I’m Mia, a Clean Beauty Expert at Credo Los Angeles and a curly girl myself. I’ve spent years researching the science of curls, which ingredients work best for different curl patterns and have helped Credo clients of all curl textures find their perfect hair care and styling routine. Choosing the right products for your curls can be daunting, especially if you’re new to clean hair care, so I’ve made a simple guide with product suggestions for different textures to help you create a routine that will bring those curls to life.
First, let’s set some curly hair ground rules:
• Never use harsh ingredients, like SLES, that strip and dry out the hair and scalp. Credo offers hair care products that are SLES, paraben and phthalate-free, so whatever products you choose, you’ll be using the best that clean beauty has to offer.
• Be wary of product buildup that will keep your curls from being as buoyant as possible. Wash hair regularly with clean products that will remove buildup gently, without stripping the hair.
• Curly hair is delicate and should always be handled with care. Never aggressively towel dry and avoid heat styling when possible.
• Each head of curls is unique, therefore, curly hair products are not one size fits all. For example, a rich curl cream styling product is perfect for thick, coarse textures, but can weigh down fine curls. Get to know your curl pattern(s) (yes, most curlies have multiple textures on their head) and find the best combination of products based on your desired hair goals.
Step 1: Cleanse
Curly hair is especially prone to dryness, so select a shampoo that cleanses and balances without stripping strands. Here’s a simple rule to help you determine which clean shampoo is best for your curly hair: If your roots feel greasy or weighed down after a day or two, select a more clarifying shampoo. If you can go a few days in between washing without your roots looking too greasy, then choose a shampoo that is more hydrating with gentle cleansing action.
Curly, coily textures and dry scalp conditions
Innersense Hydrating Hair Bath
Wavy and fine textures and oily scalp conditions:
Josh Rosebrook Nourish Shampoo
Step 2: Condition
This is the most important step in caring for curly hair. Not only does finding the right clean conditioner nourish, moisturize and protect, it also lets you detangle curls and minimize breakage. That’s where slip comes in: the more slip a conditioner has, the easier your curl-friendly comb will glide through strands, which is very important for dense curly and coily textures.
Coily, coarse textures and damaged/dry curls:
Innersense Hydrating Conditioner
Wavy, fine textures and oil-prone:
Evolvh SmartCurl Hydrating Conditioner
This is the step where knowing your curl texture is key. I recommend layering at least two products; one for moisture, like a leave-in conditioner, and a second product for hold and definition, like a gel or mousse. And don’t be afraid to play with ratios for different results. For example, apply one part cream styler with two parts gel for super defined coils.
Styling routine for curly, coily, coarse, and thick textures:
Styling routine for wavy, fine and oil-prone textures:
Extra shine, definition and frizz control:
Step 4: Extra TLC
Issue: Do your roots always feel greasy? Do your curls seem un-responsive to even the most hydrating products? Try a deep clarifying treatment. Individual hair strands will be able to breathe and better absorb products. Hair health begins at the scalp and exfoliating and removing build up promotes circulation, setting the stage to grow healthy, strong strands.
Goop G. Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo. Dry or coarse curlies – limit to 2-3 times a month. Fine or oil-prone – use up to once a week.
Issue: Have your coils lost their spring or do you have a constant halo of frizz? Your curls are probably damaged from heat styling or over-processed from color or chemical treatments. A deep conditioning treatment is in order! Hair masks are rich formulas designed to deeply penetrate the cuticle to increase moisture and elasticity. Another great option is to apply a hair oil to the scalp and strands as a pre-shampoo treatment. You can also add a few drops of oil to your mask to further customize your deep conditioning treatment.
Deep Conditioner: Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque