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Curly hair tips: products, care and styling for naturally curly hair

What is it about hair? People with straight hair want curls. So many of us, including myself, with curly hair struggle all our lives with a flat iron to tame it. Since I have my son, the decision has been easy: Either I get a cut that works with curly hair to gain 20 minutes every morning or I straighten my hair. That is why I have stopped tame Bob.
However, it is not easy to understand how to work with curly hair, especially if you try to do it with natural products.

My current rock star team here at Meghan Telpner Inc. all happen to have curly hair. This is not a requirement for working here, but sharing curly hair strategies has given us the feeling that we have an understanding group to support us.


One thing at a time - healthy hair is not just a question of products! The food we eat, what we drink, the amount of sleep we get, stress, exercise and much more contribute to how we look on the outside. All natural beauty care products or make-up in the world cannot hide how we feel inside, especially when we don't take care of ourselves. And then we face the challenge of curls. Even with an optimal diet and lifestyle, curly hair can have its own will. I get a lot of questions about curling tips and styling, and I have an incredible pool of resources to draw on, both from my own experience and that of my team.

In this article, I will address the basics of healthy hair, using the best foods, supplements, nutrients and essential oils. Curly hair is a beast in itself and sometimes requires more products as it can be naturally dry and rough. I do not know too many people with curly hair who do not use anything for their hair. I am now in the unique position to pass on some great curly hair advice as I can draw on the wisdom of my team - who all have different types of curly hair.

I could also say that we all, in our late 30s and early 40s, welcome the greys. In the following, we present our tips for curly hair and our favourite products to give you inspiration and ideas!


Describe your curly hair
The natural habitat of my hair is somewhere with 100% humidity, but unfortunately I do not live in Bali during the rainy season. In Canada I land in the summer with curly hair and in the winter with almost straight hair, and most of the time otherwise only with the wavy ripples in between. My dream curls would be a kind of permanent wave in flashdance style. This happens about three times in summer with just the right mix of moisture, seawater and a long distance without washing. My hair hasn't seen a comb since I didn't bother to straighten it three years ago.

Routine hair washing
I wash my hair once a week with shampoo and conditioner, but work on its lengthening (inspired by Tami, see below!). On non-washing days, when I need to look presentable, I crunch a little wet in the shower to soothe the frizz, and then add a touch of leave-in conditioner.

Styling tips
After the weekly shampoo/conditioner, I squeeze out as much water as I can in the shower with a crumpling motion. Then I tilt my head upside down to continue crunching and drying with a towel. I add a single pump of Griffin Remedy or about 2 teaspoons of a hair leave-in hair mask, again with the head down, and crunch mainly at the tips and front to keep the waves defined, the crimping easy to control and not too heavy to weigh down. (I will also try to 'pop' 100%. See Sondi's tip below :-)

Recommended products
Shampoo: Living Libations Sea Buckthorn Shampoo
Conditioner: Living liberations - Shine-On Conditioner
Design: Griffin Remedy's Leave-In treatment, Living Libations Honey Myrtle Deep Conditioning Mask


Describe your curly hair
Three guys: The tighties, which are tied together and stuck at the top. The loose geese, which hang at the sides. And the renegades, who usually go in the wrong direction alone.

Routine hair washing
About every three days a complete wash with shampoo and rinse.

Styling tips
Pile it up, let it dry and then squeeze/loosen the hair. Even an extremely windy day is always helpful, for a full-body look and for music videos. In a hot, humid climate all bets are void. No product, just a hair band, hat or hair clip.

Recommended products
Shampoo & conditioner: I use Living Libations Shampoo and conditioner
Design: Griffin Remedy's Leave-In treatment



Describe your curly hair
My curls are constantly evolving! They range from ringlets and loose curls to waves - often all at the same time. Sometimes my hair is curlier at the bottom and sometimes curlier in the upper layers - and mostly it has some frizz due to the climate in Vancouver.

Hair washing routine
I wash my hair about once a week, but I wet/condition it about every 3 days or so. I comb my curls out after showering - I know that not all curly girls and boys do this, but my hair is way too gnarled to wash it without a comb 'n go.

Styling tips
I mainly apply my styling product, crunch and then form idiosyncratic curls when drying my hair. I used to rely heavily on my diffuser, but now I air dry my curly hair 95% of the time. I find that if I wave my hair around too much, it gets too frizzy and frizzy. A good haircut and a stylist who knows about curly hair is also important.

My hairdresser recommended a method called "plopping" - I tried it once, but the wrap method gave me a headache, although I definitely noticed a big difference in the curl. Maybe it's time to try it again, using the bamboo wraps I've heard about from everyone else (see below)!

Recommended products
Shampoo: I use a house shampoo from a local zero waste shop called The Soap Dispensary.
conditioner: Oneka brand. Unscented is always a classic and I also like cedar/sage and gold seal/citrus - the scents are not overwhelming.
The design: Curelle styling gel. Finding effective natural styling products with minimal ingredients was the hardest part of my natural hair care. I even tried to make my own gel from flaxseed, which works amazingly well, but it doesn't last long in the fridge, so it's painful to make it over and over again, especially because I don't wash or wet it every time I shower.


Describe your curly hair
Thick jumping bells with a will of their own. Seriously! Some days they are easy to tame, other days they just go crazy - and I have learned to let them do their thing.

Routine hair washing
I am almost embarrassed to say this, but to be 100% honest, here it is... I almost never shampoo my hair. There, I said it. But I rinse and condition it every morning. I adopted the shampoo-free shampooing lifestyle over a year ago and my hair is healthier and shinier than ever before. The thing about curly hair, in my personal experience, is that it tends to be dry and brittle. Even if I wash it with the gentlest shampoo, it still dries out and the curls don't want to curl. So on the rare days when I use shampoo, I almost never want to leave the house.

Once a month I rinse my hair with apple vinegar. I learned this technique from Rosemary Gladstar's book "Herbs for Natural Beauty" (US/Canada). On the days when I do this conditioner, my hair is especially shiny, soft and springy. Warning: For the rest of the day you will smell like a bottle of apple vinegar.

Styling tips
I don't make a fuss about the styling. I think the less I touch my hair or do with my hair, the more beautiful it will look. After I get out of the shower, I wrap my wet hair in a bamboo hair wrap (US/International) and leave it sitting like this for a few minutes. I do not press or pinch it together - I just leave it lying there. Once my hair has gone from wet to damp, I work in the leave-in conditioner without disturbing the natural curls. When I use the curling gel, I apply it directly after the leave-in conditioner. I let it air dry and that's it.

Recommended products
Shampoo: In rare cases my favourite shampoo is Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Liquid Soap (USA/Canada). Once a month I rinse with Bragg apple wine vinegar.
Rinse: I use Pure Hair Conditioner from Purely Salt Spring. I buy it by the litre to save additional unnecessary plastic packaging.
Styling: My main concern when styling is to keep my curls well groomed without making the curls too heavy, as this tends to make the curls heavier. My favourite conditioner is Dr. Bronner's Organic Hair Cream Lavender-Coconut. It is very lightly perfumed with lavender essential oil (I am very sensitive to synthetic perfumes/scents). On days when I need to tame frizzy curls, or when the climate is particularly humid, I use the unscented curling gel Make Waves Curling Gel from Silk Naturals.


Describe your curly hair
Thick, abundant curls of various shapes, sizes and textures! They usually have their own will. I gave up trying to control them a long time ago, instead I embrace my natural curls.

Routine hair washing
My hair is washed about once a week and if it is long, I get it to look good in the shower. I wet and moisturise daily to liven up my curls. I dry them with a bamboo hair pack (US/International) and then let my hair air dry.

Styling tips
I'm quite easy-care and have learned to hug my curls, which change with the weather and water (especially when travelling - did you know that water affects your curls differently in different places?) About once a month, especially when my hair is long, I will do a deep moisturising after washing. I often simply use coconut oil. My hair loves it, but I know that not all curls do. Then I style it for a day or two in a protective hairstyle like braids, twists or Bantu knots to let it rest. (I recommend covering it at night, preferably with a satin scarf or a satin-lined cap (slap) to protect your hair - Grace Eleyae makes great slaps, hats and headbands, all lined with satin to stylishly cover and protect these curls) The next day I have beautiful, soft, well shaped curls, depending on the protection style chosen.

Recommended products
Shampoo & conditioner: I am not loyal to any particular product and tend to try out new brands often. When my curls get used to a product, it doesn't seem to work as well, so I change it. I am a big fan of a co-detergent if I can find one. One of my favourite places to look for new products is HoneyFig, and I am currently using SheaMoisture.
Moisturizer: I have tried so many and I am struggling to find something that works, has good ingredients and a not overwhelming smell. At the moment I have solved this problem by feeding my thirsty curls with my own moisturiser, which consists mainly of coconut oil, shea butter and aloe vera gel, as well as some essential oils.
Styling: In the rare cases when I want a little more definition on my curls, I usually just add a little aloe vera gel to my moisturizer and off you go.


As anyone with curly hair knows, finding the right product is a process. The strength of the curl (or frizz) is highly dependent on the humidity, whether you have recently worn a hat or not, and even shower water. If I straightened my hair earlier, it took weeks of natural drying to get the full curl (or curl) back.

As anyone with curly hair can tell you, straightening your hair is a ritual that is best not to mess with. When I need to get my hair looking right for an event or a film, my day is planned so that the washing and setting dates are fixed. And when it comes to trying out a new product, it can be scary. We don't want to spend a lot of money on a product that is not right for our hair.

Regarding everything, I recommend the following:

  • Find out if one of your local shops that offers refill option for curling products. Then take a small glass to try just one sample. There is a good chance that they will simply give you a sample.
  • Contact the company and ask for a sample. When it comes to curly hair, the brands know that once they have been selected for you, you will most likely be a customer for a very, very, very long time, so they will usually be very happy to send you some samples.
  • try to make your own hair care products.


Recommended chemical-free Curly Hair styling products
Carina Organics Alcohol-free styling gel
Dr. Bronner's Organic Hair Cream Lavender-Coconut
Shea Moisture
Griffin Remedy's Leave-In treatment
Make Waves Curling Gel by Silk Naturals
Curelle Styling Gel
Honey Myrtle Deep Conditioning Mask from Living Libations
Repair and restore Alaffia curlers
Kinky Curly Gel (Note: This product was once Meghan's favourite, but contains a fragrance)

I hope you have found a curler among the five of us here, and an inspiration to perhaps change your routine a little and hopefully throw away the products you've grown attached yourself to and which have the less desirable ingredients.

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