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My 15 Favorite Hair Products, Tips, And Techniques As A Mixed Woman

My curl type changes every few years, and from coils to curls to waves and back again, I've had them all. Here are the hair products, tips, and techniques I live by.

By Sara ThomasPublished 2 years ago 8 min read
My 15 Favorite Hair Products, Tips, And Techniques As A Mixed Woman
Photo by Noémie Roussel on Unsplash

First off, if you're not mixed or have curly hair, you will probably think that I am exaggerating when I say I 'live by' these techniques. But, if you've got a curly crown like me, then you know that when it comes to curly hair, you need to put in effort to see real results.

So welcome to Curl-ology 101! For anyone out there who needs a refresher or introduction to curl-terminology, here's a quick cheat sheet:

Important Curl-Terminology To Know

Curl Type

Your curl type, or curl pattern, refers to the amount of curl your hair has in it. Knowing what your curl type is, and buying hair products for that specific curl type, is a great step to take in the direction of healthy curls.


Think of porosity as how easily water is able to reach the center of the hair strand. Use the handy hair-in-a-cup method in the image above to find out what your hair porosity is!

Baby Hairs/Edges

Baby hairs are the smaller hairs that frame the face. 'Laying your edges' means smoothing and slicking the baby hairs down to create an elegant, cascading effect. I personally use pomade and my fingertips to lay my edges, but you can also use a toothbrush or clean mascara spoolie. Experiment with different options until you find a combination that works best for you!

Wash Day

Having curly hair can sometimes feel like a second job considering the amount of maintenance that goes into it. Wash day is the day of the week when you go ALL IN on your hair care routine.

My wash day routine typically goes clarifying shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, cold water rinse, deep-conditioning hair mask, rinse with cold water again to seal the hair cuticle, squeeze dry with a 100% cotton t-shirt, and detangle with my Denman brush. Then, I let my hair air dry for about an hour or so, and when it is only slightly damp, I add in castor or moroccan oil to add shine, control frizz, and style.

A lot of work, yes, and my arms are typically sore at the end, but my curls are my crown, and my wash day can feel like a luxurious self-care spa day.

Now, before we start, let's all recite the #1 GOLDEN RULE of curly hair care:


If your hair is dry, put down the hair brush. And don't even THINK about touching a comb. Curls have an attitude, and if they are brushed dry, they WILL revolt. Unless you want to look like a puffball, only brush your hair when it is damp or wet.

Need a quick refresh? Spray some water on your hair to dampen it, and then style.

Now, lemme tell you a bit more about my curlfriends...

1. CoWash, CoWash, CoWash! If I could buy a CoWash by the gallon, it would 100% be the As I Am Coconut CoWash. I'm obsessed.

Too much shampoo can strip essential oils from your hair, and sometimes you want to wash your hair, but don't want to have to go through the entire wash cycle.

CoWash is my go-to anytime I want to wash my hair quickly or have been working out and just want to give my hair a quick refresh. It is like a lighter version of a 2-in-1 conditioner.

Once you go CoWash, you'll never want to go back.

2. There are certain ingredients that I have bookmarked in my brain as being SUPER healthy for curls. So, whenever I see ingredients such as olive oil, apple cider vinegar, castor oil, coconut, shea butter, moroccan oil, or avocado, I always look twice.

Curls, waves, and coils thrive with natural hair care, so I search for shampoos and conditioners with healthy fats, minerals, and oils in them. It is also important to avoid sulfates, as sulfates are too harsh on curly hair.

Whether I'm buying hair products from the drugstore or from a high-end boutique, I always check the ingredients.

3. Consistent trims every 2-3 months keep your curls fresh and healthy!

Frequent trims keeps split ends to a minimum and prevent your hair from breaking, therefore promoting hair growth. Additionally, your curls will look more polished with an even trim.

4. Protective styles at night are crucial. Braids and headwraps will be your best friends.

Curly hair can be prone to breakage since it tends to be quite fragile. Braids, head wraps, and other protective styles keep your curls safe throughout your tosses and tumbles in the night.

Also check out satin or silk pillows and satin lined hoodies for more options!

5. Apply a protein treatment once or twice a month as needed. Garnier Sleek & Shine with active fruit protein is my favorite affordable protein treatment.

I honestly didn't even know that my hair needs routine protein treatments until last year. Protein treatments help strengthen your hair, which is crucial for healthy curls.

If your hair feels rough or scratchy, it needs more moisture. If your hair feels soft, but is frizzy, it needs more protein. I typically apply my protein treatment once a month, and do a moisture treatment every week.

6. Use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month to get rid of buildup on the scalp that can weigh down hair.

Bounce Curl's entire hair care line is amazing, and I am in love with their clarifying shampoo. Bounce Curl has variations of each item, so you can customize your hair care for your curl type.

This pomegranate and pumpkin clarifying shampoo also smells SO. GOOD.

7. Rotate through shampoos and conditioners to prevent hair from building up a resistance to any one product and keep curls looking fresh.

I'm a diverse woman, and diversity works best for my hair. If I use the same hair product over and over again, my hair tends to build a resistance to it, and the product loses its effectiveness.

By switching up my shampoo and conditioner every few washes, my hair looks its healthiest thanks to the constant variety of nutrients.

8. Save your old 100% cotton t-shirts and use them to dry your hair.

Again, curly hair tends to be pretty fragile, so instead of drying it with rough towels, use an old 100% cotton t-shirt instead!

T-shirts are super soft on your hair, absorbent, and will not contribute to breakage. All around, a win.

9. Want longer, healthier hair? Stimulate your scalp!

Scalp stimulation breaks up any product buildup, stimulates blood flow (which leads to healthier, shinier, and faster-growing hair), AND it feels amazing.

Scalp scratchers for stimulation are also perfect for when you want to scratch your scalp, but don't want to use your nails or brush your dry hair.

Click here to see my favorite type of scalp scratcher!

10. Avoid heat-styling when you can to protect your curls.

I try to limit my heat-styling to once a month, although, ideally, I try to do it only once every two or three months. The reasoning? Curls and their curl pattern will weaken with every heat application, and this can lead to dry hair, which is prone to breakage.

Put the straightener down, and embrace your natural hair!

11. Maintain daily upkeep and refresh your curls with styling creams, mousse, gel, and/or oils.

While I'm mainly hands off with my dry curls (so as not to disturb them), I do refresh them when needed with a light gel, curl-activating lotion, or oil.

Different products work best for different hair types, and this is one of the reasons it is so important to know your curl type! Oils are great for type 3 hair, gels can be fantastic for thicker type 4 hair, and curl-activating lotions (plus sea-salt sprays) are fantastic for type 2 hair.

12. When working product into your hair/scalp, use your knuckles NOT your nails to avoid breaking your hair.

Working product in with your nails can break your hair since the nails can sometimes rip out hair follicles.

Using your knuckles prevents breakage, and also allows you to add more pressure to your scalp for better scalp stimulation and blood flow.

13. When you do brush your hair, always start from the bottom up to avoid clumping knots.

My favorite and go-to hairbrush is a Denman. Denman brushes really are the way to go for curly hair, and I highly recommend them for all curl types.

Check out their products here!

14. Feel free to go for a conditioner-only shower! You really only need shampoo if your scalp feels dirty, or if you want to strip it of any buildup.

While I only use about a dime's worth of shampoo, I use about two to three palm-fulls of conditioner per wash. Curls need moisture, and conditioner delivers.

I HIGHLY recommend Mane n' Tail conditioner because not only is it wallet friendly, but it makes your hair thicker, healthier, and longer.

15. Don't wash your curls every day! Tie your hair up or put it in a shower cap, and opt for a body shower instead.

Too much water is a bad thing for curls, as it can actually end up drying them out. Have a body shower in between hair washes instead!

I hope these mixed hair tips and tricks help, and here's to all you curly-haired kings and queens!


About the Creator

Sara Thomas

Mixed, optimistic, and depressed MA-based zillennial just out here trying to make you feel things.

We're all a little messed up, and that's okay. Let's be human together<3

UCLA '18 . Art History . Mythology

Book in Progress: Mess of a Human

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