As POPSUGAR editors, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. If you buy a product we have recommended, we may receive affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.
I've spent the better part of the last year trying to narrow down a solid lineup of hair products that really work for me — after all, being at home affords me that kind of time. Last year, when I started to really focus on putting the health of my hair first, my weekly routine consisted of a number of products: a shampoo (or a co-wash every other week), a deep conditioner, a few leave-in products, and an oil to seal in everything. Though that routine seemed to work for me, my wash days would usually last exactly that long — a day, which isn't ideal.
I've recently come across a number of professional hairstylists on social media educating their thousands of followers on how and why they should take a minimalist approach to caring for their curls. New York-based hairstylist Jennifer Rose, for example, recommends a simple, three-step wash routine consisting of a shampoo, a conditioner, and a styling product to keep your curls in optimal shape. The reason being that deep conditioners aren't exactly necessary unless your hair is already unhealthy, and since most oils repel water, "sealing" product into your hair with them will only make it more difficult for water to penetrate and hydrate your hair the next time you wash it.
Seeing the stunning results that a few of these stylists have shared trying out these measures on their clients, I decided to go ahead and see what would happen if I eliminated a few steps from my routine. For just over a week, I used only a sulfate-free shampoo, a conditioner, a styling mousse, and a gel to style my hair, and while I shouldn't have been surprised by the results considering all of this advice came from professionals, I was pretty amazed with how my curls turned out.
By cutting down my routine to just four products, I was able to significantly limit the amount of time I spent on my hair during my wash day. I conditioned my hair for 10 minutes in the shower, and once I stepped out and partially dried my hair, I twisted it using the Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion ($12) and a styling gel to add a little bit of extra hold. When I took out my twists the next day, the first thing I noticed was that the product didn't cause any flaking in my hair, nor did the gel make my hair feel hard or crunchy in the way others I've tried do. Thanks to my exclusion of oils and leave-in products, my hair also didn't feel super greasy or weighed down, and it looked just as curly (if not more) as it would've had I used everything I'd previously applied.
This is to say that even after just a week and a half, I'm already happy with how this lineup has worked on my hair, and keeping things minimal has transformed my regular wash day from an impromptu arm workout to an actual routine. Check out which products I've been using ahead.