The mestiza muse

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I'm Verna,
Your Curly-Haired Friend.

Curly hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. It could be super-defined one day and a frizzy concoction the next day – and it's never exactly the same from one head to another. Our mission is to equip you with the necessary tools for restoring and maintaining healthy locks and celebrating the hair you were born with! 

How to Establish A Curly Hair Care Routine

March 13, 2023


Verna Meachum

Curly haired girl holding hair products in her arms.

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Curl care

With extensive experience in the beauty industry, I specialize in writing for curly hair care brands, websites, and magazines.

Not only do I have curly hair, but my children, friends, family members, and even friends who are professional curly hairstylists, each with their unique curly textures.

 You get the point :) 

I also partner with a friend who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and works as an R&D Chemist, ensuring our content is scientifically accurate and help us navigate through the misinformation around curly hair care. 

Hi,I'm Verna

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Last Updated on April 4, 2023 by Verna Meachum

You don’t need to be born with perfect curls for your hair to look great, as it’s actually the daily habits that you form which will have a major influence on your curly hair.

With an array of product reviews and stylists out there offering varying opinions on everything from moisture levels to protecting against UV rays, understanding how best to take care of those beautiful spirals can seem overwhelming.

Nonetheless, it all comes down to personal preference and some knowledge when looking after your curls.

In this article, we’ll help guide you every step of the way to create a curly hair care routine that’s suitable for you and your curls. After all, your curls are unique to you, so it’s important to learn what works best for your individual needs.

To ensure you have the necessary information and understanding to start your journey, let’s identify some fundamental components that are imperative to consider.

Here are some things you should bear in mind when trying to make sense of all the noise!

Key Factors to Define Curly Hair Care Routine

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

Every curly head should recognize the importance of treating their hair with as much care and consideration as they do for their skin.

To keep them healthy and radiant as you do with your face, you will need to establish a curly hair care routine, and the first step is understanding your curl type.

To fully understand your hair’s needs, it is necessary to classify the hair and comprehend its porosity level. These two factors are key in developing a personalized hair care program.

This way you can determine what kind of moisturizing products to use, how often you should be washing or co-washing, as well as proper styling techniques.

It’s also wise to pay attention to the environment in which you live; for example, if the air is dry, your curls will require more moisture than usual.

Classifying The Type of Hair

Hair scientists and experts classify hairs into four groups. 

Image of Andre Walker's Hair Typing System.
Andre Walker’s Hair Typing System

● Straight

● Wavy

● Curly

● Coily-Kinky

These hairs vary significantly in their physical and chemical properties. 

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

Straight hairs are healthy with fine textures and are typically easy to manage and style. Whereas excessively coily – kinky hairs can often be dry, coarse, and sometimes difficult to manage and style. Additionally, they also vary in their shaft diameter.

By outlining these characteristics, we can recognize that individuals with straight hair have very different needs in terms of moisture and emollience compared to those with curly or coily-kinky hair.

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

Determine the Porosity Level

Porosity is a key player in defining the requirements of one’s hair. Generally, hairs are classified into three levels of porosity. 

Porosity has a profound impact on hair quality. High porosity hair is weak, damaged, and frizzy. They are extremely dry and difficult to manage. 

Straight, curly, coily virgin, non-chemically treated hair tends to have low porosity levels. In contrast to high-porosity hair, low-porosity hair has a much smaller pore size and tiny openings along the hair shaft, making it challenging to moisturize the hair.

Harsh chemical treatments (i.e. alkaline bleaching, coloring, hair relaxing) and repeated exposure to UV radiation or thermal styling can damage the hair fiber and increase its porosity level. 

It is important to clarify that straight hair, curly hair, coily-kinky hair can have high porosity, should it have been treated with harsh chemical treatment and thermal styling, etc. 

Curly Hair Care Tips Before You Start

Once you’ve created a dependable curly hair care routine, you can slowly add more intricate and tailored steps and products to your regimen as time goes on. Heads up —you’re going to learn more about your hair through trial and error along the way.

Establishing a daily curly hair care routine involves discovering the necessary steps to keep your hair healthy and looking its best.

Developing a sound hair care regimen is the most reliable way to keep unruly frizz under control and make dry hair look healthy. How often you should perform any of these steps depends on your individual hair needs.

Don’t let a hiccup in your healthy hair journey overpower you to the point that it spoils the day (mistakes are going to happen); rather, take away knowledge from this experience and learn from it.

The Mestiza Muse

Four Main Steps

Think of your curly hair care routine as consisting of four main steps:

  • Cleansing — Washing your hair. 
  • Conditioning — Using a conditioner to protect and nourish your hair. 
  • Moisturizing — Hydrating and softening the hair.
  • Treatments — Applying treatments to help repair any damage.

Give it Time

Hair-care product science has advanced significantly, yet there is still no substitute for consistent use.

To see tangible benefits, make sure to utilize the products at least two times every week for a period of a minimum of six weeks. Only then will you begin to detect an improvement in your hair.

Do Your Homework

With the vast amount of data circulating around the web, researching can be both a laborious and somewhat contentious process.

Take your time and avoid overloading yourself by trying to learn it all at once – this can result in excessive manipulation of your hair and lead to you becoming a product junkie!

Do your research and familiarize yourself with the ingredients available, reach out to a curly hair specialist to ask questions, read product reviews, and test out different styles.

Taking time to understand your hair, its needs, and hair products will help you in creating a tailored curly hair care routine that works just for you.

How to Build a Curly Hair Care Routine (Regimen)

Image of my start up curly hair products.
As I was attempting to figure out the perfect routine for my curly hair, here is an image of my start-up products..

Navigating the market for products that are suited to curly hair can be a tricky process. It is only natural to want the perfect hair product for your hair from the start.

Nevertheless, it may take a few attempts before you find what works best for you. Ultimately, this search requires experimentation and perseverance.

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.

The Mestiza Muse

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the best way to discover these solutions is through experimentation!

If you find yourself stuck at any point in your journey, consider simplifying your regimen and gradually remove each product until you identify which one is causing an issue.

The more you learn about your hair, the more knowledge you will gain to help you build an effective and tailored hair care regimen.

Image of my growing line of hair care products.
As I continued to learn more about my hair – such as the products it liked and disliked – my collection of styling products expanded.


Keeping your hair and scalp clean is essential to maintain healthy hair. To ensure that the dirt, oil, and product build-up are removed regularly, cleansing should be done on a routine basis.

Note – Different types of shampoos are suitable for different hair textures, so ensure you pick the right one for your curl type.

If you have low-porosity hair and need some shampoo recommendations, check out this blog: Shampoo For Low Porosity Hair: A Comprehensive Guide.

If you have high-porosity hair, here is the blog for you: Shampoos For High Porosity Hair: Key Ingredients.

Clarifying Shampoo – is suitable for all types of hair and should be used at least once a week (or, depending on your hair needs).

A clarifying shampoo should be a sulfate-free formulation and should have a minimum amount of conditioning polymers.

Moisturizing Shampoo – use a sulfate-free moisturizing shampoo with conditioning ingredients to ensure hair detangling, ease in wet and dry combing, shine, and fiber strength.

Sulfate formulation should be avoided as it can cause dryness to hair fibers and the scalp. Wash hair at least 2-3 times a week (this will depend on your scalp, hair, and lifestyle).


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

Conditioning products range from rinse-off conditioners to leave-in conditioners to deep conditioning masks.

A rinse-off conditioner is a must-have product for every type of hair. It should impart hair softness, shine, help with detangling, and an improved sensorial feel.

For those with high-porosity hair and chemically treated hair, you can leave the conditioner on for 5-10 minutes and then rinse it off.

Depending on the porosity of your hair, you may need to adjust how frequently you use this product.

If you have high porosity hair, check out these deep conditioners:

If you have low-porosity hair, check out this list of conditioners:

How Often to Condition Hair

Low-Porosity Hair – at least twice a week.

Medium – as needed.

High-Porosity Hair – 3-4 times a week.

Applying a leave-in conditioner every single day is highly recommended for all types of hair. It not only safeguards proteins from UV radiation but also lubricates both the scalp and hair fibers, reducing friction between each strand.

An ideal leave-in is a blend of natural emollients, hydrating agents, and fiber softeners. The quantity of conditioner applied is critical to avoid any heaviness and limp-down effect.

Tip: With any hair-care product, apply in order of consistency — from thinnest to thickest. For example, leave-in conditioner (if you use it), curl cream, and then gel (or mousse).

Hair Treatment 

High-porosity and excessively damaged hair require deep conditioning, hydration, and moisturizing treatment to restore its strength. These hair fibers are especially vulnerable and need help to regain resilience against breakage while also balancing out the hair’s moisture levels.

Deep hair conditioning treatments are suitable for every type of hair and should be used as follows:

Low-porosity hair – once a week

Medium-porosity hair – as needed

High-porosity hair– Twice a week

Oil Therapy

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

Oils are natural emollients, lubricants, and hair-protecting agents. They also target the scalp improving its health and combating dandruff and scalp dryness. These oils or butter are ideal for all types of hair and should be used on a needed basis.

Natural, Virgin, Low-Porosity Hair – 2 to 3 times a week, can be left overnight. For oil recommendations, read: Penetrating Oils For Low Porosity Hair: A Comprehensive Overview.

Medium Porosity Hair – as needed.

Damaged, High-Porosity Hair – 3-4 times a week, can be left overnight, can also be mixed with deep conditioning mask or leave-in conditioner. For oil and butter recommendations, read: Discover The Most Beneficial Oils For High Porosity Hair.

Don’t Neglect your Curls while you Sleep

Use a satin pillowcase or scarf to prevent the friction of your head against the fabric that can cause breakage.

To protect and maintain your curls while you sleep, consider putting them into a pineapple to reduce any friction between your pj’s and curls, which can otherwise cause frizziness and breakage.

Never Stop Learning

Establishing a curly hair care routine is a process of trial and error. Each person has different needs, so it can take some time to find the right products and methods that work for you.

Always read about different ingredients and formulas to understand how they interact with hair fibers, what benefits they bring, and how to correctly use them for the best results.

Become well-versed in the proper methods of caring for your hair. Never be complacent when it comes to your hair; continuously strive to learn more and apply this knowledge to your daily routine.


Crafting the perfect hair care routine for daily maintenance, styling, and upkeep requires a thorough examination of your hair type as well as its porosity level.

Depending on your specific hair type, you’ll need to select the proper hair care products and use them at regular intervals to achieve desired results. It’s also important that you apply the right techniques when caring for your hair.

To ensure your hair is healthy, beautiful, and perfectly tailored to you, we encourage you to take a step-by-step approach to create your custom curly hair care routine.

Remember, everyone’s hair is unique so it is important to let your hair be your guide! Learn to pay attention to how your hair reacts to products and styling methods, and this is how you truly can create the perfect regimen for your curly hair.

Everyone’s hair journey is distinct, so it’s essential to be patient with your hair. Stick with a consistent routine and don’t give up – the results will come!


I had to listen to what my hair curls are finally ready to take in some moisture again!!!


- renee, Stylist Liaison

- renee, Stylist Liaison

“I truly couldn't have gotten through this without her knowledge, advice and support...after suffering from Hygral Fatigue and getting tons of advice @themestizamuse.”

“@themestizamuse: for ESSENTIAL information you will NEED TO KNOW in order to see results.”

See how easy the topics are to find on her page (a few posts screenshot)? There is no topic Verna hasn't covered.

- dominique P, wavy hair enthusiast


- dominique P, wavy hair enthusiast

“I have learned a whole heap of knowledge from @themestizamuse.”

Inspiring hair tutor, grateful for what she offers the Curly Community in authenticity, passion, and knowledge.

- zoe F, Producer & Host of The Curl Squad


- zoe F, Producer & Host of The Curl Squad

“I was so excited to embrace my curls and take better care of them. As I started to dive in, I immediately became overwhelmed with the information.”

I read books and tried doing things because "that's what I'm supposed to do," but it didn't always work and I didn't understand why. I'm so grateful for Verna and her blog. Her info. actually helped me understand more of the science of why some methods helped and what products or ingredients to use and why. Anyone that compliments my hair and wants to start a curly journey, I tell them to start here. My hair is so much healthier and I'm so happy with it.

- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast


- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast

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