How to Style Naturally Wavy Hair

Today I’m sharing my hair routine for my loose, 2A wavy hair. Loose waves like mine are difficult to style and there aren’t a lot of bloggers and YouTubers with that hair type sharing their information. I tried so many things that didn’t work, but I finally have a routine that works well for me.

I’d like to spread the love and share it with all of the wavies out there who might have a similar hair type. Watch to see how I apply my hair products to get the most out of my 2A wavy hair.

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The Cheap Girl’s Guide to the Curly Girl Method

Beginning the curly girl method can be overwhelming. You look at everything in your shower and under your sink and realize you can’t use any of it anymore. You have to start from scratch, shopping for products you’re completely unfamiliar with. No-poo, low-poo, co-wash? What does it all mean?! Well, I’m going to break it down for you. It doesn’t have to be so scary — or expensive!

(If you’re not familiar with the curly girl method, see this post first. It’s a great way to bring life to your hair.)

Before We Begin…

 Don’t Just Jump Straight into the Deep End

Just know that you don’t have to throw everything out and start over right away. You can ease into this. Keep using your regular shampoo while introducing a few curly girl friendly products here and there. Once you’re 100% silicone-free, switch to sulfate-free shampoo (otherwise known as low-poo). Then try doing a co-wash (washing with conditioner) every other wash. Then just see how many washes you can go without shampooing, and there you go, you have your routine.

Don’t Drop Mad Money on Your First Curly Girl Products

The sheer number of products, with all their enticing names and descriptions, can be as exciting as they are overwhelming, but let’s not get carried away here. This is all new, and you’re going to need to do some experimenting to see what works for you and what doesn’t. There are lots of things to learn about, like hair porosity, humectants, and proteins. You are not gonna have a clue at the beginning. Buy the cheap stuff.

The Cheap Stuff

Here are some essentials to get you started.

Low-poo (Sulfate Free Shampoo):

Cantu Sulfate Free ShampooCantu Sulfate Free Shampoo – $4.99 at Target

This baby is cheap, and it’s doing me fine. Though I think it does technically contain a surfactant, it seems to be gentle. I also only use it on my roots and protect the length of my hair with coconut oil, which I apply the night before I wash. This is called pre-pooing among the curly girls, and it is a must for me.

Co-wash (Conditioner Wash)

Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Conditioner – $1.99 at Target

I haven’t personally tried this, but The Polished Curl, recommended it as a good, lightweight conditioner to use to cleanse your hair. You can’t argue with the price, anyway.

Rinse Out Conditioner

Rinse-out conditioner: Tresemme BotaniqueTresemme Botanique Nourish
and Replenish Conditioner $4.99 at Target

I love this conditioner. It has excellent slip (which just means your hair is easier to detangle and style), it doesn’t weigh my hair down, and my hair feels super soft and bouncy after I use it. Some have complained that the scent is too strong, but to me it’s rather light and definitely doesn’t linger. I see no reason to splurge on pricier conditioners when I’m so happy with this

Leave-In Conditioner

Leave-in Conditioner: Hawaiin Silky 14 in 1Hawaiin Silky 14 in 1 – 5.99 at Sally’s

I know, right? So many conditioners! But curly and wavy hair really needs all the moisture it can get. A leave-in conditioner is a must. I like this one because it’s lightweight. Other, heavier cream-type leave-ins tend to weigh my waves down. It also works as a heat protector, so that’s a bonus.

Curl Enhancing Cream

Curl Activating Cream: AG:RecoilAG Re:Coil – $14.64 on Amazon

Ok, this one’s a bit of a splurge. It’s the only one I’ve used, and I like it, so that’s all I can say. It also won best curl enhancing cream in 2013 on the Wavy Hair Community product review page, so it may be worth the extra money. But I’m open to less expensive recommendations in the comments! One thing I will say, though, is to make sure to get this on Amazon. It’s a lot more expensive anywhere else.

Hard Hold Gel

Hard hold gel:Ecostyler Argan Oil Ecostyler Argan Oil – $5.19 at Sally’s

This is my current gel of choice after trying and failing with a few other brands. I like it because it’s moisturizing and has a reasonably strong hold. Also, it’s cheap. You’ll get the best value at Sally’s. A container half the size sells for twice as much at Target, Walmart, and Amazon. This was also a Polished Curl recommendation. Sorry, my container is so well-used you can’t even see the label anymore.

 

wide tooth comb for detanglingOptional: Wide-tooth comb – $1 at The Dollar Tree

This isn’t a necessity, but it does help get all the tangles out of your hair in the shower. (Always detangle hair in the shower while it has conditioner in it!)

 

Total Cost: 38.79.

That’s not so bad, is it? One word of warning, though: many of these products have glycerin and protein in them, which some people have problems with. If your hair is coarse, for example, you may want to be careful with the protein. But if they don’t work out, at least you didn’t spend a fortune on them, right?

Any other good, cheap starter products you guys like? Let me know in the comments!

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How I Learned to Love my Poofy Hair

There’s curly hair and there’s straight hair, right? Your natural hair either looks like this:

curly hair

or like this:

straight hair

Obviously, that’s not true at all. The Naturally Curly hair typing system suggests there are at least 10 hair types, and that’s only one of the hair typing systems out there. In reality, though, most of us have a combination of these basic hair types, and that’s not even factoring in how porous, thick, or dense your hair is. (Mine is very porous, medium density, and fine.)

I used to hate my hair. It wasn’t curly enough to wear naturally, but it wasn’t straight enough, either. It was just poofy. I had no choice but to flat-iron it or curl it, and that only held in dry weather. I hated it until I realized my hair wasn’t just poofy and unruly, it was actually wavy.

While you can find a lot of products and information for straight, curly, and coily hair, wavy hair seems to get very little love. Google wavy hair and you’ll find a lot of articles about how to make your hair wavy if it’s naturally straight, but almost nothing about how to style your hair if it’s naturally wavy.

There are a couple of vloggers and bloggers making pretty good content about wavy hair, but even most of them have hair that tends to be on the curlier side. (The Polished Curl and Rockyn Curls are two that I love). I know of only one blog, The Wavy Nation, with current content about looser waves.

But this hair type can be one of the finickiest and hardest to manage. Judging by the comments I’ve seen from others, it seems to be the one most often mis-characterized as “poofy,” “puffy” or “fluffy” and loathed by the girl who has it.

But this type can be worn naturally, too. And it can be quite pretty. Here’s how:

1. Hydrate the Living Bejeezus Out of Your Hair

I had no idea my hair was dry when I first started trying to take better care of it. I figured dry hair would look dryer, or even coarse. But fine hair can get dry, too, and it might not exactly look it. Trust me, though, if your hair is wavy or curly, it needs a lot of moisture. Conditioners, deep treatments, and leave-in conditioners are your friend.

2. Follow the Curly Girl Method (with some adjustments)

This is really optional, but it will help you improve the health and texture of your hair over time. It will also help keep it hydrated. Here are some before and after pictures of wavies who have tried it. Here’s a brief overview.

For looser wavies, you may want to wash more often, use sulfate-free shampoo occasionally, and clarify your hair with a shampoo that contains sulfates every once in a while.

3. Smooth and Scrunch in Your Conditioner

Good waves start in the shower. The squish to condish method helps to give those waves a boost before you even apply your products. The Polished Curl made a video of a modified version that you can watch to see this in action.

4. Scrunch, Don’t Rake, in Your Products

Here’s where looser waves really differ from curls and coils. Most curly hair tutorials recommend finger-raking products into the hair, but if you do that to loose waves, you will pull the wave out. I like to smooth the product very gently from root to tip of each individual wave and then scrunch up. The most important thing is to make sure not to pull the wave so hard that it straightens. I also do this while my hair is very wet, because the hair is more malleable. I scrunch the water out as I scrunch the product in.
How to Apply Products to Wavy Hair

make animated gifs like this at MakeaGif

5. Revisit the 90s and Say Hello to Hard Hold Gel

Ok, trust me, I remember how bad this was. I’m not sure what all of us were thinking, but 90s curlies tended to have crispy, crunchy, wet looking curls that were flattened onto their scalps.

That was bad, I know. That is not what I’m suggesting. What would you say if I told you I have globs of gel in my hair in this picture?

smooth, frizz-free curls with gel

Convinced now? Ok, here’s what you do. Find a gel that has a very hard hold. I like Ecostyler Argan Oil Gel, which you can get at Target or Sally’s. Either dry with a diffuser or allow to air-dry until the gel has formed a hard shell on your hair. Do not touch it until it’s 100% dry. It will look very bad at this point, and that’s ok. See example:

 

gelled hair

 

Then, turn your head upside-down and scrunch out the crunch.

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Voila!

result after scrunching out the crunch

Not my best hair day. Figures.

What has your experience with your wavy hair been? What has worked well for you?

(Image credit: MissTessmacher, Adam Butterwick, Pexel.com)

5 Mistakes That Are Making Your Hair Frizzy

Is your hair poofy, puffy, fluffy, or frizzy? Do you straighten it every day only to have it poof back out as soon as you step outside? Do you wish your hair would just decide whether it wants to be curly or straight?

Chances are, your hair poofs because it is actually wavy.

Wavy hair has more in common with curls than with straight hair. For it to be all it can be, you have to treat it right.

Your hair can do more than you think. Look at what making a few changes has done for me.

My hair before and after

If you want to tame your poofy, frizzy hair, stop doing these five things.

1. Stop Brushing Your Hair

Brushing hairYou should never brush wavy or curly hair, or even comb it, once it’s dry. That leads to a poofy, frizzy mess. Instead, detangle your hair in the shower with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb while it’s lubricated with lots of conditioner. This will prevent you from snagging on the knots and causing breakage to your hair. Bonus: try it upside down and scrunch it with water to rinsethe conditioner out. Don’t run your fingers or a comb through it again after this

2. Stop Drying Your Hair with a Towel

Do you wring your hair out with a towel after you shower and then wrap the towel around your head? Stop that! Rubbing your hair with something as abrasive as terrycloth will make it frizz and poof out for sure. Try scrunching your hair dry with a t-shirt or a microfiber towel instead.

3. Stop Blow-Drying Your Hair

Woman blow-drying wavy hairBlasting your wavy or curly hair straight on with a blow-dryer is probably the best way to get poofy, frizzy hair. Unless you plan to straighten it, blowing it dry is doing the same thing as the terrycloth towel, but worse! You’re blowing all your waves or curls apart. Try air-drying or using a diffuser.

4. Stop Shampooing Your Hair

I know, I was skeptical, too. It took me a long time to finally try this, but it has made an immense difference in my hair.

When I say stop shampooing, I don’t mean don’t clean your hair. I mean stop washing with the kind of shampoo you’ve probably been using most of your life.

Most shampoos have harsh chemicals called sulfates, such as sodium laurel sulfate, that dry your hair out. If the back of your shampoo bottle lists that ingredient, your shampoo could be doing a lot of harm to your hair.

If your hair is wavy or curly, it needs more moisture than straight hair. You need to at least switch to a sulfate-free shampoo, but many girls with wavy or curly hair opt to wash with silicone-free conditioner. Here is a list of ways to wash your hair more gently.

5. Stop Using Products that Contain Silicone

This is where things get tricky, but do not do step 4 unless you also follow this step. Silicones, which are unfortunately in most hair products, are not water soluble. You need those harsh chemicals in your shampoo to wash them out. You can’t stop using those chemicals unless you also ditch the silicones and other water-insoluble ingredients, or your hair will be limp and greasy-looking in no time. There’s a big difference between doing this wrong and doing it right.

Using silicones creates a vicious cycle: dry your hair out with shampoo, slather it with silicone to make it look healthy again, and then dry it out with more shampoo.

Switching to silicone-free will take some research and a small investment—you probably have to buy a lot of new products. You’re in luck, though, because The Wavy Library has compiled a nice list of good product resources. The natural hair section of Target has some wonderful, cost effective options, too.

Oh, and if you’re not convinced, silicones do a lot of other bad things to your hair, too.

Step 4 and 5 describe two elements of something called the ” Curly Girl Method.” If you want to know more, I suggest you pick up Curly Girl, by Lorraine Massey.

The Curly Girl Handbook

I posted steps 4 and 5 last because you can improve your hair without following the “Curly Girl Method” right away. Even if the cost of switching to Curly Girl friendly products is prohibitive, there are a lot of things you can start doing (and stop doing) now to tame your poofy hair and bring out your natural waves. (I’ll be posting about them soon!)

Check out the blogs in my blogroll below, too, which have posted extensively on the Curly Girl Method and curly and wavy hair-care.

What do you think? Are you sold?