How To Refresh Curls: The Curly Girl Method

One of the great benefits of the Curly Girl Method is that the healthier your hair becomes, the less you will need to wash it. In fact, many followers of the Curly Girl Method only wash their hair once or twice a week, and in between they simply refresh their curls.

How to refresh curls

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A curl refresh is an easy, 5-10 minute exercise which will restore the bounce and volume of your curls in the morning.

Curls become flat and dull overnight but with the right refresh method, your second, third and even fourth-day curls can come back to life without the need for a wash.

It is very easy to refresh curls on the Curly Girl Method. All you need is a product such as conditioner, gel or curl crème, a spray bottle, and water. You can also use a diffuser for more volume but this is optional.

What Things Do I Need?

I like to make my Curly Girl Method routine as simple as possible and I therefore only use 3 things when I do a refresh.

  • 1 or 2 styling products
  • Spray bottle 
  • Diffuser

To be honest, you don’t even need the diffuser but it will shave a lot off your drying time and also add volume to your curls.

You can get spray bottles very cheaply online. I got this one from Amazon and it is one of the best purchases I have made. 

If you don’t already have a diffuser, I would highly recommend the Hairizone Universal Diffuser. It is affordable, and durable and it fits most hairdryers. 

In terms of which products to use, I have highlighted my favorites for each refresh method below.

3 Ways To Refresh Curls On The Curly Girl Method

Method 1

I would recommend this method for regular hold curls or if you are just starting out.

You will need:

Mix 2 tablespoons of conditioner with 300ml of water in the spray bottle.

Spray your hair with the mixture. Don’t soak your hair but it should be wet enough so that it doesn’t dry straight away.

Flip your hair upside down and scrunch your curls upwards. If you’re experiencing a lot of frizz, add more mixture or simply just water.

You will want to recreate the pre-gel phase so it’s important that your hair is hydrated and curls are forming frizz-free.

Rub a small amount of gel between your palms and scrunch your curls upside down again. 

Flip your hair backwards and rake your fingers through your roots to lift them. 

Scrunch your curls until you are happy with the shape and diffuse on a cold setting or leave to air dry. 

Method 2

For tight curls that hold well and require a heavier product to reduce frizz.

You will need: 

Wet your hair with water from the tap or use a spray bottle. Your hair should not be soaking wet but towel dry. 

Rub a small amount of curl crème between your palms and flip your hair forward and apply the crème.

Use the praying method to smooth the product onto your curls and to avoid as much frizz as possible. 

Scrunch your curls upwards to add volume and definition.

Add a small amount of gel to your hair and scrunch upwards again.

Flip your hair back and lift your roots with your fingers.

When happy with the shape of your curls, diffuse or leave to air dry.

Method 3

For hair that needs a lot of moisture or has protein overload symptoms.

You will need:

Note: for protein-free conditioner, go for Papaya Hair food.

Wet your hair with the spray bottle or from the tap. You don’t want to soak your hair through but you want it to be wet enough to be able to take in the product. 

Rub a small amount of deep conditioning product between your palms. 

Flip your hair upside down and scrunch your curls. You’ll want them to be saturated through with the product.

If you are experiencing a lot of frizz, separate each curl if possible and smooth it with your fingers.

Apply a small amount of gel to your curls and scrunch upwards.

Flip hair backwards and style as appropriate.

Diffuse for best results but you can let air dry.

For more ways to refresh, check out this post by

Also Read: What Happens If You Don’t Wash Out Keratin After A Treatment

Related Topics

Do I Have To Refresh If Following The Curly Girl Method? 

You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. It’s your hair, your rules.

However refreshing saves you so much time in the long run as well as helps protect the natural oils in your hair as you’re not constantly washing it.

A refresh is super easy, cheap, and absolutely worthwhile doing and once you get the hang of it, you won’t want to wash your hair every single day.

My Curly Girl Method Refresh Is Never Successful – What Can I Do? 

Refreshes take time to learn and master.

It is important to let your hair heal first when you start on the Curly Girl Method and a refresh may not be the best idea straight away.

However, if you are struggling with refreshes I have a little pro tip.

The single biggest change I made to get a perfect refresh routine was not to change my routine but to change my sleeping habits.

I was resistant for months but after I bought a silk satin sleeping cap my whole curly refresh routine became a breeze. It’s up to you whether you choose a silk or satin sleep cap, the effect is pretty much the same. I use this one that I bought from Amazon.

There are so many benefits to sleeping with a silk satin cap. Primarily, your curls remain intact overnight but you also reduce the risk of frizz which is caused by friction between your curls and your pillow.

I would strongly recommend you buy a sleeping cap as it has massively changed my second and third-day curls.

Just make sure you sleep with your hair in a pineapple and then place the satin silk cap on top.

Let me know how you got on with your refresh in the comments below!  

The Curly Girl Method: How To Refresh Curls

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4 thoughts on “How To Refresh Curls: The Curly Girl Method”

  1. I am reading information on your site. Thank you for all of these useful tips. Have you heard of Innersense?

    • Hi Nicole,

      I’ve heard of Innersense but never used the products. Due to Covid 19 I am actually in Denmark for the next 3 months and I can see their products are available here so I might try it out. Thanks! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the tips! You say to “Mix 2 tablespoons of conditioner with 300ml of conditioner in the spray bottle.” Is one of those meant to be gel or water?

    • 300ml of water! Sorry about that and thanks so much for letting me know 🙂
      Dee x

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