my curl evolution.

 While it still surprises me that people want my curly hair advice, I am here to share a few of my secrets. In the last year, I have worn my hair straight for less than 10 days. I am about as low-maintenance as they come. This post contains some embarrassing early-in-life photos to show my curl evolution and a handy guide to the morning routine I've used for more than 12 years.

From start to finish, my entire morning hair routine takes me less than three minutes. I could dedicate more time to perfecting my curls, but I find the more time I spend, the less controllable my curls become. Some days, the process works better than others, but it still works. Though I'm sure my younger self would cringe at the thought, I have come to accept a bit of volume as a badge of honor.

a curly girl's guide to easy curls--in less than three minutes a day!

As most curly haired women do, I have a love-hate relationship with my crazy locks. My mom "straightened" my hair every four days or so until fifth grade, when I took control of my own curl destiny. After finally growing out my bangs in sixth grade, I discovered those magical accordion-like hair contraptions which helped me keep things somewhat contained. The best discovery though? MOUSSE. Over the last 15+ years, I have tried countless other remedies...and nothing seems to work quite like mousse. For your viewing pleasure {and amusement}, I present to you my very own curl evolution--complete with American Girl dolls, braces, and blown-out bangs...

Since I was 16, I have used some variety of Pantene Pro-V Mousse and Detangler/Leave-In Conditioner. While I have tried curl creams and potions from my salon, the volume of product I require keeps me coming back to my old staples. These products are also easy to find when we travel, which makes it easier to travel without checking my bag. I just make a quick stop at a drugstore when we land. {The $8 investment is much cheaper than checking a bag both directions!} In the last year, I have added a bit of Moroccan Oil hairspray to my routine for long days. I think any hairspray will do, as long as it is of the light hold variety.

My process may sound crazy, but it is tried and true. The towel really helps prevent me from touching {and frizzing up} my curls. Brushing curls may be a hairstylist's worst nightmare, but it works wonders for my curl definition. Though I can't promise to create curls for straight-haired ladies, this is the process I use to tame my curly mane on a daily basis...

If you're a curly girl, what products do you use? 
I may have my own routine, but I always love to hear what works for others.
Cheers to my fellow curly girls out there! xoxo {av}


  1. love this post! im a curly head chick, so im always trying to find ways to maintain my curls.

  2. Loving the American Girl doll picture ;-)

  3. from a fellow curly girl, thank you! I think most of us have had a contentious relationship with our hair over the years - can we talk about how much I loved it when parties were '80s themed?

    I only use shampoo once or twice a week - it's a tip my stylist gave me and it's made a huge difference to my hair! I always comb my conditioner out in the shower and then, when I get out, wring out my ponytail with my hands. I brush my hair, still wet, with the Goody Quickstyle paddle brush - it has microfiber bristles as well as normal plastic ones, so it helps dry my hair just by absorbing the water as I brush. (Disclaimer: I got it in an Influenster thing, but I actually love it!) Then I flip my hair upside down and scrunch it with a towel, flip back rightside up, and... go! If I use product it's just a dab of the Fekkai Brilliant Glossing creme, but I'll only do that if it's a really humid day. Otherwise I just dare to go bare :)

  4. I def have a love-hate relationship with my curls. Seems my hair grows no matter how much gel I put in it. I've tried every single curly haired product out there, but Mixed Chicks works well for me being a bi-racial chick with curly hair.

  5. I'll have to try this method! I use the John Frieda Frizz Ease Spray and start by combing and parting like you do. To get my natural wave to set, I twist small sections of hair away from my face (almost looks like dreadlocks) and diffuse. Probably takes a bit longer than your method, but it helps find that natural texture!


  6. For the longest time I had super curly hair, but as I get older it's changing to more of a wave and less curls. Back in college, during my curly hair peak, mousse was really the only thing that tamed my curls - it really is a wonder product!

  7. I have natural curly hair and I'm constantly straightening it because I dislike my hair curly lol. Unless it's during the summer because it's too hot to deal with it.

  8. You're perfect, cannot help but smile looking at these photos.

  9. I'm a fellow curly-girl. I stopped using any/all shampoos, combs, & brushes back in 2004, after being introduced to the book "Curly Girl" (link here: My method:

    1. After thoroughly saturating my hair with water, I use conditioner (I change brands every once in awhile, but always look for alcohol & sulfite-free) to scrub into my scalp, using friction to loosen any dirt or oils that have collected there. I ignore the hair, focusing only on cleansing the scalp. I rinse this conditioner out, shaking the curls, but paying most attention to the scalp.

    2. I then take a small amount conditioner and coat my hair with it. Just enough to soften any tangles, and hydrate the hair. I comb my hands through my hair to get rid of tangles, and make sure the conditioner is evenly spread. I leave this in for as long as I can, while shaving, washing body, etc. I rinse it out, mostly, leaving just a little bit in at the ends to keep it hydrated.

    3. I get out of the shower, turn my head upside down, and shake the curls (not combing at all, just shaking), and wrap the hair in a microfiber towel to absorb as much of the water as possible without disturbing the curl shape. It's very important not to rub the curls, as that can create frizz.

    4. I apply L'Oreal's Everstyle Smooth & Shine cream (here: to help control frizz (a must in humid DC!!). I turn my head upside down and use this on the underside of my hair, then flip rightside up and apply it on the back of my head, on the top, and any other frizz "hot spots." I used to use gel on the underside of my head, but the longer it gets, the more it tangles underneath. I've found this cream helps to keep it from knotting too much.

    5. I apply gel. I've used different kinds. I'm currently back and forth between two, both from L'Oreal. L'Oreal's Everstyle Alcohol-free Curl Defining Gel (here: and L'Oreal Evercurl Sculpt and Hold Cream-Gel (here: I put the gel in one hand, rub it between both, and then lightly coat the outside of my hair with it. I then flip my head upside down and scrunch. I repeat this process once or twice, until my hair is fully coated.

    6. Style. I part it and arrange the curls with my fingers, trying not to disrupt their shape too much. It's obviously still wet at this point. Most days I let it air dry. In the winter I'll use a defuser. I'll scrunch it throughout the day, as it's drying (every 45 min or so), just to keep it from getting stiff. And that's it!

    7. I wash it every 4-5 days. I use a shower cap every other day (my husband calls me his sexy lunch lady). If it workout, or feel the hair needs a refresher, I'll get it wet, and then let it dry again, but I don't put any additional product in it. The first and second days after washing it, I usually wear it down, the third day, I'll pull back the bangs and wear half-up, half down, and the fourth day I wear it in a bun or a ponytail.

    It sounds complicated, but a wash day takes me maaaaaybe 15 minutes, and on the off days, I literally just turn my head upside down, shake, and go. That's, like, 30 seconds. I looooooove curly hair, and how simple it is to take care of!!

  10. I think you have GORGEOUS Curly hair!! I just love it. As a curly girl myself, I'm proud to wear it big and curly. I too use to straighten and then was like this is crazy. I can't remember the last time I wore it straight. Love the Pantene Curl Mousse, works great!!

    Best, Mree

  11. i usually just use moroccan oil, it smooths the frizz but doesn't weigh down my curls.

  12. I'm with you on the mousse, it makes a huge difference! I change up products all the time. I'm always willing to see what new products work, plus they discontinue formulas all the time which is not cool. I just started to try out Kiehl's Amino Acid shampoo and conditioner and it makes my curls really shiny. I'm liking the Catwalk Curlesque Strong Mousse. I'm back to using the Frederic Fekkai curl cream only because I found the old formula at TJ Maxx! They changed the formula with grape seed and rose stuff, and it didn't work for me. I don't know what I'll do when I run out of the old one again.

  13. I love curly hair... mine is only wavy. It looks like you have a great hair routine though, because your curls look fabulous! :)

    xo, Abby @ Always, Abby

  14. I wish I had curly hair! I love your curls!

  15. I also use a leave in conditioner with Paul Mitchell's curly hair spray, but sometimes I'll use Bumble and Bumble's curl conscious creme.

  16. Oh!
    Thanks for sharing this :)
    I have naturally curly hair as well, although it's more on the thick, poofy...frizzy side.

    I still spend the half an hour to straighten my hair about twice a Week. Otherwise, I put it back in either a pony tail, bun, or braid.

    ... I may have to test drive your technique and see what sort of craziness unfolds :)

    - I had Samantha, too :)

    Manda from Eat Cake

  17. I still struggle with my curls, some days I love them, some days I hate them but I think that's because I still have never had a really great curly hair cut. I'm going to try your tips today :)

  18. I love your curls! I have stick-straight, no-volume hair, and of course I'm so jealous of people with bounce and volume. We always want what we don't have, right? ;) Glad you've embraced your natural style! It looks great!