Hair Care Routine For Curly Hair

Hair Care Routine For Curly Hair

Hey You Guys! I finally finished my hair care routine article!!! :yahoo:  It took a while, but now that it’s complete, I’m so excited to share this with you guys. I’m going to jump right into it, so here goes.

I wash my hair every day. Yes, everyday, but, I don’t use shampoo. I co-wash every day and use a shampoo only if my hair feels particularly dirty or if I’ve gotten stuff in it by accident, or if people have touched it during the day (I HATE it when people don’t even ask before they touch your hair!!!) and yes, I am a pretty obvious germaphobe.  Now, what is co-washing, you may ask. Well, “co-wash” stands for “conditioner-wash.”  That’s right, I wash my hair with only conditioner.
You may be skeptical and might wonder whether conditioner is sufficient to clean hair effectively. The answer to that question? Absolutely! More than the conditioner itself, it’s the scrubbing action that really lifts all the dirt off my scalp and takes it away to be rinsed off.

This is how I co-wash:

  • I take a good amount of silicone-free conditioner in my palm and water it down a bit with water till I get a thinner, but not watery consistency.
  • Then, I apply it generously all over my scalp, and make sure every area is covered.
  • Now, I proceed to the scrubbing part of it. With my fingertips, I gently but firmly and in circular motions, scrub the conditioner into my entire scalp for about 10 minutes. I make sure to not use my nails, but only the pads of my fingers.
  • If I have sweated a lot that day, I add a bit of baking soda or lemon juice into the conditioner (if I have sweated crazy a lot, then I just shampoo :tongue: )
  • Now that the 10 minutes are up, I rinse it all out of my hair, and use conditioner one more time, this time in the normal way you would use it.

This makes my hair feel very clean, without stripping it of moisture, and I haven’t suffered any problems by doing this. Around once a month or so or whenever I feel my hair has gotten particularly dirty that day, I use a shampoo. Now here, I try avoiding a shampoo with sulphates and silicones; silicones definitely no, and sulphates are fine if I don’t have any other choice, even though they’re a bit drying.


In the 5th step of co-washing that I wrote above, I said that I use conditioner again. This time too, it is a silicone-free conditioner. First, I make sure my hair isn’t dripping wet, or else all the conditioner I put in further will merely run down my body and not really act upon my hair. I gently get the excess water out of my hair with my hands, and then apply it on my hair till my roots, but not on my scalp. Of course, when you apply anything on your hair till your roots, it will touch your scalp. What I mean is that I don’t specifically put it on my scalp, as it’s my hair that needs the moisture, and not really my scalp.  I rinse it out after say 5 minutes or less.

Once out of the shower:

Once I’m out of the shower, having rinsed off all the conditioner completely, my hair is super-soft and, well, wet. It is curly, but I want to define my curls even more.  This is what my hair looks like right after the shower with nothing in my hair.

Hair Care Routine For Curly Hair

It shouldn’t be dripping wet, but should still be wet, fully wet. Just see it doesn’t drip or else all the product you put in after this will just drip all over your house, and you’ll have nicely conditioned hardwood floors instead of regular ones. :toothygrin:

Next, I take a good amount of conditioner in my hands, and proceed to define my curls.

Defining Curls:

I take a big dollop of conditioner and that may seem like a lot, but it isn’t, really, considering it has to actually get distributed on each and every strand of my hair.

This is how much I take for one use:

curly hair

Aaaaand, it’s falling off the side of my palm, and I didn’t even notice, I was too busy fiddling with my camera :toothygrin:


Now, I’ve scooped it back into my palm :tongue:

Curly hair care

To define my curls, I basically first apply the conditioner to all my hair and work it through. Note – great workout for arms. :tongue:

Then, I rake all my hair downward, so that any tangles that might have remained are eliminated. When I first started doing this, I used to have loads of tangles at this stage. Then, as I got used to it and my hair became healthier, I started seeing a reduction in the number of tangles in my hair. Today, for instance, I sometimes find absolutely no tangles in it. Don’t worry if you find a whole load of tangles in there, it takes some time getting used to 🙂

Then, I scrunch my hair. By doing this, I obtain frizz-free, defined curls. Imagine holding a scrunched-up piece of paper in your hands, and trying to get it to be even more crumpled. You’d kind of make a fist and scrunch it together, right? It’s the same with my hair, I grab sections of my hair (yes, this is as fun as it seems to be :)) ), and scrunch in an upward motion. I do this for each and every part of my hair.

Final Setting:

When my hair was shorter, after I scrunched it, my hair would be a mass of ringlets tightly adhering to my head. Now that it’s longer, the length weighs it down, and it doesn’t stick to my head so tight, but instead forms spirally curls. See?


At this point, your hair should still be wet, and not even half-way dry. It should be fully wet.

Oh, I don’t know why I was pulling that face. I think I was annoyed with my camera. :haanji:

Samantha 2

After this, there can be two things I do.  If I want more defined curls, I let them dry for about an hour and then go on to the next step. If I want them a bit loosened and longer (because of the loosened curl pattern), I go directly to the next step, with my hair still pretty wet.

Then, I wrap my head in my regular (currently henna-stained) towel. It has doggies and doggy bones on it too!!! :toothygrin: This I do directly if I want looser curls or I wait for an hour or so if I want tighter curls, as I said above already.

Towel dried hair

The Next Morning:

I normally wash my hair at night. I sleep with my towel on. Yes, this does flatten my hair a bit, but it isn’t a problem. In the morning, I just take the towel off, fluff my hair up and I’m done!!! I don’t mess with the length of my hair at all, by fluffing my hair up, I mean I stick my hands gently under all my hair, and fluff up only by waving my hands about in the roots for a bit, very weird sentence! :tongue: and tah-dah!!! :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo:

Curly hair routine

It will take you some time to find out what works for your hair. It took me about a whole five months to figure out how much conditioner I needed, how to wash my hair, how often to co-wash it, how wet it needs to be when I apply my leave-in etc.

Though this seems utterly tedious, I promise it’s not. It takes me only five minutes to do, because I’ve gotten so used to it. Initially, it will take you a lot more time, but with practise and as you understand better what YOUR hair needs, you will take less time, I promise.

I have shared my hair routine here in the hope that those of you who have curly hair and are unsatisfied with it may find something that finally works for you, to show off those gorgeous curls of yours!

Much love,


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85 thoughts on “Hair Care Routine For Curly Hair

  1. that’s some seriously awesome hair care advice. you rock, Samantha! and what gorgeous curls. I will read your article again to absorb all the gyaan. good work and great pics. looking fabulous. love your hair :rose:

  2. samantha, u were unnecessarily pullin urself down in d mirror one post ystrday! ur hair r just adorable!:D n so shud b ur attde at ur wrkplace 2wards dose pple..god bless u:)

    1. Thanks so much, Heena! 🙂
      I was just so frustrated yesterday, that something just went ‘Boinggg’ in my head, and I started ranting. :toothygrin: But now I’m back to normal 😀

  3. great article samantha… :waytogo:
    and ur curls look awesome… 🙂
    not sure if i can skip shampoo for so long though as i have oily scalp. :nababana:

    1. Thanks so much, Richa 🙂
      You know what, if you actually do this, you’ll find that the gentle scrubbing action with the conditioner helps to balance out your scalp’s oil production. If it is still too oily, try mixing witch hazel and mouthwash in the ratio 3:1, and apply it on your scalp with a piece of old clean cloth. Keep it on for about 5 minutes, and then co-wash etc. as I’ve said above.
      From your display picture, however, it seems you have straight hair. In that case, do NOT absolutely under any circumstances, try this method. You’ll just end up with a flat, oily and limp mess on your head. 🙂

  4. love ur hair…………. :teddy: :teddy: :teddy: :teddy: me just saw SRK as he tied up his daughter hair bands along with hair pony tail 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

  5. Good lord, Samantha! 😮 I could kill to have your curls! :phoolan: :silly: And thank you SO much for this article! :woot: :thanks: I’m still struggling to adapt a new hair care routine for my permed curls and this article has superb tricks. I’m going to switch to the co-wash method too. :pigtail: And that scrunching idea is brilliant! :woot: :woot: :woot:

    BTW, I am now totally convinced that anyone who makes fun of your hair is DEFINITELY jealous. :spank: Or incurably stupid. Or both. You have such a pretty curly head! :puchhi:

    1. Thank you, Jabberwocky!!! :))
      I don’t know anyone with permed curls right now who I can use as a guinea pig :vampire:, but I’m pretty sure that this should work, since the science behind it is the same.
      Yeah, the scrunching really helps. It’s been used world over for years now, to help define curls and keep them, well, curly! :toothygrin:
      Let us know how your co-washing goes. :yahoo:
      And thanks for the support! Really appreciate it :puchhi:

        1. Yay!!! We got a guinea pig! *puts an announcement in the Journal for Evil People and pretends to know nothing about it*
          :party: :party: :party: :party:

  6. I have curly hair too… 🙂 looser and longer curls …. I do everything as you except for co-wash…. love your curls :inlove: :inlove:

  7. :jaiho: :jaiho: :jaiho: :jaiho: You’re as cute and fluffy as a bunny! :love: :love: :love: I just want to reach out and pet your curly lil’ head! :teddy: :teddy:
    Now to start pestering my Ma to let me get my hair permed. :jog: :shying:

  8. Hey Samantha,
    loved the article! 😀 you write well 🙂
    You’ve mentioned that once you’re out of the shower, you condition again. What conditioner are you talking of? Is it a leave-in conditioner or the same conditioner you’d used in the shower?
    Also, I have curly hair too, but it tends to get frizzy.. leave-in conditioners don’t really help and I’d LOVE more defined curls 🙂 Any suggestions for that?

    1. Thank you so much, Dee! :))
      The conditioner I use to define my curls, yeah? That’s the same conditioner I use in the shower; only thing I don’t rinse it out this time.
      Honestly, I use my regular conditioner as my leave-in too. My hair needs all the moisture it can get! Regular conditioner is thicker, more moisturizing, and defines curls super well too. You don’t need gel or mousse or hairspray or anything.
      The reason you, and many people, find that leave-ins don’t really seem to help, is because they are designed to not ‘weigh’ hair down, and be very ‘light’ and all that. And that’s why they don’t help a bit. We need heavy-duty moisture in our hair.
      However, always read the ingredients in your conditioner. If they don’t seem very healthy, then don’t use that as your leave-in, or even as a regular conditioner.
      To define curls, what I do is I never brush or comb my hair, I use a lot of conditioner, and I co-wash every single day. Also, I never blow dry, or flat iron, or use chemical treatments.
      I think you need to switch to a heavier conditioner as your leave-in, or use more product. If your hair is ‘crunchy’ or ‘hard’ with all that conditioner in there once it’s fully dry, then lightly scrunch with your palm. It goes away in a jiffy, and all you’re left with is beautiful, soft, spirally curls! 🙂

  9. and Samantha….co-wash is such a great idea…..I should follow it :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yahoo: :yes: :yes: :yes: :yes: :yes: :yes:

  10. so cuuute ur hair looks by the end of it..!!
    btw iv heard conditioner shpudnt touch the scalp.. ot causes hairlos as it weighs the roots.. conditioners are meant for hair shaft… after i read this i never let it touch my scalp :struggle: :struggle: :struggle:

    1. Thank you, Neha! 🙂
      The reason it is said that conditioner should not touch the scalp is because the silicone used in most conditioner builds up on the roots, and then can cause many problems like you mentioned – hair loss, etc.
      That is precisely why I mentioned – “NO silicone conditioners”. 🙂

  11. awesome article sam! and really someone who makes fun of your hair is def jealous. Your hair is something that makes you. Infact each one of has something that is special about us. I gues sin your case it’s your hair. you are adorable. Love them. :-*

    1. Awww… thank you for the support, Rati! :))
      Yeah, every one of us has something unique that makes us us.
      :puchhi: :puchhi:

    1. I’m currently using Enliven. I would be using VO5 or Suave if I could find them, but they just aren’t available here.
      VO5 shampoos have recently come in Spar, though, so fingers and toes crossed.
      Suave I’ll have to travel one-way for 8 hours, so not worth it.
      Also, I’ve heard that TBS’s Rainforest Conditioner’s free of silicones, so you might want to give that a try. I’ve never used it, because I’d be going through some 600 rupees in a week (I use a LOT of condish every day).
      So far, my savior has been Enliven. It has good ingredients, and I do not mind the parabens.
      I want Kiss My Face so bad, but it isn’t available in India. :((
      Also, some Lush conditioners like the American Cream, the Jungle Hair do not contain any silicones.
      Any that you know of, Jabberwocky? I need more recommendations. :idk:

      1. Enliven? Thanks for the tip! :woot: My mum uses its shampoos and conditioners. I’ll get some for myself too. I have heard even the Matrix Biolage range has silicone free conditioners but I don’t know any specific ones. :-/
        I’ve seen the VO5 products in those US Dollar Stores. Maybe you could try looking for them there if you have such a store in your city.

        1. Yeah? Cool :))
          I’ll try finding the Matrix Biolage range then. :yahoo:
          We don’t have any dollar stores here. I wish we did :((
          Maybe I should start petitions for dollar stores now :haanji: I mean, they already listened to me about how to pull out of the recession and everything, and just look at the markets now! :tongue: You never know, they just might! 😀

    1. Thank you, Nidhi :))
      Dove contains silicones, and Amway I do not know about, sorry. 🙁
      All Dove ranges contiain silicones. 🙂

  12. i use VO5 for cowashing… its silicone free… for 100 bucks u get a huge bottle… i too have oily scalp but i put some lemon juice on scalp and then cowash.. if u are addicted to shampooing everyday cowashing is for u.. :pigtail:

      1. SAM there is a dollar store in Trivandrum..(111 rupees for 443 ml) got it there..Also its there is StylePlus and lots of other stores.. :dance:

        1. Oh :(( I live far far away from Trivandrum. :((
          So no luck there. :(( We’ll see, maybe they’ll open up here too 😀

  13. And another question. 😛 Once you apply conditioner again and scrunch the hair, do you rinse the product out or just let it stay?

    1. Ha ha 🙂 No problem 😛 Bring ’em on!!!
      When I apply conditioner and scrunch my hair, it is my leave in. I don’t rinse it out.
      If I do, I’ll end up right back at picture 1 😐 :toothygrin:

  14. Samanthaa your hair are just so adorable…. seriously who in their sane mind would make fun of them???
    they look so nice and healthy …..

  15. Red towel dress and super-curls???? Trying to give marilyn monroe’s ghost a run for her money???? :toothygrin: :waytogo: :waytogo:
    and great tips….I have straight hair but my mom has super-curls…..I am gonna send her this article :thanks:

    1. Thank you, so much, Oopsii!!! :))
      Ah that’s my new burnt orange towel :)) It’s sooooo soft 😀 😀
      Yay someone noticed my towel 😀 😀

  16. Hey, this routine is the Curly Girl (based on the book by Lorraine Massey) routine right? 🙂 I’m in the process of getting familiar with it. Love it. And your curls are gorgeous!

  17. Wow such beautiful curls :woot: :woot: and y not u take so good care of them……fundoo article!!!!! :thanks: :thanks: I use to have curly hair since birth but with time they are getting straight day by day 😐 😐 Dunno y ?:) I loved my curls and wish cud retain them but maybe too late :scream: no curls only frizz :waaa: :waaa:

    1. Thank you so much, TA 🙂
      You know what, I bet your hair still has all of its curly soul somewhere deep down. Give this a try, and see if it works for you.

  18. Thank you so much!!! :)) :))
    No, Apurva, this isn’t exactly CG. Although it does borrow heavily from it.
    For instance, I am not no-poo, but low-poo. I haven’t trimmed my hair for over a year now, and I have no split ends :yahoo:
    I never apply product to soaking wet hair, as I feel it’s merely an increased drying time and nourishes my floors more than it does my hair. 😛
    I never scrunch with cloth or paper towels, as it tends to invite frizz and lots of it.
    But yeah, as I already said, it does borrow heavily from her method. However, I thought it unfair to describe what I do as CG, since it deviated quite a lot and breaks a few of her ‘rules’. However, I do have great respect for Massey and Chiel!!!

  19. vohooo…amazing curls..n a great article..even i hv not been using shampoo since d past 2 mnths..i use amla reetha powder n form a thin paste n den scrub a lil n wash..n my hair r squeaky clean. skipping d shampoos actually mk our hair much more healthy… 🙂

        1. I haven’t seen them around – they must be there someplace, though… I will look for them the next time I go out store-ransacking :toothygrin:
          Thanks so much! :))

  20. Hi Samantha,
    Ive got surly hair too but mine r soft curls n hair is very fine so if I use so much conditioner it would weigh my hair down. I too have to wash my hair everyday.. I wanted to know which shampoo you use. Thanks. P.S. Love ur curls. :thumbsup:

    1. Thank you so much, Snehal! 🙂
      I get what you mean. But my hair is far from fine, and I guess that’s why this works so well for me! You could try cutting down on the conditioner amount when defining your curls, and actually using a conditioner that specifically says ‘leave-in’, since those tend to be lighter 🙂
      However, if and when you co-wash, do not skimp on the conditioner. Even though you may have fine hair, your scalp still needs to be cleansed well.
      I try looking for sulphate free shampoos. Recently, Himalaya has come out with a new shampoo with no SLES, silicones or parabens. I’m currently using this on the rare occasions I feel the need to shampoo, and I’ve found it pretty okay so far; not drying, not moisturizing either. Of course they could have sulphates other than SLES (they’re conveniently ambiguous on the packaging about this issue), but since my only other alternative is a hard core sulphate shampoo, I’m using this now!

  21. Samantha….I noticed your red towel firsht :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: …that’s why I called you hawtttttttttttttttt :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance: :happydance:

    1. Really???? 😀 😀 😀
      Now why didn’t I think of that before? 😛
      Ha ha 🙂 I told my towel, and he said, “Yawn! Please, woman.” I think he’s getting too cocky these days with all the compliments he’s been getting 😀 :smug:

  22. Sam, Lovely article and super lovely curls to die for…I had wonderful curls when I was young, recently I got a full head shave at Tirupathi Balaji Temple and now sporting a pixie cut….I so much want to follow an ideal routine to bring out the curly soul in my hair….I read the co-wash procedure and suggestions for conditioners…not sure if these brands are available in Hyd…Can you please advice. Thanks a ton…your curls rock :jaiho: :jaiho: :jaiho: :jaiho: :jaiho: :jaiho:

      1. hey girl, Yes there is tbs in two diff places in hyd, so far I daily shampoo my hair, now that I am introduced to co-washing, I would need a silicone free conditioner which does not cost a fortune…and given the steps above, I am sure I would need more quantity of conditioner…and tbs is way too costly for a daily expensive indulgence.

  23. heyaaa,,i m vry much dukhi frm myyy hair :headbang: ,,deyyy r dryy nd curlyy…i use normal hair brush aftr combin it lukz vryyy ajeeb :waaa:
    suggest mee sum shampoo,,conditioner,serum nd sum home remedies….plz plz plz…..

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