I’ve been experimenting with the Curly Girl method since September now, and while I have shared a few shampoo and conditioner reviews last year, the most recent ones have been quite unsuccessful.
While my routine isn’t perfect yet, I wanted to share my curly hair products with you. Plus, if you fancy a change of product but you’re worried about the cost, don’t fret! All of the products in this post cost less than £10.
Want to check out my previous hair reviews?
- Dry Hair Rescue With Maui Moisture Revive & Hydrate + Shea Butter
Faith in Nature Watermelon Conditioner
One of the first steps of the Curly Girl method is to eliminate shampoo, so I’ve been on a quest to find a conditioner that will leave my scalp actually feeling clean. So far, that hasn’t been the easiest. So I was pointed towards this conditioner from Faith in Nature after a few initial struggles, and was told it would be better for washing my hair due to it’s thinner consistency. It’s definitely quite a bit runnier than others I’ve tried, and almost feels more like a shampoo than a conditioner, with the exception being that it doesn’t lather when you use it.
By far the best thing about this is the smell. If you are sensitive to scent, this may be a bit much for you, but my boyfriend and I both love using it. You can’t mistake the scent of watermelon, or watermelon sweets, or is it medicine? I’m not actually that sure. All I know is that whenever I use it, I get instant nostalgia, even if I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of.
So far, this is the best experience I’ve had washing my hair with a conditioner, but I’m still not quite there yet: recently I’ve noticed that no matter how long I scrub for, or how careful I am with my styling products, my roots already start feeling a little oily once my hair is dry. It’s not anything visible, but my hair just doesn’t feel quite clean, and it’s frustrating. As my roots do naturally get oily over time, I think this particular conditioner from the brand may be the wrong choice, as it is aimed for dry hair. I’m planning on picking up their tea tree one instead, and I will report back on whether it works for me or not.
Get it from Holland & Barrett for £5.49.
Faith in Nature Brave Botanicals Nourish & Repair Rose & Neroli Conditioner
After my experience with the Superdrug conditioner, I decided to avoid coconut altogether, and picked up this Rose & Neroli one from Faith in Nature instead. It’s too thick to wash my hair with, so I just use it to condition my hair.
After using it, my hair feels lovely and soft, but I feel like for those days when my hair is feeling extra dry, I could do with something a little stronger, like a hair mask for example. Still, I’ve been enjoying it, and this is already my second bottle. The only odd thing about it to me is the smell, which reminds me of mosquito repellent burners we used to use in the Summer.
Get it from Holland & Barrett for £5.99.
While the conditioner is on, I brush my hair out with my Tangle Teezer. I find this is the best time to get the knots out, and it’s nowhere near as painful (or damaging) as brushing out dry hair. Don’t have a Tangle Teezer? A wide tooth comb will also do a great job.
Once the conditioner is rinsed off, I brush my hair again, then go back into the Faith in Nature Watermelon Conditioner to use as a leave-in product. I’ve been using a pea sized amount and raking it through my hair. I hear that it’s the secret to taming frizz and getting defined curls, so I’m going to experiment using some more and get back to you guys on that one.
Boots Essentials Curl Creme
Edit: since writing this post, I have actually been told that this product is not in fact CG approved, due to the fact that it does contain alcohol. As this is quite low on the list of ingredients, some people do still use it, but technically it is not approved.
Concerned about how expensive adding styling products to your routine is going to be? As it turns out, there are so many affordable options that are Curly Girl approved, so they’re a great place to start. I have two to share from Boots’ own Essentials range, and they were the first products I introduced to my new curly routine.
The first one is the Boots Essentials CurI Creme. Aimed at enhancing shine and reducing frizz, I apply this on my hair while it’s still soaking wet, with my head upside down. The trick with this one is to use small, pea sized amounts, rub your palms together thoroughly until the product goes white, and to add more gradually as you feel your hair needs it. Otherwise, if you use too much in one go, I just find it too heavy on the hair.
It’s hard for me to say just how much effect this product has on my hair, just because I added it to my routine at the same time as the gel I talk about next. Once I run out of it I might leave it out for a couple of weeks and see what happens, and again give you an update. Although there is so much product in this that it may last me ages. If you are looking to add a curl cream to your routine and you don’t want to break the bank, I think this is a good starting point.
Pick it up from Boots for £1.99.
Boots Essentials Extra Firm Hold Gel
At the same time as the cream, I picked up this bargain tub of hair gel. I’m pretty sure this was the first time in my life I’ve bought hair gel, because I never thought it would be a product I would get use out of. As it turns out, it does a pretty great job at setting your curls in place.
The aim is to use quite a bit of gel so that the curls end up going solid and crunchy. Right after using the cream, and with my head still upside down, I apply this starting at my ends, and scrunch my hair upwards, rather than raking it in. Again, I start with small amounts, rub my hands, and gradually build it up, focusing on the areas where I struggle to get more of a curl. You will end up using the gel quite quickly, as you do use a lot (this is already my second pot), so I think it makes sense to go for such an affordable option.
I’ll just add that I quickly washed my hair over Christmas without using either the cream or the gel before going travelling, and my hair was a frizzy mess, with barely any curls. Adding these to my routine has made a huge difference and means that I don’t have to deal with unpredictable curls anymore.
Get it from Boots for just 99p!
With all the products now on, I wrap my hair in a cotton t-shirt to hold it in place and start drying it a little, while I go off to do my skincare. It’s a tip that I’ve heard dozens of times, but it took me ages to finally stop using a towel, and I can say that it has made a real difference to how much frizz I get. According to Naturally Curly, here’s why:
“Towels can damage the actual fiber of the strand, leading to fraying, splitting, and breakage. Too much friction can weaken the basic structure of the strand, and in the end may result in over-manipulated hair. For us, type 4 naturals, drying our hair with a t-shirt or microfiber towel can help minimize the amount of friction on our strands leading to healthier hair in the long run.”
When it comes to drying my hair, I used to let it air dry, but recently I’ve started using a hairdryer again with a diffuser on it. I find that I get much better volume, and it does seriously cut down drying time, although it doesn’t feel like it goes much faster than straightening my hair.
Lifeplan Aloe Vera Gel
So now for the last product in my routine, and the most recent addition I’ve made. I don’t think I will ever stop being amazed by the amount of different uses that aloe vera gel can have. I already had this tube, which I had mostly been using to deal with days when my skin was feeling particularly itchy (seriously, this stuff works), as well as a few times when I’ve managed to get sunburnt.
As it turns out, this is also great for “scrunching out the crunch”: once your hair is completely dry and you are left with crunchy curls from the gel, you scrunch it up and you are magically left with soft, shiny curls. I was doing this with my bare hands, but I found out that people use this (or the alternative option is apparently lube, of all things), and I’ve really been loving the results! I also use it in the morning during the rest of the week, scrunching my hair with my head upside down, and overall I just found that my curls kept their definition and volume better than they usually do.
Get it from Amazon* for £6.04.
Overall since starting this routine, I’ve found that my curls have been so much more predictable than before, but they also feel a lot less dry and look healthier; I’ve had friends comment on how nice my hair looks and the fact that its condition has improved. It’s also grown quite a bit since I’ve dropped my straighteners and the damaging ingredients in my hair products.
The biggest issue I still have is the bottom layers of my hair don’t curl as much as the top, probably because they’re more damaged by straightening than the shorter, top layers, so this should improve with every trim I get. For the first time in a long time, I am loving my curls, and I don’t see myself reaching for my straighteners for the foreseeable future.
*This post contains affiliate links, which may earn me a small amount of commission if you choose to use them.