The Recipe For Curly Hair

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Some days, my hair drives me C-R-A-Z-Y.  And I actually have pretty decent hair.  It has natural wave and curl to it, so I have no problem taking a curling iron to it and the curls turning out great.  And my hair straightens very easily, so when I’m in that kind of mood…voila!  But I have thin hair, which basically equals fly-aways.  And left to it’s own devices, I have a curl here, a wave there, and some locks that are straight as a board.  There are multiple personalities residing on top of my head.  But some days, I want to just dry my hair curly and go!  Well, I dream about it, but more often then not I’m unhappy with the results and end up putting it in a ponytail to destroy all evidence of the previous style.  I need help!  I need tips from curly haired women that have a tried and true method for their curls or waves.  So I recruited a few girlfriends to share their “recipes” with me so I can attempt to tame my unruly locks.  And I discovered that the recipes for curly hair are as diverse as the population of New York City.


Erin B. – long, tight, spiral curls

Curls & Love?

My hair is fairly fine, with spiral curls, so it needs lots of moisture to keep frizz at bay.  So, I use Nexxus Thearappe Shampoo and Humectress Conditioner in the shower, and rinse with cool water.  I wring it dry with a towel, brush through to get out any tangles (the bane of my hair existence).  Then I put in Sebastian Potion Number 9.  It’s a conditioning gel, and I swear by it. I’ve tried pretty much everything in my 30+ years of curly hair, and it’s the only one I’ve found that doesn’t make my hair feel sticky, crunchy, coarse or just icky.  I brush that through, then comb it out with a wide tooth comb.  Then, a quick scrunch (upside down) with the towel to soak up any extra water, and let air dry. I find if I try to blow dry it at all, even with a diffuser it just gets frizzy. When it’s nearly dry I just flip over, shake and scrunch one more time for a little volume, and done.  I use just a little more product when it’s humid, rainy or windy to keep the curls smooth.

I do my hair right when I get out of the shower, so it can dry while I’m getting dressed and doing makeup, etc. so it’s only a little damp by the time I’m ready.  It takes less than five minutes, which for me is huge- I hate spending time on my hair.  That’s my hair program and product, and I think for the most part, it looks pretty presentable (usually).

full clutch note – Erin’s hair ALWAYS looks presentable


Megan M. – fine strands with a mix of curls and waves

I use Alba Botanica Hawaiian Mango shampoo and conditioner, leave the conditioner in while finishing up my shower, comb through the conditioned hair and rinse out the conditioner in as cold of water as I can stand.  I apply Aussie Catch the Wave Mousse + Leave-in Conditioner to wet hair (this is very important), mostly at the roots.  I wrap my dripping wet, product-in hair in a microfiber towel, making sure to not rub dry (disturbs the curl).  I leave my hair in the towel a few minutes to absorb the majority of the drips.  Ideally I have time to let it air dry and then finish with a few curls on the frizzy/damaged parts (1.5″ curling iron).  If I don’t have time to let it dry, I’ll blow-dry just the roots for a lil’ body.

Wow, that seems really fussy now that I write it down.  You’d think my hair would look better.

full clutch note – same note for Erin’s hair applies to Megan


Amber D. – self proclaimed “swervy” hair

Full head process (it sounds like a lot, but it really doesn’t take very much time when you get used to it):

Keep it natural

I use a non-sulfer, natural based shampoo and conditioner (Argon Oil) – sulfer strips the hair of it’s natural oils which is really detrimental to curly hair.  However, sulfer is what causes the shampoo to lather, so it takes a little getting used to when you transition to a non-lathering shampoo.  I only shampoo the hair connected to my scalp and use my fingers to massage it in, I allow the shampoo to run down the length of my hair when I rinse.  Likewise, I only condition the length of my hair, while just patting the top of my head with the excess.  This keeps the hair near the scalp from being weighted down.

I only comb my hair in the shower, while I let the conditioner sit (I do this at all times, even when I don’t do the full head curl) – this keeps the curls from being straightened after the shower, and also prevents breakage.  I pat dry my hair with a towel, but then use a t-shirt to scrunch my hair and remove as much excess water as I can. I do this with my head down and hair flipped over. The t-shirt is smooth and doesn’t rough up the cuticle like a regular towel will. Using a t-shirt and drying the hair (while scrunching) helps to control frizz.

Guts for Hair

I use Redken Guts 10 to add volume to my roots.  Then I use a couple pumps of Garnier Fructis Calm Down Anti-Frizz Cream, a pump of the GF Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum and a small finger scoop of the GF Style Soft Curl Cream.  I rub these together in my palms for a few seconds, allowing them to emulsify.  Then I flip my head over and scrunch them through my hair using my hands.  I then take my t-shirt and scrunch my hair again – this helps shape the curl more and removes excess product.

I spray GF Curl Shaping Spray Gel throughout my hair – again using the t-shirt to scrunch.  I flip my head over and being to blow dry using a diffuser.  When my hair is 85% dry, I spray more Shaping Spray Gel on trouble spots – usually the crown and back of my head, almost enough to re-wet the hair – using the t-shirt to scrunch and shape.  I finish drying my hair with the diffuser.  If there are any spots that are still unruly, I may take a small barrel curling iron to lightly shape those strands.

It sounds like a lot of work, but the whole process (after the shower) only takes about 20 minutes.

full clutch note – Amber has got it down!


Kila R. – long, spiral curls

I have naturally curly hair.  I shampoo and condition (favorites are Biolage Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioning BalmPureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner, and for a more affordable option Suave Almond and Shea Butter Shampoo & Conditioner).  Prior to rinsing conditioner, I comb tangles out with a wide tooth comb and then I rinse most of the conditioner out.  I towel dry my hair and add either Biolage Styling Gelee or Paul Mitchell Sculpting foam (for a lighter hold) to tame my curls.  I then lightly diffuse hair but do not completely dry. Then I’m off.  If I want to add a bit more style/hold I use Paul Mitchell’s Hair Spray.

full clutch note – easy-breezy recipe from Kila


Erica D. – Relaxed waves

Trusted brand

To tame my curls/frizz wavy and frustrating hair I wash it in Pureology (only the top) then condition only the bottom.  Once a month I deep condition.  When wet I add a little Aveda Light/Elements Smoothing Fluid Lotion, then blow dry. I decide if I want loose or tight waves then add another dime size dab of aveda to my hands and smooth each chunk of hair before I iron it.  To achieve lose, relaxed, almost straight waves I separate my hair in 4ths.  I Curl each section with a large iron and style with a side part.  This is great for the office.  For a more controlled curl I use the medium iron and curl at least 7 ringlets.  Depending on my mood I style accordingly, tight Shirley Temple and a headband or relaxed and feathered for a fun 70’s middle part style.  Depending on the moisture in the air another very small amount of Aveda may be necessary to control the frizz at the crown of the head.

full clutch note – like myself, Erica prefers ironing tools to make it look right


Thank you to the curly haired women in my life for the great tips!  Do you have a recipe, or product, to suggest for all the curly haired ladies out there?  Leave it in the comments!

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