The Hair Type
“I have 4c type hair, which is very coily and prone to dryness, so the main thing I look for in products is hydration,” Ryan explains. “For me, I find that any products with cetyl alcohol high up on the ingredients list are super drying so I tend to avoid them.”
The Washing Routine
“Because my hair is naturally dry, I find washing it too often strips out the natural oils, so 'wash day' is generally once every 7-10 days, depending on how much styling I've done during the week,” she says.
“[In addition to my in-shower products], a wide tooth comb is perfect for me during the detangling and sectioning process on wash days because I just have so much hair.”
“For my pre-poo, I use a DIY concoction of honey & avocado oil — [it] sounds like salad dressing, but the avocado oil penetrates the hair strand and the honey is an emollient [which helps to hydrate and add shine].”
“A [big thing for me] is [choosing] shampoos that are either sulfate free or low-lather because [sulfates] strip the oils from my hair thus making it even drier. Many of Shea Moisture's shampoos are sulfate-free; the one I'm using at the moment is from their coconut & hibiscus range.”
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo, $19.99 at priceline.com.au
“I'm actually on the lookout for a new deep conditioner [that doesn’t involve] single use packaging, but [I’m currently using] the Palmer’s Coconut Oil Deep Conditioning Protein Pack. I like that I can buy it locally and it leaves my hair feeling soft.”
Palmer’s Coconut Oil Deep Conditioning Protein Pack, $3.99 at priceline.com.au
The Daily Styling Regimen
“[After] wash day, I usually leave my hair as is after I wash out my deep conditioner. Most days I wear my hair in its natural afro state, so [on non-wash days, I] shower with a shower cap on [to keep it dry],” Ryan tells marie claire of her daily styling starting point.
“Most of the products I use are light in texture and focus on hydration, like mists and 'milk'-style leave-in conditioners,” she says. “[For example, post-shower], I refresh with a spritz of water and a mist; I recommend the Organic Suku hair mist.”
Organic Suku Hydrate Organic Hair Mist, $46.05 at organicsuku.com
“Dryness is obviously the biggest issue with my hair but also creating a more defined curl without having my hair feel 'crunchy'," she explains. "I absolutely love that with the right products, my coils can have definition."
"On days when I'm feeling it [does] need a bit more definition, I'll allow a bit more moisture in while showering (without fully saturating my hair). [Then I’ll] scrunch in the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and use a diffuser on low heat to set the style. [I also love the] Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. They both moisturise the hair, reduce frizz and at the same time create definition.”
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, $24.99 at priceline.com.au
Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, $40 at natureshair.com.au
“I've also been wearing my hair in a high-puff recently and creating a nicely slicked back look with a little pliable putty and a bristle brush which makes the puff pop even more. The 'pliable putty' I use is technically a pomade — it’s the Curls Passionfruit Curl Control Paste. It's able to provide enough hold, even for my afro hair without drying out, plus it smells delicious.”
Curls Passionfruit Curl Control Paste, $19.50 at saintcurl.com.au
The Pre-Sleep Ritual
“A silk turban is my best friend for overnight,” Ryan adds. “It protects my hair from friction while sleeping. When curls rub overnight on a cotton pillowcase they turn to frizzy messes but the silk allows the curls to slip across [without pulling]. I even have my kids sleep on silk pillowcases for this exact reason and trust me, the difference is noticeable.”
Slip Pure Silk Turban, $95 at sephora.com.au