There are 3 types of curls in our home: loose spirally curls, big springy curls, and “s” shaped waves. This, I’m sure you know, means that there are a myriad of possible ways to care for our curls. Over the past few years, we have discovered one common truth about washing curly or wavy hair: what works for one head of curls or waves doesn’t mean it will work for another. Luckily though, through trial, error, and quite a few bad hair days, we’ve each discovered a hair care routine that makes us happy. Below, we detail what’s done to achieve our own curly haired success.  The CurlyGals use both a shampoo and a no shampoo routine for curly hair.

L – age, ahem, 49. Brunette hair with a determined intermingling of gray. Thickish, shoulder length, loose spirally curls.  For the past 2 years I’ve done my hair care regimen every 4 days. This consists of 2 easy steps:

Step 1:  I make a simple homemade “shampoo” by microwaving 1 tablespoon raw honey with 3 tablespoons distilled water in a small container for 20 seconds, stirring to dissolve the honey, then adding a few drops of essential oil (my personal preference is grapefruit or lavender) along with a very light drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil.

Step 2:  I mix equal parts (I do 1/4 cup each) cider vinegar and hot water from the faucet in a small plastic measuring cup.

This whole process takes maybe 2 minutes, so it’s pretty quick.  I then take these 2 mixtures to the shower.  Once in the shower, I wet my hair and pour the vinegar/water mixture all over my head. Using fingertips, I gently scrub my scalp to distribute said mixture, then comb it through using a wide tooth comb. I let this sit a few minutes while I do my other shower tasks. Then I rinse out the vinegar solution whilst gently scrubbing with my fingertips. Next, I pour on the “shampoo” and once again give my scalp a gentle scrub. I then comb the hair and give it a quick rinse using the coolest water I can handle. That’s all there is to it.

The vinegar rinse provides acidity which not only removes product buildup residue, but also gives luster to my hair. The honey “shampoo” works as a moisturizer/de-frizzer/dandruff fighter for the curls, with olive oil giving it that added softness and shine, and the essential oil leaving a hint of fragrance. This regimen has given me the healthy looking and feeling hair I’ve always wanted – without having to use store bought shampoo or conditioner!

G – 12 years old with blond, wavy hair. A bit higher than the shoulders. Extremely thick.

DANGER: G has EXTREME tangles!

The first thing I do for my hair in the shower is comb out my thick, tangly hair. This is good for your hair because it makes it easier to rub in shampoo and wash the shampoo out. If your hair is thick with crazy tangles like mine, it is easier to comb it out with the water hitting it directly. When you comb the hair, start at the bottom and work your way up with the tangles. When hair is wet, it is very delicate. It can stretch and break easily if you aren’t gentle.

Now, for the actual shampooing session. I first put a dime sized drop of Tea Tree shampoo in my palm. Instead of massaging my scalp with it, I simply smooth it over the top layer of my hair. No scrubbing needed. Then, I put another drop in my palm, rub my hands together, and apply the shampoo to the under layers of my hair. But here’s the deal. I only apply it to the sides of my head, not the back area of my hair. I will explain this momentarily. Meanwhile, back to the shower. While you massage the shampoo into the scalp, get every square inch of the sides of your hair. You don’t want to have a greasy area of your hair while the rest is clean, shiny, and smooth.

By now you’re probably thinking Dang, this girl uses a lot of shampoo. I don’t think her technique is a great idea. On to the next article……. Well, I’m not that crazy. Notice how I said to put a DIME SIZED DROP. I mean it. Please, people. Try not to flood the palm of your hand with the bubbly liquid. Okay, now that I’ve passed on that helpful information…… (Sadly, it was in the form of a lecture. Sorry!)

I will now put a (yet another) dime sized drop of shampoo in my palm. Doing the same thing I did to the sides of my head, I repeat to the back section of my hair. The reason you need do the back separately is because it is thicker and greasier than the other sections of your hair. Last but not least, you rinse out your hair. You should feel the shampoo running out of your hair. (My favorite part about this is that I say to all the grossness in my hair “So long filth! I’ll be having an awesome time WITHOUT YOU!) When the shampoo is mostly washed out, feel your hair. It should make squeaky noises when you rub it. Hey, now I know why people should be “Squeaky clean!’ Hehe.

I normally don’t use conditioner, but you can. Oh yeah, and this routine may not make your hair as awesome as the model’s hair on TV, but it will keep it healthy and -squeaky- clean! 🙂

S – 19, light brown springy curls/tight curls, thick, and just past shoulder length.

My hair washing routine is very similar to my mom’s, and my hair used to be about to my mid-back so it does work for longer, thicker hair as well. I have been doing it for a little under 2 years.

To “shampoo,” I use the 1 to 3 ratio of raw honey to distilled water once every one to two weeks, and using tablespoons of each works just fine for longer hair too. In addition to everything my mom mentioned, honey is an antibacterial so you don’t need to worry about disease either. I also heat the mixture in the microwave for about 20 seconds and add a few drops of essential oil afterward. Unlike my mom, I do not use apple cider vinegar as often nor do I use any olive oil. Instead, I do a vinegar rinse every month or two. The time to do it is when things are really bad and I’ve most likely suffered through at least two bad hair days in a row. (Disclaimer: The general public has so far not noticed my bad hair days so it’s based a lot off the weight and feel of it to me.) I do 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part (hot) water. Usually a cup of each works just fine, and the reason for the hot water is because the mixture cools off from when I make it until when I use it and I personally don’t enjoy cold water dumped on my head.

I do not use any product on a daily basis to style my hair and this has eliminated a significant amount of build-up. Depending on my hair cut, I either let my hair air-dry after a shower in the morning, or I use the “pineapple method.” For this, I make a very loose ponytail on the top of my head, as close to the center as possible. I leave this in for 5-20 minutes depending on how late I am running that morning, then take it out and arrange my hair to finish drying in the usual style. At night I also use this method because going without usually requires a few spritzes of water in the morning to relax it from its bird nest.

Although my hair does get slightly dry on occasion, I think it’s due to the season (winter) and how often I’m outside and running around. Simply increasing the number of times per week I “shampoo” has fixed this. Overall, it is highly convenient and I rarely resort to any product to help me style.

Do you have a shampoo/no shampoo routine you love and would like to tell us about? Let us know how you’re shampooing, or not – we’re all ears!

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