silken soft springing curls

Products for soft, DEFINED, springing curls!
SOFT curls that clump!nashville stephanie klein 20web
Nashville with Brandy and a bottle of  Tresseme Smooth Frizz-Fighting Hair Spray Gel
Know what kills me about living in Boca Raton? No, it’s not the humidity. It’s seeing the same uglyass hair on every other woman. We all know the difference between curly hair that’s been ironed and the thick enviable sheen of an Asian woman’s bouncy locks. Naturally straight hair is glossy in a way your limpy wimpy waves gone straight by route and root of Brazil or Keratin will never be. At this age [insert any age over 24], haven’t you gotten over your wolf dressed up as a sheep routine? Be who you are and own that shit already.

curly girl 02curly girl 01
Notice how the curl starts close to the base of my head? That’s what you want. You don’t want straight that suddenly breaks into curl any more than you want a mullet. Also, my hair in the above front / back photos was unimaginably soft! No hardness or sticky at all.
climate controlI’ve been playing hair chef these past few weeks, trying and buying everything. Mouse, gel, spiral curling gel, spray gels, gels that promise less frizz, leave-in’s promising better sex, thick creams insisting there’s nourishment within. Here’s my verdict. Know how you might enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, but you have your go-to dazzle dish when you want to impress? Maybe you’ve mastered the perfect souffle. That’s how I feel about my hair. I have two power moves; here are my cocktails of choice:

aveda prep1. Aveda Prep. I stopped a woman on the street, kind of stalked her, then asked. What, oh what, do you use? And she swore by this product. I am so so thankful. It’s slime glory. It’s wonderful. I don’t know what it does exactly, but it does it well.

2.  Kiehl’s Silk Groom. I discovered this product when I asked three different friends with long curly ropes of hair what they used. This product somehow makes the curls “group” together, like it has some magnetic effects. I can’t explain it better than that.

3. Later in the day or days to follow, to refresh curls, I’ve tried everything, every brand. I’ve found two products that work without becoming unbearably sticky:


A must: a real favorite that I use daily when my hair is still wet, just out of the Aquis Towel (and again as a really great reviving spray that doesn’t get sticky or hard) is the Ouidad Botanical Boost. Love this product! I know what you’re thinking. A spray won’t do shit for my hair. But this stuff really does.

One other product that I’ve already FINISHED: Tresseme Smooth Frizz-Fighting Hair Spray Gel. This stuff CURLS your hair (see above). Like, ridiculous. I’ve never found a product that measures its equal. It’s insane. It’s great to spray on the specific parts of your hair where you’ve lost any curl (like random ends). I usually break this out at the end of Day 2, before going out. It really does breathe life back into your hair. But, after sleeping on it for a night, you will absolutely have to shampoo the next morning. Also, I found this stuff in a drug store and ever since I haven’t been able to find it anywhere but online. Do not confuse this product with the similar looking Thermal line. Totally different.

Dryer 6200
When I feel like perfect curls and I have the time, I’ll go 100% Ouidad (it’s not even close. This stuff isn’t even in the same league as DevaCurl. Ouidad is just a superior product without the sticky hard look or feel. But… the DevaCurl Dryer & DevaFuser duo is totally on my wishlist. I’m now obsessed with ordering one.). When I do this fancier curl, here’s my formula:

1. & 2. Ouidad Clear Shampoo (but personally, I wouldn’t go out and buy any curl-specific shampoo. I just don’t think it does much. But I do love their Climate Control Defrizzing Conditioner.

920092. Ouidad Botanical Boost, combed through with a wide-tooth comb. Mine has missing spokes, so I’m now buying the Double Take Comb. That’s not its name, but it should be. The Double Detangler.

4. Tress Effects. I’ve written about this product for years. I like it as much as the Climate Control Gel (which is costlier but kills frizz), and I prefer Tress Effects and Climate Control to Curl Quench, which is for super thirsty kinky curls. Tress Effects and Climate Control have a good thin slime texture, exactly what I look for in a gel. I “rake & shake” very small sections of hair after coating in Tress Effects or Climate control. I pin the tops of curls with duckbill clips, up off my scalp, so my hair doesn’t dry flat on top. Air dry or defuse without touching your hair.

5. Once hair is dry, the curls will feel a little stuck in place. Not crunchy, but stuck. They key is loosening the curls with Shine Glaze serum, used sparingly. I turn over, so the nape of my neck is facing the ceiling, and I take my hands (coated in Shine Glaze) flatten on my scalp with curls between my fingers, and shake gently. I do this everywhere, until my hair looks full and feels luxuriously soft. My curls make me deliciously happy when I do them this way. And if they look a little sad, I Botanical Boost them into shape.

Below, photos of me with the Hair Recipe footnoted.

botanical boost hair
Primary ingredient used above: Botanical Boost (curls aren’t as curly because my layers were much longer, weighing down the curl)
pantene tresseme hair
Tresseme Hair
Dirty Hair. That’s right. My hair Day 3, with the help of my Kick Ass Curling Iron to frame the face and manage the random stragglers.

I still use all of the products above! Especially love the stuff by Ouidad. And the duckbill clips make a difference!



How to create Soft Sexy Curls


  1. Would love to see a photo or video of how you pin up your hair with the duck bills. I have the problem with the hair pulling straight at the roots due to weight, but when I try to pin the roots up to dry, it creates a shape that looks awful and it still seems straight.

  2. Love it! I have stick-straight hair with zero volume, so of course I have always found curly hair to be absolutely gorgeous, and yours is especially pretty. BUT, isn’t your curly girl manifesto undercut just a tad by your signature blog photo at the top right corner with that same fakeass STRAIGHT HAIR you claim you despise in this post? (Time for a new photo, perhaps? New Year, new you, and all that.)

    1. Author

      Good point! Though on my priority list, “change images on site” just ain’t making the productivity cut. I have to focus! But yes, excellent point. Also, I actually love the look of curly hair when it’s blown smooth and bouncy! I just can’t stand that fried ironed stick straight look. It looks dead and lifeless, and people pay for that shite. I WILL have my hair blown smooth from time to time, for the record. So long as the ends are flippy and my hair looks sea-swept not like seaweed.

  3. OK, OK, OK. I know. I have the exact same hair as you do (only brunette and not as long. I’m working on it). I do love my curls when they come out great too, but it’s so much effing work! When I blow my hair out (3/4 of the time) I get SO much more wear out of it! Letting my hair air dry without touching it for 2 hours is rediculous! I live in VT where it’s COLD in the winter. I can’t go out like that. I can’t sweat. I can’t put a hat on. I can’t wear a bike helmet. I can’t even put it in a ponytail without ruining all my beautiful curls. When I blow it out (which takes a freakin’ half hour and is a PITA) I can go days and do anything to it and it’ll recover! I guess what you’re saying is I could do all that if I was armed with an arsenal of products to revive it. OK. I’ll buy that. And I am a product junkie so I’ve bookmarked this post. Currently I use Diva Curl products but I’ll keep my eyes out for some of the above. Thanks for the ideas, and your curls are beautiful.

  4. Thanks for all this. It seems like a lot of effort and work. What’s your quick and dirty way to get decent curls without a lot of frizz?

    1. Author

      Yank Aveda prep through hair, work curl conscious cream through. Use aquis towel to push up curls and mop up any excess product and water. Go out the door.

  5. My biggest fear is Day 2! Really! I cannot wash every day! I need to read the above five more times to understand exactly what to do from wet to set to the morning of Day 3/4. I had my own outline in my head of how I’d like to read it, but I’ll glean what I need from the above. THANKS!

  6. Thanks for walking us through this. I had great – make that amazing- results with Deva Curl for the first 6 weeks I used it, but now it’s just not helping my curls at all. I’m in Colorado so it’s not frizz I fight, but dry weather. Back to B&B curl creme for me, but I think I’ll add either aveda prep or ouidad boost to my routine.

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE the recipes! Every day I need to change mine up b/c my hair gets too used to the same products (even worse since getting pregnant)! I am definitely going to try some of the products you use, b/c I am fairly certain I have the same texture to my curls as you do, but I keep my shorter. I can easily go 4 days without washing my hair, it’s all about wetting it the next day and reapplying fresh product.

    I do have one suggestion for you if you aren’t already doing this or haven’t tried and this is straight out of the 19050s! I sleep with a satin pillow case (I truly use my Mom’s from the 50’s and have an extra one from Bed Bath and Beyond)! For nights when I have gotten a blow out, it keeps it nice and smooth and for nights when it’s curly, it helps it from tangling (even if I put it up). By using the satin pillow case, it adds to the days I can go without washing it! And NO ONE would ever know!!

  8. Yay! Love! Thanks, SK! Now, about the Entertaining/Decorating/Cookbook book/s : ) You’re awesome!

  9. Thanks for these reviews and product descriptions! I love to straighten my hair, but mainly because i haven’t found a good way to wear it curly. Yours looks absolutely gorgeous.

  10. Love your curls! I have coarse curls, shoulder length, that, if done right with product, etc, look adorable but never after sleeping. When I straighten my hair (with a wet to dry ceramic iron -no blowdrying needed) it can last for up to several days sometimes with a minor touch up needed and I can put it in a scrunchie when I do my “power walk” which I can’t do with curls. My husband does like it ‘natural” meaning right out of the shower, when it’s damp with the perfect curls but without a lot of work it would never dry right and it would be all over the place. Especially now that I have a toddler the “fake straight” makes it look the most presentable in the least amount of time.

  11. This post…THIS POST….is my all time favorite. That may seem weird, but I have curly, CURLY hair. So to read “Be who you are and own that shit already” made me jump up and down and cheer like my team just won the Super Bowl. Woot!

  12. OK, so I bought the Aveda and the Tresemme and O…M…G… That Aveda stuff is the absolute best I have ever used. Curl Crack.

  13. Thanks for sharing your tips! You didn’t mention which curling irons you use, but I swear by this.

    Awesome for second and third day hair!!! It’s the only curling iron that actually makes curls that look like my naturally curly hair. Great for creating height at the crown as well after sleeping on it or pulling it up.

  14. I have thick, coarse (kind of), wavy-to-curly hair, and I would die (really, DIE) without Kiehl’s Creme with Silk Groom. It may be too heavy for your hair, but if you haven’t tried, give it a go. But be warned: If it works for you, you’ll never be able to live without it for a single day of the rest of your life.

    As for shampoos/conditioners for curly hair, I mostly agree. Mostly. But I’ve been using Matrix Curl.Life for years and it does exactly what all the other curly-hair shampoos/conditioners promise but can’t deliver: It calms the frizz without weighing hair down, decreases drying time (either air or blow drying) and does the preliminary work of whipping the curl pattern into shape. I think it’s been discontinued, but I’m told the Aveda curl line works in similar fashion (although it’s more expensive). I wouldn’t know, however, as I’m still working my way through my Matrix stockpile.

    With those two products, I’ve gone from a layering of too many products/drying hair with a diffuser/damaging my hair regimen to a wash-and-go/healthy looking and feeling hair regimen.

  15. Love the tips! Def wanna go out and buy Aveda prep now! :)

  16. okay, I have semi-loose wavy kinky type curls. Not coil or tight tresses. I also dip dye 1/2 of my hair. In the winter it’s staticky, dry, fuzzy/fluffy. I have oily roots. I REALLY REALLY Do Not want to keep spending literally $50-$100 dollars on S+C. I just bought Tresseme Color Revitalize S+C. Because I do color my hair as stated above, once a month. I got them because I Needed something that I could get my “bang for my buck” and buy it at Any drugstore available across the country. Please please do you have any suggestions on S+C for Curly hair and Colored hair? And what Styling product I could be using with my Tresseme Color Revitalize S+C? Please reply.

    1. Author

      S+C for those playing along at home is SHAMPOO and CONDITIONER. You want nothing with sulfates, which is too harsh and will strip away color (and anyway, with curly hair, you always want sulfate-free). If you have oily roots, but static, dry, fluff, I suggest applying a leave-in conditioner to the ends, applying IN THE SHOWER, when the hair is sopping wet, conditioners I suggest above are safe for color-treated hair.


      Alkylbenzene sulfonates
      Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate
      Ammonium laureth sulfate
      Ammonium lauryl sulfate
      Ammonium Xylenesulfonate
      Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
      Sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
      Sodium laureth sulfate
      Sodium lauryl sulfate
      Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
      Sodium myreth sulfate
      Sodium Xylenesulfonate
      Ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate
      Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate

      As for styling products, you don’t want to use anything with the word ‘CONE’ in the ingredient list (see exceptions below). AVOID THESE IN STYLING PRODUCTS:

      Bisaminopropyl dimethicone
      Cetearyl methicone
      Cetyl Dimethicone
      Stearoxy Dimethicone
      Stearyl Dimethicone
      Behenoxy Dimethicone
      Phenyl trimethicone
      Mineral oil (parrifidium liquidium)
      Waxes: bees wax, candelia wax, etc.


      Denatured alcohol
      SD alcohol 40
      Witch hazel
      SD alcohol
      Propyl alcohol
      Isopropyl alcohol

      These are exceptions that are OK:

      Lauryl methicone copolyol (water soluble)
      Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone
      Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane (water soluble)
      Dimethicone Copolyol (water soluble)
      PEG-Dimethicone, or any other ‘cone with “PEG-” suffix (water soluble)
      Emulsifying Wax
      PEG-Hydrogenated Castor Oil
      Natural oils: Avocado oil, Olive oil, Coconut oil, etc.
      Benzophenone-2, ( or 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) – sunscreen
      Methychloroisothiazolinone – preservative
      Methylisothiazolinone – preservative

      Here is a list of moisturizing alcohols:

      Behenyl alcohol
      Cetearyl alcohol
      Cetyl alcohol
      Isocetyl alcohol
      Isostearyl alcohol
      Lauryl alcohol
      Myristyl alcohol
      Stearyl alcohol
      C30-50 Alcohols
      Lanolin alcohol

  17. My hair looks like yours on the first day after wash but after i slept on it twice the curls go limp and it just looks retarded. How could i preserve curls overnight. I tried the pineaple hair trick but it just streaches out my curls leaving it even more retarded :(

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