BEAUTY CARE
Inspiration from Meghan

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Curly Hair Tips: Natural Curly Hair Products, Care and Styling

 

What is it about hair? Those with straight hair, want the curls. So many of us, including myself, with curly hair spend lifetimes battling with a flat iron to tame it. Since having my son, the decision became easy: get a cut that works with curly hair to free up 20 minutes every morning, or straighten my hair. That was why I stopped with the tame bob you've seen me sporting in my books. However, understanding how to work with curly hair is not easy, especially when trying to do it with natural products.

My current rockstar team here at Meghan Telpner Inc. all happen to have curly hair. Not a prerequisite to work here, but swapping curly hair strategies has made us feel like we have an understanding support group.

The Basics of Healthy Hair

First things first – healthy hair is not just about the products! The food we eat, what we drink, the amount of sleep we get, stress, exercise and more all contribute to the way we look on the outside. All of the natural beauty care products or makeup in the world can't disguise the way we feel inside, particularly if we aren't taking care of ourselves. And then we present the challenge of curls. Even with an optimal diet and lifestyle, curly hair can have a mind of its own. I get a lot of questions about curly hair tips and styling, and I have an incredible pool of resources to draw upon both from my own experience and my team.

I address the basics of healthy hair in this post, which delves into the best foods, supplements, nutrients and essential oils. Curly hair is a beast of its own, and sometimes requires more products as it can be naturally dry and coarse. I don't know too many curly-haired people who don't use anything on their hair. I'm in a unique position right now to share some awesome curly hair advice, as I can draw on the wisdom of my team – who all have different types of curly hair. Also, my curly-haired husband Josh (who is constantly messaged online for hair advice) is putting in his two cents.

I might also share that all of us, in our late 30s and early 40s, are welcoming the greys. Below we share our curly hair tips and favourite products to offer you inspiration and ideas!

Meghan's curly hair tips

Meghan Telpner

Describe Your Curly Hair

My hair's natural habitat is somewhere with 100% humidity, but alas, I do not live in Bali during the rainy season. In Canada, I end up with curly hair in the summer and nearly straight hair in the winter, and most of the other time, just the in-between wavy frizzies. My dream curls would be a Flashdance-style perm kinda-thing. It happens about three times a summer with just the right mix of humidity, lake water, and a long stretch without washing it. My hair hasn't seen a comb since I stopped bothering to straighten it three years ago.

Hair Washing Routine

I wash my hair with shampoo and condition once per week, though working on extending that (inspired by Tami, see below!). On non-wash days, when I have to look presentable, I'll do a bit of a scrunch wet in the shower just to calm the frizzies and then add a touch of leave-in conditioner after.

Styling Tips

After the weekly shampoo/conditioner, I squeeze out as much water as I can in the shower with a scrunch motion. I then flip my head upside down to continue scrunch drying with a towel. I add a single pump of Griffin Remedy or about a 2 tsp of a leave-in hair mask, again with head upside down and mostly scrunch in the tips and front to keep the waves defined, slightly control the frizz and avoid weighing it down too much. (Also, I am 100% going to try 'plopping'. See Sondi's tip below!)

Recommended Products

Josh's curly hair tips

Josh Gitalis

Describe Your Curly Hair

Three types: The tighties that hang together and stick to the top. The loosey-gooseys, which are around the sides. And the renegades, that usually travel alone in the wrong direction.

Hair Washing Routine

Full wash about every three days with shampoo and conditioner.

Styling Tips

Pile it on top, let it dry, then squeeze/loosen the goods. An extremely windy day is always helpful too, for a full body look and for music videos. When in a hot humid climate, all bets are off. No product, just a hair band, or hat, or hair clip.

Recommended Products


Sondi's curly hair tips

Curly Hair Tips from Sondi

Describe Your Curly Hair

My curls are constantly evolving! They range from ringlets to loose curls to waves – often all at the same time. Sometimes my hair is curlier underneath, and sometimes curlier on the top layers – and it usually has some frizz due to Vancouver's climate.

Hair Washing Routine

I wash my hair about once a week, but I wet/condition it every 3 days or so. I comb out my curls after showering – I know not all curly girls and guys do this, but my hair is way too knotty to wash 'n go without a comb.

Styling Tips

I mainly apply my styling product, scrunch, and then wind/shape wayward curls as my hair dries. I used to rely heavily on my diffuser, but now I air dry my curly hair 95% of the time. I find if I fuss with my hair too much, it gets too frizzy and fuzzy. Having a good haircut and a stylist who understands curly hair is also key.

My hairdresser recommended a method called 'plopping' – I tried it once but the wrapping method gave me a headache, though I could definitely see a huge difference in the frizz. Perhaps it's time to try it again, using the bamboo wraps I've been hearing about from everyone else (see below)!

Recommended Products

  • Shampoo: I use a house shampoo from a local zero-waste store called The Soap Dispensary.
  • Conditioner: Oneka brand. Unscented is always a classic, and I also like the cedar/sage and goldenseal/citrus – the scents aren't overpowering.
  • Styling: Curelle Styling Gel. Finding effective natural styling products with minimal ingredients have been the toughest part about my natural hair care. I've even tried making my own gel out of flax seeds, which works surprisingly well, but it doesn't last long in the fridge so it's a pain to keep making over and over, especially since I'm not washing or wetting it with every shower.

Tami's curly hair tips

Curly Hair Tips from Tami

Describe Your Curly Hair

Thick bouncy curls with a mind of their own. Seriously! Some days they are easy to tame, other times they just go crazy – and I've learned to let them do their thing.

Hair Washing Routine

I am almost embarrassed to say this, but for the sake of being 100% honest, here it goes... I almost never shampoo my hair. There, I've said it. However, I do rinse and condition it every single morning. I adopted the no-shampoo washing lifestyle over a year ago, and my hair is healthier and shinier that ever before. The thing with curly hair, in my personal experience, is that it tends to be dry and brittle. Even if I wash it with the most gentle shampoo, it still dries it out and the curls don't want to curl. So on the rare days that I do shampoo, I almost don't want to leave the house.

What I do once a month is rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar. I learned this technique from Rosemary Gladstar's book, Herbs for Natural Beauty (US/Canada). On the days that I do this rinse, my hair is extra shiny, soft, and bouncy. Warning: you will smell like a bottle of apple cider vinegar for the rest of the day.

Styling Tips

I don't fuss much about styling. I find that the less I touch or do with my hair, the nicer it will look. After I get out of the shower, I wrap my wet hair in a bamboo hair wrap (US/International) and let it sit like that for a few minutes. I don't squeeze or scrunch – I just let it be. Once my hair has gone from wet to damp, I work in the leave-in conditioner without disturbing the natural curls. If I am using the curling gel, I apply it right after the leave-in conditioner. I let it air dry and that is it.

Recommended Products

  • Shampoo: On the rare occasion, my go-to is Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Liquid Soap (US/Canada). Once a month, I rinse with Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Conditioner: I use Pure Hair Conditioner by Purely Salt Spring. I buy it by the gallon to save on extra unnecessary plastic packaging.
  • Styling: Styling for me is all about keeping my curls well-conditioned without adding bulk, as this tends to weigh down the curls. My leave-in conditioner go-to is Dr. Bronner's Lavender Coconut Organic Hair Crème. It is very lightly scented with lavender essential oil (I am very sensitive to synthetic fragrance/scents). On days that I need to tame any frizzy curls, or if the climate is extra humid, I use the unscented curling gel, Make Waves Curling Gel by Silk Naturals.

Asha's curly hair tips

Curly Hair Tips from Asha

Describe Your Curly Hair

Thick, plentiful curls of varying shapes, sizes and texture! They usually have a mind of their own. I have given up long ago on trying to control them, instead I embrace my natural curls.

Hair Washing Routine

My hair gets washed about once a week, and when it's long, I include a good comb out session in the shower. I do wet and moisturize daily to revive my curls. I dry them with a bamboo hair wrap (US/International) and then let my hair air dry.

Styling Tips

I am pretty low maintenance and have learned to embrace my curls that change with the weather and the water (especially when traveling – did you know the water in different places affects your curls differently?). About once a month, especially when my hair is long, after washing I will do a deep moisturizing treatment. Often I simply use coconut oil. My hair loves it, but I know not everyone's curls do. Then I style it in a protective hairstyle like braids, twists or Bantu Knots for a day or two to let it rest. (I recommend covering it, preferably with a satin scarf or a satin-lined cap (slap) at night to protect your hair – Grace Eleyae makes great slaps, hats and headbands that are all satin-lined to stylishly cover and protect those curls.) The next day, depending on the protective style chosen, I have nice, soft well-formed curls.

Recommended Products

  • Shampoo & Conditioner: I am not loyal to any one product and tend to try new brands often. I find that as my curls get used to a product it doesn't seem to work as well, so I switch it up. I am a huge fan of a co-wash if I can find one. One of my favourite places to look for new products is HoneyFig. Right now I am using SheaMoisture.
  • Moisturizer: I have tried so many and struggle to find something that works that has good ingredients and a smell that isn't overpowering. Currently I have solved that problem by feeding my thirsty curls with my own moisturizer made mostly from coconut oil, shea butter and aloe vera gel and some essential oils.
  • Styling: On the rare occasion I want some extra definition on my curls, I usually just add a little aloe vera gel to my moisturizer and we are good to go.

Finding The Right Chemical-Free Curly Hair Product

Finding your go-to product is a process, as anyone with curly hair knows. The power of the curl (or the frizz) is heavily dependent on the humidity levels, whether you've worn a hat recently, and right down to the shower water. When I used to straighten my hair, it would take weeks of letting it dry naturally for the full curl/wave to come back to it.

As anyone with curly hair can tell you, setting that hair is a ritual that best not be messed with. When I need my hair to look right for an event or filming, my day is planned around when the wash and set will happen. And so when it comes to trying a new product, it can be scary. We don't want to spend a lot of money on a product that isn't right for our hair.

With that in mind, here is what I recommend:

  1. Find out if any of your local stores that offer refills, offer a refill option for curly hair products. Then take a small jar to try just a sample. There's a good chance they'll just let you have a sample.
  2. Reach out to the company and request a sample. When it comes to curly hair, brands know that if they're the chosen one for you, you will most likely be a customer for a very, very, very long time and so are usually quite happy to send some samples your way.

Recommended Chemical-Free Curly Hair Styling Products

I hope you have found a curl twin among the five of us here and some inspiration to perhaps change up your routine a little, and hopefully ditch the products you've been hanging on to that have the less desirable ingredients. And if you're wondering what those are, this post will help you out.

Curly Hair Tips and Curly Hair Products

3 Responses to “Curly Hair Tips: Natural Curly Hair Products, Care and Styling”

  1. Amanda Doueihi said… November 19, 2019
    After recently moving home from NYC to Sydney, it's been a fun game of finding local, chemical-free products that work with my hair. I'm still on the journey and appreciate the advice and guidance you guys have shared. Thanks for giving us curly-haired people some love! <3
  2. gail said… November 19, 2019
    thanks so much, it's hard to find good curling gels without chemicals!
  3. Jacqueline said… December 7, 2019
    So glad you posted about this! In the past few years I have made much progress in handling my curls. My best advice is to get a "curly cut." Sometimes it is called a Deva cut. Your hair is cut when it is dry so the stylist can see the curl pattern, as curls are seldom uniform. Deva is also a brand of products, they say "no bad ingredients" but honestly I don't like the products and I think I am allergic. I've learned so much from following people on Instagram (look for curly girl method or cgm). There are so many non-mainstream products that I've learned about from IG. Beware, Bounce brand has a SUPER strong fragrance (it does dissipate but in my opinion there is no need for such a strong fragrance!) My current favorite is Rizos Curls, my hair always looks and feels amazing when I use it. Also Ouidad gel (Ouidad is also a type of curly cut), and some of the Aveda curly styling products. I'd like to try Righteous Roots soon. Can you tell I am enthusiastic about this subject? You mentioned bamboo wraps, you can even just use a T shirt. The idea is to not use a regular towel with loops because that will affect the cuticle. In addition to bamboo wraps some people are making "towels" out of organic cotton jersey, I love mine. Truly, check out the Curly Girl Method on IG or youtube for so much info!!

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