It’s not a secret that for the vast majority of my life, styling my curly hair has been the bane of my existence. I have never enjoyed styling it, washing it, doing it—which is weird because I am such a beauty queen (in more ways than one). This means I usually wash my hair, wear it out for at most two days, then put it up in a bun until I wash it again … about five days later.
Wearing my hair in this constant bun for years and years and years has wreaked havoc on my scalp health. My hairline has slight patchiness, and I’ve discovered a lot of thinning at the crown. Honestly, it’s tanked my self-confidence. So that’s why I decided to go on a little hair journey for myself to figure out how to actually style my hair once and for all. Did I succeed? I’d say I did, plus much, much more. Want to know my two best curly hair styling hacks? Keep reading.
I Discovered the Power of a Denman-style Brush
My typical wash day routine went a little something like this: wash, condition, deep condition, apply leave-in/curl cream/gel, let dry. And without fail, my hair always looked frizzy, dull, and sad. My curls would lose their definition by the first day, and for the life of me, I could not figure out how people got those flawless, bouncy curls that I see all over social media.
It wasn’t until I was browsing YouTube and happened upon this video and realized my routine was missing a very crucial curly hair component—a Denman brush. For those who don’t know, Denman brushes help you get curl definition without the need for heat, finger twirling, or any of the more tedious methods to get flawless curls. All you need to do is brush your curls using the brush in small sections and it creates super defined, fluffy curls.
I went to Ulta the SAME exact day I saw that video and got myself the Pattern Shower Brush and set off to wash my hair. While my hair was still wet, I applied my usual leave-in/curl cream/gel combo and then sectioned off my hair. I then gently brushed my hair and gasped as I saw the perfect little ringlets form. I always air dry my hair, so it took a minute to see the full effect, but for the first time in my entire life, I actually had a head full of perfectly defined curls. When I tell you I was shook, I was SHOOK.
I gently brushed my hair and gasped as I saw the perfect little ringlets form. When I tell you I was shook, I was SHOOK.
But there was something still missing. My curls were defined, but I still could not achieve the volume that I want. My hair is incredibly fine and getting any sort of volume is super difficult. So, I took to Twitter and found some advice that has truly, actually changed my hair (and my life).
Use Zero Products Except For Hair Gel
There is a growing body of curly hair experts that are turning the natural hair community on its head. Stylists like Jessica Kiyomi, Jennifer-Rose, Camille Janae, and Kera are eschewing the traditional YouTube hair influencer tutorials where you just layer on tons and tons of product and wash your hair infrequently (something I am very guilty of doing). Instead, they recommend washing and conditioning frequently and *gasp* using only one styling product. Why? Well, all of those extra oils, serums, creams, and leave-ins just coat the hair and make it dull and lifeless. According to these experts, all your hair needs is water as a hydrator and a gel to hold that water in the follicles and to hold the curl.
Cleanse (with shampoo) and condition your hair on a consistent basis, that could be every 5-10 days depending on your lifestyle and hair needs.
Shampoo is how moisture gets into the hair. Conditioner “seals” in the moisture. https://t.co/i5ecc7MUFQ
— Kera | Curl Specialist (@CuseCurlfriend) April 20, 2021
Jennifer-Rose recommends using either a hair gel or wrapping mousse, whatever fits your desired curl fantasy. I put off using this curly hair styling hack for weeks because as a product junkie, I truly could not imagine that my hair would look good using only gel as a styler. But this week, I decided I’d try it once and for all—the worst that could happen is that it wouldn’t work and I’d put it in a bun and wash it again whenever.
I settled on using the Curlsmith In-Shower Style Fixer, a very, VERY strong super hold gel that’s designed to be used when your hair is dripping wet straight from the shower. As a super frizzy girl, I knew I needed something that was going to hold the curls for a long time. While I was still in the shower, I sectioned my hair, applied the gel, and brushed it through using my Pattern brush. I was incredibly skeptical at first because my hair felt a little dry and crunchy, but I took the advice of some reviewers and decided to diffuse my hair, and that’s when the magic happened. The gel cast softened, and I was blessed with the shiniest, most defined, bouncy, frizz-free curls I’ve ever had in my life. My hair felt fluffy, not weighed down by a ton of product, and my curls were shiny and glossy.
And things got even better the second day. I usually have to spray some sort of curl refresher in my hair because it’s so frizzy and dry, but my curls held. As a matter of fact, I only had to fluff it out once I took my bonnet off and that’s it. I still can’t believe it.
These curly hair styling hacks have truly changed my relationship with my hair. I finally, after 34 years, feel like I have the hair of my dreams—and my confidence has skyrocketed.
What are your favorite curly hair styling hacks? Let me know in the comments!