I can still remember the first time I fangirled over someone else's curly hair and asked what products they used. She said she used a cocktail. I knew I had work to do to develop my own cocktail or products and strategies for washing and drying my multicultural type 3 hair. Over time and lots of product testing, I think I found a solid regimen. Curious as to how I manage my Type 3 multicultural hair? Check out my curly cocktail faves below!
Deep Conditioning Hair and Scalp
I wash my hair about once a week. Every couple of weeks, when I have time, I give my hair a real treat by deep conditioning it either overnight or for a few hours with coconut oil. I'll often dribble some oil into my scalp and massage it in so that everyone is happy. In a more luxurious time of my life, I was deep conditioning overnight weekly. But eventually, I found that my hair became a bit limp and oversaturated with product. Once every couple of weeks has worked perfectly for me since!
Washing and Accessories
I've traveled the spectrum of different no-poo and low-poo shampoos and spent several years using the famous DevaCurl system. Though it had a wonderful effect on my hair texture, I found that over time, the product was really building up and making my hair heavy and limp. I've found that Aveda's Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo is the perfect solution for my hair texture, and eradicates build up while also providing lots of moisture. It certainly lists sulfates on the ingredients list, but they follow a really long list of nourishing and calming extracts.
My favorite company for conditioning products is SheaMoisture. Though their name, and their brand, is founded on their use of shea as an ingredient, I've noticed that most of their conditioners feature coconut oil as a top ingredient. And I'm relieved. The BeautyBrains' assiduous research and my personal experience have convinced me that coconut oil should be dominant in most of my hair products.
Like most curlies out there, I apply my leave-in conditioner before any hair oils or gel. I absolutely swear by Qhemet products and find that their Burdock Root Butter Cream has dramatically changed my hair's manageability over time. It's a light product that absorbs seamlessly into my hair - one of the only leave-in conditioners I've used that leaves no residue but still moisturizes. I apply it directly out of the shower and let it soak into my hair for five or six minutes before touching my hair again.
Oils and Gels
After a few minutes, I dive back into my hair with a cocktail of oils and gels. I try to hit all the renowned HG oils for curlies out there - shea, castor oil, and moringa. I haven't been able to find a product that uses all of them without featuring too many fillers so I mix together my Qhemet Castor & Moringa Softening Serum with my SheaMoisture 100% Pure Shea Oil. I only apply a couple drops of either and work it carefully into my hair to make sure I don't leave my hair oily and dampen my curls from springing up as my hair dries.
I've moved away from wearing heavier gels in my hair. Personally, I like for my curls to be fluffy and even a little frizzy, and I can easily touch up my hair throughout the week in any case. So all I wear for hair gel is Uncle Funky's Daughter Curly Magic Curl Stimulator. It lists aloe vera juice and marshmallow extract as its top two ingredients, which provides my hair a natural (literally!!), but very light, hold. It also leaves me with the satisfaction that everything I've used in my hair is moisturizing - no styling products that are strongarming my hair into hold!
On a whim, I decided to buy DevaCurl DevaGloves - microfiber gloves that briefly turn you into Minnie Mouse. Microfiber towels are great for hair of all types and help to dry curly hair without leading to breakage or frizz. I put these on and scrunch my hair in sections, holding my hair in a scrunch for half a minute rather than scrunching rapidly (rapid scrunching with microfiber gloves leads to massive frizz!). I've found that by using this, my hair hangs together in larger ringlets. It's worth a try if you want to encourage slightly chunkier curl formation!
Diffuser and Blow Dryer
Before blow drying my hair with a diffuser, I always spray on a heat protectant, like the classic TRESemmé Heat Tamer. I recently migrated from a hair dryer and diffuser with ultra-long prongs to a diffuser with a wider base and lower prongs. I found that the former encouraged really tight and frizz-free but limp curls, whereas the latter gives me a lot more volume. I'm careful and gentle with my blow dryer, using a medium heat and low speed for the majority of my hair drying process, and only cranking up the heat and speed at the very end when I hold the blow dryer further away and hand scrunch my hair. I dry my hair to almost completely dry and tousle it lightly over the next hour to encourage root volume and let my curl pattern nest naturally.
How do you curly cocktail? What are some of your faves?
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