Try-it Tuesday: How I Style My {Short} Curly Hair

A couple of weeks ago, I reposted my “How I style my {long} curly hair” regimen. And, although my routine is still pretty similar, there are a few tweaks that I’ve made since the big chop.

I start with the same products as before:

hair regime

I have no objections to using other products, but these seem to work as well or better than most for my hair. Plus, they’re reasonably priced, and I can find them anywhere, so I just keep buying them.

Note: I only wash my hair about twice a week. I’ve heard lots of things about shampoo being drying/damaging for curly hair, and I know that those who use the Curly Girl method rarely ever use shampoo, but I’ve never noticed any drying issues with mine. That said, I don’t wash it very often, and because of its fairly coarse texture, it takes a looooong time to get greasy.

STEP 1:

Shampoo/rinse hair in shower

STEP 2:

Wrap hair gently in a towel. I do zero rubbing, but I do gently squeeze the ends to remove excess moisture.

STEP 3:

Remove towel and flip head over, at which point I have this:

hair regime4

{oh-so-attractive, no?}

I don’t comb anything, even with my fingers at this point, and after I squeeze the tips of my hair, I leave the rest of it very damp. (Honestly, the wetter it is when I put the product in, the better). The only thing I do is a tiny bit of arranging (for example, my hair naturally parts to the right, so I sweep my long bangs that direction so they’ll lie right when I start drying).

STEP 4:

Flip my head back over and gently finger-comb the following through my hair:

hair regime1

{Quarter-sized dollop of conditioner; I don’t rinse this out}

hair regime6

{handful of mousse, making sure to get from root to tip}

OPTIONAL

hair regime2 

{If it’s an especially humid day, I’ll smooth a bit of gel over the top of my hair before drying, but I’ve found that, with my shorter hair and how thinned out it is, the gel tends to make it too crunchy, so I usually skip it}

hair regime5

Here I am with all my product in. Clearly, I could stand to do a little more arranging before I start drying.

STEP 5::

One big difference between my long and short hair routine is that I almost always blow dry my hair now, whereas I almost always air-dried before. I just like the volume and piece-yness that blow drying produces.

hair regime9

{Stick ‘em up! Della looks worried}

I start out blow drying with my head flipped over (which I couldn’t get a picture of, not that you needed it), but that tends to make the hair at the crown of my head rather flat, so I only dry that way for a little while before I flip it back over and continue drying the sides and back with my head tilted to allow the teeth of the diffuser to get up inside the hair.

Note: I know some curly girls that blow dry without a diffuser, but all that does for me is produce colossal frizz, so I always go the diffuser route.

hair regime7

Even with short, drastically thinned out hair, it still takes a good 15 minutes of drying before my hair is mostly dry.

At which point is looks like this:

   hair regime8 

My hair tends to “settle” over time, and the curls loosen up a bit, so that, a couple of hours after this whole process, we have the final result, which looks something like this:

headshot

For days 2 and 3, I just re-dampen my hair, smooth a tiny bit of conditioner over the frizzies and do a bit of fluffing, then let it air dry.

Hope this helps you short-hair curly girls. If you have hair like mine (curly/wavy/crazy thick/combination coarse and fine), feel free to toss some suggestions my direction for ways to improve my results!

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55 thoughts on “Try-it Tuesday: How I Style My {Short} Curly Hair

  1. Can I just say you literally saved my hair!!! I have been trying so many different techniques and tricks to style my curly hair (at every length) and since its thick nothing really worked. But your truck really helped!!! My curls are so bouncy and light I can’t feel them on my head!!
    Just one question…can this trick be used when you wash your hair at night and let it dry overnight? Or is it mostly for during the day?

  2. You have pretty much hit my routine dead on, same products & routine. However, i dry a little longer upside down at the crown bc it adds fullness for me. My length varies over time but keep to pretty much the same drill …. something i did learned- the dab of gel on a humid/ frizz guaranteed day, will def try that this summer

  3. I love your hair! Mine is quite similar in length and curl type. I have so much trouble with my bangs though. Do you have any tips for getting them to look good without straightening them?

  4. May I ask if your stylist is trained in any one “curly girl” method (ie: Ouidad, DevaCurl)? I ask because I’m contemplating going to a salon that does Ouidad cuts, which are quite pricey and I’m wondering if it’s worth the price tag. I’ve been growing my multi-textured hair (very curly in back, more wavy on the sides and slightly wavy on the top layer) for quite some time and my stylist suggested going for a one-length style during the grow-out process…but it’s driving me crazy and I have the dreaded pyramid look so it’s time for some layers even though my hair is only shoulder length. Your blog makes me wonder if a similar style/cut may work for my hair. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Amy, I have curly hair, and I go to a DevaCurl salon. My hair looks soooooo good after going there! They really know what they’re doing, and I finally love my curls! They cut your hair dry so that your curls sit right. If you cut it wet, you don’t know how they’re going to spring up until after the haircut is done. I go there about 3 times a year since it’s so pricy (~$65 each time), but it is worth it!

  5. Love your tips, LOVE your hair cut! I think I’m going to go with something similar. But, have you ever heard of CurlyGirl? Or DevaCurl? Check them out, this lady is revolutionizing the curly hair scene. She really has great tips about taking care of our curly hair and embracing its crazyness!

  6. I place a couple of Bobby pins at the roots where I want some height, then use the fingers on my diffuser to dry the roots. I also use a t-shirt as my towel.

  7. I know this is a year old article, but I just had to say thank you! 37 years old and have washed my thick coarse naturally curly hair every day all my life, tried your method today and am just very pleased so far with the results today. looking forward to seeing how it goes!

  8. I have stopped shampooing completely, and now use a cleansing conditioner. I use Renpure brand “Sweet pomegranate cleansing conditioner” and I’ve noticed a huge improvement. It’s ~$7/bottle, (at drugstore.com). It smells amazing, and it saves me a lot of time!

  9. I have the long curly hair and desperately thinking I need to cut it. Your style is a cute cut!

    Mine turned curly from ehh. wavy at about puberty (That was a really fun 4-year experiment figuring out what the heck to do with the new mop head, so I just kept brushing it for 2 more yrs! Well, it just got curlier and curlier.). Super thick, like yours. I get so many fantastic complements on my hair and I do love it, but all I can think about lately is how freakin’ hot it is under this ….tent. I’ve had it long for years, but suddenly, annoying! Snip snip! I do shampoo INfrequently (organic, handmade stuff that mostly has natural oils in it since my hair dries out a LOT) and I found that I really like Trader Joe’s conditioner as much as the expensive stuff. Because it has more natural oils. NO SODIUM SULFATES! =dries it out. :) Haven’t owned a blowdryer for 15 yrs and just bought one! Oh! The one thing that I might say is that I get my hair cut by people who know how to cut curly hair. Never going back to the straight line haircut! It’s more expensive…, but he cuts each curl group individually, looking at how it all lays when dry (because I’ve got some hair that straighter, others kinky, and others full banana curls).

  10. Try not using a towel (bad for curls), leaving hair dripping wet, apply products, use a tshirt or microfiber towel to scrunch excess water. Diffuse upside down- and scrunch when completely dry. Less fly aways and halo frizz!

  11. I also have ridiculously thick short curly hair and live in a very humid climate. I shampoo maybe 2-3 times a week and I usually end up just not rinsing my conditioner out all the way and use that as my leave in. I also wrap my hair up in a cotton t-shirt cause terry cloths usually just cause more breakage and frizz for me. One my hair has gotten to the point of not dripping I scrunch some hair oil in at the mid shaft and ends and then blowdry my hair with a diffuser. The oil makes my hair super soft and healthy and conditioned and i absolutely love it. I hardly ever use curly hair products any more like mouse and gels cause they just tend to dry out my hair or not work for me.

    1. I have crazy thick frizzy curly (short) hair also ! I dry my hair and use frizzeaseand seperate and clip hair and do small sections with my iron 450 degrees & so on. And then an oil shine and looks great!

  12. I have thin curly blonde hair, and I do the same as you except I have to wash it every day or every other day because it’s so thin the grease shows quickly. I also skip the after-shower conditioner and use Garnier curl sculpting cream gel instead.

  13. Thank you for the GREAT article! :) I was wondering how you keep your hair so pretty in this horrid Texas heat! I live in north Texas. WE HAVE THE SAME LENGTH OF HAIR! :D My hair is ALWAYS frizzy! Maybe it’s because i’m a 14 year old college student with barely any spare time but in the photos your hair routine seemed to go pretty fast and easy! What do you do with your hair in the shower?

  14. I just cut my hair in the same style. The migraines, the heat, the time it took to style/dry. My hair is thick, naturally curly(girls in high school thought it was a spiral perm), a hot mess on humid days. I love that someone else knows the struggle. :) this new cut requires different styling methods so THANK YOU for sharing. I may never grow it long again.

  15. So glad someone actually put out a step by step for this….funny enough, my routine is almost exactly the same, except I tend to wash every other day…i find i get too much product build up if i don’t…and i use herbal essences moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, some moroccan oil on humid days and Dippity-Do Gel, works great for controlling frizz if you ever want to give it a try :)

  16. Love your hair! Is your cut like an a line? Short in back and longer on the sides? Cutting my hair tomorrow not sure what to do. My hair is allot like yours. Thanks

  17. I love your wild, curly hair. I have a hint of a wave. Growing out my short hair into a similar style as yours. Thanks for sharing with us. I will definitely try it out.

  18. Thank you so much for this, for the first time in 20 years I like my curly hair & I’ve had lots of lovely compliments from everyone! I am now embracing my curls rather than straightening the life out of them xx

  19. Your hair is just excessively cute! I got up and cut my elbow-length curls yesterday on a whim after I got majorly dumped on Wednesday. My experiences with short hair in the past have been disastrous boy-cuts, so I’m really excited about this! It seems like we have really similar textures and now lengths, so thanks for the tips!

  20. I love your hair! Mine is very fine and has a little wave and I want to try this method to see if I can bring out more curl. What kind of diffuser do you use? I have a hairdryer and was wondering if I could just buy an attachment.

  21. Hi! I just came across your blog and love this post about curly hair! I have A LOT of very thick, curly hair. I feel like I never know what to do with my hair! LOL! Thanks for all the great tips! One question…Do you NOT comb your hair at all????

  22. Your hair texture looks a lot like mine. Thick, curly, wavy, and more! I started using products from Miss Jessie’s, particularly the Pillow Soft Curls (a cream) and Jelly Soft Curls (a lightweight gel). It’s a little pricier than Walmart/Drugstore brands, but I love it and they smell amaaaaazing. I have hair a little shorter than yours, and a mixture of the cream/gel with a little mousse added in gives me great results.

  23. Awesome. I have given up on the natural curls a little right now and am straightening. I have such weird hair as well, but I think everyone with curls is all just a little bit unique in how best to deal with them. I love your final product!

  24. If you enjoy visiting linkies, photo challenges, and blog hops – or if you host one of your own – please consider visiting here:
    http://acts17verse28.blogspot.com/2013/07/do-you-love-linky-parties.html
    Be sure to link your recurring hop under the day when it’s normally posted.
    And while you’re at it, stop by my weekly hop, Wordless Wednesday on Tuesday, to share your photos, and feel free to share my button… you’ll find the code on my sidebar.
    Thanks!

      1. Could you please pin a picture of the back of your hair?! I LOVE the front view style, but would like to see how the back was cut. Thanks!!

  25. Love your tips! I use many of them too…not too much handling, conditioner (yes, please!) + diffuser (AMEN!) for my layered wavy hair. My hair stylist doesn’t own a diffuser (crime!) and I always leave there looking like a frizzy mess. I still keep going cuz the cut & color are great. I have recently started wrapping my head in an old t-shirt instead of a towel post-shower. Helps reduce the frizzies. Your “finished-product” shot is so beautiful :) I need to rock bright lipstick more often!

    PS: I have to comment on hothoney’s comment about not washing. I am a 3 day between washes girl….and I survive with dry shampoo!! I just use Suave from Wal-Mart….takes away the greasy-feel & freshens. It also adds volume if you need it :)

    1. I so need to try that old t-shirt trick. You mentioned it one other time, and I meant to do it, but then I forgot! Definitely going to go rescue one from the Goodwill pile now. : )

  26. I follow your method for my “curly on most days” hair. Question… My hair looks best when I haven’t washed it, just dampened it a bit… however, I feel undone not washing it after I exercise every morning. Thoughts? Have you ever not washed your hair after a work out?

    1. I have encountered this problem…. I just give my hair a rinse and rub my scalp really good, then condition (no shampoo!). Works beautifully!

      1. I was wondering this myself, I workout most mornings and so then I wash it much more than I should. I’m going to be brave and dry the no shampoo after next time!

    2. Sorry to take so long to respond!

      The short answer is YES! I exercise most days, so I would have to wash my hair every day practically if I washed it after every workout. And I definitely don’t. I usually just rewet mine and restyle with a little (a very little) more product. Yes, I walk around with dried sweat in my hair, but nobody else knows that (except everybody here now that I’ve told you :) ), and it looks/smells fine!

  27. Hi Abbie! I’ve always loved your hair long or short. I typically have stick straight hair, but a couple of years ago I got a perm and loved it! It’s mostly grown out, but I’m thinking it’s time for another… :) Maybe more waves and less curly.

  28. Girl you are gorgeous! I am always looking for new tips for my curly headed mop…I am so trying the conditioner out of the shower trick. My diffuser broke and I have never replaced it, so I always air dry now. Me thinks I need to add a diffuser to the shopping list though!

  29. I don’t have curly hair so I am not sure why I just read this post… probably because I just like reading your blog :) But I do love that pic of you at the end. Love the short hair!

  30. I will have to use some of your tips, but I don’t think I will get the same results ;) I have thin wavyish hair. I dry it straight most of the time because I can shave off a few minutes easy that method. I will have to try your tips and see if I get better results.

  31. How often do you get it trimmed? And how often do you get it rethinned (?). I love when my hair is thinned out, I don’t know why I don’t have it done more often than once a year…or less.

    1. Every couple of months (longer when it’s longer). And I rethin it every other time or so. If I do it more often, it starts looking stringy on the ends.

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