5 women with curly, textured hair share exactly what products they use for great hair days.

Ask anyone with naturally curly or textured hair and they’ll tell you, no two hair days are ever the same.

Unlike those with straight or wavy hair, owners of curly manes and textured tresses deal with a unique set of styling struggles. Hint: It’s got a lot to do with fun words like dry, tangled and frizzy.

According to Oribe’s Director of Training and Content Coby Alcantar, curly and natural textured hair requires a lot more moisture to keep it looking healthy. It also tends to do whatever the heck it wants.

“There are no rules when it comes to curls and the patterns they create. The difficulties when styling textured hair can be different from day to day because what worked one day may not work the next,” Alcantar told Mamamia.

Side note – hair is a part of us, but it doesn’t define us. Here’s a hilarious and poignant look at life with and without hair. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

In 2019, embracing our natural selves – hair included – has never been more on-trend. Alcantar reckons people have always embraced their natural hair, but it’s only recently a new generation of strong role models like actresses Lupita Nyong’o and Zendaya, and singer Lizzo, are moving away from smoothing treatments. By wearing their hair natural, they’re influencing the zeitgeist and helping other women see their hair in a different light.

Sure, wearing your hair natural sounds easy enough, but what if you’ve got no idea how to style yours? As curly-haired women told us, you’ll never truly love your hair until you figure out how to manage it, because no two heads of hair are the same.

It’s for this reason Mamamia asked five Aussie women with curly and textured hair to share exactly how they style it. From products and how often they wash it, to the things they avoid, this one’s for all the curly girls out there.

Jessica Vander Leahy, model and writer.

"My hair is a delightful combination fine, but lots of it." Image: Supplied/Jessica Vander Leahy.

My hair is that delightful (read: difficult) combination fine but lots of it. As a model, healthy hair is a major factor for my work so despite it being heated, pulled and combed every which way for different photoshoots, I use my downtime to make sure my curls are healed and as healthy as they can be to protect it going forward. When I was younger, I wanted long Barbie hair. I think the only way you can love your curls is when you figure them out, so that’s why our curly hair gang’s gotta stick together and share our secrets.

To be honest, I switch up my products a lot but using sulphate-free and alcohol-free as much as I can is important. Also, something I’ve done over the past 12 months is not put as much aggressive heat on my hair. As someone who’s experimented with less heating, I can say avoiding the iron has made a wild difference. My locks are so much fuller, it’s crazy.

My kind of curly hair is not great out all the time. If it’s having a good day, it’s great, but if it's windy or humid, I’m prone to tangles and wearing it natural just means it gets knots and then I have to yank at it. Not ideal. So recently, I’ve gone back to a protective bun and I use amazing weaves to create fun looks so I don’t get bored with it. My curly hair loves those natural oils, so I don’t wash it that often. Unless it’s really dirty and needs to get product out, I’ll only shampoo once a week. But I wet it everyday and comb through—it’s a daily ritual and I don’t feel right without doing it. I gently towel dry and air dry as much as I can, and I love a daily leave in moisturiser.

If my curls need some help drying, I use the cool and gentle setting on the hair dryer. For the people in the back: No. Heat. On. Curls. Until. They’re. Dry. Capiche?


Jess' best products for curly hair:

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, $24.99.

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner
"This is my fave. It's sulphate-free and alcohol-free. Image: Shea Moisture.

The Body Shop Shea Butter Richly Replenishing Hair Mask, $25.

The Body Shop Shea Butter Richly Replenishing Hair Mask
"I love a daily leave in moisturiser." Image: The Body Shop.

Kee Reece, Social Squad Influencer Marketing Manager and co-host of The Spill podcast.

"Loving my curly hair has been a long process." Image: Supplied/Kee Reece.

Loving my curly hair has been a long process. I’ve tried straightening it, I was also bleach blonde for a few years which I loved, but it was so dead by the end of it. After I went back to my natural brown, the natural texture started to come through again and I really fell in love with my hair. It’s big and bold and I’m really proud of my heritage. My curls are 3C [on the curl chart] and quite dense which means lots of natural volume baby. It's really prone to frizz, which I don’t mind, but sometimes it can be a little crazy.

I sleep on a silk pillowcase and it helps, but I know it's time for a wash to reset the curls when it gets out of control. I used to wash my hair two or three times a week, but in winter I usually drop down to once a week... it’s too bloody cold to be washing this mane. I double shampoo and add conditioner, which I leave on for a few minutes while I shave my legs or do a face mask to let the product loosen up the knots. I grab my trusty Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush, section my hair into two or four parts and brush. I then rinse out the conditioner, turn the water to cold and rinse my hair again. I find this helps with frizz. I towel dry, but leave damp - then it’s time for product!

I usually start at the top and work my way down, making sure every surface of my hair has some product on it. Then, I scrunch from the ends up and again at the root and then air dry. It usually takes an hour give or take to dry, depending on how warm or windy it is. A good tip I've picked up is using any kind of lotion to add moisture to my hair when I'm travelling or don't have my products nearby. A Cetaphil moisturiser or even a Sorbolene cream will make the curls pop.

Kee's best products for curly hair:

Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, $50 each.

Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
"This range is a bit exxier, but worth it." Image: Aveda.

Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream, $49.95.

Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream
"My go-to styling product, it gives the best finish to the curls and has great hold that isn’t crunchy." Image: Moroccan Oil.

Oribe Deep Treatment Masque, $89.

Oribe Deep Treatment Masque
"This is SO lush." Image: Oribe.

Brittany Stewart, creator and host of Beauty Island podcast.

"I feel most like ‘me’ when my hair is curly." Image: Supplied/Brittany Stewart.

My hair is long, thick, curly and has a mind of her own. Her curls can either be Lily James from Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again or Monica from Friends in Barbados. I definitely haven’t always loved my curly hair as much as I do now. I remember for any party I would always brush it, straighten it, and then add more ‘acceptable’ curls with a curling iron. And I’ve definitely felt like I look more attractive to other people when I have straight hair like most other people.

But particularly in the last five years, I’ve grown to love my natural hair. I think that’s a mix of maturity and finding the right products (thank you John Frieda!) that make it the best it can be. Now, I rarely straighten my hair. I feel most like ‘me’ when my hair is curly. My biggest concerns are probably frizz, knots and dryness, and for me, it’s all about hydrating products and always having a hair oil or serum on hand to tame flyaways. Also, braiding my hair before bed to reduce knots when I wake up has been life-changing!


I wash my hair once a week, which to anyone without curly hair makes me sound like a grub. But there’s a reason! Partially because, honestly, washing my hair at the length it is really can be an hour-long ordeal, and also because curly, thick hair just doesn’t get greasy that quickly. And I usually have my best day of curls two or three days in. I’ll use a hair mask, then shampoo, purple shampoo and conditioner. I dry it with a microfibre towel (life-changing!) - no rubbing, you just put it up, use gentle pats and leave it for five minutes. Then I brush with a Tangle Teezer while still damp and define curls with mousse. I rarely ever use a hairdryer on my hair, I let it air dry. This method gives me the best curls.

Britt's best products for curly hair:

Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Turban, $46.

Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Turban
“These may be a little on the exxy side but they are worth every cent. Makes such a difference to my hair and feels luxurious too.” Image: Mecca.

Marc Anthony Bye Bye Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner, $16.99 each.

Marc Anthony Bye Bye Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner
“I’ve started using this in the last six months and have noticed a real difference in my frizz levels. It’s hydrating, smells nice and leaves my hair feeling nice and silky.” Image: Marc Anthony.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse, $15.99.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse
“I’ve been using this mousse for a decade and I’m yet to find a better product that accentuates and defines my curls beautifully without weighing it down or making them crispy. A life-long love affair, for sure.” Image: John Frieda.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Perfecting Spray, $16.99.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Perfecting Spray
“This is my staple, everyday, curl refresher. A few spritz and a scrunch with my hand and curls look good as new." Image: John Frieda.

John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Sea Salt Spray, $16.99.

John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Sea Salt Spray
"In summer or on holiday, I’ll switch to John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Salt Spray for added texture and the smell of summer!" Image: John Frieda.

Ouai Hair Oil, $44.

Ouai Hair Oil
“I love a hair serum but find oil a lot lighter and easier to work with. This is a great multitasker, it defines curls and smoothes frizz.” Image: Sephora.

Go-To Face Case, $65.

Go-To Face Case
“There’s been a direct correlation of an increasing number of good hair days since this silk pillowcase came into my life." Image: Go-To.

Sarah Marie, founder of Sarah Marie Makeup.

"I can't believe I ever hated having thick, curly hair, it's such a blessing." Image: Supplied/Sarah Marie.

My hair definitely has her own personality and is as hormonal as I am! Sometimes, she is thick, full and super curly, and other times, brittle, fluffy and only wants to be in a bun. The one constant is it's always unpredictable.

I absolutely HATED my hair as a kid because everyone in my primary school had thin, straight blonde hair, there weren't many ethnic girls. I also don't have anyone in my family with my curly hair, so I learnt how to style my curls in my twenties from a friend who has super curly hair. I now LOVE my curls and try to share my curly hair advice with anyone who will listen. I can't believe I ever hated having thick curly hair, it's such a blessing. It can still be a headache sometimes... it's definitely a love-hate relationship.


The biggest thing for me is adding moisture to my hair with my hair products, whether it be shampoo or leave-in creams. My curly hair always prefers moisture products over protein ones. I wash my hair one to two times a week, anymore than that and it will be way too clean and fluffy. I use the Tangle Teezer brush to brush my hair while I have my conditioner on in the shower before rinsing. I don't brush my hair after this step. I then towel dry my hair gently, add my curling cream and let my hair dry naturally. After it dries I style with a bit of hair mousse.

Sarah Marie's best products for curly hair:

Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Envy Perfect Curl Cream, $17.99.

Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Envy Perfect Curl Cream
"I can't live without this, it makes a world of difference." Image: Priceline.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Shampoo and Conditioner, $15.99 each.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Shampoo and Conditioner
"John Frieda does great curly hair products." Image: John Frieda.

Tangle Teezer Original, $19.99.

Tangle Teezer Original
"Tangle Teezers are the best brushes for curly hair." Image: Priceline.

Hannah Mutze, National Brow Artist at Benefit Cosmetics Australia.

Hannah Mutze
"My hair is a moody beast, but after 28 years with her, I can generally predict and manage her moods." Image: Supplied/Hannah Mutze.

My hair is a moody beast, but after 28 years with her, I can generally predict and manage her moods. On curl charts she’s between a 2B and a 2C which translates to a beachy, textured wave/curl with varying frizz levels. In general, I love it and I feel most like myself on a good curl day when it’s big and bouncy with a tiny bit of frizz. I didn’t always love my curls, it’s been a journey. Through high school, I went through phases of straightening it every week, but now I can’t stand having straight hair. Once a month or so or if my curls aren’t behaving, I’ll blow dry it smooth and put a curling tong through for a more refined wave.


My curls flatten when I sleep, so I always have to wet them in the morning to reactivate their shape... so I’m that girl on the bus with wet hair. Also, they dry differently every day so I never know how she’s going to behave until about 10am. About a year ago, my hair wasn’t growing at all and was breaking off everywhere, I pretty much had a mullet from the breakage. After many blood tests and naturopath appointments, I found out my iron levels were the issue. I now take an iron supplement which has helped a lot to get my growth back on track, and I recently started taking the JS Health Hair and Energy supplement and it definitely works!

As for my routine, I read something on the Curly Girl Method and it's majorly changed my curl routine. I now never scrunch or roughly dry my hair with a towel, always sleep on a silk pillowcase, and use silk scrunchies to tie it up. I also apply product to sopping wet hair and avoid sulphates and silicones. I wet my hair in the shower daily and once done, flip my head over in the shower and scrunch hair upwards towards my scalp with a pea-sized amount of Aveda Curl Cream or four drops of Dry Remedy Oil. Then, I flip it back, gently wrap it into a towel on top of my head and leave for a couple minutes. The towel comes off and my hair is left to air dry. I gently manipulate any rogue curls into place at this stage but try not to touch it too much as this leads to more frizz. I get a full head of blonde foils three to four times a year too, and always get Olaplex, which makes a big difference.

Hannah's best products for curly hair:

Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer, $45.

Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer
"This is amazing, use almost every day." Image: Aveda.

Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil, $41.

Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil
"The tiniest amount of this leaves my curls happy." Image: Aveda.

Slip Silk Pillowcase, $95.

Slip Silk Pillowcase
"Sleeping on silk minimises my frizz big time." Image: Slip Silk.

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $549.

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
"Every curly girl I know who has one of these raves about it! I’ve used it a couple of times at my gym and it’s fab! I’ve already put it on the Christmas list." Image: Dyson.

Do you have curly or textured hair? Tell us your tips in the comments below!

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