10 Gift Ideas for Curly Girls

If you have a curly girl in your life, skip the scented candles or predictable perfume this holiday season and give her something that will really excite her – curly hair products! 

There are countless curly hair products to choose from these days, and several dozen of them could be considered must-haves. I’ve done my best to whittle them down to 10 items that just about anyone with curly hair would love to own – from essential to the extravagant.

I’ve even created categories so that you can give the perfect gift no matter where she is on her curly hair journey. If YOU are a curly girl, be sure and add these items to your wish list!

She’s Just Getting Started

If she’s just getting started on her curly hair journey, or if she’s even considering it, here are four gift ideas that will put her on the right track:

Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey

1) Curly Girl: The Handbook

This is the first resource many women read when they decide to embrace their natural curls. Author Lorraine Massey explains the ever-popular curly girl method and gives practical tips, advice and tutorials to transition to and maintain naturally curly and wavy hair.

$14.06, Amazon.com 

DevaCurl How to Quit Shampoo Kit

2) DevaCurl How to Quit Shampoo Kit

There are two things most curlistas will say you must give up in order to have healthy, beautiful hair: sulphates and silicones. The trouble is, these ingredients appear in many commercial hair products. Though there are (thankfully) now many curl-friendly products on the market, many consider DevaCurl the gold standard. This gift set features the award-winning No-Poo Original and One Condition Original, along with a microfiber towel for removing access water.

$35.00, DevaCurl.com 

Alaska Bear Natural Silk Pillowcase

3) Silk Pillowcase and/or Satin Bonnet

Heck, just get her both! Seriously, she will need one or the other to keep her curls protected at night. Hair glides over these materials easily, creating less friction, which means less frizz when she wakes up in the morning. 

Alaska Bear Silk Pillowcase, $25.99, Amazon.com

Revlon Diffuser for Curly Hair

4) Diffuser

There are soooo many options to choose from, so I suggest starting with something basic like this Revlon dryer and diffuser. For curly girls who have neither the time nor desire to air dry (which can take hours), diffusing is the only other option to safely dry curly hair. Diffusers help create volume and enhance the hair’s natural curl pattern.  

Revlon Hair Dryer 1875W Turbo Styler, $17.54, WalMart.com

She’s Getting the Hang of It

Once she has gotten through the tough first phase of changing everything she’s ever known about her hair, she should be seeing more consistent curl results. Now is the stage where she’s having fun experimenting with products and styling methods, and is probably binge-watching hair tutorials on YouTube. Here are three gift ideas she’ll love.

5) NaturallyCurly.com eGift Card

NaturallyCurly.com is the premier online destination for all things curly hair. Their shopping section features just about every brand of curly hair care product, and they offer gift certificates! You choose the amount you want to give, and the eGift card will be emailed directly to the recipient. Plus, they give free samples with every order. Talk about hair product heaven!


Curl Magazine

6) Subscription to Curl Magazine

This all-new magazine is for and about curly haired women. From expert tips and must-have product reviews to interviews with trailblazing and prominent women, Curl is an informative, gorgeous magazine that comes in both print and digital formats.  It’s full of quality content that she’ll want to take her time to read. (And hey, I am a contributing writer!)

Price varies with subscription package, ReadCurl.com

Satin lined cap for curly hair

7) Slap (Satin-Lined Cap)

Winter weather can wreak damage on delicate curls, and so can hats. All the warmest materials – wool, fleece, cotton – can zap moisture from hair and cause severe frizz. Don’t let her hard work go to waste; get her a gift that keep her curls intact and keep her head warm this season. Satin-lined winter hats, like this one from Grace Eleyae, follow the same concept of the satin bonnet or pillowcase. Hair simply glides over the material, so curls retain moisture and shape.

Warm Slap, $44.95, GraceEleyae.com

She’s a Pro

These days, her good hair days are more consistent than not, she knows which products her hair does and doesn’t like, and she can even swing a few curly up-dos. She’s ready for the pro tools.

Denman D3 Brush for Curly Hair

8) Denman D3 Brush

This styling brush has become a bit of an icon in the curly world. Some swear by its ability to separate and clump curls while wet, helping them form into near-perfect ringlets when dry. If she’s looking to elevate to the next level of curly styling, this brush is a perfect gift. 

$17.70, DenmanBrushUS.com

Hot Head Deep Conditioning Cap

9) Hot Head™ Microwavable Deep Conditioning Heat Cap

Heat makes any deep conditioning treatment more effective. Warm temperatures cause the hair cuticle to swell and lift, allowing nutrients into the shaft where they strengthen and restore the hair. Traditionally, the most effective way to do a heated deep treatment was to sit under a hair steamer. With the Hot Heat™ Deep Conditioning Cap by Thermal Hair Care, all you need is a microwave. The flaxseed-filled cap retains heat for 20-45 minutes, giving your curly girl the freedom to get things done while she deep conditions. 

$29.95, ThermalHairCare.com

10) Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer with Diffuser

Chances are you know the Dyson name as it relates to home cleaning machines. But did you also know they also make hair dryers? And not just any hair dryer – the Bugatti of hair dryers. I have yet to try this tool myself, but its reviews from curly haired women are  stellar. Apparently it cuts down drying time significantly, all the while protecting against extreme heat damage and delivering precision air for controlled styling and smooth curls. If anyone wants to buy me one, I’m game. 🙂

$399.99, Dyson.com 

There you have it – 10 gifts that any curly girl would love to receive this holiday season. Curly hair is a journey that can be simultaneously frustrating and fulfilling. These tools and products will have your curly girl feeling and looking great daily. 

Which gift ideas would you add to this list? Please share in the comments below!



7 Ways to Grow Out a Pixie with Naturally Curly Hair


Mission: grow out this pixie cut.

Despite my proclamation here that I was done with long hair, I’ve decided to grow out this mane just a bit. Truth is, I miss my curls.

I’d always planned to grow it out again once my son was older and I had a little more time for me; I just didn’t know when that moment would come. Well… it’s here. Not that I have a ton of extra time; more like just enough to focus on my hair again. I’m ready to play in my curls again.

Mind you, this ain’t my first rodeo. This is the third time I’ve cut my hair into a pixie and grown it out. The last time I grew it back to waist-length. I don’t have that much time on my hands, so I’m thinking somewhere between my chin and shoulders, big and curly.

While it’s never easy to get through the “awkward” stage, particularly with naturally curly hair, there are a couple of lessons I’ve learned that will help facilitate the growth process. Here they are:

1) Little to No Heat

If you’ve been rocking a short cut that you have to straighten, this is going to be a hard one. But it’s a critical time to eliminate any potential damage from heat tools. Also, you want to start coaxing out your natural curl pattern again. Now, the reason I said little to no heat is because, depending on the health of your hair, you may be able to get away with straightening it once in a while. If you question whether or not you should… don’t.

2) No Bleach

I’m all for rocking a lighter look (I’ve done it several times), but hold off until your hair can at least swing. By its very nature, bleach damages hair, and damaged hair won’t grow as fast. (If your hair is already bleached, see my post on caring for chemically lightened curls. I’d also suggest dying it close to your natural hair color so your roots aren’t as noticeable.)

3) Maintain a Shape

The dreaded mullet. It doesn’t have to happen, folks! At its shortest, my latest pixie was at most 2-3 inches long (yes, I went all the way Halle). To maintain a shape throughout the grow-out period, I opted to let the front grow long, and maintain a closely cut back and sides for a few months. This is how my hair looked best in its naturally curly state. You could also opt for a more rounded grow-out cut, like IG influencer @aimskyy, which is just as beautiful. It just takes knowing your natural curl pattern and how your hair lays best (remember, you’re not manipulating it with heat anymore, so work with what you’ve got).

4) Definition Over Volume

When my hair is longer, I want it big. Frizz be damned! But that just doesn’t work when my hair is only six inches long. Remember, we’re still maintaining a specific shape. When it’s growing out, I opt for definition and frizz control over volume. Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel remains a favorite product for this reason.  I’m still searching for the perfect leave-in though. Since my hair is shorter, it requires a  much lighter leave-in conditioner. More on that in another post.

5) Stimulate Your Roots

Get that blood circulating and those natural oils flowing with a good scalp massage. Combine that with a hot oil treatment of your choice and you’re golden. While I’ve been slacking in the hot oil department, I give my scalp a good massage every time I wash my hair, which is about twice a week these days.

6) Deep Condition

If you have naturally curly hair and you’ve done any research on healthy hair maintenance, you know you can’t skip this step. It’s no different with short hair. Keep those follicles soft and flexible and prevent breakage with regular deep treatments. Go for conditioners and masques with quality, natural ingredients that your hair can absorb. Ideally, give yourself a treatment every week or two, no less than once a month. I suggest leaving a deep conditioner on for at least 30 minutes under a heat cap like this one, or use a steamer.

7) Protect Your Hair at Night

Prevent frizz and drying of hair at night by sleeping in a satin bonnet or on a satin pillowcase, or wrapping your hair in a satin scarf. When I first starting growing out my hair, I’d wash it, add a leave-in, sculpt it to my head, and put a scarf on it to sleep. I woke up with shiny, big waves that I’d just adjust with my fingers. Now that my hair has grown a bit, this technique flattens my hair too much. Lately I’ve just been using a satin pillowcase. I can’t wait until I can pineapple again!

There’s no silver bullet to hair growth. It’s all about making sure your hair is as healthy as possible. Following the seven steps above will help your hair grow faster, but there is no replacement for patience. Plus, there are so many short curly cuts you can rock while your hair is growing – try to enjoy the journey.


How to Sleep with Long Curly Hair

How to Sleep with Curly Hair

Guys – this post is not for you. I know there are plenty of frustrated men who wake up with curls in their noses and mouths, but I’ll have to write a post for you another time.

Today’s post is for the ladies (and a few guys!) with curly hair, who want to extend the life of their long curls past wash day. Curls are fragile creatures and often don’t survive the night without protection. Curls get crushed, tousled, rolled into knots or frizzed out, leading many of us to resort to buns, twists or braids before we’re ready.

I personally protect my curls using one of three methods, depending what I did to my hair that day, and how I’d like it to look the next.

Satin Scarf (or Pillowcase)

satin scarf or pillowcase to protect curls at night
Fan it out.

This is the easiest method of all. Cotton pillowcases tend to cause friction with curly hair, and after a night of twisting and turning, the result can be a tangled, frizzy mess. Satin, on the other hand, is smooth, and hair glides right over it (think about how a satin nightgown feels, it’s the same for your hair), so pillowcases of this material cut the frizz factor significantly. I, however, opt for a satin scarf draped over my pillow for two reasons: 1) I haven’t gotten around to buying a satin pillowcase yet, and 2) when my hair is long it hangs over the pillow case onto the cotton sheet above. With a large satin scarf, I can situate it over the pillow AND the sheet area above, then fan my hair out from beneath my head so I’m not crushing it. When I wake up, my curls look virtually untouched. I use this method when I’ve just washed and/or dried my hair, when the curls are tighter with very little frizz, and I want them to look the same the next day. This method is perfect for sound sleepers. If you toss all night, you may end up face down in your curls (see next method)!

The Pineapple

pineapple method for curly hair
Pineapple method

Most curly girls are no stranger to this sleeping method. It’s simple and it really does work, though it has some drawbacks for my hair. To create a pineapple, simply flip your hair over and gather it loosely into a ponytail at the very top of your head. Do not use an elastic! Use either a fabric head band or a scarf tied loosely around the hair, so that you don’t get elastic band lines. Using this method, your curls are piled together at the top of the head and won’t get crushed as you sleep. For even better results, sleep on a satin pillow case or use a scarf as I’ve described above. The pineapple method is better for active sleepers since the hair stands no chance of being rolled over. Many curly girls prefer this method because it stretches out their curls overnight, giving them additional length. This is actually a drawback for me, since my hair is fine and my curls stretch out too easily. For this reason, I usually pineapple on day three or four after washing, since the curls are starting to loosen up anyway.  I’ll revive my hair the next morning by misting it with with water or my DIY curl refreshing spray, then I air dry or diffuse.


Sleeping method for curly hair: two twists.
RiRi demonstrates my twisted sleeping style, in something other than sleepwear. (Source: vogue.com)

When I’ve sucked just about all the life out of my curls as I can, and my hair is stretched and dry, I typically apply a bit of moisturizer and sleep with my hair in two simple twists. At this point my curls are definitely not coming back to life, but I haven’t had time to wash them yet, and my hair will likely end up in a topknot the next day. The twists lock in moisture and  keep my hair from tangling overnight.

I know different methods work for different curls, but these are the ones that work best for my frizz-prone hair. Got any tips for preserving those curls overnight? Share them below!

DIY Curl Refreshing Spray

I mentioned in a previous post that I love a good curl refreshing spray. However, I don’t like to spend a lot of money of them for two reasons: 1) I go through them like water and 2) half the time they don’t work! So I’ve concocted my own curl refreshing recipe that works like a charm on my 2nd, and even 3rd, day curls.  Here are my ingredients:

Ingredients for DIY Curl Refreshing Spray
Coconut Oil, Leave-In Conditioner, Water

I like to use a light leave-in like Giovanni for this spray because it blends easily with water. The leave-in softens and conditions hair, coconut oil makes it shiny and helps moisturize, and of course water is the ultimate natural curl activator.

Here’s approximately what I use in a 2 oz bottle (I make it in small batches so I can put it in my purse or travel with it).

  • 1/8 leave-in conditioner
  • One squirt (maybe a teaspoon) of coconut oil
  • Fill up the rest of the bottle with water

Shake (the bottle) rigorously until the ingredients are well blended. The goal is to achieve what I call “slippery water,” so you may need to add more water or conditioner until you get just the right formula. You want the mixture to be thin enough to spray through a nozzle, but have enough “slip” to coat your locks.

When I’m ready to use it, I flip over my limp, dry curls and shake them at the root to loosen them up, then I spritz the refresher onto my hair until it’s damp all over. I flip upside down again, and gently scrunch my hair upward. Most of the time I let my hair air dry, but you could also use a diffuser on low heat if you’re in a hurry. Et voila!

Before and after DIY Curl Refreshing Spray
Before and after

Smooth, frizz-free curls. Do you have a favorite curl refreshing spray or make your own?

natural curls

Creating Volume for Fine Curly Hair

Creating Volume for Fine Curly Hair

My hair has a split personality. When the weather is hot and humid, it can swell up to a beautiful size without my having to do much but step outside. However, when the weather turns cool and the humidity drops, it just gets kind of… limp. I could use clips, bobby pins and hair spray to help it defy gravity, but I don’t like using these on a daily basis. My hair is thick, but the actual strands are fine, and when there’s no humidity to lift them up, they lay flat at the root and twirl down, forming curls at the ends. So my hair can get very bottom heavy, resulting in flat locks.

There are ways, however, to give fine curly hair the illusion of volume. Here’s what I do when I want big hair:

Cut hair into layers
If you have medium-length hair or longer, be sure to have it cut into layers throughout, rather than just long layers. For example, if your hair hits mid-back, your first layer may start somewhere between your chin and collarbone, depending on your curl pattern. Be sure to have layers cut in the back of the hair as well. You don’t want lots of volume in the front and a flat back.

Go light on the styling products
Heavy-handed use of products will weigh down your hair, preventing you from getting the lift you’re looking for. Personally, I use a small amount of a very moisturizing leave-in, usually Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and maybe a touch of a lightweight gell like Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel. Also, I never apply styling products to the root. If your hair is heavy at the root, the rest will invariably follow suite.

Diffuse upside down
When I have time, I love letting my hair air dry. The curls are more defined and I have less frizz than when I diffuse, but when I want volume, I have to put curl definition on the back burner. My favorite way of diffusing is to let my hair air dry about half-way, then use the diffuser on the low heat setting. The key is diffusing your hair upside down, since this dries the roots in the opposite direction of the way they grow. I dry in sections, gathering one at a time in the diffuser cup, bringing it up to the root and holding it there for a few seconds. If I’m diffusing completely wet hair, I use the high setting or else it takes forever to dry. Once  dry, I always blast my hair with the cool setting to help seal the cuticle.

Creating Volume for FIne Curly HairThe photo above is actually second day hair. After sleeping with my hair in a pineapple, I flipped my hair upside down, shook the curls loose from the root, and used the Ouidad Botanical Boost Refreshing Spray to spruce them up. Another trick I learned to create volume is to use a pick. It works great on fine hair because you can lift the root and separate the curls without causing a lot of frizz. Again, I find I get the most volume if I flip my hair upside down and lift from the root. A pick is also a great tool if you want to achieve the classic Diana Ross look.

If you have any tricks for achieving volume on fine curly hair, please let me know!