What’s Your Hair Texture (Relaxed, Straight, Wavy, Curly, Super-Curly), and What Products, Tools and Techniques Work Best for You?

Published in: Hair, Just For Fun

My wavy hair used to be a chore until I got a haircut that worked for me. Now, I always have some level of layers. Sometimes, my friend who cuts my hair (Alis at Fox + Stone in Corte Madera, CA) will do different things to cut down on some of the bulk and weight but keep it voluminous (I have “vampire hair”).

In terms of products, I like moisturizing shampoos and conditioners because my hair tends to get very dry, partly because of the texture, I think, and partly because it’s colored (I have highlights, and it’s a few shades lighter than natural right now). I also use some sort of leave-in hair oil or conditioner on my ends, again, because of the whole dryness issue.

For techniques and tools, my biggest thing is that I use very little heat styling. I get split ends when I blow dry frequently or use flat irons or other heat styling tools on the regular, so I’ll blow dry maybe once or twice a month now at the most (back when I did it every day in the ’90s, my hair was so dry that it was like a bale of hay growing out of my head).

Usually about once a week, around the beginning of the week, after I wash my mane, I’ll let it air dry and use a large-barrel curling iron to add more curls and waves where I want. Then, I’ll spray a beachy waves spray on it, and let it do its thing.

After that, I usually won’t wash it for as long as I can stand it a few days, and will just use dry shampoo at the roots to absorb the oil and cover up any hair funk. I do that to 1) save time, 2) extend the life of my color job, and 3) because I think my hair just looks a little better when it’s more “lived in.” :)

Products I’m currently using for my wavy hair

How about you? What’s your hair texture (relaxed, straight, wavy, curly, super-curly), and what products, tools and techniques work best for you?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

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  1. Agata says:

    My hair, just blow dried is a crazy messy puffy ball of hair. I normally straighten it with a flat iron and I will curl it for special occassions. To protect my hair from heat I always use a heat protectant, my favorite one is by Moroccan Oil. I alternate between a hydrating/ repairing shampoo and a purple shampoo to protect my blonde hair color. And I use a hydrating conditioner, followed by a leave in conditioner. Uff, my hair is a lot of work!
    Agata recently posted … Micellar Waters

  2. Jules says:

    I have fine straight hair (that gets floofy and wavy if I let it grow out, so I keep it in a pixie). Normally I just use a cleansing shampoo (no special benefits), but if it’s really dry I’ll condition. I find that putting any amount of product in my hair makes it very flat and greasy looking, and even combing my hair wrong makes it look that way. Every month I need to go and get it thinned out as well (I tried doing it myself, but failed MISERABLY).

  3. I have very thin, fine straight hair. It doesn’t hold curl very well, nor volume. My hair sucks.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Crazy about coral: a full coral make-up look

    • Kate & Zena says:

      My hair is the same exact way, but if you wet set pin curl or rag curl it, it holds curl very well! And to get volume, I have long layers in front and a blunt back. I actually don’t use “volume” products at all as I find it weighs down my hair. I use color preserving shampoos and conditioners (Biolage Colortherapie is the bomb diggity!) To cut down on split ends and damage, I use a hair mask once a week and I make sure to work it all out or I risk Grease Head (which is never appealing, right?)

      Oh, and I air dry my hair. Heat makes it flat. If I want volume on top of that, I put it in a top knot for the night using a scrunchie and let it down in the morning!

      Fine hair doesn’t suck; it just requires different care than regular or thick hair. The plus side? Our hair cuts go faster and are regularly cheaper than those with thicker hair. Our hair also requires less dye so our color jobs are typically cheaper too. Splits are more readily seen, but with a little know-how, you can cut the baby ones yourself in between visits!

  4. Divya says:

    My hair is quite strange. Its little thin and oily in the front and dry and thick at the back!
    Shampoo : John Master’s Organics Bare Unscented Shampoo or Kerastase Bain Force Architecte
    Conditioner : Kerasatase resistance Ciment Anti Unsure and Dove Oil Nourishing Care
    Leave In: Kerastase Elixir Ultime.. has been my staple ever since I discovered it

    No Dry Shampoo and sprays although occasionally I spritz some Oribe Dry Texturizing spray when I am feeling fancy! :D
    Divya recently posted … Morning Skincare

  5. Alison M says:

    I have tons of really fine hair that is between wavy and curly and is normal to dry. Two pregnancies gave me the “pregnant perm” but a few sections didn’t get the memo and are completely straight. I blow dry after every wash (2-3x a week max) because without it my hair is unruly and has zero volume at the root and girl needs some volume!

    I’m super loving Theorie Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. As of this moment I can’t imagine using anything else. I love the deep conditioner too, but I might prefer DermOrganic Keratin Masque. Good stuff!

    Something new and super affordable that I now can’t live without is the Yes to Coconut Curl Cream. It leaves me frizz FREE in Florida summer!

    Nexxus heat protectant is amazing before straightening or curling and Living Proof Serum is the only one that let’s me tame flyaways without looking greasy. I’m still on the hunt for an affordable dry shampoo that works as well as Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and for refreshing curls I enjoy Josie Maran Bohemian Waves spray.
    Alison M recently posted … A Day in the Life of a NARSissist with the Smokey Eye Compact

  6. Ruchita says:

    I have fine hair, but if I let it air dry it has a bit of natural wave. I just got it cut into a shorter, angled bob so I rough dry it and then use a flat iron. Sometimes, I’ll let it air dry and curl it a bit, but I prefer a smooth, straight look.

    My favorite heat protectant of all time is Sebastian Trilliant. I’ve been using it for years and it makes my hair super shiny and smooth.

    Another fave is Osis Dust It. It’s a powder texturizer and a little bit sprinkled at the roots and then rubbed in gives my hair volume.

  7. Samantha says:

    I have naturally wavy hair. It can be very unmanageable, but I have gotten into a better routine (by washing it less and circulating products). It is dyed a blackened vampire red, so it is hard to hold color (being the natural shade is dirty blonde). I straighten it rarely, and curl it about once a week. I air dry it most of the time. Mostly I tame it with products instead of using heat (although I never, ever use many products despite the large list in circulation).

    Shampoo- Hempz Color Preserve shampoo/Lea Journo Hydra-Riche shampoo

    Conditioner- Hempz Color Preserve conditioner/Lea Journo Hydra-Riche conditioner

    Beach Waves-Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe (I used to ADORE John Frieda Beach Waves, but it was discontinued!)

    Dry Shampoo- Bed Head Oh Bee Hive/Bed Head Rockaholic

    Other Products- Oribe Texturizing spray/Oribe Cote d’Azur hair refresher/Aragan and Morocco oil (once a month)/Lea Journo Illuminating Moisturizer/Lea Journo Glossing Cream (this is FABULOUS to tame my mane!)

  8. Heidi K says:

    Wavy. I find that it responds well to anything because it’s wavy enough to hold curl well but not so curly that it won’t straighten so I appreciate that it cooperates when I do style it. I just wish that left to it’s own devices it would be less frizzy.

  9. Icequeen81 says:

    wavy hair

    I use beautiful textures shampoo, elasta conditioner, use a shine spray of fantasia, and gloss drops of … don’t remember the name ,a a olive oil based hair gel. My hair can be frizzy and more in the weather we live in .

  10. Efrain says:

    My hair is curly and quite dry, however I can’t stand not washing my hair after a day without doing it; my scalp become itchy and I can’t style it well.

    So my hair routine is only shampoo and conditioner for dry hair (I’m in the low cost end here so I’m still searching for a cheap shampoo without sulfates).

    I’ll start taking more care of it since I want it to grow a lot (like shoulder-length).
    Efrain recently posted … Los imprescindibles en belleza cuando falta tiempo

  11. ericca says:

    I have wavy super curly and some kinky hair. I always go for the shampoo with oils or says super moisturizing. I usually do not place heat on my hair except for special occasions. So I let air dry while in braids.

  12. Marloes says:

    Wow Karen! I loooove your hair!! I wish my hair was like that. ;-)

    During puberty, I used to have wavy/slightly curly hair. Back then, I used to straighten it for about 3-4 days a week. Now, all I think is ‘why, Marloes, why??’.. because nowadays, my hair is super sleek and straight. I guess it’s a hormone kind of thing. Now my hair is just hanging there, like a curtain, along my face. It won’t hold curl; I bought several curling irons, styling products and shampoos/conditioners, but no luck. I feel like I ran out of options. So when it comes to styling it; I don’t do a whole lot. I wear it loose, or in a ponytail. :-( I dislike my hair so much because of this!

    This is what I use, product wise: for shampoo I use Lush Karma Komba or Godiva shampoo bar, sometimes shampoo from The Body Shop. For conditioner I use Lush Jungle conditioner bar, Aussie conditioner or Guhl ‘rijke voeding’ (ya, it’s Dutch). I use Lush R&B as a leave-in conditioner. I use the original Batiste dryshampoo when needed. And finally, for texture/a little more volume I’ll use a powder called Schwarzkopf Osis Dust It. :-)

  13. Bella says:

    I have very very curly/kinky (type 3c-4a) mixed race hair that is fine stranded and although I have a HUGE bush of hair when it is dry it is completely flat on my scalp when wet!
    The only chemical processing I do is dyeing it dark brown; my natural colour is a kind of mousey brown that turns reddish far too easily in the sun.

    My hair has the potential to get very very dry if not cared for properly.

    I avoid heat and actually “styling” of any kind. I wash with Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner once a week, with Redken Curvacious Shampoo cream and Conditioner once a week (so I wash every 3-4 days or so), and once a week I use either a Moroccanoil or Redken hydrating mask.
    I only ever comb or Tangle Teeze in the shower when I have conditioner on.

    After washing I towel dry, spray in Redken leave in conditioner, then apply a mix of Moroccanoil Treatment and Curl Defining Cream and let it air dry.

    I sleep with my hair loose.

    On no-wash day I spray with water and reapply the Curl defining cream while finger combing.

    I used to watch a lot of natural hair videos on youtube but life’s too short and my hair does fine without all that hoopla!!!

  14. fancie says:

    I have thick relaxed hair. Lately I’ve been using coconut oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil and African Pride Leave In to keep my hair soft and moist. I use African Pride Shampoo and Conditioner in 1 on wash days and ORS Hair Mayonnaise to deep condition. My hair is always in a bun so I stay away from heat to keep my ends healthy. I’ll flat iron more when I reach my goal length lol
    fancie recently posted … MAC Blunt Blush Review

  15. Rachel P. says:

    My hair is naturally stick-straight! If the cut is at my collarbones or shorter, it takes tonnnssss of heat and product to get any semblance of texture or lasting style, so when it’s short, I wear it straight and natural. However, when my hair is long (like right now it’s past my chest), I can get waves/curls without much fuss. I think it’s because the longest layers have been through so much coloring/heat/distress, the cuticle is damaged and more easily manipulated by heat styling, etc.

    I’m not picky on shampoo and conditioner- more moisturizing formulas in winter, while anything works for the rest of the year. If I’m not rocking the usual side braid, I love styling my hair in big tousled beach waves. I almost always air-dry my hair after showers to cut down on heat damage. Then I use the Amika 4P Barrel Set to style. Tourmaline ceramic makes my curls last until I wash them out, which is saying a lot for straight hair. The tapered wand is my favorite for most styles. Redken Wool Shake is a great product for volumizing my super long, limp hair (unfortunately it’s discontinued, but I have a backup bottle and am exploring alternatives). My favorite leave-in is the HealthySexyHair Soy Tri-Wheat. I’m on my second bottle- the smell is wonderful and it’s never sticky or heavy! I also love Alterna products like their Bamboo Shine Cream, Kendi Dry Oil Mist, and the UV+ Repair Mask, but sometimes I can’t swing the expense of that brand.

  16. Rachel says:

    My hair is fine, but there’s lots of it, flat yet frizzy. I wash it twice a week with color safe shampoo/conditioner and use dry shampoo in between. I use mouse or a volumizing spray and blow dry it after I wash it, otherwise it’s flat as a pancake! I get it cut/colored every 3 months. This summer I cut it to just above my shoulders, and it’s so much easier!
    I think your hair is so pretty, Karen! I dated a Filipino guy, and his sister had the prettiest hair, I just love Asian hair!

  17. txabela says:

    Mine is thick, straight and very dry at the ends. Can’t hold curls or styling for long unfortunately but has natural highlights and lowlights from dark blond to darkish brown and reddish undertones too.

    Loves moisture of course and I have found recently that oils specially coconut are a lifesaver. I wash it only twice a week, and do weekly or biweekly masks alternating:
    a) cocounut oil ( + sometimes some almond or others like argan) for nutrition or a supernatural intensive Mask by Ogario London
    b) Kingsley’s Elastizicer Extreme; I know is full of silicones but “tames” it and makes it look neat and healthy
    c) A claryfing Champoo in between

    I try to use hydrating but very expensive champoos and conditioners, but I change them if I find good offers. Normally in drugstrore.

    I do like the Phyto clarifying champoo, but I use less luxurious ones too. Treseme normally. Sometimes I get the 3 in 3×2 offers.

    I always style with Agadir Oil, ( I like the moroccan oil one, in fact I adooore its smell) but Agadir’s spray makes it last twice. I have to get it in ebay so I pay a lot for postage from USA. From time to time I find it in TK Maxx
    I liked the living proof anti frizz line very much too but not sure if the price is worth it. They run out pretty quickly so I try to make the most of the combo above.

  18. RM says:

    i have a lot of thick, wavy “type 2B” hair. it’s layered to reduce the bulk (think alice from dilbert if it’s not layered) and generally colored within 1-2 shades lighter or darker than my natural color. for over 10 years, i’ve used the CO-wash routine. i vigorously massage my scalp about 3x/week with large amounts of non silicone conditioner. i use non-silicone smoothing serums and heavy texturizing creams, finger-shape my waves, and dry with a diffuser. on days i don’t wet it, i spritz with water or styling spray to reset the waves. i live in a humid climate so i basically have wavy beach hair year-round. and since i’ve done the CO wash everyone loves my hair.

  19. Ashley says:

    I have defined 2c wave-curls. It’s also thick and I have a lot of it, so when I try to wear it natural, I feel like an extra in a teen 80′s movie. Due to coloring and heat damage, the hair in the front has lost some of the curl and the whole thing is just a big frizz ball. So, I don’t wear it natural very often. It’s way less work to just straighten it.

    What I use:
    shampoo: Ren’s cleansing conditioner
    Conditioner: Aussie 3 minute miracle
    Leave in: Alterna cc Cream
    Styling cream: Living Proof No Frizz
    Heat proof: Alterna Bamboo Thermal Protectant Spray
    Finisher: Fekkai Glossing Cream or Aveda Brilliant Emollient Finishing Gloss

  20. M says:

    I hate to say this, but I’m still figuring out what the heck to do with my hair. It’s thickish and kind of wavy, but it doesn’t have a full-on discernible wave. I can’t seem to blow-dry it straight on my own; it ends up straight in places and wavy in others. Air-drying it leaves it frizzy and sticking out all over the place, with more pronounced waves. If I scrunch it with some mousse and blow-dry it with a diffuser, it looks pretty awesome, though. I can usually get away with washing it every other day or every 3 days and touching up with some dry shampoo at the roots in between washes.

    I’m thinking about experimenting with some new products to try to see if it’s easier to manage, maybe a curl cream or something?

  21. Iris says:

    My hair is slightly wavy. I use shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo when needed, and a bit of hair gloss. It’s basically wash and wear for me.

  22. Katherine M says:

    I have fine hair but I have A LOT of it. It’s crazy thick when left to its own devices. It has just enough of a wave to it that when it’s freshly washed, hasn’t been cut in a while, and heat/cold hit it that it will get a little frizzy and poofy. It’s mostly straight but the body it has and thickness can make it a downright wrestling match at times.

    I’ve had quite a few different hairstyles over the years. The shortest I’ve had it was when I donated to Locks of Love, so about “lob” length (in between my shoulders and chin). I’ve found that a ton of layers don’t work well and nor does a shorter length. My hair functions the best when it is cut with layers at the ends and a few face framing ones a la Victoria’s Secret models (the front layers are just to have some variety). I do get it texturized and thinned out – on Saturday when I got it cut my stylist thinned out enough hair to stuff a large stuffed animal and I still have plenty left. As for products, I don’t use a lot anymore. Coconut oil as a mask and when it gets particularly poofy or unmanageable; Garnier Fructis 5-different-ways-of-using-it oil for color treated hair; and a spray coconut oil for taming flyaways and adding some moisture. I do own heat protecting spray for flat ironing, as that is the only heat styling I will do to tame my hair. And it’s not that often, probably once or twice a month if that. I think that you and I have fairly similar hair, Karen. And it sounds like we both have great stylists, too.

  23. Jen says:

    I have fine, wavy hair with a tendency to frizz. I have it professionally colored/highlighted about every 2 1/2 to 3 months, so I try to baby it. I can’t go for long without shampooing because it gets limp pretty quick and I admit, it looks best blown dry or with heat styling tools.
    Shampoo & Conditioner: Pureology Strength Cure
    Leave-in Conditioner: Pureology 21 Essential Benefits spray
    Styling cream: Moroccan Oil hydrating style cream or Pureology Nourishing Nectar
    Finish oil: Josie Maran’s Argan Oil Hair Serum (the lighter formula)

    I have special shampoo and conditioner for my hair washing post-swimming at the gym, but that’s pretty much to get the chlorine/bromine out ASAP so as not to wreck my color!

  24. Faith says:

    I have slightly wavy hair that’s VERY thick (every stylist I’ve had tells me I have enough hair for 3 people…lol!). It used to be oily when I was younger, but now it’s settled into more normal type. For the past 10 years I have had it in a pixie type of cut…layered and heavily thinned and texturized. I love it! Wash it maybe 2 times a week (more if I work out), let it air dry and rub in some texturizing creme for “piecey-ness”. About four months ago I stopped coloring my hair, just to see what it would look like. It’s mostly a platinum silver with some sort of natural lowlights (I’ve received several compliments lately now that the color is almost grown out). Products I use are: Aveeno Cleansing shampoo and conditioner and Short Sexy Hair Slept In texture creme. The only high maintenance aspect is getting it cut every 4 – 5 weeks!

  25. Adriana RP says:

    My hair decided it is wavy now… So bye straight and easy care hair.
    I like the beach spray, but I can not get the effect I want. What is the secret of it? Pls Karen, help my poor new curvy hair!!! =/

  26. Lancy says:

    I’ve got a fine straight hair with slight waves. I only use homemade hair care products and MABH fast growth hair oil on my hair. I never dare to try shampoos and conditioners filled with SLS, silicone and paraben.

    Recently, I am eyeing out for hair care products that are SLS, silicone and paraben free! Going natural is the best way to deal your hair if you want soft, glossy looking hair :)

  27. Sylirael says:

    My hair is straight, butt-length, and very fine but there’s a crapton of it (density-wise). When it’s shorter, there’s a slight wave to it, but that’s it. My extremely complicated regimen consists of washing it every other day with whatever shampoo was on special at the supermarket, followed by air drying, then ignoring/putting it in a braid. :-D
    Sylirael recently posted … The Nocturnal Rogue: Adventuring with Tarte’s Rainforest After Dark Eye and Cheek Palette!

  28. Fran says:

    My tail-bone length hair is slightly wavy and very dry. I don’t color it, just leave the two silver streaks in, and use as little heat as possible (rough blow dry just at the roots if I have to go out in cold weather when it’s still wet).

    I rub coconut oil in once a week before washing it, usually with AsIAmNaturally Coconut CoWash or Cleansing Pudding, or Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo if I feel like I must use shampoo. The coconut oil dissolves product in the hair as well as conditioning it and protecting it while washing. Then I condition it like crazy, usually with Aubrey Organics Island Naturals Replenishing Conditioner for moisture, Living Proof Restore conditioner for frizz control, and Kinky Curly Knot Today for detangling my world’s tangly-est hair.

    For leave-ins I use Living Proof Restore Targeted Repair Cream plus a spray I make with 4 ounces Aloe Vera juice, 1 ounce glycerin, 1 ounce Kinky Curly Knot Today, 1/2 teaspoon rice bran oil and a few drops of lavender oil — I spray this on throughout the week whenever my hair gets too dry and/or tangly.

    Even though my hair is slightly wavy it won’t hold a curl, no matter what I do, so I just work with my texture the way it is — do enough of an up-do — braid, bun, or pony — to prevent tangling. For styling (to reduce poofy-ness and frizz, and add a little shine) I use a mix of Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine and Living Proof Satin Hair Serum, plus a couple drops of coconut oil on the ends only, and Elnett Satin hair spray for fly-aways, because it really does brush out and doesn’t leave my hair sticky between washes. If I want to do a really sleek rope braid I’ll use Pureology liquid hair wax to keep the little ends from sticking out. Hair sticks and forks and elastics are my friends for quick & easy but complicated-looking updos.

    I make sure my scalp gets a good rubbing with a firm hairbrush every day, but am careful not to brush or comb my hair more than it needs for detangling, to cut down on damage and keep my length.

    If I accidentally get too much product or coconut oil in my hair in between shampoos, I rub in a dollop of Aloe Vesta Cleansing Foam (used for hospital bed baths) and follow that with a wet washcloth and my spray leave-in, let air-dry, and that greasy/stringy look is gone :-) I tried some dry shampoo once but hated the smell and the residue, didn’t feel like going through lots of different brands to find one I liked.

  29. Kylie says:

    My hair is chest-length and fine-textured, but I have a lot of it! The most annoying thing is that I’m constantly shedding– any tips for that?? It’s not like I’m losing too much, but I leave hairs in my wake everywhere and it’s embarrassing!
    Naturally, my hair’s a medium-brown shade, but I have tons of blonde highlights so it looks light brown/blonde now and I LOVEE it!
    Texture-wise, it’s pretty wavy and I can wear it wavy (kind of a refined bed-head look) or straight. It holds a curl easily as well.
    I use a straightener maybe 3-4 days a week and try to blow dry it no more than 2-3 times. For straightening, I love the Paul Mitchell Thicken Up serum and Straight Sexy Hair Smoothing Spray. Sometimes I’ll use the Healthy Sexy Hair leave-in spray conditioner, too. For leaving it wavy, I use the same Paul Mitchell serum, and then scrunch with Garnier volumizing curling mousse, and Curly Sexy Hair Spray Foam. I finish it off with Garnier spray gel for curly hair.
    Shampoo and Conditioner I alternate John Freida Blonde for color treated hair, and Paul Mitchell daily shampoo & conditioner for color treated hair.

  30. Kim says:

    Mine is curly/wavy and I also noticed that having layers helps it to look halfway decent without having to blow dry. I’ve tried to be heat free for the past month because of the dryness issue – I think it’s a combination of age, too much heat and color as well. My hair is on the fine side so I use Pureology Volumizing Shampoo, Redken Fresh Curls conditioner (or Time Reset Youth Revitalizer) and Alterna Bamboo Oil (spray). That gives it curl, volume and moisture so I don’t look like a hot mess when I’m not blow drying. I usually spritz my bangs with Bumble & Bumble volumizing spray so they’re not flat to my head – then I just finger comb through everything when it dries.

  31. Trude says:

    My hair has gotten gradually curlier over the last couple years, which is so weird because it was stick straight for so long! It’s still really fine, but more natural wave and unfortunately frizzy-ness. The last six months it’s been almost impossible for me to blow out nicely without using a flat iron after on some of the kinkier bits. So since it’s been so hot this summer I’ve been mostly letting it air dry. I use Aveda’s Be Curly style prep and usually the cream, with sometimes leave-in conditioner on the ends. Still haven’t found the perfect combo, but so far that helps keep the frizz under control! I’ll have to try cutting in more layers, since my hair is so long the bottom half is getting pulled down.

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