My Tools and Routine

Marvelous Monday, ladies! Today’s post is about the tools and products that I use. Here is what I consider to be essential for long hair styles.


My hair is pretty dry, so I don’t use a curling iron, hot rollers, or a hair dryer if I can help it. I’m not brand loyal, so these products may not be the absolute best you can get, but they work for me. You can click on the picture to make it bigger. On the left is my everyday gel. The “Spike It” is my cheap gel (from the dollar store) that I use for theatrical purposes. On the right is my spritz bottle of water. If you don’t have one, I recommend you get a small one so your arm won’t get tired. Having wavy hair, I rarely brush it so I use a wide-tooth comb.

Kind of in shadow in the bottom right corner are my preferred hair pins, the Good Days Magic Grip pins. I really, really like these! They have never fallen out on me; they’re swimming-proof, jig-and-reel-proof, and 4-year-old-boy-proof which pretty much covers everything for me.

My hair care is a work-in-progress, but here is summary of my current routine. On Monday or Tuesday, I do a conditioner-only wash, mainly to rinse out any hairspray from Sunday. On Thursday night I will put some oil on my hair and let it soak in over night. On Friday I wash my hair with a little shampoo and more conditioner. That’s it, nothing fancy. I did try to go pure “Curly Girl” with no shampoo, but my scalp wasn’t getting clean. If your hair has any natural texture, I recommend you try the curly girl method at least once to see if it works for you. I’m not finding an overview online at the moment, but I’ll let ya’ll know if I do.


27 thoughts on “My Tools and Routine

  1. Hi there…I found your blog from your link on S&S. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I alerted the ladies at YLCF about the broken “curly care” link and it’s fixed now. πŸ™‚

  2. Elizabeth, what kind of oil do you put on your hair? I also avoid dryers and such, since my hair tends towards dry already, but in the depths of winter it gets EVEN drier. And recommendation would be most welcome…..

    • Holly,

      My hair is very thin and very fine, also very straight, and that’s honestly got nothing to do with it.

      Your hair gets really oily because you’ve been shampooing every day, and shampoo strips the oil from your hair (which is why you’re doing it, right?) but your scalp and hair need that oil, so your scalp is generating even *more* oil to compensate. It’s a vicious cycle, and the only way to break it is to just let it be super-oily for a couple weeks until your scalp calms down. This is also much better for your hair, really.

      Your scalp will get icky, yes, so be prepared for it.

      Try washing your hair every other day for 2 weeks, then every 3 days. That’s generally my max – if I wait more than 3 days I start to get headaches (don’t ask me why). But even every other day is better than every day.

      Also maybe try using a CO (condition-only) instead of regular S&C (shampoo & condition). Contrary to popular belief, there *are* cleansers in virtually all conditioners except maybe homemade ones. Look up the ingredients online! Unless you sweat a lot or rub dirt on your head, that’s probably more than enough to get clean, and much easier on your scalp and hair.

      The #1 thing I’d suggest is to get in the habit of wearing updos, specifically french (or dutch) braids – either 1 down the center or 1 on each side. That way your hair won’t look so bad and you still won’t have to shampoo.

      I hope this helps. I understand what it’s like, and if I could break out of it and grow healthy hair then so can you! πŸ˜‰

  3. Jenny, I’ve used both olive and grapeseed oil. The olive seemed, but sometimes my hair gets really dry and needs that much moisture. I’ve heard good things about coconut oil, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  4. If you want an easy way to clean your hair without the shampoo, simply sprinkle some baking soda on your scalp area, then spritz with vinegar. Massage with fingers, just like you would with shampoo. Rinse and voila! You’re done. πŸ™‚ Also, since you hair is dry, like mine, here is another tip. Before you put in your conditioner, either ring out your hair really well, or else take a towel, like a small hand one, and dry ou the ends of your hair (it will still be somewhat wet, obviously). Then put your conditioner in, let sit for a few minutes. See, your hair is like a sponge. It can only hold so much moisture. When it is full of water, it can’t take in the conditioner. So, you end up wasting the conditioner more than anything. I started doing that and the dryness really improved. πŸ™‚ For those of you with thick hair that is a pain to brush after taking a shower, take a wide toothed comb and comb through hair while conditioner is in.

    Ok, I will get off of my little soap box. =S But, just thought I would share some helpful tips. πŸ™‚

    Love in Christ,

  5. Hi Elizabeth,

    I too have dry, textured hair. I try to avoid using a curling iron or blow dryer, especially since I’m trying to grow it out (currently my hair touches the bottom of my shoulder blades), but I have a hard time letting it air dry. If I just put in product and leave it alone it turns into a big fuzz ball, but if I braid it then it never fully dries. Do you have any suggestions? Also, I was wondering how you leave the oil in your hair overnight? I’ve only done oil treatments that wash out immediately, so how do you avoid a huge mess?

    Thank you for all the work you put into this website, its really great and a lot of fun to try the different styles πŸ™‚

    • For drying my hair, I have a secret weapon. πŸ˜‰ I live in a desert area so if it’s not drying fast enough, I go outside for a few minutes. One other thing I do most of the time is I’ll make a little hammock out of my towel for the hair to sit in while it’s drying. To do that, fold the towel long-wise and drape it around your shoulders so that the fold is pointing toward your feet. Gently “plop” your hair into the pocket you have created behind your neck. That at least keeps my hair from dripping on everything, and it seems to help with the frizz. Have you read the “Curly Girl” site (link in side bar)?

      For oil, I use less than a teaspoon of either grapeseed or olive oil gently finger-combed into my hair, and my hair almost always soaks it right up. I’ll sleep with it in a shell bun on the top of my head with a big clip holding it in the front. I’m doing that about once or twice week currently since it’s so dry here. If my hair is really “thirsty,” I’ll mix oil and conditioner (about a 1:2 ratio) and warm it up. After slathering it on my hair, I clip it up and wash it a few hour later. I do that maybe once a month. I’ve heard good things about coconut oil, but I can’t find it in a small size, and I’m too cheap to buy one of those big tubs they sell ’round here.

      • Elizabeth,

        Thank you so much for the tips! The towel hammock did help with the frizz quite a bit. I also tried the olive oil treatment and it did wonders that store bought brands have never accomplished!

        Thanks again!

      • I’ve found that “plopping” my hair, not into a hammock but actually a cover, has helped with the frizz too! Also, just this week I kind of started a new(ish) routine; Monday I did a conditioner-only wash, which made my hair super soft; Tuesday I sprayed diluted apple cider vinegar all over to erase product buildup; and overnight Tuesday I put in an avacado/nettles hair treatment mixed with conditioner and put it all over my hair, and today my hair is curly on the ends and much shinier πŸ™‚

    • You can find them online too, and most likely anywhere that sells Goody or Scrunchie products will have some. Experiment with them until you find some that are 1) hair friendly and 2) work for your hair. Those Goodie pins aren’t all that great for me, personally – they seem to tangle, and sometimes rip my hair, it’s a pain to try to get them out and I’ve had them break while trying to push them in! I think they work better with thicker and/or coarser hair to be honest.

  6. HAve you ever tried a wood comb? I don’t use anything else anymore( except sometimes a natural brush )The wood comb helps me to get trough my hair easier and it is also less static. Blessings Friederike

    • I use that big plastic comb and the pink comb in the picture almost exclusively. I haven’t tried anything else, but I’ve heard good things about wood combs. I’m glad that works for you.

  7. Hi I found your blog on the S&S forum as well. I love all your tutorials, as a curly girl and one who uses some of the methods from the curly girl hand book I must say that going with no shampoo is the best for me! My hair is cork screw curls, but not small ones, big ones, and I have found going no shampoo and using baking soda in water for my shampoo is great! Its cheap and still cleans my hair and I also use apple cider vingegar for my conditioner. Its also cheap and works great. So I recommend for curly girls not going without shampoo, just using natural products. You can see under my natural hair care tab on my blog what I do on a regular basis and what my hair look like as a result.

    In Christ,

  8. I love those little Good Days pins- they work so well! I wash my hair with a mixture of baking soda, liquid organic castile soap (mixture of oils and vitamin E you can get at health food store or online- so good for your hair!) and water about every third or fourth day, and condition with vinegar. No way will I ever go back to commercial shampoos or condtioners! I have straight hair, but most all of the other girls I know who do the “no ‘poo” method have curly hair. Amazing results! There are no chemicals and it leaves your hair so light. The vinegar makes your hair practically tangle free- I have almost no rats in my hair when I get out of the shower. Really cool stuff =) I would definitely recommend trying this method for a week or so (it takes hair a few days to adjust). You won’t be sorry!

  9. Try a health-food store for coconut oil. It was about $5 for the jar I got eight years ago and I still have it because a little goes a long way. Maybe three times, I’ve taken a dye brush and coated the full length and I’ve still got about 3/4 of the jar.

  10. Hi Elizabeth! I had looked at the Curly Girl site and it says you aren’t supposed to comb or brush your hair–ever. I am not a fan of the idea of my hair being uncombed. Do you know why they say this? Do you think wide-tooth combs, regular combs, or brushes are better for curly hair? I noticed that you use mostly combs, right?

  11. Wonderful tutorials! I have hair down to my hips and use homemade conditioner that is cocoa butter mixed with coconut oil. It’s great for dry skin as well. Thanks for the fabulous hairstyles – I have shared them with my longhaired friends.

  12. Hi,

    A friend of mine recommended this site so i thought i’d take a look. My hair is resonably long (as long as i can get it to grow) down to my hips. I was wondering if anybody knew a way to stop split ends? i use a soft brush to brush my hair and i don’t use any hot irons on my hair. i also wash my hair every second day with shampoo and conditioner.


  13. Hi Elizabeth πŸ™‚ I am a “Curly Girl” who is more wavy, but not quite a Wavy Girl I don’t think. I’ve looked at the Curly Girl website, plus looked up other things on the Internet, but the things they do appear a bit extreme to me. They say most of the following:
    — Don’t brush or comb your hair except for right after you shower
    — Don’t use shampoo
    — Put mousse on it after you shower
    — Don’t wash out all the conditioner
    — Don’t scrunch-dry with a terry cloth towel
    Most of the above bothers me. I dislike having uncombed hair, and if I do comb or brush it it pretty much destroys the curls and leaves semi-wavy hair in its place (plus makes it frizzy!). I’m fine with only using a little bit of shampoo once a week or so as long as I can cleanse my scalp with conditioner on other days of the week. But the mousse or the leave-in conditioner–I’ve tried that and it makes my hair really sticky and stiff. Ick. Same with not washing out all the conditioner. And T-shirts soak through so fast that it’s much easier to scrunch-dry with a terry cloth towel. Do you have any better ideas for moisturizing my hair and keeping the curls? Thanks!

  14. I am also wondering about a good botanical conditioner. The one I use now–TreSemme Flawless Curls Optimal Hydration–has a ton of alcohol in it and no botanicals or humectants. Does anyone have an idea?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s