Having curly hair has been a major struggle for me while growing up.
Ages 4 until 14, I always convinced myself I had awkward, half-straight, half "wavy" hair. I was so in denial that my hair was curly I completely ruled it out as a possibility.
For some reason, curly hair has always been seen as a "defect", or something that needed fixing in my society. "Brush her hair!" guests and relatives would say. "Use oils and hair masks; it'll straighten it out! Try keratin treatments! Use, apply, do ..."
Curly hair was bad and needed to be gotten rid of.
It was only in 10th grade when I dyed my hair purple and blue that I realized the gorgeous, magnificent, fantastic nature of my hair: it's curliness! I stopped brushing my hair regularly because the dyed ends were a pain (oops) and leaving it to air-dry helped me see my locks in all their (tangled) glory.
After that, I accepted it. I took care of it, and now I feel POWERFUL. People thought it was odd and were always telling me what to do to get it to straighten out, and were taken aback (sometimes in surprise, sometimes in shock) when I said that's how my hair is, and I love it.
It's been hard finding the right products and routines for my hair, and now I'm here to share. Whether you're a curly hair veteran or a newbie (like I was three years ago), here I bring you the best post-shower hair products I know.
OF COURSE, every person is different, and no two people are the same, so what works for me might not work for you. Feel free to discover and explore - hey, I encourage it! And not all curly hair is restricted to the picture above. Beautiful, luscious curly hair comes in all shapes.
PSA: the link to the product will be in the title!
PSA2: I apply all of these products on damp, lightly towel-dried hair (so it's not dripping wet.) I like to rotate between these products to get the benefit from them all. When applying, pass your fingers through your hair instead of rubbing to avoid breaking the hair. Other than that, let's go!
1- Shea Moisture: Curl-Enhancing Smoothie
The one word to describe this hair smoothie is gorgeous. Its thick consistency and rich scent both make it a personal favorite. Shea Moisture is an organic-ingredient based company, which focuses on using shea butter and other natural components, which also is an important feature for me.
EFFECT: I usually use it when I want my hair to have shiny, long-lasting curls. It definitely delivers the "curl enhance" it promises, and smells amazing. I rely on it whenever I have somewhere to go, but it's not my default because it does leave its mark - you can feel it on your hair. Be careful not to apply too much, because last week I accidentally did and my head was suffocating. With every turn, I'd get an insane whiff and my hair was almost stiff. My bad!
2- Shea Moisture: Leave-In Conditioner
Yeah, another Shea Moisture product. This one IS in fact my default whenever I leave the shower. Its scent is also nice but not that strong, and its texture is buttery and smooth. Too much can make your hair look greasy, so for mine (medium length), I use the amount equal to a teaspoon or two.
EFFECT: Although the curls I get from it aren't as defined and shiny as the ones from the smoothie before, this conditioner does hydrate my hair and give me 90% neat curls. The shea butter feels more prominent in this one, and even if I brush my hair the curls separate but stay curly until I shower again.
3- Shea Moisture: Styling Lotion
This one - like the title says - is good for styling your hair. I use it periodically; less than the conditioner but more than the smoothie. its bottle is also easy to use and organize so that's a plus. It has a different set of ingredients than the other two, having the valuable apple cider vinegar and castor oil in its formula.
EFFECT: almost the same as the leave-in conditioner, but this one leaves more defined curls. A little of it goes a long way. Does wear off in a couple of days, though.
4- Boots: curl crème
The glittery metallic pink of this cream drives me crazy. It's smooth and smells gorgeous and I absolutely love it. I'm not entirely sure of its ingredients (or if it's organic or not) so I use it sparingly. Special thanks to my aunt for getting it for me!
EFFECT: This cream softens my hair and gives it more volume. Although my curls end up not as thick and defined as when I use the smoothie, they're still curly and neat. Its scent also sticks, regardless of the shampoo I use.
5- Garnier: Hair Serum
This product's packaging is small, probably half as large as the others on this list, but it's the definition of tiny but mighty. The Ultra Doux line generally has pretty solid products (ahem ahem, I use their shampoos too) and this honey-based serum is no different. Although it says "for hair ends", I use it on most of my hair.
EFFECTS: This one doesn't particularly do anything to my curls; they look as though I let them air-dry without any product. However, it does leave it moisturized and ultra-soft. I like using it at least once a week to make sure my hair stays smooth.
6- Garnier: Hydrating Almond Milk
Yep, Ultra Doux once again. Unlike its predecessor, this milk is almond-based and focuses more on hydrating the hair. I can definitely say that over time, my hair has been feeling better and moister than before - but then again, it could be the product combo that I use.
EFFECT: absolutely soft. Extremely voluminous. My hair feels alive after this. My curls - not so much. I like to use it when I know I'm staying home, or that I will braid/tie my hair.
Honorable Mention: Energy Crystal Serum
This serum isn't a part of my routine, although some people I know do use it regularly. Mainly, I use this serum (on damp hair) before I am about to use heat on my hair - whether it's a straightener, curling iron, or blow-dry styling. Using it before applying heat helps preserve my hair from too much damage while also giving it a natural, glowing look. I also apply a teeny bit after the styling is done, to help retain the shape and volume.
And that's all I have! These are all the hair products I use on my curly hair. I hope you too can feel their magic! What about you, though? What hair products are your best friend? What other routines do you have?
Share them in the comments below - we can all help each other!