One of the most common questions we get from women who have just started embracing their natural hair texture is, “How the heck do I start?” And we get it. Figuring out how to use curly hair products can be overwhelming even for those who have been flaunting their natural curl type for years. Learning about the products and techniques that will give you the best benefits and curly hair results takes a bit of time, but the empowering journey is beyond worth it. One simple piece of advice before you get started: “Be ready to embrace a naturally textured lifestyle with a brand and techniques that will set you up for curl success,” says Shari Harbinger, Co-Founder of the DevaCurl Academy. Whether you’re a Deva newbie, or a long-time No-Poo or Low-Poo fan that just wants a refresher, this guide will help you kill it with your curly hair routine every single day.
Warning: Once you go Deva, you’ll be hooked!
Twenty years ago, when the DevaCurl line was born, making products just for curly hair sounded like a crazy idea. Back then, curly hair wasn’t celebrated in magazines, on the runway or the red carpet the way it is now, but the brand recognized two things: (1) curly hair textures are uniquely beautiful and (2) many of the products out there were doing curls more harm than good. For example, most foaming shampoos were robbing curls of their natural essential oils. They’re also typically full of harsh chemicals, like sodium laurel sulfate, designed to strip the hair clean. That means those suds are soaking up everything, including much-needed natural moisture. DevaCurl cleansers (No-Poo and Low-Poo) are designed to keep your hair and scalp healthy-looking, without sulfates or any other drying ingredients. All DevaCurl products—even the stylers—are gentle, and everything in the line is 100% sulfate, silicone and paraben-free. Plus, our collection of cleansers and conditioners are cruelty-free. The formulas were made to give curly hair the number one thing it needs: moisture. Some of the signature DevaCurl techniques take some getting used to, but once you see how amazing your curls can be, you’ll never look back (except when you feel like flinging your gorgeous curls over your shoulder).
First, figure out your curl type
All hair types produce natural oils on the scalp that travel down to the ends of hair. For curly hair, this process is trickier because the curvy shape makes the journey to the ends more difficult. It’s the reason why curls tend to need more moisture than other hair types. But the amount of moisture you need depends on your specific texture—you don’t want to weigh down your strands with stuff that’s too heavy, or deprive your hair of hydration with products that are too lightweight. That’s why knowing your curl type is key. Blame it on the internet, but there are now a zillion ways to categorize curls. The number + letter system is the most commonly used classification method. It breaks down curl types on a scale from 2A to 4C (two represents wavy hair, three is curly and four corresponds to coily). The letters indicate the tightness or looseness of the hair texture, with A being the loosest, and C being the very tightest. In the world of DevaCurl, our categories sound less science-y, but they include all hair types. We divide the curly hair universe into three groups: wavy, curly and super curly. There are a range of variations within each category, but in general, wavy textures can go from a subtle bend to an “S” shape, curly textures have a rounder, bouncier shape, and super curly hair has a combination of tight to very tight coils. How does your hair fall on the spectrum? For a little guidance, this post will help.
Getting started with Deva cleansers and conditioners
Once you’ve nailed down your curl type, picking your perfect products is easy. The cleansers and conditioners (No-Poo, Low-Poo and One Condition) are color-coded based on the three different curly hair types. Yellow is for wavy hair (Delight), green is for curly textures (Original) and teal is for super curly hair textures (Decadence). Our iconic No-Poo Original cleanser is famous for being one of the first suds-free formulas, and the newer version for super curly hair is also much adored. For those who want just a bit of mild lather, we have Low-Poo Original (for curls) and Low-Poo Delight (for waves). They’ll satisfy your craving for low-key lather, but they won’t suck moisture out of your hair. Ditching traditional shampoo—the kind you grew up with—can be a major adjustment, but the impact that it has on your curls is dramatic. Many of the issues you might be dealing with now like frizz, stubborn tangles, dullness and dryness will improve big-time (if not flat-out disappear) when you start using one of our gentle cleaners followed by a nourishing DevaCurl conditioner. “The priority with DevaCurl products is to restore moisture, which creates the perfect foundation for shiny, manageable, frizz-controlled curls,” says Shari. The bottom line: gorgeous hair starts in the shower. Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s right for your natural hair texture.
For wavy hair: Low-Poo and One Condition Delight: The weightless formulas give wavy hair more body, bounce, frizz control, and definition. And did we mention that they’re weightless? Find out how to get the most out of Low-Poo and One Condition Delight.
For curly hair: No-Poo, Low-Poo and One Condition Original: For essential curly hair moisture, it doesn’t get any better than this. The formulas provide beautiful curl definition, frizz control and shine. Here’s how to get the most out of No-Poo, Low-Poo and One Condition Original.
For all curl types: Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum: Even when you’ve crossed over to the Deva side, sometimes curls need a little something to bring them back to life. This cleansing treatment is like an espresso shot for your hair. It rejuvenates curls that need a reset because of product buildup, hard water and the environment. Sound like you? Swap out your No-Poo or Low-Poo with Buildup Buster once a week or as needed for a curl reboot. Here are a few key dos and don’ts to help you get head-turning results with Buildup Buster:
DO saturate your hair with water before using Buildup Buster. Applying it to dry hair will cause stickiness.
DON’T mix the serum with any other cleanser. It’s meant to be used once a week, as a gentle replacement for your regular cleanser.
DO be sure to rinse out Buildup Buster thoroughly to avoid weighing down your curls.
DON’T skip conditioner. Follow the cleansing serum with One Condition to lock-in moisture.
How to use your cleanser and conditioner
No-Poo and Low-Poo require a specific application technique because the formulas are so unique. First, be sure to completely saturate your hair with water and the No-Poo or Low-Poo for easier detangling and moisture absorption. The product won’t spread on its own, so use your fingertips to massage it evenly over the scalp. Take the time to really get in there with your fingers and rub vigorously all over your scalp. When you rinse No-Poo or Low-Poo the right way, you won’t get buildup. The trick is to keep massaging your scalp as you rinse, and let the water run through your curls to cleanse the lengths. After washing, apply your chosen One Condition formula from the mid-lengths to the ends. Leave it on for two to five minutes then use your fingers to gently detangle your hair. Rinse out the conditioner with cold water (as cool as you can stand it) to lock-in shine.
Getting started with Deva stylers
DevaCurl has a full range of stylers for wavy, curly and super curly hair textures, and most of them fall into two categories: creams or gels. Usually, cream stylers are formulated to help provide moisture to the hair while gels are made to provide hold and definition. Here are the ones that typically fly off the shelves:
Wave Maker Touchable Texture Whip: A lightweight, whipped styler with moringa seed and passion flower extracts gives waves consistent shape while fighting frizz.
Styling Cream Touchable Curl Definer: The moisture-rich formula with jojoba delivers shine and definition with zero crunch.
SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler: An ultra-moisturizing, does-it-all styler that’s perfect for twisting, smoothing and defining super curly hair.
Light Defining Gel Soft-Hold No-Crunch Styler: A non-drying, light hold gel for moisture, bounce and shine.
Ultra Defining Gel Strong Hold No-Crunch Styler: A non-drying gel that delivers a stronger, more lasting hold.
Arc AnGEL Gel Maximum Hold No-Crunch Styler: An extra-moisturizing gel that provides the strongest hold and long-lasting definition.
The best way to apply your stylers
Be sure to set aside a leisurely amount of time on wash day to cleanse, condition, and style your curls. The DevaCurl process isn’t exactly a speedy one, but you’ll love the gorgeous, double-tappable results! After cleansing and conditioning, apply your styler (if you’re cocktailing, apply a cream first then a gel) while your curls are still wet. For super curly hair, leave your curls soaking wet to help elongate your look. Tilt your head forward and glide the styler evenly from the roots to the ends. Wavy and curly girls: scrunch your hair all over in an upward motion for more volume. Super curlies, just flip your head over and give it a good shake.
Next, use the microfiber DevaTowel to gently blot and scrunch your hair to remove some of the excess water—the smooth, microfiber surface won’t cause frizz. If you don’t have a DevaTowel yet, use an old t-shirt or paper towels. They’re both better alternatives to terrycloth. After you’ve applied your styler and towel-scrunched your hair, you have three options: let it air-dry, use the DevaDryer and DevaFuser or use a hooded dryer. Be sure not to touch your curls until they’re completely dry to avoid frizz. After drying, scrunch your curls and shake them at the roots (do it upside down for more volume) then use your fingers to arrange them how you want them.
Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to applying your stylers:
Do apply stylers onto soaking wet hair. Our products are water soluble which means they work best with loads of water. The wetter the better!
Don’t use too much product. All you really need is a lot of water and a bit of product. Using too much product can cause your curls to be weighed down.
Do try different techniques for applying your products. Scrunching, raking, prayer hands–the all provide different outcomes!
Don’t be afraid to play around with your styling products! No one styling routine works for everyone. Make sure you sample and try out different products and different product cocktails until you know what works for you!
How to book a DevaCut
“A DevaCut enhances the existing shape of your hair and maximizes the curl possibilities for a beautiful shape and style,” says Shari. Take a look at all the #DevaCurl before and afters on Instagram, and you’ll see exactly what she means. This game-changing (and possibly life-changing) haircut was created specifically for curls. Our signature dry-cutting technique lets the stylist design a customized shape for each client based on her unique curl pattern.
There are three kinds of stylists trained to give DevaCuts: Deva Inspired (Level 1), Deva Advanced (Level 2) and Deva Certified (Level 3). The higher the level, the more education that stylist has received from DevaCurl. To find a talented pro in your area, just punch in your address or zip code into our Stylist Finder. The Stylist Finder will show you all of the curl stylists that are available in your area, along with the contact information for the salon. Just a heads up: A DevaCut with a Certified stylist will probably cost more than an appointment with an Inspired stylist, so be sure to get all the details before you book. (Find out how to prep for a DevaCut here.) And don’t forget to tag us when you post a stunning “after” pic onto your feed. After all, you’re now officially part of the DevaCurl family.