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6-Step Hair Wash Routine for Looking After Your Curly Hair

A woman with curly hair brushing her hair.

More often than not, we wonder how two people can have different hair types, and the answer to this question has always been unclear. But after a lot of research, here's something that we've understood: There are about ten hair types, 9 of which belong to the category of curly hair and one that belongs to the category of straight hair. But what are those different types, and how does one get curly hair? Let's find that out together.

If we had to answer this more scientifically, here's what we'd say: Your hair type depends on the shape of your hair follicles and how they emerge from them. While straight hair emerges from a round follicle, oval and twisted follicles create wavy and curly hair. Along with this, the thickness of your hair is also contingent on the follicle size. The thicker the hair strand, the larger the follicle it grows from.

Here's a guide that will help you identify your curl type: 

A diagram of different types of curly hair

However, regardless of your curly hair type, your hair wash routine will remain constant. Continue reading to learn what a hair wash routine on the day of a curly-haired person looks like. 

Hair Care Routine for Curly Hair 

In the life of someone with straight to wavy hair, a wash day would be simple: shampooing, a conditioner, and a serum to lock in all that moisture. However, for those with curly and tightly coiled hair, it's a nightmare, and here's why. Curly hair is difficult to manage in general and during a hair wash. It can be a hot mess if not taken care of the right way. Washing curly hair is taxing, but we've got you covered. This 6-step routine will keep your scalp squeaky clean and ensure your curls are intact and well-defined. 

Step #1 Cleanse with A Sulphate-Free Cleanser 

A woman washing her long hair in the shower

Sulfates are widely used in cleansing products, including shampoos because they work exceptionally well to eliminate excessive oil, debris, and product buildup from the scalp and hair shafts. While they may be a blessing for those with an oily scalp and straight hair, people with curly hair certainly don't benefit from them. Since curly hair relies on a lot of moisture to keep its curls well-defined, bouncy, and shiny, using a sulfate shampoo can disturb the balance of the hair and remove essential lipids that can eventually dehydrate the scalp area. The best thing you could do for your curly hair is invest in a hydrating shampoo enriched with essential oils. Your hair will thank you a zillion times.

Step #2 Thoroughly Condition and Moisturize 

A woman applying conditioner to her hair

Curly hair thrives on moisturizer, so using a good moisturizer is vital to keeping your curls looking healthy and beautiful. After you've cleansed your hair well, the next step is to apply a generous amount of conditioner from your mid-lengths to the ends of your hair. The next step is to use a wide-tooth comb to detangle, although the best way to do this is with your fingers. Follow this step gently to avoid any breakage. Leave it on for at least 2 minutes, or as the brand suggests. This will allow the product to penetrate each stand. Rinse it off with cold water; this step helps seal the cuticles and lock in moisture. 

Step #3 Define Your Curls Using Curl Enhancing Creams 

A woman applying curl enhancing cream and scrunching her curly hair

Now that you're done cleansing and conditioning your hair, it's time to define it. All you need is a leave-in conditioner or curl-enhancing cream. Start by applying a small amount to your wet hair and distributing it evenly from roots to tips. Now comes the fun part: scrunch your hair gently to encourage curl formation. If you're looking for a more structured look, you can opt for a curling gel or mousse; this will help keep your curls in place. 

Step #4 Use a Diffuser When Blow Drying 

A woman using a hair diffuser attachment to dry her curly hair

If you have curly hair, you've got to invest in a hairdryer diffuser; it is the holy grail of curly hair people. If you haven't used one yet, this is how you do it. 

  1. Place the diffuser attachment and switch on your hair dryer. 

  2. Ensure you've set your dryer to the lowest heat and fan setting, but do not turn it on. 

  3. Take a section of your hair, enough to fit into the diffuser cup, and place it over it. 

  4. Now, move the dryer upwards till it reaches your scalp and turn it on. 

  5. Hold it in this position for 10–15 seconds or longer if required. 

  6. Repeat these steps with the rest of your hair. 

*Note: Diffuse the hair till it is around 80% dry. Now let it air dry because doing so will give it the bounce, volume, and definition you want. 

Step #5 Apply A Serum to Seal in All That Goodness 

A woman holding a bottle of hair serum and applying it to her hair

The second last step is to seal in all that goodness and prevent moisture loss by applying a generous amount of light oil or serum all over your stands. Apply gently to keep your curls intact. Also, avoid using heavy oils, as they can weigh your curls down. While applying, gently scrunch your curls for the best results. 

Step #6 Refresh and Maintain Your Curls 

A woman with curly hair holding a bottle of hair spray.

Maintaining your curls, especially when you feel they're losing shape or definition, is essential because of all the effort you've put in. You only need to spritz your hair with a water-based refreshing mist to refresh your curls and revive their shape. Gently scrunch your curls to reactivate them and add bounce. If you notice any frizz, do not panic; there's nothing an anti-frizz cream can't solve. It'll instantly tame your frizz and give you luscious-looking curls once again. 


Curly hair is like a child that needs attention, love, and care; the more you care for it, the better it'll get with time. Try out this 6-step hair wash routine and see how your hair turns out to be. But here's a piece of advice: choose the right products and be a little patient with your curls. It'll be the best decision you've ever made.


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