monoi Deep Moisture Masque Coconut & Monoi Coconut Milk Leave-In Nourisher Coconut & Monoi Curl Defining Gelee Coconut & Monoi Moisturizing Edge Control Glaze

How to win:

Comment below, on Facebook, or Instagram @naturallycurly telling us why you'd like to win! Want to try it? Visit Design Essentials now to buy it online. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, as per our Terms and Conditions.

As ever, stay curly!

This post is sponsored by Design Essentials.