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The key to luscious, shiny, bouncing curls and coils, is, say it with us: hydration. While there are tons of products out there that promise supremely quenched ringlets, our curls have uniquely individual needs. Just like no two curls on the same head of hair are the same, neither will the same styling product give a similar result for different curl patterns.
When we say curls, coils, and kinks, we're specifically talking about 3A to 4C naturally curl hair. Tighter, type 4 textures need much more moisture than looser type 3 ringlets. For reference, my hair has a mix of textures, ranging from 3C to 4B with a few 3B curls to the back of my head and some 4C kinks around the crown. Personally, my usual curly hair routine is minimal shampooing and maximum conditioning. I'm an advocate of a co-wash, although it might not be for everyone. In the mornings before work, I usually wet my hair liberally, dry it a bit with a regular t-shirt instead of a towel to reduce frizz, and then slather on my favorite curl defining, moisturizing styling cream. When my hair might need some extra TLC or it may be looking a bit lackluster, then I'll start my morning with a co-wash. I shampoo and condition maybe once a week, and deep condition once a week as well.
Keep in mind that my hair is cut into a TWA (teeny weeny Afro) which is super low-maintenance. Another quick note I've learned from having my hair natural for only two years is that sometimes your curls get weighed down if you're layering on too much product, and once in a while it helps to use a clarifying shampoo to regain your bounce.
Some days, my routine comes out incredibly, while other days not so much. But your hair journey, as a woman with naturally curly hair, is a long road of acceptance and experimentation. Even if you have a similar mix of textures to mine, it's really a trial and error process of finding your perfect curly hair product cocktail. And even then, every day your hair will be in a different mood and respond to the same mix of products in different ways. Keep reading for nine curly hair styling creams that I've actually used, and what I really think.