Naturally curly and wavy hair 101 – Curly hair routine

naturally curly wavy hair blog

What does it mean to have naturally curly and wavy hair? How to know if your hair is naturally curly? Or maybe you’ve always known you had naturally curly hair, but did you really know, what potential it has?

This post is dedicated to naturally curly or wavy hair. I have gathered some tips on how to treat it and how to get the best out of your curls, without any heat. I also shared my curly hair routine.

More often or not, you hear about this one particular problem: your hair is both curly and straight. It’s like a weird mixture of these two. Or it gets more curly around your face – you call them your baby hairs and they have a will of their own.  Or maybe you’ve noticed, that on a holiday, say, on a tropical island, your hair is more curly than usual – no use in straightening it.

I’m here to tell you, that your hair is naturally curly and you are just treating it all wrong!
I’m here to tell you, that your hair is not necessarily just randomly curly at some points – it is actually curly, once you give it what it needs!


how to treat curly hair

How to know, if your hair is naturally curly?

Deep down you probably know that your hair is and has always been curly. You just haven’t really given it a much thought. But once you do – I’m telling you – there’s no going back.

One of the things, that give curly hair away in a second, is getting it wet. You notice it almost instantly. The wetter your hair is, the curlier it gets. Right? You come out of the shower, squeeze the excess water out, and see it. Curls.

Another thing, that’s a bit annoying, but in a way a relief, is that curly hair hates hair brushes. Once you brush a curly hair, it doubles in size. No, actually it triples. It gets huge and frizzy and just awful. It loses all of it’s definition. But don’t worry, I have a better solution to a brush.

Also, curly hair is dry. It’s dry by default. But don’t worry, it doesn’t need to look dry.

Curly hair is dry, it doesn’t like to be brushed, and it loves water. 

These things can sometimes be a bit tricky to pick up, because if your hair is full of products not suitable for curly hair – silicone in particular – your hair might lose some of it’s curls and behave, well, not like a curly hair. Or if your hair is super damaged, the curls can be a bit damaged too.

But by following these tips, your curls will recover and you’ll find that your natural curls are beautiful just the way they are.

How to treat your curly hair the right way

Be gentle on your hair – skip the heat

As I said, curly hair is dry by default. So be gentle with it! Stop with the straightening and curling irons. They will damage your hair and your curl patterns, at least in the long run.

Remove sulfates and silicones from your routine

I hate to go into ingredients, but I have to. I was a bit hesitant to try a sulfate and silicone free routine at first, and to recommend it to you guys, but now that I have, I have to say it’s made a big difference. The reason why this is recommended is simple.

Why go silicone free?

Silicones aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but there is a reason they are not recommended for curly hair. Most silicones are not water-soluble, so if you’re using a mild shampoo, it might not wash away all the silicones. And silicones can build up. Once they build up, they can weigh down your curls, diminish definition and straighten out the curls. So it’s just easier to go silicone-free.

Common silicones:
Cetearyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Amodimethicone, Cyclomethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone

And hey – even without silicons, the conditioner I use (that is *Briogeo Curl Charisma Conditioner), manages to untangle my hair and make it silky smooth.

If you do use products with silicones, choose ones that contain less them. And if you’re using products with silicones, you need a shampoo that gets rid of the silicones too, which then needs to be, well, not that mild. Which gets us to the next guestion:

Why go sulfate free – and why should you choose mild shampoos?

Sulfates are detergents and they are used a lot in cosmetics as cleaning and foaming agents.

It is recommended to treat curly hair with sulfate-free products. Why? Because sulfates are considered quite harsh, and they can strip your scalp and hair from it’s natural oils. And those oils are actually useful and they protect your scalp while giving moisture to your hair.

Common synthetic sulfates:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium, Lauroyl Isoethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Taurate, Sodium Cocoyl Isoethionate, Sodium, Lauroyl Methyl Isoethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate

Natural sulfates:
Sodium Coco Sulfate

I’ve noticed, that natural sulfates are slightly more gentle for my scalp. At least they have worked better than synthetic ones. But they can still be too harsh. However, if you’re not scared of sulfates, you might look for natural shampoos that contain sodium coco sulfate. Just wanted to note that here, because I started my curly hair journey with a shampoo containing that.

curly hair progress with curly hair method


The easiest way to get sulfate and silicone-free products is to choose organic products. The easiest way to check, if your product is suitable for curly hair (and is silicone & sulfate free), is this is it CG website, where you just copy the ingredient list and the site tells you if it’s CG (=curly girl) approved.

Okay – so there were some basic things. Now I bet that you’re eager to start your curly girl journey and try the simple routine. But first, you need to get rid of buildup from products you have been using before.

Before you start the curly girl routine

Before starting the naturally curly hair routine, you need to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo once – to get rid of buildup, such as silicones, waxes and petrolatum in your hair. Then you can start your curly routine, with good results.

Note: Even if you were using mild curl-approved products, go for a clarifying shampoo every once in a while. It gets rid of build-up.

curly hair routine

Simple curly & wavy hair routine

  1. Shampoo your hair.
    Make sure the shampoo contains no silicones or sulfates. Your shampoo should be mild and nourishing, since curly hair is dry and you don’t want to strip your scalp from all of it’s natural oils – those oils also help your curls.
  2. Apply a generous amount of conditioner on your hair and untangle.
    Use silicone-free curly girl approved conditioner. You are not gonna brush your hair at all, so this is the part where you untangle your hair using your fingers and the conditioner. Then rinse off the conditioner. Cold water is recommended, but if you already live on the north pole and are not a fan of the cold vibe, go ahead and use warm water (me, always).
  3. Gently squeeze or scrunch the water out of your hair. Then use the towel and do the same thing.
    The key here is to NOT dry your hair completely – you just take the excess water out of your hair, but you still leave it damp, or actually damp+.
  4. Optional: add leave-in-conditioner, oil etc. to your hair.
    If your hair is very dry and conditioner is not enough for it, you can add leave-in-conditioners or oils after shower. Again, the products should be lightweight and preferably silicone-free.
  5. Add the curl gel, which locks the curls in place.
    Gel usually gives the best hold. Experiment to see if it’s better to apply the gel to wet or towel-dried hair. I recommend first towel drying your hair a bit. The right way to apply curl gels and creams to your hair is – you guessed it! – by squeezing/scrunching the products gently all over the lengths. Never drag them through the hair as it can ruin the curls.
  6. And then… you let your hair air dry and don’t touch it!  And if your hair is naturally curly, it will get naturally curly and dry in perfect (well, maybe not perfect) curls. For a super simple beginner routine, that is it.

squish to condish curly hair method

TIP! If you have extra time and want to get even more defined curls, you can try the squish-to-condish curly hair method. That means soaking out the conditioner instead of rinsing it all off under water. So instead of rinsing your hair, you take water to your palms and soak out the conditioner in little sections and squish it out of your hair. This can work for dry hair, since most of the conditioner is left in the hair.

This is my hair now, October 2019. It’s my natural color – and my natural curls!

My routine & products


I follow the curly hair routine and I wash my hair abut 2 or 3 times per week. I sometimes do the squish-to-condish method. I never brush my hair and I sleep with my hair in a pineapple (high loose ponytail), so that my curls don’t get ruined, when I sleep.

So far the best products I’ve found for my curls are:

Links are to amazon, you can also shop Briogeo on *Sephora!

Shampoo – *Brigeo Co-wash shampoo
Conditioner -*Briogeo Curl Charisma Conditioner (especially good for dry hair)
Conditioner – *Schwarzkopft Mad About Waves Conditioner (more lightweight conditioner compared to Briogeo – not as moisturizing)
Gel – *Briogeo Curl Charisma Frizz Control Gel (great for beginners, very lightweight)
Gel – *Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel (very affordable, comes in a huge package!)

*Aquis towel & turban – (these towels honestly make a difference to my curls! Review here)

You can find lots of other good curly girl approved products from amazon.

naturally curly hair diffuser

Last but not least: embrace your curls! I wish I had realized this a long time ago – I would have super healthy hair and curls then. Since writing this post, I have embraced my curls and managed to grow my natural hair color back.

Here are some good curly hair sites:

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  1. Sam Hodgett

    This is such a great post, I’ll definitely try out a few products and techniques you recommended ’cause I’m the absolute worst when it comes to hair care. I’ve always thought and until this day I say I have straight hair, as a child there was no curl to be found. But I’ve permed my hair (which caused some serious damage) as a teen so extremely often that even years after my last treatment, my hair is still wavy and in different climates much more curlier.

    Sam Hodgett || Beauty & Lifestyle Bits

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Thank you – and let me know if these techniques work for you! I’ve also considered myself bad with hair, but now that I can style it in the shower and I don’t really have to (or I just don’t want to) do anything else, I’m relieved:D

  2. I have curly hair and love it but I also really dislike the fact that it gets so big from brushing it!

    Beauty & Colour | Vegan Lifestyle Blog

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Haha yeah. No brushes for us!

  3. Yiota

    My hair is naturally curly but shapeless and it’s a pain to style in the winter, I prefer to blow dry it but on the other hand, I don’t want to use much heat on my hair. But in summer, I always apply a leave-in conditioner and leave it to air dry, much more easier in summer!


    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Yeah, it’s easier to manage in Summer, I agree 🙂

  4. Eve

    I am going to have to try this. Mine always looks fluffy after I brush it, but it looks so tangled if I don’t. Hopefully your instructions will fix that.

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Let me know if it works for you!

  5. Katya

    To me, having a curly hair is a gift. It has enough volume and style. Your curly hair hacks are great.

    StyleSprinter Blog by Katya Bychkova

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Yeah, I feel like it’s a gift too 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  6. Kihara Tampereelta

    Hei propsit siitä, että jaksoit kirjottaa näin hyvän artikkelin aiheesta – suomen kielellä näitä ei ole montaa. Tosiaan Curly Girl metodi toimii älyttömän hyvin kiharoille (mikä ei tosin ehkä ole kovin yllättävää ottaen huomioon mikä sen tarkoitus on). Toivon että blogisi auttaa muitakin kiharapäitä pitämään omista kiharoistaan huolta!

    Itse olen seurannut tuota silikonitonta ja sulfaatitonta rataa jo n. 7 vuotta, ja tukka tykkää. Joskus saan jopa korkkiruuvikiharoita, mikä yllättää koko suvun joka luuli tukkaani suoraksi, kun aina aikaisemmin harjailin sitä. Kotimaisista tavaroista mulla on toiminut hoitiksena ihan tuo markettien XZ:n Suklaa&vanilja, eli jos hätä iskee niin sitä kantsii testata. Se on silikoniton ja sisältää vähän proteiinia niihin päiviin kun tukka on saanut jo liikaakin raskasta hoitoa. Lisäksi kannattaa koittaa hiusgeeliä! Märkään tukkaan puristeltuna se auttaa pitämään kiharan mainiosti, ja kun sitä kuivana puristelee uudestaan, se ei edes jää sellaisen kovan näköiseksi. Ainakin Tampereen Ruohonjuuresta löytyy kahtakin eri kovaksi kuivuvaa silikonitonta geeliä, jotka on hyviä pitämään kiharat kuivumisen aikana.

    Terkkuja ja onnea matkaan tukkamatkallasi 🙂
    t. innokas kiharapää

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Kiitos paljon, joo, tässä oli haastetta 😀 <3 Toivon kans niin, että moni löytäis tän ja kokeilis. Luonnonkihara on yllättävän yleinen!

      Mullekin tulee satunnaisesti korkkiruuvikiharoita. Parasta. Kiitos hei paljon vinkeistä, täytyy kokeilla noita! XZ onkin tuttu ja olin kattovinani, että silikoniton. 🙂 Ruohonjuuresta tuntuu löytyvän kaikkea, haha. Ajattelin kans jossain vaiheessa testata ihan vaan aloe veraa. 😮

  7. Sanna

    Löysin tämän blogikirjoituksen vähän myöhään julkaisuun nähden, mutta aihe on silti ajankohtainen ja kirjoitus hyvä Itse olen tutkinut asiaa englanninkielisiltä sivustoilta ja youtubesta. Itselleni vaikeinta on tuo harjauksen jättäminen, sillä tukkani takkuuntuu todella helposti vaikka minulla on nyt täysin oma luonnollinen hius, en käytä lämpöä tai muotoilutuotteita (erittäin harvoin). Käytän tangle teeseriä märkään tukkaan, jonka seurauksena tukka onkin yleensä suoremman puolella. Pesen tukan iltaisin ja aamulla se on sekasotku, jos en harjaa Talttuukohan suortuvat alun jälkeen, jos jätän harjauksen pois? Haluaisin kiharani näkyviin taas Lisäksi mietin, että onkohan enemmän hyötyä kuin haittaa, jos hoitoainetta ei huuhtele pois täysin? Tuossa squish-to-condish-metodissa sitä luulisi vähän jäävän

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Täällähän nää tekstit on ja näitä voi lukea silloin kun ehtii. 🙂 Myös niitä vanhempia! Kiva että löysit tänne. Itsellänikin takkuuntuu hius helposti, mutta toisaalta se takkuili myös silloin, kun sitä harjailin. Itselle riittää ihan tosi se, että haron sormilla hoitoaineen kanssa hiukset läpi. Mitä tulee hoitoaineeseen ja sen jättämiseen hiuksissa – se täytyy vain kokeilla. Se sopii loistavasti toisille ja toisilla se voi sitten taas latistaa. Tai jos tykkää tuuheammasta ja ehkä vähän frizzysta tukasta, niin ehkä silloin huuhtelisin hoitoaineen pois paremmin.

  8. Henrika

    Heippa! Näin talvella oo miettinyt, että oiskohan jotain muuta kuivaustapaa kuin diffuser (en tiedä suomenkielistä nimeä edes)?

    1. Charlotta Takkula


      Itse suurimmaks osaks annan tukan vaan kuivua itekseen. Mut toinen hyvä tapa on pyöräyttää tukka t-paidan sisälle ja antaa kuivua silleen 30-60 min. Oon ite nyt hiljalleen alkanut harjotteleen sitä. Tässä hyvä ohje siihen: 🙂

  9. Leonie

    Quick question, you mentioned that when you go to bed you put your hair in a pineapple (high loose ponytail), when you do this (right before bed), is your hair wet/damp or dry?
    I just want to know because when I shower, I shower right before bed and after, I just get into bed and don’t want to have to wait for my hair to dry.
    I really want to embrace my curls but it always just gets in my way and gets hard to deal with and then throughout the day it starts getting frizzy and so I just give up and put it in a bun or ponytail. I know that I look so much better with my hair out and I get A LOT of compliments about it but like I said, it just frizzes up and so I hope this solves my problems.
    If you have any more tips, PLEASE share them with us in another post! (I am so desperate!)
    Amazing post by the way! I am so relieved that I finally found someone who also has curly and wavy hair!

    1. Charlotta Takkula


      I shower in the evening as well, but I usually let my hair air-dry for 1 or 2 hours. So when I put my hair up and go to sleep, it’s usually mostly dry or damp. Never wet – I let it dry first for at least a while.

      So happy to hear that and thank you for commenting! I will definitely keep blogging about curly hair as well. 🙂

  10. Janni

    Kiitos informaativisesta jutusta! Mainitsit käyttäväsi Unique Hair Care Mild Shampoo. Is it CG -sivuston mukaan ko. tuote ei ole sulfaatiton. Olisiko sinulla suositella sulfaatitonta vaihtoehtoa? Oletko muuten kokenut, että sulfaatiton shampoo ei riitä sinulle?

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Kiitos paljon sulle kommentista! Olin varmaan huolimattomasti katsonut tuotteen ainesosat läpi (tai siis lähinnä vältellyt synteettisiä sulfaatteja) ja tosiaan sieltä löytyy ns. luonnollisempi sodium coco sulfate, mikä sekin sit kuitenkin luokitellaan sulfaatiksi. Oon kokenut sen ehkä vähän enemmän hellävaraisemmaksi, mutta välillä kyllä silti päänahka kuivuu. Täytyykin laittaa nyt kunnolla etsintään sulfaatiton vaihtoehto! Yksi hyvä, jota olen käyttänyt, ja joka on sulfaatiton, on Ritualsin nourishing shampoo. Se sisältää ‘SODIUM LAUROYL METHYL ISETHIONATE’, mikä googlauksen mukaan on kuitenkin todella miedosti ja hellävaraisesti pesevä ainesosa. Lisäksi Briogeon Co-wash Shampoo on täysin CG-hyväksytty (jonka nyt itsekin otan kyllä testiin!). 🙂

  11. Ansku


    kiitos blogikirjoituksesta! 🙂 Törmäsin blogikirjoitukseesi sattumalta, kun googlailin Suomen blogien curly girl-kuvia.

    Uniquen haircaren mild shampoo on ollut minullakin aikaisemmin käytössä, koska päänahka on herkkä mutta sillä se on pysynyt kunnossa.

    Aloitin nyt kuitenkin n. viikkoa sitten Curly girl -metodin ja vaihdoin shampoon Innersensen Pure harmonyyn, mikä tuntuu sopivan ihan hyvin myös päänahalle ensikokemuksen myötä. Innersensen mukaan heidän tuotteillaan voi tehdä ns. detox kuurin ja kun 14 päivän aikana käyttämällä heidän shampoota, hoitoainetta ja leave in cond. hiukset palaavat luonnolliseen kuntoonsa. On kyllä totta, että joka pesun myötä hiukset ovat entistä kiharammat ja tuntuvat paremmilta, joten katsotaan. Mutta siis en tehnyt sitä viimeistä sulfaattipesua tähän ollenkaan vaan noudatan tuota detox-kuuria ja tällä hetkellä tukkaan laitan vain pesun jälkeen Innersensen leave in cond ja Unique haircaren kiharavoidetta.

    Detoxin jälkeen alan kokeilemaan kokonaan curly girl-metodia eli myös co-washia ja hiusnaamiota yms. Jännittää minkälainen tukasta vielä tulee! Nyt se on hieman kiharampi kuin sinun tukka kuvissa mutta tästäkin tuloksesta jo aika hämmästynyt! 🙂

    Aurinkoa kaikille kiharapäille! 🙂

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Kiitos 🙂 Itsekin testailen paria Innersensen tuotetta just nyt ja ne vaikuttaa lupaavilta. Kiva kuulla, että oot kans löytänyt sulle sopivat tuotteet ja kiitos kun kommentoit ja jaoit kokemuksesi. Aurinkoista kevättä!

  12. Ble

    Hi. Any tips for sleep with waves and curls? I dont like to make a bun because my hair get shape of the tie..

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      I usually sleep with a pineapple (=a loose high ponytail). Silk pillowcase or a silk turban could work too. I sometimes just put my hair in a silk turban and sleep in that too.

  13. Donita

    Do I condition daily?

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      Condition on the wash days. 🙂

  14. *Isabel

    I wouldn’t call your hair curly 🙂 maybe wavy!

    1. Charlotta Takkula

      There are different types of curly hair, wavy being one of them. My hair is indeed more on the wavy side! 🙂


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