What do you do when you wake up with limp, misshapen, and generally out of whack curls? Sure, you could throw your hair up into a top knot or ponytail, but you know when you take your hair down you'll be dealing with all sorts of dents. If you want your curls to stand a chance of making it to 3rd, 4th and 5th day hair without having to wash and re-style it, then there are a few must-know steps you can take.

I've watched, read and listened to countless curlies share their 2nd day hair tips, and while every head of curls is unique, I did manage to find some major similarities between almost all of them. I've tested out many of the tips on my own curls and waves, and here's what works best for me:

How I refresh my 2nd day curls

  • Step 1 - Fill a spray bottle with water (mix in some leave-in conditioner for extra moisture) and spritz this throughout your hair. Alternatively, you could wet your hair with a spray bottle and then spray your hair with a liquid leave-in conditioner. I swear by the Curly Hair Solutions H20 Water Bottle
  • Step 2 - Rub a styling product in between your hands and run your hands over your curls, scrunching from the ends up to the roots. 
  • Step 3 - Your curls should be looking rejuvenated at this point, but you may find that a few are still out of shape. Rub a dime-sized amount of gel between your fingers and use your fingers to spot treat your curls, twisting them around your fingers and holding them in place with a bobby pin. Once your pin curls are dry, remove the bobby pins.
  • Step 4 - Flip your head forward and zhoosh up your roots. What do we mean by zhoosh? Rub your fingers at the scalp to create lift and volume, fluffing up your curls and avoiding any crunch. 

You can watch my refresh routine here.

And never, ever rake your fingers (or any type of comb or brush) through our curls when refreshing. This will create frizz, separate your curls, and disrupt your curl definition. The one exception is if you prefer a big, voluminous look and don't mind the frizz - then by all means fluff and separate.

Watch to see how YouTubers The Glam Belle, Jennifer Benitez, Waterlily716 and Gena M use their own variations on this 2nd day refresh.

The Glam Belle

  1. Spray water throughout 2nd day hair using a spray bottle until your curls are slightly damp.
  2. Spritz a styling spray, Glam Belle uses Frizz Ease Dream Curls Daily Styling Spray, throughout the hair lightly, you don't want to saturate the hair. While you spray the Styling Spray, scrunch your curls with your fingers or you can scrunch with a 100% cotton t-shirt. The t-shirt can also be used to blot excess product if you spray too much.
  3. Use a diffuser for just a minute or two to rejuvenate the curls, boost your volume and dry them so that you're not stepping outside with wet hair (which can lead to frizz).
  4. Rub a dime-sized amount of your favorite serum, she used Biosilk Silk Therapy, between your hands and run your hands lightly over your hair and use your fingers to lightly massage the scalp. Do not rake your fingers through the curls, this will disrupt your curl pattern. 
  5. Optional: You can skip this step completely, but if you want you can finish off the look by wrapping a couple of sections around a 3/4" curling wand for a more uniformly defined look. Do not use the curling wand clip, just wrap the curl around the outside. 

Jennifer Benitez

  1. Fill a spray bottle halfway with water (Jennifer got hers at the dollar store), then add 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite leave-in conditioner into the bottle, Jennifer used Cantu's Shea Butter Leave-In. Shake the spray bottle until the mix is fully incorporated.
  2. Spray the mixture throughout the hair, scrunching with your fingers as you go. For more volume, flip your head forward and scrunch upside down.
  3. Rub a small amount of gel, Jennifer used La Bella Lots of Curls Gel, between hands and scrunch the product through your curls from the ends up to the roots. This will help prevent frizz and provide curl definition.


  1. Lightly spray your hair with a small amount of water from a spray bottle. 
  2. Spray a few of pumps of a moisturizing spray, Sarah used DevaCurl Set it Free, into your hands, rub them together and smooth your hands over your curls.
  3. For the next step, Sarah uses a Q-Redew. First fill it with water, then plug it in and wait for the red light to stop flashing (about 5 seconds). Then use the Q-Redew to steam your hair wherever you need volume or want to revive the curls. Gently push up into the hair like you would with a diffuser. For extra volume, flip your head forward while you do this.
  4. Rub a light gel, Sarah uses LA Looks Nutra Curl Moisturizing Gel, between your hands and use it to twirl any stray or misshapen curls around your finger to re-shape them. 
  5. For extra volume, flip your head forward and rub your fingers back and forth at the roots to fluff out your curls. 

Gena M

  1. Gena sleeps with her hair in a silk wrap, and when she takes it down she uses a mixture of water and conditioner in a spray bottle to dampen her hair. 
  2. Gena runs one pump of Aveda Be Curly Style Prep throughout her hair to smooth her curls and prevent frizz. Then scrunch your curl cream, Gena uses Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer, through your hair. Remember not to rake your fingers through the curl, just smooth the product over the curls and scrunch up towards the roots. 
  3. For extra definition and to prevent frizz smooth a gel, Gena uses DevaCare Arc AnGEL, over your curls. 
  4. Optional: you can air dry, but for a faster routine or to add volume use a diffuser on your hair dryer's lowest setting. If your hair feels dry after this add a few drops of your favorite oil, Gena uses Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Oil, to your hands, rub them together and smooth them lightly over your hair. 

You can of course follow these steps on your 3rd, 4th, 5th day hair, you may just find that as the week progresses you have slightly more product buildup to deal with. If the hair framing your face stops cooperating later in the week you can take that section of hair and create a cute waterfall braid, a simple twist or just pin those curls back using a bobby pin.

How do you refresh your curly hair?

This article was originally published in 2015 and has been updated with my video tutorial.