My Hair Care Routine for Thick Wavy Hair

by The Violet Journal
hair care routine for thick wavy hair

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My Wavy Hair Background

According to Naturally Curly, I have type 2b hair. It’s thick and wavy, but as far as curly hair goes, it’s pretty easy to manage.

I just wish someone had told me that earlier.

I spent the first 20 years of my life battling with my hair. I grew up in a family where curly hair was unheard of – I’ve existed for over 20 years and still I struggle to attend a family event without someone asking me how I curled my hair.

As a child, my family treated my wavy hair as if it was straight. They used harsh cleansing products, didn’t know leave in conditioners existed, and worst of all – brushed it when it was dry. It was a frizzy mess, and my biggest insecurity.

As soon as I was old enough, I started researching how to take care of my wavy hair. I wasn’t very good at it to begin with, and I certainly put some very questionable things on my hair. Yoghurt, if I remember correctly.

But after years of trial and error, I’ve settled on a hair care routine that leaves my hair happy, hydrated, and frizz free. It’s completely sulphate and silicone free, and uses just two products – neither of which are yoghurt.

 

Why should you cut out sulphates and silicones?

Sulphates and silicones aren’t inherently bad, but cutting them out was the right choice for me.

Curly and wavy hair is generally much drier than straight hair, so it’s important to keep it as hydrated as possible. Well hydrated curls are bouncy and full of life, but if your curls are too dry then you’ll be left with a frizzy mess. Harsh cleansers such as sulphates strip your hair of its natural oils, so many people opt for sulphate free shampoo.

The debate for silicones is less black and white. They’re used in most conditioners to coat your hair and make it silky, but can cause build up if you don’t remove them. Sulphates are the easiest way to remove silicones from your hair, so most people who cut out sulphates also cut out silicones.

 

My Hair Care Routine

How often do I wash my hair?

Since washing your hair too often will dry it out, I wash my hair once a week at most. I’ve been washing my hair weekly for the most part of a decade, so this is nothing new.

It takes well over a week for my hair to begin to feel greasy, although this hasn’t always been the case. Occasionally in the past I’ve become too reliant on shampoo and conditioner, and ended up washing my hair more than once a week. But every time it becomes dry at the ends, and greasy at the top – it’s not a great look.

 

What products do I use?

My shampoo of choice is the Herbal Essences Aloe and Mango sulphate free shampoo.

It’s important to note that the conditioner in this range is not silicone free. And while this shampoo is sulphate free, it contains Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate. This isn’t a sulphate, but it’s still a fairly harsh cleanser and some curly haired people find it drying.

Personally, my type 2b hair has never been happier – it’s so hydrated and my waves look great. But I’m also paying close attention to the health of my hair and if it starts to become dry, I’ll switch out this shampoo for something less harsh.

 

My conditioner of choice is the Banana Hair Food by Garnier Ultimate Blends. This conditioner is silicone free, but not alcohol free. So like the shampoo, it may not be for everyone, but my hair loves it. It’s moisturised, easy to manage, and it smells amazing until my next wash.

I’ve tried out some of the other scents from this range and they all do the same job. But the banana is my favourite – I love the bright yellow tub and the product smells like banoffee pie.

 

Leave in products

Curls need to be properly hydrated or you’ll just end up with frizz, so it’s important to use a leave in product.

Some people use gel, some use mousse, and some use oil. But I just use the same Banana Hair Food I mentioned earlier. I like to keep my hair care routine as simple as possible, and it does a fantastic job of moisturising my hair without weighing it down.

I use it on wet hair as soon as I get out of the shower, and it makes my waves look beautiful and defined. I use enough product to make my hair feel slippery, but once it dries you can’t feel the product at all, and it leaves my hair super shiny.

I’ll also use it on dry hair if it feels particularly dry or frizzy. Since I don’t wash my hair during the week, it can start to look a little dry or puffy, but the Banana Hair Food sorts it right out.

 

How do I style my hair?

Towels have a rough texture that can cause frizz, So I use an old T-shirt to dry my hair. Sometimes I plop my hair after I wash it (if that word means nothing to you, check out this article) and it certainly looks incredible when I do. But honestly? I’m normally too lazy and just let it air dry.

I also never brush my hair. In fact, I’m not convinced I even own a hairbrush. Brushing my hair (wet or dry) damages it and transforms my waves into frizz, so I just avoid brushing it all together. My hair is knotty, so I use my fingers to detangle it every night before I sleep, and I use a wide tooth comb with plenty of conditioner in the shower.

 

Comment and Subscribe

I hope this was insightful! Wavy hair care routines are so personal and take a lot of trial and error to perfect, so I don’t expect my exact hair care routine to work for you the same way it does for me. But if you plan on trying out anything I’ve mentioned, please let me know down in the comments!

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my hair care routine for thick wavy hair

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16 comments

Kelly June 24, 2020 - 11:47 am

I have thick curly hair, my curls sounds more prominent than yours but these tips are still super helpful. I need to find out what my curl type is so I can properly find a routine that works for me, do you know where I can find this out?

Reply
The Violet Journal June 24, 2020 - 1:57 pm

Yes! Knowing your hair type is super helpful – Naturally Curly have a Texture Quiz here: https://www.naturallycurly.com/quiz which told me I have type 2b hair. I could already kind of see that from hair type charts on Google Images, but they also give you some other useful information like your hair’s porosity and density.

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The Queensights June 24, 2020 - 11:48 pm

Thanks for this! I have natural wavy hair and one of the things I learned is to minimize “combing” as it makes my hair frizzier. I only comb my hair once a day and finger-comb if needed. It improved in terms of texture 💙

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The Violet Journal June 25, 2020 - 7:24 am

I feel like with wavy hair it’s a constant toss up between combing it and making it frizzy, or leaving it and letting it tangle 😂 I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you!

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lifestyleseason June 25, 2020 - 1:45 pm

Great post! I also have wavy and thick hair so this is very helpful! Thank you for the tips!

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Jasmine June 25, 2020 - 5:42 pm

Thanks for sharing! Really great post babe! Keep them coming xxx

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Theunhappygraduate blog June 25, 2020 - 5:43 pm

I have wavy hair and I brush mine all the time and wonder why it’s a mess 😳 you’ve just enlightened me
So I’m going to be spending my payslip on new products. I am shocked you can wash your hair once a week.. That’s absolute goals!

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The Violet Journal June 25, 2020 - 7:05 pm

I wish my hair looked good when I brush it, but it just instantly turns to frizz 😂

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Alice June 25, 2020 - 7:15 pm

I have very thick hair and it used to be super curly but recently it’s straightened itself out (not even my hairdresser knows why!) so I may check out some of these products

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The Violet Journal June 25, 2020 - 7:35 pm

I’m the same actually! It’s really weird how your hair can just change for no reason. My hair used to be much curlier and now it’s a sort of inbetween state which is annoying. But I hate straightening my hair, so my hair care routine mainly centres around keeping my hair as curly/wavy as possible.

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Charity June 25, 2020 - 10:28 pm

These are all such great tips! I have thick and wavy hair too and always have the hardest time with it. I just got to the point where I’ve been washing it once a week though too and that has helped tremendously by not washing it everyday!

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The Violet Journal June 26, 2020 - 7:50 am

Thanks! Of all the things I did to my hair when I was 11 years old, starting to wash it once a week was the only thing that stuck 😂

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Sophie June 25, 2020 - 10:47 pm

As someone with normal to thick 2C hair, my heart dropped when you said dry brushing was a thing. My hair is terribly frizzy and an overall nightmare to style because I have that awkward mix of curls and waves. Leave in products are my best friend though! I wash mine every 5 days or so but I’m trying to stretch it out a bit longer x

Sophie

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Leslie June 26, 2020 - 12:39 am

We have the same hair! I use Cantu products like co-wash, leave in conditioner curl cream, and curl activation cream. Since I’ve stopped using products with the harsh ingredients I finally feel my hair is healthy.

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The Violet Journal June 26, 2020 - 8:00 am

Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to check Cantu out – I’ve actually been looking for a good co-wash.

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The Book View June 26, 2020 - 2:05 am

I don’t have wavy hair, but mine is thick and always frizzy so I can relate on how annoying it is.

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