To my utmost chagrin, there is nothing spectacular about my hair. On a good day, (cough, rarely), it’s clean, bouncy, shiny, and depending on how I style it, swinging with either silk-pillowcase-induced waves (these are my favorite!) or smooth and sleek strands. As a child, my hair started out platinum and fluffy, then morphed to dishwater and stringy, to brassy and curly (around middle school), to still brassy and fried to the tenth power (high school), before finally settling into my favorite, least revolting phase: bright buttery blonde, with soft and natural waves—right around my Freshmen year of college. Of course, leave it to Murphy and his laws that as soon as my hair hit its best stride—I’d found the right shade of blonde, styling M.O., and products—I torched it all off my head. Or rather, a colorist who shall go unnamed did. That was back during my sophomore year of college, and countless cuts, color jobs, extensions, more cuts, and six years later, I’m finally back to a place of loving my hair and actually receiving compliments on it. (A true win when you’ve had hair history like mine.)
Of course, I haven’t gotten there alone. I’ve been able to work with some of the best colorists in the business since landing here at Byrdie as an assistant editor, gleaning some of their best tips and tricks for gaining (and maintaining!) a healthy head of hair. I swear by both Ritual’s Multivitamins ($30) and Hum Nutrition’s Hair Sweet Hair Gummies ($25), have laid off the heat styling, slashed my color appointments roughly in half, and, of course, cultivated a holy grail collection of hair products.
Now, for years, and even still a few months ago, I relied on a blow dryer and flatiron daily to make my hair what I personally deemed as presentable. Sad, because naturally (when it’s healthy) my hair actually has some pretty bends and wave—a texture I had perfected back in those golden days of college (pre-bleach apocalypse) and that required minimal heat styling and upkeep. zero heat styling and minimal upkeep. So, in mourning, I decided to give my hair the ultimate detox—putting in place the aforementioned TLC moves in an effort to regain my soft, healthy, compliment-worthy natural texture back. And, roughly five months later…it’s finally worked.
Unless I have some kind of special occasion warranting more polish and effort, I’ve been getting into the easy-does-it habit of simply washing my hair at night, spraying in an assortment of leave-ins, administering a few quick scrunches, and then falling asleep with it splayed up fan-like across my silk pillowcase. (I’ve also found leaving it just a wee bit damp is key.) Then when I wake up, I have a malleable, wavy texture—my natural, just a bit enhanced—which just requires a few finishing touches before I head out the door. So easy.
So, since I finally feel I’ve mastered the natural (aka no heat-required) styling of my fine, kind-of-curly texture, I thought I’d share each and every product that’s helped me along the way. Keep scrolling for 21 products I rotate, love, and have been using ceaselessly this year to enhance and perfect my sometimes-wavy, sometimes-curly, damage-prone strands.