My journey into curly hair management started June this year, before that I have to admit I was in denial. My relationship with my hair has always been a strange one. The reason being that my hair is very coarse and a strange mix of wavy, straight and curly, all seasoned in frizz and extreme volume, so definitely not an easy one to manage.

Furthermore, my mother has a very different hair type, slightly wavy, voluminous but not problematic at all, so she has never been able to give me any advice. As a teenager I simply did not care, moving forward I learnt that straightening it was the perfect solution, and so I managed in one way or another.

Becoming curlier and curlier

The thing is that lately my hair changed and became curlier, especially in certain areas, to the point that managing them has become a nightmare, and even straightening it is only a temporary solution, as the super curly part, regains its shape in 24 hours maximum.

This meant working on them with brush and hairdryer on a daily basis, but up until a few months ago this was still my preference, as when I let my curl dry naturally, I never knew what I would get, and anyway the results were great for a couple of day maximum, then I had to wash them again, as they appeared lifeless and very dry, whilst with the straightened option I could go almost a week without washing my hair!

Then in June this year I noticed that the hair in the front part of my head were very damaged, broken and stressed by the continuous aggression of heat and brush.

Having now grey hair, I was quite worried that they will look awful, you know the frizzy and unkept old witch look? Yep, I was afraid to look like that. And I have to say that with grey hair the frizz is enhanced and they tend to be slightly drier than normal hair, all of which added to my fear.

Before my curly hair journey the lack of defiition was the first problem!

How being grey helped me figure out the path

But… My grey hair journey taught the transformation power of self-acceptance, and considering how damaged my hair was, I decided to stop straightening for a while. Just to give them a chance to recover, determined to manage whatever I would get in terms of hair look. So I started My journey into curly hair management.

I did not start completely unprepared, but I was keen to get to the bottom of curl management, so I started studying and following a few Instagram accounts that taught how to manage curls… And I discovered a whole new world.

At the beginning I was completely overwhelmed, as those people were using an incredible number of acronyms to identify styling techniques (SOTC*? No, thanks, I’ve already eaten!), incomprehensible to me, plus new words like scrunch, break the cast, co wash, and many more. At first it was really off-putting, and I went for a simple curl defining product to apply before drying my hair. Well, soon it was clear that it did not work, and I armed myself with patience and a strong will, and had a deep dive in the curl management world.

The incredible world of curls

Did you know that there are infinite types of curly hair? And that the curls are defined by how much they coil? And that you are supposed to go through many different steps to ensure that your wash day is going to be a successful one? Like washing thoroughly with a shampoo able to remove all products residue, to prevent any build up. Did you know that according to your hair type you should follow with a post wash products application, based on product consistency according to your hair type, layering first a hydrating product, then a cream one and then an oil based one. Not to mention the infinite number of application techniques, for which, to be honest, I believe one need a specific phd just to understand the basics.

Well, it was definitely a bit too much for me. I appreciate my hair, but the amount of time I’m willing to dedicate to it is limited, and I am looking for something practical too! In the end I was able to grab some basic stuff that has proved helpful, and with a bit of effort and a lot of products testing, I was able to find my own good method, and obtain pretty good results.

What I’ve learnt

This is what I’ve learnt and the routine I’ve adopted!


  • Understanding exactly your hair type might be interesting, but is not really important for the final results, even because having different types of hair does not mean you can apply different products for each hair section, so it’s just for your knowledge really. If you have a single hair type might be more useful, but there is no product distinction for curly, very curly or super coyly, only different processes to apply them.


  • Is better to apply at least 2 different products after wash: a non-rinse hydrating or nourishing one (according to your hair needs), plus the curl enhancer of your choice that is going to take care of the frizz, and help your hair maintaining its natural shape.


  • Water is your best friend! Towel dry after washing is not a good idea, you just need to really avoid the dripping, but not too much, as otherwise you are compromising the product distribution and how your hair will dry! Better even to have water to spray onto hair before applying the products if you find hair are drying up too quickly, (like in summer, or in a very warm/dry environment).


  • Scrunching after having applied both products is a good idea, and works well to help your hair get in their best shape. It helps the formation of curls and ensure your hair follow its natural curling pattern.


  • Reviving curls between wash is doable! (I was doubting this, it seemed a sort of myth to me!) Even here the important part is adding moisture first, so spaying water into your hair first, and then applying a curl reviving product, and letting them air dry, or diffuse them with an hairdryer.


  • Searching for perfection is a myth, accepting your curls is still the best way to help you manage them. A bad wash day is always a possibility even with the new technique, because the condition in which you dry your hair change everything, so even a change in humidity can give you different results. Accepting it is the best way to avoid overstressing and obsessing on your hair, and the good disposition, believe it or not, helps with the management: the more you love them and accept it, the more gorgeous it’ll look!


That said, I haven’t changed my shampoo and conditioner routine (Have a look here to check my favourite grey hair shampoos), I’ve only added styling/nourishing products. The first product I apply after wash is a non-rinse conditioner or cream, it needs to detangle, hydrate and nourish, but does not need to be specific for curls! I’m using different ones as I was before. The second product is the one that makes the difference!

Curls definition achieved!
Curls definition achieved!

My favourite curl enhancing products

In my journey into curly hair management, I have found some amazing products! These are the one that I’ve tried and that work really well for me:

I love all these products because they are Cruelty Free and vegan, and this is the most important thing for me. Then they are also more on the natural side, and do not contain sulphates, parabens, silicones, mineral oils or phthalates.


Aveda-Be Curly Curl Enhancer: this is absolutely my favourite one, I find I have the best curl enhancement results, without any residue on hair, which feel soft and clean. You can apply it generously, even if it may seem too much when applying it, it dries perfectly!

aveda be curly
aveda be curly

Curlsmith-Curl Defining Styling Souffle: This is my second best one, I love its fragrance and texture, and the result is quite good and reliable, I have used it to freshen up my curls between washes too, and it worked really well.


Aveda-Nutriplenish Curl Gelee: I don’t particularly enjoy the gel texture, as it tends to leave my hair a bit too rigid, no matter how much I “break the cast” (that is scrunching your hair to break the rigid cast that the product leaves on your hair, to have a natural and soft look). But I have to say that this works well nonetheless, and is a good alternative when I need a stronger hold, or a neater look.


Cake-The Curl Friend: I love this product even though I find that it takes away too much volume. At first it felt like a blessing, but then you realise that there is some goodness in that incredible volume, so I use it when I want definite volume control, otherwise I opt for Aveda Be Curly.


The Beauty Worx Africa – Curl Activator: This was a nice surprise. I love its creamy texture, and how you can easily apply it to dry/wet hair to refreshen your curls. It does not leave any residue either, and leaves my hair soft and lightly fragranced, and looking good!

curl activator

Hope you find my journey into curly hair management helpful, and are willing to go for your own journey and discover the techniques and products that works well for you, as surely you need to experiment to find your perfect routine. Let me know what is your experience with curly hair, and how you manage!

If you are curious and want to know more, you’ll find many info on the web, I found that Curlsmith advice on hair types and curl enhancing techniques is quite useful, find it here.

*In case you are wondering, SOTC stays for “scrunch out the crunch”, the crunch being the crispy finish you get with gel products.

If you want to try any of the product featured above, why don’t you hop over to Lookfantastic and spoil your curls now? Just click on the banner below!

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