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How to Establish A Curly Hair Care Routine

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Curly haired girl holding hair products in her arms.

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Achieving beautiful, healthy curls doesn’t require you to be born with them; rather, it’s the daily care routines you adopt that play a crucial role in the condition and appearance of your curly hair. Establishing a consistent routine that nurtures and protects your curls can make a significant difference in their health and vitality. The key to effective curly hair management lies in understanding your unique hair needs and preferences.

To begin forming your curly hair care regimen, it’s important to grasp the basics of establishing a routine that encompasses cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing, specialized treatments, don’t neglect your curls while you sleep, and never stop learning.

In this article, we aim to simplify the process by guiding you through the development of a personalized curly hair care routine. Recognizing that each person’s curls are as unique as they are, it’s essential to discover and apply the practices that best suit your hair’s individual characteristics. By understanding and implementing these core practices, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a healthy, flourishing curly hair routine tailored to your specific needs. This article will further delve into each component, providing you with the knowledge and confidence to care for your curls effectively.

How to Build a Curly Hair Care Routine (Regimen)

Image of my start up curly hair products.
While I was exploring the ideal care routine for my curly hair, I’ve shared an image showcasing the initial set of products I’ve chosen to start with.

Before we delve into the regimen, it’s important to note that finding the right products for curly hair can be challenging, as everyone desires the perfect solution from the get-go. However, discovering what truly works for you often involves trial and error, requiring patience and experimentation.

Experimentation is key to uncovering the best products for your hair. If you encounter issues, consider streamlining your routine by systematically eliminating products to pinpoint the problem. As you continue to learn about your hair’s unique needs, you’ll gain valuable insights that will assist you in crafting a personalized and effective hair care regimen.


To find the perfect products for your own hair, it’s essential to understand what doesn’t work so that you can recognize when something does work. To get to the bottom of what’s right for you, it’s important to figure out what doesn’t work too.

Image of my growing line of hair care products.
This photo shows the transition in the products I used as I moved from the initial phase to choices informed by a deeper understanding of my hair’s needs.


The first step in establishing a routine for curly hair, often referred to as “wash day,” is the crucial process of cleansing, essential for removing dirt, oil, and product buildup to maintain healthy hair. Regular cleansing is important to keep both your hair and scalp clean.

Selecting the right shampoo is essential, as different formulations cater to different curl types and hair textures. Here’s how to choose based on your hair’s porosity:

Incorporating a clarifying shampoo into your routine is beneficial for all hair types, ideally used once a week or as needed by your hair. Opt for a sulfate-free formulation with minimal conditioning polymers to effectively cleanse without stripping hair.

Additionally, using a moisturizing shampoo that is sulfate-free and rich in conditioning ingredients can aid in detangling, and enhance shine and strength. This type of shampoo should be used 2-3 times a week, depending on your individual hair and scalp needs, as well as your lifestyle. Avoid sulfates to prevent drying out your hair and scalp.

It’s also important to invest in essential tools such as a wide-tooth comb and detangling brush for gently untangling knots, a microfiber towel to reduce frizz and breakage when drying your hair, and a diffuser attachment for your hair dryer. The diffuser is key for evenly distributing heat, enhancing curl definition, and reducing frizz during the drying process, making it an indispensable tool for curly hair care.


image of hair conditioner in hand. How to Establish A Curly Hair Care Routine.

Conditioners are essential in a curly hair care routine, available in various forms such as rinse-off, leave-in, and deep conditioning masks, each serving unique purposes.

  • Rinse-Off Conditioners: Essential for all hair types, they provide softness, shine, aid in detangling, and enhance the overall feel of your hair strands. For those with high-porosity or chemically treated hair, leaving the conditioner on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing can be beneficial. The frequency of use may vary based on your hair’s porosity.
  • Deep Conditioning: Tailored to address the specific needs of different hair porosities, deep conditioners or hair mask strengthen and moisturize. For high-porosity hair, resources like “Deep Conditioners for High Porosity Hair and the Key Ingredients” and “Narrowing Down The Best Leave-In Conditioners For Bleached Hair” can be helpful. Those with low-porosity hair might find “Deep Conditioners For Low Porosity Hair: The Key Ingredients” and lists of the best conditioners and leave-ins for low porosity hair useful.
  • Frequency of Conditioning:
  • Low-Porosity Hair: At least twice a week.
  • Medium Porosity Hair: As needed.
  • High-Porosity Hair: 3-4 times a week.
  • Leave-In Conditioners: Recommended daily for all hair types, they protect hair from UV damage and minimize friction by lubricating the hair shaft and scalp. The ideal leave-in formula contains natural emollients, hydrating agents, and softeners. Be mindful of the amount to avoid weighing down your hair.

Application Tip: For optimal results, apply hair care products in order of their consistency, starting with the lightest (like leave-in conditioners), followed by thicker products such as curl creams, and finishing with gels or mousses. This method ensures each product is absorbed effectively without causing buildup or heaviness.

Hair Treatment 

High-porosity and significantly damaged hair needs intensive care through deep conditioning, hydration, and moisturizing treatments to rebuild its strength. Such hair is particularly susceptible to damage and requires support to enhance resilience and balance moisture levels.

Deep conditioning treatments are beneficial for all hair types, with usage frequency varying by hair porosity:

  • Low-Porosity Hair: Once a week to avoid buildup while ensuring moisture penetration.
  • Medium-Porosity Hair: Use as needed, based on the hair’s condition and moisture requirements.
  • High-Porosity Hair: Twice a week to effectively repair damage and maintain adequate hydration.

Specialized Treatments: Oil Therapy

Image of oil in a dropper to apply to hair. How to Establish A Curly Hair Care Routine.

Oils serve as natural emollients, lubricants, and protectants for hair, while also enhancing scalp health by combating dandruff and dryness. Suitable for all hair types, the application frequency of these oils or butters should be tailored to your hair’s needs.

  • Natural, Virgin, Low-Porosity Hair: Apply 2 to 3 times a week, with the option to leave the oil in overnight. For specific oil recommendations, explore: “Penetrating Oils For Low Porosity Hair: A Comprehensive Overview.”
  • Medium Porosity Hair: Use as necessary, depending on your hair’s moisture balance and styling needs.
  • Damaged, High-Porosity Hair: Apply 3-4 times a week, with the flexibility to leave the oil in overnight. These oils can also be mixed with a deep conditioning mask or leave-in conditioner for enhanced benefits. For tailored oil and butter suggestions, refer to: “Discover The Most Beneficial Oils For High Porosity Hair.”

Don’t Neglect your Curls while you Sleep

To minimize breakage caused by friction between your hair and fabric, opt for a satin pillowcase or scarf. This smooth material reduces friction, protecting your hair’s integrity.

Additionally, to safeguard your curls during sleep and prevent frizz or breakage from contact with your pajamas, gather your hair into a “pineapple” style. This technique elevates the curls away from the fabric, reducing friction and helping maintain your hair’s shape and health, ensuring proper care of your hair.

Never Stop Learning

Creating a curly hair care routine involves experimenting to discover what best suits your unique needs. Since everyone’s hair is different, identifying the ideal products and techniques may require patience and persistence.

Educate yourself on various ingredients and formulations to grasp their effects on hair fibers, their benefits, and the correct application methods for optimal outcomes.

It’s crucial to master the right hair care strategies and maintain a proactive approach towards your hair’s health. Continuously seek new information and integrate this knowledge into your daily regimen to ensure your hair thrives.

Understanding and Caring for Your Curls

Image of my healthy hair journey - from 2015 to 2018.
Image of my healthy hair journey. Time, consistency, and patience will be your BFFs!

Just as you prioritize the care of your skin, it’s essential to treat your curly hair with the same level of attention and care. Establishing a good hair care routine starts with recognizing the unique needs of your hair, beginning with understanding your curl type.

Identifying your hair’s porosity and curl type is crucial in crafting a customized hair care regimen. These factors determine the types of moisturizing products best suited for your hair, the frequency of washing or co-washing, and the most effective styling techniques.

Additionally, being mindful of your environment plays a significant role in your hair care routine. For instance, living in a dry climate means your curls might need extra moisture to stay healthy and vibrant. By tailoring your hair care practices to these specific needs, you can ensure your curls remain as radiant and lively as your skin.

Hair Types and Their Unique Needs

Hair scientists and experts categorize hair into four primary types:

  • Straight Hair
  • Wavy Hair
  • Curly Hair
  • Coily-Kinky Hair
Image of Andre Walker's Hair Typing System.
Credit: Andre Walker’s Hair Typing System

Each hair type exhibits distinct physical and chemical characteristics. Straight hair tends to be healthy, with a fine texture, generally making it easier to manage and style. On the other hand, dry hair and coarseness is often the challenges presented with managing and styling coily-kinky hair. This hair texture also differ in shaft diameter, indicating varied structural features.

Understanding these differences is crucial, as it highlights that the needs for moisture and emollience significantly diverge between someone with straight hair and another with curly or coily-kinky hair. This knowledge underscores the importance of tailoring a haircare routine to match the specific requirements of each type of hair for optimal health and manageability.

Image of hair classification and cosmetic features chart for straight, wavy, curly, coily-kinky hair. How to Establish A Curly Hair Care Routine.
Hair Classification & Cosmetic Features Chart

Understanding Hair Porosity and Its Effects

Image showing low to high porosity hair. How to Establish A Curly Hair Care Routine.

Hair porosity is categorized into three levels, each significantly influencing hair’s overall quality and management:

Porosity refers to the hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. High porosity hair often appears weak, damaged, and frizzy, characterized by its extreme dryness and difficulty in management. This condition results from the hair’s cuticles being too open or damaged, allowing moisture to escape easily.

In contrast, straight, curly, and coily virgin hair that has not been chemically treated usually exhibits low porosity. Such hair types have smaller pore sizes with tight cuticles, making it challenging for moisture to penetrate, yet once absorbed, moisture is retained effectively.

Factors such as harsh chemical treatments (e.g., alkaline bleaching, coloring, hair relaxing) and repeated exposure to UV radiation or heat tools (e.g. flat irons, curling irons) can significantly damage the hair fiber, increasing its porosity and potentially leading to hair loss. It’s crucial to understand that hair of any type—straight, curly, or coily-kinky—can become highly porous if subjected to these damaging processes.

Recognizing your hair’s porosity level is essential for tailoring your routine to effectively meet its moisture needs and maintain hair health.

Essential Curly Hair Tips for Beginners

Beginning a curly hair care journey requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to learn. As you establish a reliable routine, you’ll gradually incorporate more specialized steps and products tailored to your hair’s unique needs. Here’s a roadmap to guide you:

Start Simple and Build Your Routine

Develop a foundational curly hair care routine focused on keeping your hair healthy and vibrant. We’ve mentioned this in more detail above; this initial regimen should consist of:

  • Cleansing: Gently washing your hair to remove buildup without stripping natural oils.
  • Conditioning: Applying conditioner to nourish and protect your hair strands.
  • Moisturizing: Keeping your hair hydrated and soft.
  • Treatments: Using specific treatments to address and repair damage.

As you gain more insight into what your hair responds to best, you can refine and expand your routine.

Learn From Experience

Understand that discovering what works best for your hair is a process filled with trial and error. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks; instead, view them as opportunities to learn and adapt your approach.

Tailor Frequency to Your Needs

The frequency of each step in your routine should be adjusted based on your hair’s individual requirements. Pay attention to how your hair responds to different practices and products to determine the optimal regimen for you.

Embrace Mistakes as Learning Opportunities

Encountering hiccups is a natural part of the journey towards healthier hair. Instead of letting them dampen your spirits, extract valuable lessons from these experiences.

Be Patient and Consistent

Despite advancements in hair care science, there’s no instant fix for curly hair care. Consistently using your chosen products for at least six weeks, twice a week, is crucial to see real improvements in both the health of your curls and in promoting hair growth.

Educate Yourself

Navigating the wealth of information available online about curly hair care can be overwhelming. Take it one step at a time to avoid information overload and the temptation to try every product or technique at once. Focus on:

  • Understanding the ingredients in your hair care products.
  • Consulting with curly hair specialists for personalized advice.
  • Reading product reviews to gauge others’ experiences.
  • Experimenting with different hairstyles to find what suits you best.

By dedicating time to learn about your hair and its needs, you’ll be better equipped to create a customized care routine that yields the best results for your curls.

Summary: Crafting Your Curly Hair Care Masterpiece

The journey to perfecting your curly hair care routine is deeply personal and hinges on understanding the unique characteristics of your hair, including its type and porosity. This tailored approach ensures that you select the most beneficial products and apply the most effective techniques for your curls’ health and style.

Key Takeaways for Curly Hair Care Success:

  • Personalization is Crucial: Your routine should be as unique as your curls, crafted through careful selection of products and practices that respond well to your hair’s specific needs.
  • Listen to Your Hair: It will guide you in fine-tuning your regimen. Observing your hair’s reaction to various products and techniques is essential for identifying what truly works for you.
  • Patience and Consistency Pay Off: Embrace the journey and maintain a consistent care routine. The results, though they may take time, will be rewarding and evident in the health and beauty of your curls.

By embracing these principles, you are well on your way to developing a curly hair care routine that not only meets your hair’s needs but also enhances its natural beauty. Remember, the path to achieving your hair goals is unique to you—stay patient, stay consistent, and let your hair’s individuality shine through.


I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

My Favourite Things

Great hair goes beyond using shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Shop my favorite must-haves.

After years of requests, I’m finally sharing my go-to skincare products.

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Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure and make sure to pack these essential items to take with you on your journey.


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