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Reviving Curly Hair Between Washes: Top Tips and Products for Maintaining Curl Definition and Hydration

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You spent countless hours on wash day, prepping and styling, but it all starts to unravel by the second, third day, and beyond. Your fabulous curls look dry, have lost their shape, and the frizz has taken over.

After all that effort you’ve put into making your curls look super defined and hydrated, it’s aggravating when the results don’t last long. You’re no doubt wondering if you should refresh your curls with products or re-wash them.

One effective method for refreshing curls between washes is using a refresher spray specifically designed for curly hair. Lightly mist your curls for even coverage, and then gently scrunch them with your hands. This technique revives the curl pattern and minimizes frizz, allowing your hair to look rejuvenated without undergoing a complete wash.

Diving deeper into this topic, our blog post will guide you through the nuances of refreshing your curls and different techniques that can make your curly hair journey smoother and more enjoyable.

How to Refresh Curls Between Washes

Image of Pinterest pin titled "Reviving Curly Hair Between Washes Top Tips and Products."

A common query I encounter is how to refresh curls between washes. It’s a relatable concern: as days pass, curls can begin to appear dry or develop frizz, prompting a desire for a refresh.

Much like many of you, my hair’s texture can fluctuate between normal and dry within days, influenced by the products I use. Hence, there’s a definite appeal in rejuvenating those curls without committing to a full wash.

Here are some tips for how to do that:

Use an Aerosol Spray Bottle or Mister

Curly hair woman spritzing water on hair to refresh her curls between washes.

All curl types or hair textures thrive on consistent moisture, so ensure to condition at every step. On lazier days when I prefer not to use a product, plain water works wonders for me.

To revive products already in your hair:

  1. Fill a mister with a little water and generously spray your hair until the frizz subsides. For targeted touch-ups, mist lightly and apply a bit of your go-to styling product. Tip: add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for added fragrance.
  2. If your hair feels smooth post-spritzing, you likely have enough residual product to refresh. Should a gel cast form post-drying, a refresher spray might be the perfect solution between washes.
  3. If necessary, introduce a minimal amount of your preferred styling product or foam. Use your fingers or a detangling brush to comb through and define curls. Alternatively, employ the ‘praying hands’ method to distribute the product evenly. For specific areas, finger coiling can help reshape them.
  4. Use a diffuser on a low to medium heat setting, ensuring minimal contact with the curls. For targeted heat application, gently manipulate sections with the diffuser’s prongs.

Remember, the quantity of product needed can differ based on the specific curl type.

Reintroduce Moisture Into Your Hair

Consider using a lightweight leave-in conditioner or curl cream to reintroduce moisture into your hair. The key is to not use too much product because overloading can weigh down your curls, making them appear limp and lifeless.

For a quick refresh, fill a spray bottle with a combination of water and your preferred leave-in conditioner. A light misting will rejuvenate your curls and amplify their inherent luster.

Curl tip: Beyond products and water, another method to revive curly hair is by twisting it into a loose bun, particularly beneficial for second-day hair that might otherwise look too flat.

No matter how you refresh your curly hair, just be sure to use a light touch and avoid overloading your curls with product. Curly hair doesn’t need a lot of help looking good – sometimes less is more!

Use a Hair Refresher Spray

A curl refresher spray is a great way to rejuvenate your curls between washes. A few spritzes can enhance curl definition and combat frizz.

If your curls just need a quick pick-me-up, a refresher spray is perfect for you. Target the areas needing revival, especially the crown, with your curl refresher.

This not only refreshes but also reactivates any prior product. Your curls should be damp enough to easily reshape.

For extra definition, consider pairing it with a styling product. A detangling spray can also be added if your hair requires extra moisture.

Use a Dry Shampoo

Using dry shampoo on dry hair to refresh curls between washes offers several benefits:

  1. Absorbs Excess Oil: The primary purpose of dry shampoo is to absorb excess sebum and natural oils from the scalp. This helps in reviving and lifting the roots, ensuring your curls don’t appear greasy or weighed down.
  2. Volume Boost: As it absorbs oil, dry shampoo also provides a volume boost, especially at the roots, giving curls a fuller, more lively appearance.
  3. Scalp Freshness: Dry shampoo can refresh the scalp, reducing any unwanted odors and giving a cleaner feeling without a full wash.
  4. Prolongs Hairstyle: By absorbing moisture and preventing frizz, dry shampoo can help maintain and prolong your curly hairstyle for an additional day or two.
  5. Reduces Manipulation: Continuous washing can sometimes lead to breakage, especially for curly hair. Using dry shampoo reduces the need for frequent washing, thus minimizing the chances of damage to the hair shaft.
  6. Time-saving: On busy days or when you’re on the go, dry shampoo offers a quick solution to refresh your curls without the time commitment of a full wash and restyle.

How to Avoid Refreshing Your Curls

Numerous factors can influence the longevity of your freshly washed hair, though some remain beyond our control.

If you want a minimal-maintenance hair care regimen, concentrate on preventing rather than correcting your curls when styling them.

There are several things you can do if you want to avoid refreshing your curls between washes:

Apply Products to Wet Hair

Applying products to wet hair can greatly reduce the need for refreshing curls between washes, and here’s why:

  1. Enhanced Product Absorption: Wet hair is more porous, allowing products to penetrate better. This ensures that your hair retains the moisture and nutrients from the products, making it less prone to dryness and frizz.
  2. Improved Curl Definition: Wet hair allows products to coat and clump curls together evenly. As the hair dries, these clumps are set into defined curls, preserving their shape for longer.
  3. Locking in Moisture: Applying products, especially leave-in conditioners or creams, to wet hair helps trap moisture within the hair shaft. Well-hydrated curls are less likely to become frizzy or lose their shape.
  4. Reduced Friction: Wet hair provides a smoother surface, reducing friction when applying products. This means less disruption to the hair cuticle, leading to smoother curls that resist frizz and tangling.
  5. Uniform Distribution: It’s easier to distribute products evenly throughout wet hair, ensuring all curls get the benefits. This consistent application helps in maintaining a uniform curl pattern.

Apply Styling Products in the Shower

To minimize the need for refreshing between washes, consider styling your curls right in the shower during your wash day routine. Begin by detangling your wet hair with conditioner using either your fingers or a wide-tooth comb, which not only prevents breakage but also sets the foundation for defined curls.

While the hair remains wet, apply your curl-defining products, letting the shower water aid in even product distribution. Encourage the natural curl pattern by scrunching sections of your hair upwards.

If your chosen product necessitates a rinse, use cool water to do so, as this helps seal the cuticle and enhance shine.

Once you’re out of the shower, gently blot away excess water using a microfiber towel or t-shirt to stave off frizz, and then let your curls air dry or use a diffuser for quicker drying.

This in-shower method leverages the benefits of maximum hydration, superior product distribution, and natural curl formation to prolong the vibrancy and definition of your curls.

Sleep with a Satin/Silk Pillowcase/Bonnet/Scarf

One effective method to preserve your curls overnight is by sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase, or by wrapping your hair with a satin scarf or silk scarf or bonnet.

These materials help prevent frizz and dryness the following morning. In contrast, cotton pillowcases can roughen the hair cuticle, leading to less-defined curls and potential breakage.

How to Refresh Curly Hair After Sleeping On It

One way to avoid refreshing your curls between washes is by sleeping on a satin or satin pillowcase

If your curls need rescuing after sleeping on them and you need a method to refresh them fast, follow these easy procedures:

  • Take down your pineapple (or whatever protective style you used) and gently loosen up the curls.
  • Next, apply some water or curl refresher product to your hair.
  • Fill a spray bottle with water and add a small amount of conditioner. Shake well.
  • Lightly spray the mixture onto your hair, then use the praying hands method to smooth down your curls.
  • Finally, scrunch up, as this will create more definition.
  • Follow up with a diffuser, or let your curls air dry.
  • Fluff out your gorgeous curls and voilà!

What is Second Day Hair?

Image of calendar with the number two circled in red.

The phrases “refresh curly hair” and “second-day hair” can vary in meaning depending on who you ask. If you’ve come across “second-day hair” or “third-day hair” on social media, it refers to hair that hasn’t been washed since the first day.

By the second day, hair can either retain its style or start showing signs of wear. For instance, sleeping might flatten or elongate some curls, and the hair might begin to appear dry or frizzy.

However, the silver lining is that you can rejuvenate even fourth-day curls with the right techniques and products. Additionally, by optimizing hair care on the first day, you can ensure that your curls remain vibrant on subsequent days.


Whether you refresh on day two or three, it’s entirely up to you! I hope this article assisted you in determining the best refreshing technique for your curly hair.


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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