FAQ: Curly Hair Care

curly hair pin

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Cheapskate Cook is all about empowering you to save money and eat healthy.

However, the most frequently asked question I receive is, “How do you take care of your curly hair?”

Curly hair care – this is the third question every curly girl asks after meeting a fellow curly girl.

Frequently, we skip the introduction completely and just walk up to a stranger whose head we’ve been admiring.

We ask questions like, “What product do you use?” 

“How do you take care of it?”

“Teach me all your secrets!”

I’m going to share my 5 main tricks, and if you want more details, let me know, and I will share more another time.

Also, if you prefer watching videos to reading, scroll down for the video version of this post.

Jump to what you need!

My 5 Curly Hair Tricks (don’t skip this)

Hard Water? No Problem!

The products I used for 20 years

The products I use now (while I’m going gray and my hair texture changes)

My Best Curly Hair Tips

Keep in mind, every curly head is different. Some people have thicker hair, some have thinner, some is drier than others, some have looser curls, some have corkscrew curls. 

Keep trying ideas until you find something that works for you.

For me, I have very thick hair, and it tends to be dry. Here is how I embrace my curls instead of fighting them.

1. Cut it in Layers

Lots and lots of layers.

This keeps the curls bouncy, all over the place, and prevents triangle head (which is a real struggle for curly girls).

Steph Jenkins - Cheapskate Cook

2. Wash it No More Than Once a Week

Because my hair tends to be dry, I don’t shampoo it more than once a week. Every other shower in the week, I simply rinse it and add conditioner. 

Update 10/2022: For years, I used Garnier Fructis’ Sleek & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner. My hair loved it, and it was budget-friendly.

Yes, I tried all kinds of budget-friendly green/crunchy hair care methods (including the no-poo method), but this worked best for my hair. It’s all about balance.

3. Leave in the Conditioner

Again, to combat the dryness, I do not rinse the conditioner out of my hair. I’m not brand loyal when it comes to conditioner, and I don’t even buy leave-in conditioner.

I just leave in my conditioner.

I’m sure someone will tell me this is a terrible idea, but it has worked so far for over 15 years.

kinky curly

Update 11/2020: I found a leave-in conditioner I really like! Kinky curly is considered a really clean brand that’s also very effective for all kinds of textures of curly hair. Their Knot Today leave-in conditioner is great!

Update 10/2022: Now that my hair is transitioning to gray and needs even more moisture, I use this condtioner (and I still leave it in). Additionally, it doesn’t affect my acne-prone skin.

aloe vera gel

4. Aloe Vera Gel

Here’s my weirdest secret. I learned this from a fellow curly girl, and it changed my hair forever. Instead of buying an expensive hair care product, or mousse that lasts 3 days and then it’s empty, I use Aloe Vera Gel.

Specifically, I use Fruit of the Earth 100% Aloe Vera Gel (affiliate link).

I use it just like you would any other hair gel after I get out of the shower and towel off my hair.

Update 11/2020: I’ve found several more products I really like! If Aloe Vera doesn’t work for you, try these:

kinky curly

Kinky Curly Curling Custard is considered a really clean hair gel that works for all kinds of curly hair textures. It’s more expensive, but it lasts a long time! Try it here.

I also really like Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Styling gel. I can’t attest to how “pure” and “clean” the ingredients are, but I’ve been really happy with it.

Update 10/2022: As my hair is transitioning to gray and changing texture, I need something with a lot more moisture. I started using Pacifica’s Curl Defining Cream, and it was a game-changer. Additionally, it doesn’t affect my acne-prone skin.

Curly Girl: The Handbook Cover

5. Curly Girl: The Handbook

In high school, I found this book, and it changed everything.

Curly Girl: The Handbook (affiliate link) details the differences between caring for curls versus straight hair and other tips that might work for you (like never using heat to dry your hair).

If you have never read it, or you did a long time ago but you are still frustrated with your curly hair, I highly recommend checking it out again.

Here is a 5-minute video with some more details about each tip.

If you like these videos, please like and subscribe to my channel!

Hard Water & Curly Hair Care

When we moved into our old farmhouse, we discovered our hard is very hard. While a whole-house filter would be ideal, our current budget-friendly solution is this shower head hard water filter that attaches to any shower head. We replace the filters every few months, and that makes a huge difference.

Once a month I use Giovanni’s clarifying shampoo to help balance my hair’s ph.

The Curly Hair Products I Used for 20 Years

Read the above tips to learn how all of these worked together. But these are the main products I used since I was a teenager.

The Curly Hair Products I Use Now

What You Can Do Now:

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