How to wash & condition curly hair

Since curly hair is extremely dry, it is best to avoid washing your hair every day. You have to create a schedule that balances off sweat and grime on one hand and hydration on the other. What works best for my hair (with my daily gym visits) is washing every 2 or 3 days – be it with a shampoo or co washing. I always wash my hair at night because it dries taking its own sweet time which gives me well defined curls the next morning. Here is a step-by-step process on how to wash and condition curly hair.

1.Shampooing

I use only anti-dandruff shampoos. I don’t use the shampoos that come clubbed with the conditioners. I have not seen them doing any special miracle as opposed to using the conditioner alone. On my hair they don’t “Repair split ends” or “Provide volume boost” or the worst claim, “Tame frizz & dryness”. To me a shampoo is only for one purpose – cleaning. Be it cleaning dirt, grime, sweat or dandruff…a shampoo cleans. I experiment with many anti-dandruff shampoos.

I shampoo rarely, probably once or twice per month either to get rid of any product build up, or to do a thorough cleaning if my hair was exposed to too much dirt (like when traveling), or if my hair looks too greasy and limp. For regular cleansing, I prefer co washing.

2.Co washing

Co washing is to use just a conditioner to clean hair. Most conditioners have small amounts of cationic surfactants in their ingredient list and they are enough to clean hair. Read everything you need to know about co washing here – Co washing curly hair – What, Why, How.

3.Conditioning

This is perhaps the most important part of a curly hair regimen. Since curly hair is the driest form of hair, we need to rely on external hydration. I keep rotating between conditioners which are rich in oils and butters.

  • I make sure my hair is dripping wet. Water helps the conditioner do its job.
  • I take a BIG palmful of the conditioner and apply it all over my hair detangling it with my fingers as I go. To make work easier, divide your hair into 2 or 4 parts and condition and detangle it one at a time concentrating on the mid length to the ends. Run your fingers through your hair and detangle it using the conditioner’s slip. If any part feels very rough or tangled, rub on some extra conditioner.
  • Next I apply some conditioner onto my scalp and detangle the crown area. (I do not avoid the scalp as is popularly advocated because that would just make my scalp area very frizzy.)
  • Lastly I repeat the same with the hair between the scalp and the mid length.
  • Now you can run your fingers from your scalp through the ends with ease. All the hair strands must be soaking and coated with the conditioner by now and should feel soft to touch.
  • I put my hair up with a jaw clip. Then I wash my body. Now, the conditioner can do its work for a good 5-7 minutes.
  • After that I wash my hair. I gently use my hand to wash off the conditioner for about 1 minute. Not more than that. You want some to remain in your hair.

Here is a video of my curly hair routine showing how to wash and condition curly hair.

I have recently begin to love the Squish to Condish method for conditioning my curly hair- It helps hydrate curls, promotes curl clumping and you don’t need a separate leave in. This will leave your hair with the right amount of conditioner it needs as a leave in conditioner. Here’s the detailed post – Squish to Condish – The best conditioning method for curly hair

Check out the List of curly hair products in India to know the products I currently use and “How to dry curly hair” and “How to apply products and scrunch curly hair“. And here is a post with my full curly hair care routine – My curly hair routine .

 

 

26 comments

    1. Indu, you can refer this post – My current curly hair products ( I have mentioned the link in the above post itself)

  1. Hi Anjana ,
    Is it necessary to shampoo every time we wash our hair?
    I mean we can just co wash and just use shampoo once in a week right?

    1. Yes absolutely Ashly! You need to shampoo only when you feel like 🙂 And if you can totally ditch the shampoo, better!

  2. Hi Anjana,
    I oil my hair with coconut oil atleast once a week cos my hair is really dry. What is the hair wash routine if you oil your hair and how often do you oil yours? Thanks! Awaiting your reply 🙂

  3. Hi. So i have a doubt. You shampoo. Then you co-wash
    And then you again condition? And for normal cleansing days you so wash and condition? How is that different? Do you use 2 conditioners? And also could you explain the procedure of deep conditioning? Do i shampoo them deepcondition and leave it on for 30 minutes then again wash and condition?. What if i use a DIY deep conditioning mask of egg, oil and avocado. How will the procedure be?

    1. Roshni, I shampoo once in 1-2 weeks. On other days I only co wash. Shampooing or co washing has to be followed with conditioning. You can use a cheap conditioner for co washing and a rich moisturising conditioner for conditioning. Co washing emphasizes on the scalp while conditioning emphasizes on the hair(Read the difference in the methods in the respective posts). For deep conditioning, shampoo-apply deep conditioner-wait-cowash-condition. For oil based deep conditioning, apply deep conditioner-wait-shampoo-condition. Hope that clears your doubts 🙂

  4. Hello! Umm.. I’m an Indian 🙂 and I’ve got curls like yours. I wish to know how many times do you shampoo, condition and co-wash your hair in a week, usually.

  5. Hey Anjana! In your curly hair routine video you used Dove shampoo? Doesn’t that contain silicones? Are silicones alright if it’s in shampoo?

    1. Yes it has silicones. I don’t follow the CG method – I use sulphates and silicones 🙂 But if you are following the CG method, you should avoid silicones in any product

  6. Hello Anjana,

    I have a doubt, so the last you apply cream and gel to your hair, you don’t wash it off with later in your video?

    Thanks,
    Megha

      1. Hello Anjana,
        Thanks for the reply.
        Leaving so much cream and gel means accumulating lot of chemical residues on scalp, will that not cause more hair-fall. I am already having heavy hair-fall and my hair has gone down to 1/4th of its quantity.
        Megha

  7. Hi Anjana….
    you have a wonderful hair 😍 I would love to get the same…. Actually I straightened my hair… and the natural hair had grown up till my below neck park… Will these products which u used will work in my hair??? Shall I buy those products????

  8. Hi Anjana…..do you have any suggestions for grey hair…?
    Not sure about the reason but started up with grey hairs on my scalp from past two years and it became more view able these days.
    Is coloring the only option or any home remedies which can fix it
    Please suggest

    1. Henna is a natural remedy – it is messy and time consuming. It can also loosen your curl pattern. Ammonia free dyes are the better option.

  9. Hi anjana, this is one of the very honest sites I have read thru..hats off to the clarity & transparency in your writing and justice you are bringing in the blog. Exceptional!!!

    I have a 2b/c fine hair and have found your model very exciting..EVen as a beginner in this field, with few rounds of co-wash and conditioning thru scrunching I have found my curls shaping up..I am in the process of collecting all hair products as I am new into this..ENlivn and natural aloevera gel is what I am planning to use..

    Had few specific questions for you..1. can this scenario be tried on days when my hair or scalp doesn’t need a cleanup..can I do away with shampoo and co-wash and go directly for conditioning using squish to condish method..? Probably backed up.with overnite oiling?

    2. what would you recommend as a weekly routine for a 2b fine hair? Any specific tips from your experience

    1. Thank you so much Lakshmi!!
      1) Yes absolutely! But you may want to skip the oiling because it may leave your hair greasy.
      2) Use lightweight products, shampoo at least 2 times per week. And scrunch scrunch scrunch!!

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