How to Care for Wavy Hair

Do you have wavy hair too? Wavy hair’s versatility gives us the best of both worlds, curly and straight.

What we give up in predictability (wavy hair might look great one minute and crazy the next), we gain in adaptability (hair can go curly or straight, and it can really hold a style.) Wavy hair looks friendly, approachable, and natural. While sometimes I find it easier to just blow out my hair straight, I really do prefer the way it looks when I wear my hair wavy.

I loved when Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl changed the way that women looked at and took care of their curls. Finally people took notice that you can’t treat all hair types as straight.

Wavy hair, too, needs special care to coax the curls instead of controlling them, add moisture without weighing hair down, and protect hair from rough treatment. Let me show you how I style my natural wavy hair.

Styling Products

It takes a lot of styling product to achieve a natural look. I use mousse and pile it on. You want to try to boost and enhance the curl.

While I like Aveda’s Be Curly enhancing cream, I actually prefer using a less-expensive product such as Herbal Essences’ mousse.  It doesn’t make much difference, and if the product is expensive then I tend to skimp and use less, and my hair doesn’t look as good. Use a lot and scrunch it in while your hair is wet. You have to use a lot of product if you want your hair to look as good after lunch as it does in the morning.

(For smoothing my hair, Frédéric Fekkai’s glossing cream is nice for the rare times when I blow dry it straight.)

Cleansers & Conditioners

When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, I think I’ve tried everything. While the Curly Girl book advises to only use conditioner and never shampoo, that’s a bit extreme for wavy hair. I use the gentlest cleanser possible based on what my hair needs that day.

  • Sometimes it just needs a little conditioner on the ends and also rubbing it on your scalp like you would do with shampoo.
  • I mostly use sulfate-free gentle shampoos such as Jason Biotin Shampoo. I also like Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo which is even more gentle and made mostly from aloe vera (that’s what I use on my kids.)
  • Once in a while I use a regular shampoo such as Dove Volume Boost Shampoo if my hair is looking limp and it seems to have a lot of build up.

I even tried the “no poo” method for almost a year which involves using baking soda instead of shampoo and diluted apple cider vinegar for a clarifying rinse. That seemed to be better suited for shorter or straight hair, not long, wavy hair. It made my hair heavy, and I had to brush it often to keep it looking clean. I switched back to a regular shampoo method when I grew tired of keeping my hair straight all the time.

For conditioners, look for moisturizing formulas such as Jason Biotin Conditioner. Avoid conditioners and products with silicones which coat your hair to give it that slick feeling in the shower, but don’t give moisture to your hair at all, so your hair ends up dry and brittle. (Look at the ingredients to avoid words that end in -cone.)

Hard Water

I was amazed at the difference water can make when I moved to a city with extrememly high mineral content in the water (also known as hard water) from the mountains. It felt impossible to get my hair clean, there was a lot of calcium buildup and residue, and my hair felt both oily and frizzy. Shampoo made my hair worse and even more frizzy.

To counteract the hard water, I only used conditioner on my scalp instead of shampoo (even though it seems counter-intuitive) to add as much moisture to my hair as possible. I had the best results when I did a final rinse with a liter of filtered water. The filtered water made my hair lighter, cleaner, softer, and curlier. If you have hard water, try rinsing with filtered water to see if it makes a difference to help your hair feel cleaner. It might not be your hair’s fault after all.


When you use enough styling product, you can avoid the damaging heat from styling tools such as curling irons and hair dryers. I can tell a huge difference in my hair’s health (less frizz) since I stopped using a hair dryer so regularly. I usually let my hair air dry, but if I’m in a hurry then I might blow dry my hair with a diffuser, always on low heat and aiming at the roots for fullness.

Brushes are for straight hair. I might use a wide-tooth comb in the shower, but I only use my hair brush when I dry my hair straight.

Wavy hair starts in the shower. When I’m almost finished, I do the final rinse on my hair while looking down so that the top section of my hair goes in front of my face instead of behind me. I comb through my hair with my fingers or a wide-tooth comb while the water rinses out the last of the conditioner. This helps to separate and form the curls and gives extra lift at the roots.

After the shower, my hair is still kind of hanging in front of my face, so I wrap up my hair in a towel. You don’t want to towel-dry your hair, you just want to soak up the excess water. If you have curly hair you might want to use a t-shirt or something more gentle than a terry towel.

Then I apply a ton of product while my hair is wet and scrunch it in, and let it air dry.

Time-Saving Tip for Mornings!

I like taking a shower in the morning, but with two little kids, I don’t have time to do the whole shower routine and let my hair air dry. It’s much better for me to take a shower at night when the kids are asleep and I’m winding down from the day. I wash my hair and go to bed. In the morning I lean over the bathtub and rinse my hair under the faucet to get it wet again, then I apply product and let it dry as I get ready for the day.

Do you have wavy hair too? What tips and techniques do you rely on?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I totally have wavy hair. Not curly, not completely straight. you are right about the versatility, but after having a baby my hair has really changed too. I find the products that I once used dont work anymore, and I’m still trying to figure it out. I wear my hair straight a lot, and my favorite rule is wash your hair as much as your hair stylist does. Its like a sin to wash everyday for them, lol. So I wash one day, and blow dry. The next day I’ll maybe use a curling iron, and the next day I”ll wear it up, with a headband, or a braid in my bangs,or in a low or high bun, something thats more cute than just a regular ponytail. This only works for me because I have dry hair, if your hair is oily you wouldnt be able to wash it so little. I’m going to try your tip about how you rinse in the shower and brush your hair in there. I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Jen @ a place 2 call home´s last post…Christmas Eve & Christmas Recap

    • My hair changed a lot too during the few months after a baby. It was more oily and thin, so I had to change things up for a while.

  2. Ohh, I just love this post! I have really long wavy hair, and I tend to just put it up in a bun after a shower, which leaves me with headaches much of the time. Does this ever happen to you? I know you let it air-dry, but do you ever put it up? I have two little ones as well, which is why I put it up :)

    PS– Hope you had a great Christmas weekend!

    • I twist it up into kind of a chignon and clip it with curls coming out the top, but my hair is kind of thin, so it doesn’t feel as heavy as thicker hair. I wonder if a low bun would ease the strain compared to a high bun or ponytail.

  3. I have the same problem with hard water each time I go from the mountains to Berlin. So in Berlin, I rinse with diluted vinegar at the end of my shower. It took a few tries to get it down so I didn’t smell like vinegar. But it makes my hair soft again the way it always feels in the mountains.

    I’ll try the filtered water idea. Thanks for addressing this detail of hair care. NEVER seen it talked about before, so for a long time, I thought it was just me.
    Katie at´s last post…With Good Cheer

    • I tried diluted vinegar first, and it helped, but the filtered water seemed to work best against that feeling of oily hair. Filtered water with a little diluted vinegar might be even better.

  4. “Wavy hair looks friendly, approachable, and natural.”

    Really? And what does my bone-straight hair make me look like then? Distant, unapproachable and fake? Are you a secret hair-ist?

    • I didn’t mean that as an insult to other hair types. Straight hair can look gorgeous, polished, and friendly too.

      • I guess my perspective is a bit different. Very straight hair is so little work, you don’t need to think about it all and it doesn’t define you. And at the same time, there is no point thinking about it, because it won’t do anything else – no matter how hard you try! It’s like being born a minimalist.

      • Speaking as someone born with naturally curly hair, it’s nice hearing affirmation for going with what nature gave you. I am one of the few naturally curly or wavy women I know who wears my hair curly; everyone else straightens it so they can look “in”. In the Curly Girl book, the author talks about women not being taken seriously if they have curly hair. I wish more people could enjoy the hair they were born with instead of trying to turn it into something else. I personally ALWAYS have wanted bone-straight hair, I always thought it was much more glamorous and elegant than my puffy head of hair, but now I care for my curls properly and enjoy the locks I have :) Romney, don’t take affirmation of curly/wavy hair as an insult to straight hair! Thanks Rachel for the post! I’m going to try that distilled water rinse.

  5. Hi Rachel! Merry Christmas to you and your family! I am way past middle age with shoulder length, colored, wavy hair. I read your post and ran to wash my hair and try adding lots of product. Usually I pull my hair back because it is wavy and so thick that I can not control it otherwise. It is air-drying now and my fingers are crossed that it looks better than a brillo pad when it is dry!

    Thanks for all of your posts and the info that you share. I have learned so much from you. My closet is much more organized, I donated a lot of stuff I may have used “one day” and I feel much better about all of it. My family rehabbed an old house when my children were teenagers, so I am enjoying the pictures of your renovation too.

    Happy New Year! I can’t wait to learn more from you!

  6. I have been so excited to see your posts this week. And having hair as your first topic is even better – an endlessing fascinating subject to me :)
    I have wavy hair also, but it has seldomed looked as good as yours does in the photos above if I let it dry naturally. I suspect that it is the lack of proper product and application. My hair has become thinner over the years and is also quite light – I’ve often wished for heavie hair or heavier ends, if you know what I mean, so that the tresses would “hang” prettier. Do you know what I mean? I’ve managed to get silkier textured hair by shampooing less frequently (going from religiously shampooing daily to now just every 3 days) has made an enormous difference in my hair’s glossiness and manageability (fresh clean hair is just simply harder to style!)
    I also shower and shampoo at night and go to bed with damp hair that I pull back in a low ponytail so that it will be smoother in the morning. If I want to try and free the waves, like you do, I will have to try a new routine. I’m game!
    One question, Rachel – while your hair is drying, do you let it just hang free? No tucking behind ears or using headbands, etc? I know that doing so could have an impact on the style, but I worry that I won’t be able to stand it otherwise (I wear my hair up a LOT).

    • vermontmommy says:

      Teresa, How long is your hair? My hair is shoulder length and has a few layers in it. I rarely blow it out so I let it air dry. I don’t tuck it behind my ears. To be honest some days it dries better than others. I find if it did dry oddly I can spray it with a water bottle and fix it a bit.

      When it was longer I would pin up the side. I liked how curly it was underneath but it pulled the curls out on top when I took the clip out. That was okay if I kept it up but the next I would have to spray it well to bring back the curl or wear it up again.

      I just went to shampooing every third day. I used to be daily and after having kids was aiming for every other day just because of time.

      Truly, till recently, I thought I was the only curly girl who did not get what she was doing. Makes me glad to know others are trying to figure it all out too.

    • I don’t clip up my hair while it’s drying, but I do part it on the side like I normally wear it.

  7. My hair went wavy after I had my first baby. We move every 2 years or so, and every time we do I have to change up my styling routine due to differences in water and humidity. Right now I LOVE John Freida’s Dream Curls spray. It really works without adding greasiness or frizz. I also sometimes mix a little gel and Kiehl’s Grooming Cream. Recently I’ve been doing sock bun curls, and as long as I don’t put too much gel in before, the results are pleasing. Thanks for the tips!

    • John Frieda’s Dream Curls spray is the best product I’ve ever tried for curly hair, hands down. I remember the first few weeks of using it I would constantly tell my husband “see my hair? see how it looks like in the movies?”

      Now I need to find something to make my ends look more “defined”.

    • I have been using Dream Curls for many months. I like it because in the summer when it’s humid, this product will tame all the frizzies but also calmly encourage the curl. I spray it in just before combing as it gets rid of tangles, too. Then I “scrunch” up the ends and let dry as I go about my day. Truly good stuff!

  8. vermontmommy says:

    Rachel!!!! LAST night I was on Pineterest looking up curly hair solutions. I came across the same site you mentioned. You and I appear to have the save waves. Not tight curls, not straight hair but waves with some nice ringlets underneath and more curls at the bottom 3/4 than the top.

    This past month I splurged and spent $65 getting the Express Keratin treatment. Have you heard of it? I was actually at a fancy boutique in town where they sell a variety of little items along with having a hair salon. One of the stylist came out and told me I would be a perfect candidate for a Keratin treatment. There it was $250. Too much to give it a try and too much for a 8 week solution. I asked about it at my local hair dresser and was surprised at their much lower price. Anyhow, I tried it, my hair is a bit less frizzy and softer but I won’t be keeping it up.

    My normal routine is to wash my hair every other day. At the moment I am using the Keratin hair wash but I normally use redken fresh curls. After trying numerous products I found I like Paul Mitchell’s sculpting gel and I put it on right out of the shower. I comb it through and then I try to take 10 minutes to lie on my bed with my hair pulled up so my head is not squishing it (but no hair clips). Weird sounding but it helps the curls get curly. I found this by accident one day while in Boston visiting my sister and had her place all to myself. After a shower I lounged on her couch watching old movies. When we went out I had numerous compliments on my hair. Sometimes laziness can equal great beauty. :)

    Anyhow, I find the gel works all day. I try the second day to use a spray bottle and wet my hair down and then scrunch it a bit. I read that scrunching can interfere with your curl pattern so I light try it and sometimes twirl my hair around my fingers.

    I wish I had known to add product when I was younger. It would always frizz out. I would even perm my hair, which is crazy as it has so much curl. Had I known a little product would have kept the curl all day I would have done that.

    I learned about the PM gel just a few years ago. A mom at school has adorable short curly hair. I told her I loved her hair and she revealed her “secret.”

    Loved the post and I look forward to more comments.

    I have three children. My son had curls when he was younger and I think if he grew his hair out you would see them. My middle, a girl, has GORGEOUS thick hair with beautiful curls. She hates them but I know one day she will grown to love it. My youngest, a girl, had thick straight hair that is cut to her chin. She is just as beautiful and gets compliments all the time. What I envy about her is that she can brush and go. She has hair like my sister. Still, I love my curls but need to learn more about them.

    Great post.

  9. I have wavy hair and love the “idea” of being able to style it both straight and curly, but in reality, I almost always blow it straight. Just because that is the most reliable way to get it to look presentable. Every so often I try to let it dry wavy, either naturally or with a diffuser, and 99% of the time it just ends up looking ratty and like I just got out of bed. Some pieces wave and curl and others hang flat. Ugh! I often wonder if I just started going wavy every day, if after a while my hair would just get used to it and start to “do” it better! Product on the waves/curls either tends to be too stiff and wet looking or too light, so that it doesn’t seem to really do anything. I’ve tried the Aveda Be Curly with the latter results. I’m going to re-read your suggestions and see if anything gives me better results! Thanks!
    Jenny W´s last post…Little Sugar Addicts and a Pancake Recipe

    • I mostly go straight for the same reason – or just pull it back if I don’t have time. Trying to get the curls takes soooo much product and if the humidity levels aren’t right it is a disaster (and if they are it’s often too hot for long, thick hair all over the place).

    • Going straight is so much more reliable, but if I’ve had straight hair for a while, it takes about two days for the curls to come back to normal if I try to go curly again.

  10. I have thick, , solid, strong as a toilet brush straight cropped hair….but I still enjoyed the article x
    Tasmanian Minimalist´s last post…Ok, Now I’m Irritated !

  11. Well I do have curly hair and its thick. My mum cut my hair when i was little and my cousins had lovely long hair, straight. I was envious of their long locks but then they had to endure the wrath of our nana’s brushing and plaited into tight braids!
    My hair was straight throughout my younger years and then in highschool it was wild. I coloured it, cut it short, fringes and straightened. I have grown it and cut short again ‘Pink’s’, (so not a good look for me), until finally growing it again!
    My hairdresser who is bald but also has curly hair so knows a trick or two…told me to shampoo my hair once a week and on the other days wash with conditioner only to maintain manageability. It works. Afterwards I apply ‘Pantene’s’ leave in conditioner for styling and basically let it do its own thing. I bought a pack from my hairdresser which was a bargain, ‘juuce’ smooth as shampoo, conditioner and leave in treatment for coarse, unruly hair for $40. I love the softness afterwards but it doesn’t really tame my hair. Headbands are back in use until it gets longer, down to my jawline, then will be restyled into a cute bob. lovely tresses and now just have to continue the battle of the greys.
    Thanks Rachel..great post…still my fav read and the only one that gets delivered to my emailbox. :)
    All the best in 2012.
    Tracy (@fromthekiwigirl)´s last post…Salvos to Secret Santa

  12. I have wavy hair too and I started using Wen (from the infomercial). I was skeptical but, honestly, I love it. My hair behaves so much better now and is in beautiful condition. I let it air dry and then, when almost totally dry, add a little dollop of Wen back in as a leave in conditioner and that keeps it smooth.
    Catherine´s last post…Pudding origami box

  13. I have wavy hair… actually it kinda curly in one spot, and straight in another, so it averages out to wavy, right? Very frustrating, so I just wear a pony-tail most every day.

    I love to use shampoo and apple cider vinegar as a rinse. If I use conditioner, my hair gets major oily the next day. But using ACV as a rinse not only brings out the red, but leaves my hair soft and weightless. This means I only need to wash my hair about 2x a week, which is nice — and it still looks nice even on the 3rd day!

    I’ll have to save this post in diigo so I can reference it, lots of info! Thanks.
    Rachael´s last post…Fun pictures — a bit of history

  14. I have very thick, wavy hair… I hardly ever brush my hair ’cause it gets frizzy. Instead, I finger comb it in the shower with plenty of conditioner. I like to scrunch (head upside down) with tresemme mouse once my hair has had like 20 min to air dry. I use garnier hair spray to finish and frequently bobby pin one side away from my face in some sort of “style”.
    Excited for this beauty week!
    Christine´s last post…A Very Mirror Christmas

  15. I’m still tweaking my hair routine, but what works for my just past shoulders wavy hair is: Redken So Soft shampoo and conditioner (every 2-3 days). I add product immediately after while hair is still wet (no towel yet), then “plop” it with a microfiber towel for at least 20 minutes, longer if I have time. Take it out, do my best not to touch it, and spray some hairspray/spray gel and tweak the crown a little.

    The plopping really helps it dry with curls in tact instead of them being weighed down. It also helps me keep my hands off it. I highly recommend it. It is pretty basic (you just need an old tshirt or microfiber towel) and taken right from Curly Girl

    • I’m so glad you mentioned not touching it while it’s drying because I think it’s important to leave it alone to minimize frizz.

  16. Queen Mommy says:

    Just found your link on pinterest. I have long, wavy hair that always tended to be wavier underneath than on the top layer and got much, much wavier after having my babies. In the last few years, I’ve been perfecting my wavy hair technique. First, a good cut makes all the difference. Mousse and gel tend to be too heavy for my curls. What works best is serum. Currently I’m using one with a texture cream mixed in. After a shower, I comb through with a wide comb while it’s still dripping wet then plop it with a microfiber towel I found at the dollar store. My hair stays that way while I finish getting ready, even through breakfast. When I’m ready to do my hair, I add the product (I don’t use much with this stuff), and scrunch through. Then I usually blow dry with a bowl diffuser on high heat, low speed. I plop the curls into the bowl and allow them to scrunch up during drying. When my hair is 90% dry, I stop and allow it to finish air drying. Sometimes a pomade scrunched at the crown gives extra hold to the waves up there. If my hair has been flatter at the crown, I can twist that hair when its wet before drying to give extra wave. I usually wash my hair every 2-3 days, but I rinse with soft water in the shower every 1-2 days. If the ends seem dry I apply conditioner to them, let it soak in, then rinse.

  17. I don’t have wavy hair, but I do the same shower at night/wet hair down in the tub in the morning thing! (I have a terrible cowlick). I keep trying to get mommy friends to do the same-makes the mornings so much less hectic!
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

  18. I am so excited to see this post!!! I NEVER considered my hair straight, but all the tricks and techniques for curly hair seemed to fail for me. I have shoulder length wavy hair that has beautiful ringlets underneath, and then is straighter on top. So basically, I have my hair layered, but it looks all one length because the bottom curls up when dry and ends up shorter than the top, if that makes sense… (and this is of course, on the days that my curls decide to grace me with their presence. We won’t discuss the “other” days) Sometimes I get gorgeous, uniform wave/ringlets…most of the time half my head gets gorgeous and the other half is straight-ish. I spend a lot of time with my hair in a half-pony. LOL. I have recently tried some new products that I want to share with you…and before I do, I want to come out and say that I do sell AVON, but that is not why I am recommending the products! Anyway, MARK. sells a line of products for curly girls (also for straight, but I seldom go straight so I haven’t tried those). I use two that I really like. One is a curl cream that i scrunch into my hair right out of the shower – it doesn’t leave your hair crunchy or weighed down, but leaves my hair glossy and springy. I scrunch it in and then usually flip my head over and put it up in a towel while I finish getting ready. If I need my hair to be “done” I will blow-dry while scrunching, but I try to leave it air dry. The second product I use is the MARK. curl spray. Sometimes I use it right out of the shower along with the cream (usually if I really want curly hair and don’t want to be “surprised” lol.)…but usually I use it on the days I don’t shampoo. I figure, I didn’t shampoo the cream out, so I use the spray to enhance what should already be in my hair. I will also use the spray as a quick refresher at the end of the day if I’m going out and am asking more of my curls than usual. lol. Only wavy haired girls would even understand what I mean by that! lol. Anyway, you can find both products at We need to start a club! lol. And can I just say that I am SO GLAD to hear that I am not a weirdo for not brushing my hair!? I barely even comb it – I usually just finger comb. It seems that combing and brushing just frizzes it and makes me look poufy…so I avoid it. I have also been experimenting with not shampooing every day. I can’t seem to be able to make it more than every other day. The day after I shampoo, my roots look so greasy. I am going to try a gentler shampoo after this bottle is empty and see if that helps me to stretch to every 2 days. As of right now I have been shampooing my whole head every three days and in between, I shampoo only the roots to get the slimy/dirty look under control. I may try filtered water and vinegar tho…
    Just Amy´s last post…Book Review: Three Cups by Mark St. Germain

  19. Yay for Curly Girls! I have been doing the method for 6 years now and won’t ever go back. The other thing about it, is that it’s cheap! I spend almost nothing on products and am thankful that I am out of that “must spend a ton on hair products to have nice hair” cycle, when it is actually the expensive products and elaborate styling techniques that are ruining hair.

    A few simple rules: no sulfates in shampoo and no silicones in conditioner; and as the OP said, let the hair dry naturally and never brush it. You can use oil to provide your hair moisture if you need it and olive oil works great. For hard water, try washing hair with half cone-free conditioner and half lemon juice every once in a while. An Apple cider vinegar rinse will give the same effect.

    I now cut my hair ever six months and it’s curly, long and full. I don’t get split ends, ever. Quite often, women have a hard time growing their hair because it’s so dry there is a ton of breakage. When hair is healthy and moisturized, it will grow.

  20. Amazing! Love this advice. Never thought of only using conditioner. I use Aussie and feel a build up from using both shampoo and conditioner.
    Wonder if the tons of mousse will help in the humid weather. I end up with a frizz that makes me look like Hermione Granger in the early HP books.
    Lisa´s last post…Count Your Blessings

    • In case it looks like I don’t get frizzy hair, I do, the goal for me is to reduce the frizz because I don’t think it will go away completely. So I embrace the beach look.

      • That’s how my hair looks on a normal day. Any humidity makes it look like a wild animal grew on my head. I went for an audition one day. No matter how much I brushed it, it kept getting worse and worse. I went into the audition and the director said, “I like you. You look crazy.” It doesn’t work for everything, though.

  21. I totally agree. I have thick hair that will be curly on one side and straight on the other… and change sides whenever it wants. I have also found moose to be good to bring out the curls. I need to get some more. I have been straightening my hair, but seeing your pic up at the top I need to bring out the curls so more. They look great!
    Lorilee @ Loving Simple´s last post…Minimalist Christmas Day 2

  22. I, too, have wavy hair. When I used a mousse heavily like Herbal Essence, my hair feels stiff and “straw” like. Have you found a product that looks natural?

    Judy Meek :)
    Judy @ A Meek Perspective´s last post…Our 2011 Christmas Letter – Merry Christmas!

    • The Aveda creams made my hair feel soft not straw-like, but they didn’t work past 11:00 in the morning. If I use too much mousse it sometimes feels stiff, or even if my hair feels a little stiff in the morning, it feels normal in the afternoon. I kind of have to find a compromise.

  23. I too have wavy hair and loved the book Curly Girl. It helped me understand curly/wavy hair. However, I’ve come to realized my hair is WAVY, not really curly except in the highest humidity. When I tried the Curly methods I just ended up with some boing-y curls and some straighter spots and a really messy look. Your techniques for wavy hair are more what I need. Geez, I’m 41 so you’d think I’d have figured this out a long time ago! Thanks for this post. I’m SO looking forward to your style posts, as in the past they have been some of my favorites. You have such an innate sense of style and beauty.

  24. Hello from another curly girl! :) My hair is quite thick and more curly than wavy. I have also loved using Wen (which I received as a gift a few years ago), and more recently I’ve found that I really love Kinky Curly hair products, which I found at my local health food store (and they can also be ordered online from Naturally Curly or other places). The only downside is the price. I also cut my own hair following the basic instruction in the “Curly Girl” book. I keep it long, so I don’t need to cut it very often.

    Thanks for all the product recommendations–we order from Vita-cost regularly, so I’m looking forward to trying the products you mentioned.
    Joy @ Artful Homemaking´s last post…Cherishing the Moments

  25. My hair has always been a struggle. It curly underneath and straight on top. I usually wash it the night before and then curl it the next morning with jumbo curlers so it’s all the same style. If I’m lazy I braid it and call it a day.
    Danielle´s last post…Hey, It’s OK Tuesday…..

  26. I read and loved Curly Girl and had great results with the recommendations. I just hated all the scary chemicals I was slathering on my hair though. I kept looking for an alternative that would give me nice waves without the chemicals. I’ve found a fantastic shampoo! I use Bubble and Bees shampoo with a lemon juice rinse (vinegar is okay too but I found the scent lingered in my hair). I’m still using John Frieda Dream Curls until I find a more natural styling product.

  27. Thank you! After the birth of my second child my hair got wavy. I have had no idea how to deal with it. My mother has curly hair but blows it straight religiously so I had no idea how to treat curls. I’m excited to try this technique and see what I get!

  28. You prompted me to pick up a can of dry shampoo — been meaning to try it for non-shower days. Report to follow.
    Lori´s last post…When Mom Takes a Powder

  29. I’m wondering how you feel about the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Have you checked any of the products you mentioned against it? I know not all of them would be on there, but I’m wondering if you put much stock in their ratings in general? If you do check the ratings, it would be a cool feature of these posts to mention the ratings – the ones that are rated, anyway.
    Sometimes even if the product itself is not rated, you can still check a few of the main ingredients. Or, you can check the brand and if some of their other products do have ratings, you can kind of get a feel for whether most of the products are rated high or low on the hazard scale, and whether it would be a pretty safe bet to go with that brand.
    Anyway, I’m just curious, as I’ve been trying to gradually eliminate some of the yuckier stuff from our lotions/soaps/sunscreens/etc and replace them with products rated 0-3, but with challenging hair (mine’s pretty wavy/curly/very frizzy) it can be so tricky to find something that both works well and isn’t a hazardous chemical-fest.
    Rosie´s last post…Proactive Helping

    • I’ve checked a few products on Skin Deep if I can find them. I try for a rating of 5 or lower and I look at the breakdown of ingredients, but I’m more concerned about how well the products work. Overall I don’t use a lot of products so the rating is just one factor to consider. Since the soap is one that I’m constantly using directly on my skin, I was pleased that at least that one is low risk.

  30. vermontmommy says:

    I also wanted to recommend ISO Bouncy Creme. That was my last product I was using before the Paul Mitchell Gel. I liked it a lot. My mother actually gave it to me and I never took the time to order it. I think she got it from her local salon.

    I know the gel sounds like it would be crunchy but it is not.

  31. Thanks for talking about wavy hair. I love love love your morning tip. I find it more relaxing to shower while my little one is asleep but I always look better after a morning hair wash. Great suggestion. My curly-cut hair-dresser suggested sulfate-free shampoo as well, but the first one you mentioned (JBS) has sodium sulfate listed as an ingredient. If you like using JBS is sodium sulfate really the ingredient that matters or am I missing something?

  32. Any tips for day-2 wavy hair? Mine always looks ok on day one, and a disaster the next–prompting me to rewash it and start over.

  33. I have curly hair, and it rules! But I’m taking the reins and getting more control. I use natural ingredients, whenever I can. Plus I use filtered water, because the water here is extremely hard and causes my hair to be drier. We live near the foothills.

    I’ve done perms every now & then, but I mainly go au naturel and do my hair myself. I saved money over time and have worked to get a simple routine going of sorts. I keep discovering better products to help maintain, but I also use coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, etc. to varying degrees. Coconut oil is my favorite.

  34. I have mildly wavy hair that I never knew I could wear wavy until I got a new hair stylist a year ago. WOW! I absolutely love wearing my hair wavy. She has me using Bumble & Bumble Styling Lotion (it’s a spray) and Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray to get non-crunchy waves. The products work great, but they’re a little pricey, so I’m going to try some of the suggestions here. For my particular hair, which is not as wavy as yours, the right cut is essential. I need the layers to be “just so” and the length above my shoulders, but it is SO worth it to have hair that, after all these years and hairstyles, feels like “me.” I’m pregnant now with my first, and I really hope my hair gets even wavier. I’ve heard of such things.

    One tip to add: Have you ever tried putting a water filter in your shower? I use an Aquasana shower filter (but there are other similar brands), and it makes a huge difference in both my hair texture and in how long my hair color lasts (3x as long!). It’s about $60 to buy one, then you have to replace the filter cartridges every 6 months. My MIL gave me a fancy, expensive filtered shower head a few months ago (~$200), and while it feels luxurious, it does not protect my hair as well. So I think I’ll go back to my trusty Aquasana. You wouldn’t want to take one with you on a short vacation, but it is not a permanent installation, so you can use it even if you rent or move often.

    • I use Bumble & Bumble Styling Lotion spray, too — whether I’m blow drying my hair or letting it air dry. A little pricey, but good stuff!

  35. I have finally decided that in order to come to terms with my frizzy hair, I need to start treating it like it is wavy, and not straight. After my shower I wrap it in a towel while I finish getting ready. Then I use some spray in conditioner (I use Aussie), twirl it into ringlets, and let it air dry. When my hair is dry, I run my fingers through it to separate the big ringlets into smaller curls. Trying to use a diffuser only seems to make it frizz more, but air drying in ringlets does the trick.

  36. My hair leans toward the straight side, but with just enough wave to make me nuts. I would love to scrunch it up, but most times it ends up just a mess. So I blow it dry, although I do not use a straightener. Especially since hitting my 40s, I end up with a little more frizzies on top. I find that if I just daba little coconut oil on my hands a ever-so-lightly smooth over my hair, it takes care of frizzies and doesn’t weigh my hair down.
    Successful Woman’s Resource Center´s last post…50 tips for busy moms

  37. Ingredients: Aqua (water), behentrimonium chloride, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, simmondsia chinenesis (jojoba) seed oil*, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, calendula officinalis flower extract*, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract*, citrus grandis (grapefruit) fruit extract*, equisetum arvense leaf extract*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower/leaf/stem extract*, panax ginseng root extract, biotin, citric acid, dimethicone, glycerin, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, hydrolyzed soy protein, panthenol, sodium hydroxide, sodium phytate, tocohperyl acetate, alcohol*, ethylhexlglycerin, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, benzylbenzoate, fragrance (parfum)
    <*Certified Organic Ingredient<
    This is the ingredient list from Jason Biotin Conditioner. It has dimethicone in it.

  38. I’m glad you mentioned “no poo”. I’ve been trying it for a few months now, and I’m really not pleased with the results. My former routine was to use a natural shampoo every 4 days or so. I always had to lather twice. Inbetween I would just spritz with water.

    The baking soda “shampoo” makes my hair feel a little too dense. After a day it starts to smell a little off. I have always heard people rave about “no poo” and thought it was only me that had some trouble with it!

    My hair is super thick and wavy. Perhaps the baking soda just can’t get to the oily dirty parts as well as shampoo can?
    Carrie´s last post…We Should Be More Like Toddlers

  39. I have chin length curly/wavy hair with a bit of a layer to it. As a child it was stick straight and then I believe sometime around puberty it may have turned, I do believe it was before having kids…I didn’t really realize it until recently though (I am 35). I always blew it dry and then in the last 5 or so years have used a straightening iron. Unfortunately I started having some breakage from straightening it. My hairdresser who has curly hair suggested I try it curly. Now 95% of the time I wear it curly.
    I wash every other day, towel dry, while still wet I put on Paul Mitchell Round Trip, dry a bit with the hair dryer on low, then I add Rusk Wired Creme. I have been experimenting with just letting it air dry after that. Sometimes I use the diffuser. I was told to srcunch it constantly while it drys, I’ll have to try not to and see if it is less frizzy.
    And as pretty much everyone else has said…some days it works, some days it doesn’t…
    It has definitely been a bit of a transition as I always thought I was a straight hair girl…All those years of wasted curls!
    Darcy´s last post…Go Ducks #12: The Sweet Smell of Roses

    • I so feel you. You are so lucky that a hairdresser actually suggested you try yo wear it curly. All the hairdressers I’ve been to straightened my wavy hair to make it straight and sleek. I think many are made to feel that straight hair is the professional and stylish way to wear hair and that is sad. I always felt my hair was annoying and unruly and now in my mid 30’s I have discovered how to bring out the beauty of the hair texture God gave me. There is nothing wrong with straitening if you want or curling your hair if it’s straight but to love your hair either way. The best thing I found is for wavy hair is to condition your hair, avoiding the roots and washing your scalp with sulfate free shampoo every 2 to 3 days. I also love using Herbal Essenses Totally Twisted Gel in my hair and try to never blow dry.
      Love your hair ladies!!!!

  40. I have wavy hair too. I agree it takes a while for the curls to come back to normal if I wear it straight. I wore my hair straight for a long season but now I am tired of blow drying and brushes. Back to styling naturally. Product is a silly thing – for me. Once I find one I love, it goes off the market. My waves/curls need a finishing spray. I can’t just do the original product in wet hair. I have tried Frieda’s dream curls. I don’t think it compares to the cheaper Curl Shaping Spray Gel by Garnier.

    In my opinion, the cut has A LOT to do with how well the curls stay. I don’t cut my hair every 6 weeks but if I don’t cut my hair every 3 months, the curls don’t stay. Finding a stylist that knows how to layer hair well for girls that style their hair with the natural wave/curl is a treat also.

  41. Another vote here for John Freida Dream Curls. It does amazing things for my wavy somewhat-fine hair. No crunchies at all!