Curly 101: Styling Products and Methods

Here is the video and demo of me washing my hair. I cover all that is written below but I have it written out for you to reference and if you prefer to read it. At the bottom of links of suggested products to try. I had every intention of putting a couple different demos of products and styling methods in this video. However, the video was going to be much too long. In this video I will demo  using a leave in, a mousse, and diffusing it. Next weeks video will cover a curl cream, gel, and air dying.

Now that we have learned how to wash our hair we can move onto  products and how to apply them. If you missed that blog post and video you can watch and read it here. In the video I have above I demo using a basic leave in conditioner and a styling mousse. I feel this is a simple combo to start with. I don’t usually use this routine anymore but this one offers products that you can pick up almost anywhere. Next week’s video I will have a demo using Curl cream, a gel, and how to properly air dry. This is also a really simple routine. 

We left off last week with clean soaking wet hair. Our hair should be properly separated to our desire and the curls should begin to take shape as we have detangled our hair with our fingers and squished out the access water to start encouraging the curls.

If you have some time you can air dry (I like to do this for at least 10 minutes before I diffuse). You can also wet plop which is putting a shower cap on your head before you apply products. You see this in the video. I like to put makeup on and then style my hair so if I need some time I will use this method. Or  you can dry plop, plopping your curls on a t shirt or a micro fiber towel. You can do this after applying you products for a while to help encourage the curls and get them to dry a little bit. Some people do this overnight. I do not have a lot of success with this as it tends to flatten the top of my head. If you want me to go over these methods or do demos on how to plop wet/dry let me know! I’d be happy to do so.

At this point I put my towel around my shoulders to avoid getting my shirt all wet. The next part is another area you will need to play with, picking your styling products. Lets go over a few options that you can try. My rule of thumb is to try one new product at a time. Start of picking one styling product and build on that. Patience is key as it will take you a bit to find what works for you. Once  you found it, it is much easier to adjust depending on hair’s needs.

Leave-In Conditioner: You can either use a leave in conditioner or not completely rinse out the conditioner you used in the shower. When picking a leave in there are sprays and creams. Sprays being the obvious lighter choice generally. A popular leave in is the Deva Curl Be Leave in conditioner. This product has great slip to it (slip refers to how slippery it is) and is relatively light weight in my experience. The slip helps you evenly distribute the product. I can take or leave the leave in. It depends for me on how well my normal conditioner is doing, if my hair has been getting deep conditioned recently, and what other products I am using. More recently I have been using cleaner leave in’s not necessarily for ‘curly hair’ but that’s mostly marketing. If you already have some, try that. 

Creams: If I am using a cream I will skip the leave in. I don’t want to over do the moisturizing as this will make my hair look greasy and weigh it down. I will generally use a cream under a gel and sometimes a custard. I always start with a little and slowly use more, again too much is a bad thing for me. Shea moisture has some good creams as well as Deva Curl. When distributing I use the praying hands method.  This means I get the creams distributed in my hands and I smooth my hair through my hands with the product with my hands closed as if I am ‘praying’. This ensures it gets evenly distributed. I then scrunch in the rest. If you use a cream also you can expect your hair to be soft. It will usually fall flatter or closer to wavy than curly throughout the day if you use this alone depending on your hair. Some creams also offer hold. The Innersence has a whipped cream product that you emulsify before applying. This means you take the product in your hands and you rub you hands together vigorously until it has a thick white coating. You then apply it with praying hands method. I have use this alone, my hair is soft but also retains some shape to it as the day goes on.

Mousse: I might apply mousse over a cream but I mostly use it alone or with a little leave in conditioner. I would use a mousse when I am looking for a light weight product and I was some extra volume. Giovanni has a great mousse that has some awesome hold. I will apply this liberally with the praying hands method and then I will scrunch in extra. Once is it totally dry, by either air drying or diffusing I will scrunch my hair until it is nice a fully. You don’t usually get the hardness with a mousse once your hair is dry like you would with a gel but you can.

Gels: Gels and custards are probably my most favorite products and I feel are the most misused. I used the Deva Curl gel in next weeks video. There are cheaper options such as Eco Styler that I have found give roughly the same results. I will apply a gel over a cream or if I feel that my hair is moisturized enough I will use a gel alone. I will you a generous amount of gel in my hair. If you have a sticky gel, keep scrunching until you don’t feel it sticky in your hands. I will first use the praying hands method and then I will scrunch it through my hair. I will usually apply more during the scrunching phase. Gels will dry hard and crunchy. Once  you have it applied to your wet hair do not touch it! This applies to any product but most importantly with gels. Diffuse it or let it air dry. Once it is 100% dry then you scrunch you hair to break the cast. What you should have left is soft curls that are nice a fluffy. Gels offer the strongest hold generally. I see so many people with hard or crunchy hair. I would like to assume their hair is still drying but unfortunately I think they are using gel the wrong way. When used right gels are a great option. But don’t forget to ‘scrunch out the crunch’. With certain gels like the Eco Style gel you have to keep scrunching until  you don’t feel the stickiness on your hands anymore.

Custards: Custards are my current favorite. They combine the hold of a gel but for my hair they offer some moisture. They are the nice sweet spot for me as of late. I have been using the Cheeky Curls Curl Custard alone. Currently, the best results I have gotten is no leave in, no cream, only custard. I apply it the same way as the rest. This is the simplest easiest product for me. I have also been using it to refresh second and third days curls. That will be covered in my nest post.

Other methods to apply product: There are other methods such as the ‘rake and shake’ method. This involves raking the product through the your hands and shaking your hand once you hands get to the ends to clump t he curls again. This doesn’t work well for me as my curls aren’t as tight. This seems to work better with tighter curls. Another way is to separate the hair in sections and work through each section, sometimes combing it. Against this doesn’t seem to work well for me for the same reasons. If you have thicker curlier hair I would give these both a try.

Once my product is on I scrunch for a decent amount of time. I scrunch to distribute the product and to continue getting access water out. Once to more water is coming out of my hair I then scrunch with a microfiber towel or an old shirt to get even more moisture and excess product out.

Things to remember as you experiment with products. Less is more. My advice would be to use a good shampoo or conditioner. Apply the product to very wet hair I would skip a leave in or cream and just use a gel. The Eco Style gel is about $6 or try a trial size of the Deva Curl, available at Ulta. Scrunch the gel generously through your hair. I would then air dry until completely dry. Then scrunch out the crunch. I would then go from there. If you hair is still frizzy you may need more moisture. I would use a leave in or a cream before the gel. If it lacks volume and isn’t frizzy I would try diffusing. Possibly try a mousse if you want even more volume but try it first alone. Try the basic application of a gel first. Get a good sense of what the problem is. We can figure it out, curly hair varies all the time and a lot is trial and error. You will have a littler stash of products that you can adjust use of seamlessly in no time!

Products to try:

Many can be found at Sallys, Target, and Ulta.

Leave In-Conditioner by As I am

Leave-In by Deva Curl

Curl Cream by Shea Moisture

Wave maker Curl Cream by Deva Curl, very light weight.

Giovanni Mousse

Innersence Whipped Crème Texturizer*

Deva Curl Gel Light Hold no crunch

Deva Curl Gel Ulta Hold

Eco Styler Gel

Cheeky Curls Custard*

*Clean products




3 thoughts on “Curly 101: Styling Products and Methods

  1. I’ve been following you on Insta for a while but have only just seen your blog. I love it! The advice is great, especially for a newbie like me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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