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Curly Hair Tips - Your Shampoo and Conditioner Really Do Matter

Updated on August 28, 2009

You might be one of those lucky people who can use any old shampoo / conditioner and have fabulous, bouncy, shiny curls. Congratulations, we all envy you. If, however, you’re like the rest of us, you need to buy the right stuff for your locks.

Seriously, it matters.

Personally, I recommend against most products claiming to have been made for curly hair.

I have NEVER liked any product labeled as such, and I’ve tried several. They always seem to relax the curl, leaving me with half-straight, half-nappy head. Not very sexy.

Avoid anything that’s super duper moisturizing – unless you really need it.

And I mean that – if your hair is dry and brittle to the touch, ok, go for it. If your hair is anything else, skip the cocoa butter crap. Your hair needs to be a little coarse to retain the curl. Not coarse as in feels coarse to the touch, but it’s no good reducing your locks to a limp, semi-curl.

Avoid anything waxy, greasy or slimy.

This will weigh your curls down and make them impossible to manage. It will also make you look like haven’t bathed in weeks.

Use something that produces volume.

Most shampoo companies do have something along this line. I’ve recently started using L’Oreal’s Elseve Volume Non-Stop with Expansyl. It keeps it up for 18 hours. I love it. It’s called Elvive Volume Non-Stop in the UK, and marketed as Vive Non-Stop Volume in the USA.

Avoid those hippie natural shampoos.

Yeah, they smell good, but the relax the crap out of your curls. This is great stuff for someone like Crystal Gail, but not for those of us with curly hair.

If you really want something natural, try Aveda.

I used Aveda for 12 years. It’s good stuff. Rosemary Mint shampoo and conditioner are excellent for curly hair. I’d avoid the Shampure line though, as it can leave your locks feeling dry. The only reason I recently tried Elseve was because it’s a PITA to get Aveda where I live.

Though, in all honesty, the L’Oreal Elseve/Elvive/Vive gives me volume Aveda didn’t – so I might have changed eventually anyway.


  • Don’t over-shampoo. Don’t be one of those chicks who has to lather up 5 times per shower. That’s not going to result in beautiful hair.

  • Use conditioner every time – your locks need it even if you think they don’t.

  • Don’t use leave-in conditioner, your curls will never dry completely, which will only prime them for frizz.

  • Use a thick, creamy conditioner, not one of those watery products that runs right through your fingers.


Everyone's curls are different, but these general tips apply to most women with curly hair. The important thing to remember is this - what you wash your hair with determines how it looks when dry, just as much as styling products do.

xx Isabella


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