Hey Curlfriends: My Naturally Curly (And Mostly Sweaty) Hair Routine
You asked, so (a year or so later) here I am to answer!
No really, I’ve been dying to share with you how I keep my curly hair healthy while spending majority of this life covered in sweat. But to be honest, it wasn’t an easy or exciting story at first.
To start, even though I’ve been natural almost a decade, I didn’t really pay that much attention to my kinks until recently. Not out of laziness (ok, part of it was) but mostly because I am allergic to everything filed under “cosmetics.” Hence why I rarely cover my “sweaty beauty” regimen on here – also a not so exciting story.
But you didn’t give up on asking, so I didn’t give up on searching for the perfect products for my fun and sweaty lifestyle. It was worth the wait and turns out it was a one-stop-shop (hey curlfriends at DevaCurl)!
I’m currently living in natural hair heaven, so here is my naturally curly (and mostly sweaty) hair routine.
My Natural Hair Used To Be “Naturally” A Problem
But first, a little “hair-story.”
When I first went natural I bought every single product I could get my hands on (read: afford). Different creams for my sensitive scalp and two different curl patterns. Yeah you read that right. Depending on where in my scalp we’re talking, I am a 3C or 4A curl type. My sides and back are 3C and the middle is 4A. Or as I refer to jokingly, just a straight up C. “C” for the Congo. Think detangling with your fingers in the front, straight up tearing up combs in the middle. You can laugh. I always do on wash days.
So although I’ve tried every natural hair or curly hair line you can think of, it is important to note that I’m allergic to 99.9% of them.
Curls poppin’, yes! Skin glowing, not so much. One reaction was so bad that it sent me to urgent care on New Year’s Eve. Nothing worse than ringing in the new year looking a hot mess and covered in hydrocortisone cream. This was about 7 years ago, and this was the exact moment when my regimen got real simple (read: not exciting).
My Tsal shampoo was/is a staple thanks to ezcema and psorasis. Great for the skin allergies, terrible for natural hair since it’s super drying. I jumped around from gentle conditioners that I could leave in and had a short ingredient list that my dermatologist could inspect/approve of. And for “styling,” basically whatever gel I could find that didn’t have alcohol or fragrance in it. See, boring!!!
I wanted to play with all the fun products that my favorite hair bloggers were writing about – and I tried. But eventually I realized that clear skin and perfect curls were just not a reality for me. This sucked because while I loved the way my curls looked when they were wet out the shower, once I put my “no-fun products” in, it was always a crap shoot – you never knew what you were going to get.
Former President Of The Ponytail Club
Which is how I became the “President of the Ponytail Club.”
“Curls acting up? Throw an elastic around them.” That was our motto. Which made sense since I sweat for a living. However when it came to hair growth, or not looking like a 13-year-old all of the time, this curly hair way of life was whack.com! Speaking of a way of life, one thing people don’t really talk about is that having natural hair is definitely a way of life (more on this in a different post – one day soon).
Embrace The Jehri Curl
Because that’s how your hair looks when you first put your product in for that wash-and-go. Curlfriends, am I right?!
Yo, this is the part I dislike the most. So much so that I will do my wash-and-go on days when I can stay home the several hours it takes to dry (read: never). Or I do them on a night when I’m in for a Netflix marathon. I’m not a fan of diffusers and I don’t have time (or patience) to sit under a hood dryer. Which is why #TeamPonytails was me #IRL. Hair wet, Jehri curl not cute, topknot here I come.
Until I discovered the magic of curls that have never been touched while wet.
Holy cow ladies. Heard it all before, but before Solange made a #1 hit sharing this secret, touching your hair when it is wet is unruly curls waiting to happen. Not touching it though – flawless curls. Every. Single. Time.
So long story short, I’ve embraced the Jehri curl look ladies. Stepping out with shrinkage and perfectly spiraled curls only to pick my roots out after a quick tousle about an hour later (turns out fresh air drys hair quick), revealing flawless curls. Every. Single. Time.
That, and I finally found the perfect (no-allergic-reaction-required) products!
Sign The Whole Team
Which brings me to my curlfriends over at DevaCurl!
DevaCurl had been on my list of “safe” products for a long time. I started using the No-Poo Original Zero-Lathering Cleanser once I realized that Tsal and it’s drying properties would always be necessary for my scalp. I didn’t want to leave sweat on my color treated curls for more than a couple of days, so No-Poo was a lifesaver. Sulfate free, gentle and mild enough that my skin didn’t have a fit every wash. So when I recently left the “Ponytail Committee” I decided to try and find products that would be moisturizing for my curls, but still provide a good hold when styling. I also wanted to get serious about showing my curls some weekly TLC and invite deep conditioning treatments to the party. So I figured since No-Poo had been my boo for so long, I would give DevaCurl a try. And Curlfriend, I am so happy I did. Here is my current regimen that has me living in curl heaven.
1) I only cleanse with suds once a week. And no suds once a week. This combo works for me and the frequent sweat my kinks encounter. On my wash days I use my TSal, only on the scalp – no need to strip all of my strands of moisture when it’s my scalp that’s sensitive. Then I chase this with the No-Poo. Then three days later I use the No-Poo only.
2) For the conditioner I invited the One Condition Decadence Ultra Moisturizing Milk Conditioner to the party. It is so creamy and my “Congo” curls are so manageable that I almost cried the first time I ran my fingers through those former comb-breaking-coils. I still use a wide tooth comb to detangle once a week though on wash days. Then after that I just use my hands. Never an option before One Condition.
3) Speaking of wash days, once a week, I deep condition with the Heaven In Hair. Appropriately named, because this was the exact moment my curls became angelic y’all. Corny, yes. True, also definitely yes. I do this special treatment on days when I have a huge break in between classes so that I can turn the steam room in the gym’s locker room into a salon for one.
4) Then for styling, I use the SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler. This was the game changer girls. Holds like my boring gel, but with much more moisture. And it smells great! I be hugging people (I’m touchy feely like that) and have received a lot of compliments. Who knew coconut mixed well with sweat? To make sure it’s evenly distributed, I divide my hair into four sections and use about a nickel size on each section – smoothing from roots to tip. Plus it dries fast without being drying. Miracle.
Then after it is about 60% dry I will pull it to the top of my head into a high pony with a scrunchie (a “pineapple” is what they call this in the natural hair community) for like 1o minutes. Then, when I let it down, my curls are stretched. I pick/lift the roots, shake and go. I like big hair, so I repeat this with a little spray of conditioner and spring water that I cocktail in a bottle, as needed, and I can rock this look for three days. Four if I’m lucky.
The best part is, no more ponytails (unless I am working out). I just let me curls be free and they have been fun and healthy thanks to DevaCurl. I can’t wait to add more of their products to my naturally curly (and mostly sweaty) hair routine. My clear skin can’t wait either!