After a year in braids, my strands are feeling healthy and strong—and my curls are ready for their moment in the spotlight. Of all the curly hairstyles that exist, the wash ‘n go will forever be my favorite, but as we know, washing curly hair every day strips it of natural oils essential to scalp and hair health. A healthy wash schedule of once per week for my low-porosity hair means there are several days between washes to experiment with other curly styles incorporating twists, cornrows, and more.
While I've probably tried over 20 curly hairstyles in the past few months, all roads lead me back to the six styles included below. They are pretty easy to accomplish and most will last several days if you can muster up the strength to wrap your hair at night. Keep scrolling for all the tools and products you’ll need to get these looks, along with my tips for getting the best results. All these products currently hold a spot in my routine so you’ll be happy to know they also work well together (curlies know the struggle).
We are starting with the Beyoncé of curly hairstyles, also known as the wash-and-go. Now, we all know the name is somewhat of a misnomer because there are a lot more steps required than just washing. My current routine is to: shampoo, condition, detangle, let conditioner marinate for the rest of the shower, rake gel through my hair in large sections, finger twist the ends of those sections, let the hair dry 50%–75%, scrunch curls using sweet almond oil… and go.
I recently discovered the game-changer that is braiding your hair in large sections before your wash-and-go. I usually cornrow my hair at least a day prior to washing, which gives the curls some quality bonding time and makes them more clumped and defined when it's time to come out and play.
This conditioner is the one, especially if you have low-porosity hair as I do. It's so moisturizing and the curl definition is superb. I love it so much that I use it as a leave-in as well. Why wash out a great thing?
Kinky-Curly has been my gel of choice for years now. I've tried many others but haven't found anything that provides as much definition without crunch.
I never hear anyone in the curly hair community talking about hair gloss! Not only does hair gloss add an enviable sheen to your curls, but it also minimizes frizz and protects your hair from heat and other environmental elements. The effects last about a month.
Moisturizing and virtually scentless, this is the ideal wash-and-go sealing oil. Scrunch curls with a bit of this oil as the last step in your routine.
Half-Twist Space Buns
Space buns are the newest style in my curly hair arsenal. They are so playful and perfect for sunny, summer days. To get this look, twist the front half of your hair and secure with rubber bands, then part your hair in half and wrap them into buns. I like my space buns high on my head and close together, but you can play around with their placement to determine what looks best on you. Another variation of this style can be accomplished with half cornrows instead of twists.
Use these mini rubber bands to secure twists and braids.
Prolong your twists and cornrows by wrapping your hair with a silk scarf at night. This one looks vintage and can be worn out as well.
First, use the wide-tooth comb to detangle and then part using the rat tail.
I would venture to say 90% of my curly hair problems revolve around the front part of my hair and what I want to do with it—especially when I'm on day five hair and still don't have time to wash it. Luckily, we have braided front hairstyles to save the day. All you'll need is good edge control, an edge brush, and a silk scarf.
The words "extra firm hold" make my heart flutter.
What's your baby hair personality going to be today: Swoops or swirls?
After your edges are appropriately laid, throw on this scarf while you finish getting ready.
Cornrows are probably my most frequented hairstyle, as evidenced by my Memoji. Yes, you'll have to know how to cornrow to do these—Youtube University is your friend!
As mentioned earlier, I usually cornrow my hair at least a day before doing a wash 'n go to help clump my curls. I treat these cornrow days as a breather from products and will just add a leave-in conditioner to keep things moisturized and some gel along the parts to make sure all the hairs are gripped and secured in the braids.
I'm currently loving this leave-in by Mielle. It feels like a tall glass of water for my low-porosity hair. Plus, it has great slip, making detangling a breeze.
Any curly who says they don't use Eco Styler is not to be trusted!
A detangling machine.
Bandanas work great as a hair tie and aren't as damaging as elastic.
Braid styles, while protective in many ways, can also be very drying on the hair. So while I'm curly, I'm in a constant state of deep conditioning. If I have to go somewhere, I'll leave out some curls in the front so it feels more styled.
This is, hands down, my favorite deep conditioner out there. My curls have never felt more moisturized.
This mask is the most highly recommended within the low-porosity community, mainly due to the humectant properties in its ingredients. Honey and jojoba oil attract water into your strands to keep them supple and healthy.
Steaming allows your hair shaft to open up and soak up all the goodness of your deep conditioner. Traditionally, you'd have to visit the salon to get a steam treatment, but this one gives moisture on the go. Plus, it doubles as a facial steamer!
I can't talk right now, I'm doing Hot Girl Shit.
Finally, slick back your hair using this bristle brush. No one will know you're also deep conditioning.
I consider these natural braids a curly hairstyle because there is no added hair and I stop braiding 3/4 down the braid, so it's technically curly. This braided bob is so versatile. Wear it down, in a ponytail, or half up half down, as pictured. Seal in moisture by using a cream product while braiding and oil your scalp regularly.
This is my favorite twisting/braiding cream. The hydration factor is so good that my hair still feels soft and moisturized weeks later when I unbraid.
Again, honey seems to be the magic ingredient for my curls. This twisting butter is thick and creamy, which is perfect for making your braids looked snatched and neat.
Apply along your hairline regularly to keep those edges thriving. I've heard this oil can also help fill out any patchy spots in your brows.