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! 

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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 August 29, 2023 by Verna Meachum

One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was figure out how to care for my curly hair properly. When I was younger, no mentor, book, or salon taught me how to care for my curls. I always felt like I needed someone to answer this question – What does curly hair need most?  

Curly hair needs products that are typically sulfate-free and highly moisturizing, specifically formulated to help curly hair. Curly hair also needs unique accessories to help maintain the curl pattern and prevent tugging. Special scalp care and understanding your curl type are also essential.

Many online blogs and videos are dedicated to teaching you how to care for your curls, making it challenging for someone new to the process to figure out your curls’ basic requirements. Don’t worry; I am here to help and will provide all the information you need.  

Does Curly Hair Need Special Care?  

It is easy to overlook curl requirements and follow everyone else’s basic hair care routine. That typically includes regular shampooing and conditioning in the shower and maybe the occasional hair oil (or pre-poo) treatment.

But your curly hair begs for more. It requires specific care.  

From the type of shampoo to how often you should condition or what styling products you should use and which accessories are best, curly hair needs that extra consideration and attention.

Proper curly hair care can help enhance and define your curls.  

What Curly Hair Needs  

Below are some guides, tips, and ideas on the best products, methods, and items to ensure you give your curly hair everything it needs.  

Understand Your Curly Hair Type

A visual presentation of the various curly hair types from 2a - 4c

Before you use any method or product on your hair, one of the first things you should look into is your hair type.

Curly hair is not a one-size-fits-all category. There are different hair types of curly hair, and each one requires unique care.

The best way to give your curly hair precisely what it needs is to understand your specific hair type and the best way to care for it. 

Understanding Your Hair’s Porosity

One crucial aspect to consider when selecting hair products is understanding your hair’s porosity, as this will ensure effective product absorption. Hair porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb water. It is categorized into three levels: low, medium, and high.

Hair with low porosity has a tendency to struggle with absorbing products due to the flatly laid hair cuticles. For this type, it’s recommended to opt for lighter products, such as curl creams, gels, and mousses.

On the other hand, hair with high porosity faces challenges in retaining moisture because its hair cuticles remain lifted. While it can absorb water, retaining that moisture becomes an issue.

To tackle this, high porosity hair benefits from heavier products like creams, gels, and oils, which work to seal in the moisture once it’s been absorbed. This way, your hair can maintain its hydration more effectively.

Know Your Shampoo Ingredients  

Image of shampoo ingredients label of Jessicurl Gentle Shampoo.

Curls need moisture, so try using shampoos with moisturizing properties. Most shampoos are formulated with roughly 10 to 30 different ingredients.  

To sufficiently remove oil, dirt, sebum build-up, and odor from the scalp, all shampoos should include a detergent or cleaning solution, which works by lifting impurities from the scalp to be washed away by water.  

Ammonium lauryl or laureth, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate (SLS/SLES) are shampoos’ most common cleaning ingredients. These harsh sulfates can dry your curls and cause skin irritation and inflammation.  

These surfactants work in conjunction with co-surfactants, such as cocamidopropyl betaine, which is a gentler ingredient.

Look for natural ingredients in shampoos to help prevent drying and damage. Silicone and sulfate-free shampoos are also fantastic options for curly hair needs.  

If you have build-up, a clarifying shampoo can help. Remember that over-washing your curly hair will cause dryness and further damage. Only shampoo 1-3 times a week, depending on your build-up and sebum production.  

Moisturize Effectively  

Image of conditioners for what curly hair needs most.

Moisturizing curly hair is of utmost importance since curly hair tends to run dryer than the straighter types.

Conditioners can do wonders for dry, frizzy curls, and because curly hair is more prone to breakage, a good conditioner will help keep your hair healthy, strong, and moisturized.  

As discussed for shampoos, try to look for a conditioner free of harsh sulfates. You may also want to look for a silicone-free conditioner. Silicones can weigh your hair down and make it greasy, so they are best to avoid if you have fine or curly hair.  

The topic of silicones is complex. They are large molecules that coat the hair shaft and provide slip and shine.

Poorly manufactured formulations can leave build-up. They may be used effectively with tiny molecules readily absorbing into the hair shaft.  

Conditioning should be done as often as your curly hair needs it. Your curly hair care regimen may include conditioning every other day or once a week.

Curly hair tends to dry very quickly, so pay attention to how your hair looks and feels.  

Take Care of Your Scalp  

Image of Black woman scratching her scalp.

Hair care is incomplete without attention to the scalp. If you have curly hair, a clean, healthy scalp is crucial to maintaining your curls and preventing damage.

Avoid products that contain harsh chemicals (such as relaxers with lye or bleach with ammonia) and cause damage to the hair shaft and scalp skin.  

If the scalp is healthy and the follicles have everything they need to function, then there’s a great chance your hair will grow healthy.

Follow a Healthy Lifestyle  

It may seem cliché, but a healthy, well-balanced diet, plenty of water, exercise, and reduced stress can do wonders for your curly hair from the inside.

As important as it is to care for your hair externally, you will be unlikely to see sustainable results if your body isn’t doing well internally. 

Use Quality Styling Products  

Image of quality curly hair products that curly hair needs most.

Styling products for curly hair should also have moisturizing properties. The trick with curly hair is to use less product, or it will look greasy and weighed down. Look for a lightweight leave-in conditioner to add natural shine to your curls.  

If you want more definition, a curl cream or gel can do the trick. But avoid any products with heavy ingredients, like petrolatum or mineral oil, since these can weigh down your curls.  

Other great moisturizing ingredients you might want to look for are penetrating lightweight oils. These readily absorb into the hair and seal in moisture, reduce flyaways, and calm down frizz.

Some examples are jojoba oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, etc.  

Humectants, such as glycerin, are also great for moisturizing hair. Humectants attract moisture from the air and transport it to the hair and skin.

This results in healthier, shinier, and more defined curls. Before using a humectant-based product, you must understand your climate and curls.  

Invest in Curly Hair Accessories  

Image of curly hair accessories (satin scrunchies, satin pillowcase, microfiber towel, claw clip, hair tie) that curly hair needs most.

There are many curly hair accessories available. Not all regular hair accessories work well for curls.

Many items like traditional cotton towels and hair elastics tug on your hair, causing breakage, frizz, and hair fall. They can also significantly dry your hair out.  

Curly hair needs accessories that are gentle on the strands. You can check out my post on the best curly hair accessories, such as satin scrunchies and silk pillowcases.  


What curly hair needs most is a little more care while paying attention to curl-specific requirements in product ingredients and accessories.

Your curly hair can be manageable now that you have all the above information to ensure the best curly hair care. 

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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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