For the entire month of August, I decided to go heat-free allow myself to fall in love with my curls. Too often, I have my hair in wand curls or super straight. I want to let my hair breathe. I want to make my curls shine. It's taking me years to learn how to properly care for my hair when I wear it naturally curly, beach wave curls (courtesy of my wand curling iron) or straight (courtesy of my flat iron). Through trial and error, I've learned which products my hair loves and how to keep my hair healthy, growing, and maintaining its thickness.
Over the years, I've often been asked by strangers, friends, blog readers, and social media followers how I take care of my hair and what products I love. This post is honestly years in the making, and I hope you find it helpful. Before sharing my favorite hair products and routine to keep my curls frizz-free, I want to share a little of my hair journey.
Using the right products for my hair gives me curl confidence - Katrina
LEARNING TO TAKE CARE OF MY HAIR
Loving my curls has been a life long journey, growing up as a Bi-Racial child of the '80s and '90s there weren't a lot of hair products specifically made for African American hair or Mixed hair like mine. Back then, most stores carried only 1-2 hair products for African American hair, if that! Today, I'm thrilled there are shelves of hair products from several different brands, giving curly hair women like myself lots of options! It's a fantastic time to be a woman of color with natural women. Read my Ancestry.com results here.
My mom is white and did her best, keeping my hair braided and moisturized. Honesty she did an excellent job given the lack of information and products available. Around the age of 10-12, I outgrew wanting to wear braids, plus my mom didn't know how to French Braid, so options were limited. I started learning how to care for my hair. Boy did I do so many things wrong and right! As a teen before flat irons were a thing, I used to set my hair in pink sponge curls, to get big 'fluffier' curls or I would attempt to flat iron my hair with a curling iron, good times! I also taught myself to french braid. Growing up, I always loved my mom and sisters hair; in my eyes, their hair was easier to manage and seemed to grow so fast.
I grew up in a very non-diverse area in Northern California, where everyone was predominantly white, I tried to mold my hair to 'fit in' especially in high school. At one time I've even used a kids relaxer on my hair (a relaxer is a chemical treatment that changes your natural hair pattern and makes it straight) It's crazy the lengths I went to, to get my hair straight; or rather to get my hair to be the preconceived notion of what beautiful hair is.
There were maybe 1-2 other African Americans in my entire high school out of hundreds of kids. By my junior year, I started wearing my hair in box braids with extensions and had long braids down my back. I formed a bond with the lady who braided my hair and learned about more products and ways to style my hair, which felt so good.
After moving to Sacramento, I met one of my best friends, who has a very similar background to mine and very similar hair. We've been close friends for over nineteen years, and through her friendship, I learned to love my hair, how to take care of it, including how often to wash my hair and products to use. Taking care of my hair takes a lot of time. But I love my hair and its worth it, I am worth it.
CURLY GIRLS UNITE!
One of my favorite people I love spending time with is Kachet, she makes me laugh, and she's a great friend to chat with about all the topics. I met Kachet a few years ago through blogging; we became real-life friends; her blog is The Kachet Life she blogs about lifestyle topics, beauty, travel, and much more! When you meet Kachet, your drawn to down-to-earth confidence and curls! She's got some fantastic curls that pop! We love chatting about what hair products we love using to keep our hair healthy. We teamed up to share our curly hair journey to loving our natural curls and rocking them with confidence, our favorite hair products, and curly hair routine.
Learning to take care of your curls, isn't a one-size-fits-all model, quite honestly African American hair, Mixed Hair is beautiful, diverse, and complex; each curl, coil, and kink is unique. I'm so happy she is sharing her curly girl hair journey on her blog. This blog post is a passion project for us, we're 100% sharing what we love because we use these products all the time!
Quite honestly African American hair, Mixed Hair is beautiful, diverse, and complex; each curl, coil, and kink is unique - Katrina
MY FAVORITE HAIR PRODUCTS FOR NATURAL HAIR
I'm not a product junkie; I'm all about using products that promote shine, enhance my curl pattern, help eliminate frizz, and don't leave my hair feeling crunchy. Using the right products for my hair gives me curl confidence. I love my curls most when they are soft and touchable. Below are my favorite hair products I love using! I love using ORS Olive Oil cream when I want to do a braid-out or extend the life of my wand curls. It smells so good and helps keep your hair moisturized. My friend Carli mentioned this product to me, and I tried it and like it! Pssst, she also has fantastic curls, and great style, taste, and blog [ check her out here Made By Carli ] I use Miss Jessie's Multi-Cultural Curls combined with Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls *Curly hair products can be pricey when in doubt buy the travel size!
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MY FAVORITE CAROL’S DAUGHTER HAIR PRODUCTS
As you can see from my round-up, 'I'm a HUGE fan of 'Carol's Daughter and love their products! Below 'I'll share how I use each product on my hair. Over the years, 'I've used several different shampoos & conditioner, I finally found one 'that's a keeper! I use the 'Carol's Daughter Almond Milk Sulfate-free Shampoo with the 'Carol's Daughter Almond Milk Sulfate-free Conditioner. I only wash my hair every one-two weeks, depending on how 'I'm wearing my hair. Natural curls and beach curls every week. When my hair is straight, 'I'll wash it every two weeks. It takes a long time for my hair to start getting greasy, growing up, I washed my hair every other day like my mom and sister. I was washing it too often, we have different hair types, and I was washing out the natural oils in my hair. I'm also a huge fan of their Almond Milk Leave-in Spray Conditioner, and I use this after washing my hair. I also use it as a detangler on Avery’ hair.
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CURLY HAIR PRODUCTS I USE ON REPEAT
There are some products I use over and over again! My new favorite stand-by is Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray, I use it to keep my curls looking fresh + it smells so good! The Hair Mimosa Promenade is amazing too. I use it on wet hair if I'm braiding my hair, I use it on my hair when it's dry to add shine and keep frizz at bay. A little goes a long way, rub a small amount between your palms and apply. It also works great on edges. I use the Mimosa Promenade when my hair is in wand curls and straight, its a must! Kachet also has her go-to favorites Cantu Coconut Curling Cream and ECO Style Styling Gel Olive Oil. I recently bought the ECO and tried it on Avery's hair, and his hair LOVED it, I'm happy to report it didn't leave his hair crunchy.
MY NATURAL CURLY HAIR ROUTINE
Before washing my hair, I also make sure to comb my hair out, spraying a little leave-in conditioner in my hair and part my hair in four sections. I always use a wide-tooth comb to comb my hair, starting with the ends and gently working my way up. I have a lot of hair, so I take my time. I never comb my hair when it's wet, only damp if I'm braiding my hair. After washing and conditioning my hair, I add about a dime size of conditioner to my hair. I towel dry my hair and then add my hair products, I'm obsessed with Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Curl Defining Butter, this product is amazing and extra thick. I carefully work the hair Butter in my hair making sure to coat my curls. I towel dry my hair again and scrunch my curls in my hands to help define them. The extra towel drying helps to 'lock' the product in my hair. Lastly, I mist my hair with Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla leave-in conditioner spray for extra curl boost. I do the same routine, regardless of the product. I prefer air-drying my curls, I never blow-dry my hair, even when wearing straight or wand curls. I just let me hair dry naturally, then apply heat. The less heat on my hair the better.
I'm obsessed with Carol's Daughter Hair Milk Curl Defining Butter, this product is amazing and extra thick.
TIPS ON GETTING TRIMS AND HAIRCUTS
Find a friend who makes you laugh and will fix your curls! I go every 4-6 months for trims or haircuts, my last big haircut I had 4-5 inches chopped, and added super long layers in the back to give my hair more volume when curly or straight. When I get my haircut, I always do a dry haircut! I’ve learned this the hard way. Having my hair super straight when getting a haircut allows for a better cut, since curly wet hair is longer and stretchy its hard to get an accurate cut.
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I hope my post on sharing my favorite curly girl hair products, and how I care for my hair is helpful. Make sure you visit, Kachet's blog to check out her favorite hair products and read her hair journey. As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I went heat-free for the entire month of August and loved it! My curls are bouncier and more defined. In the past 33 days (I’m still heat-free) I’ve gained more confidence and truly have fallen in love with my hair. I used to be afraid my hair has getting crazy big, like Dianna Ross big through-out the day, but now I’m like the bigger the better, healthy big hair makes me happy!
I would LOVE to hear from you! What your favorite hair products you use to take care of your hair? Have your also been a journey to love your hair?
PHOTOGRAPHY: All photos taken in this post were by the talented Christina Best Photography
Additional Reading: The Kachet Life - Me and My Curls: The Journey, Routine & Favorite Products
Instagram: Tracee Ellis Ross - If My Hair Could Talk