Curly Hair Care

How to Brush Curly Hair the Right Way

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Hey there, I’m Pallavi, your curly hair coach. Welcome to my blog where I show you how to reduce frizz and get beautiful, healthy natural hair. Today’s post is for you if you want to learn how to brush curly hair the right way.

Chances are if you have grown up with dry or frizzy hair, you would have had long sessions with your mom who’d struggle to comb or brush your hair. I remember I hated getting my hair combed because it would hurt a lot. 😣

The thing about hair like ours that is wavy or curly is that combing and brushing it dry daily is a mistake.

Even with oils, it leaves us with poofy, frizzy lion hair.

Instead, check out my tips below, which will make detangling incredibly easy and leave you with moisturised waves and curls.

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Table of Contents

What You Will Need

  1. Detangling brush or Wide Tooth Comb
  2. Any oil of your choice
  3. A gentle shampoo
  4. A creamy, thick, moisturising conditioner
  5. A Leave-in-Conditioner or Curl Cream
  6. Patience (Yes, don’t try to detangle without this, you’ll end up with a lot more breakage!)

How to Brush Curly Hair- A Step by Step Guide

Step 1- Finger-Detangle With Oil

Before you get inside the shower, lightly oil your hair with oil. Coconut, Almond, Sesame, Argan all work well.

Then use your fingers to remove the big knots, sliding down through your hair.

Then take your detangling brush or a wide tooth comb and start brushing gently from the bottom going up.

I prefer a detangling brush over a comb just because the bristles are flexible and make brushing curly hair easier.

Once done, don’t worry about your hair resembling a lion – magic awaits inside the shower.

P.s- preparing your curls before washing is also important because it reduces tension on the hair strands when it’s wet.

I don’t always do this step unless my hair is very knotted up or tangled – I usually start from step two.

But my hair has been healthy for a long time now (touchwood) so if you’re just starting or even experience a lot of breakage inside the shower, don’t skip this step.

Step 2- Shampoo Your Hair

Take a gentle shampoo, preferably sulphate free and only apply on the scalp. Rub well and rinse the shampoo out.

Don’t worry if you haven’t shampooed the length, you will only make it drier if you do. Plus when the shampoo water slides off, that is enough to remove the dirt usually.

Find a shampoo closest to your budget in this post.

Step 3- Section Your Hair

Depending on how thick your hair is, divide it gently into 2-3 sections.

You will condition one section at a time to ensure all your hair is moisturised and detangled well.

Step 4- Apply a Moisturising Conditioner to Each Section

A way to judge how good a conditioner is for frizzy, dry or wavy curly hair is by its ‘slip’- as in how slippery the conditioner makes your hair strands.

I always recommend conditioners based on their slip since it smoothens the hair cuticle, making it lie down flat. This reduces frizz.

If you’re experiencing a lot of breakage, chances are your conditioner isn’t slippery enough.

Some of my favourite pocket-friendly conditioners for their slip are – Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Masque, Love and Beauty Planet Conditioners and  Reequil Conditioners

You can find more options close to your budget here.

How to brush curly hair after applying conditioner

  1. Apply a generous amount (and I mean generous. Take a big dollop in your palm) to each section, sliding your hair between your palms from crown to the ends.
  2. Use your fingers to gently detangle.
  3. I also recommend you do this under a gentle flow of the shower. I find the flow of water speeds up the process.
  4. Take a wide-tooth comb next and comb gently starting from the ends to the top.
  5. You can alternatively use the detangling brush or use it after the wide-tooth comb (what I do).
  6. This gives beautiful soft clumps and also helps to distribute the conditioner equally throughout your hair.
  7. Watch how I do it in the video below-

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🔸 Watch how easy it is to detangle with the @devacurl conditioner and how the @curlkeeper flexi brush smoothens my curls into clumps! 🔸 I also tried a different way of styling today- no combs, only hands- also called ‘Raking In’ . It’s an alternative to styling combs and brushes. 🔸 I used the @tginatural leave in conditioner, @cremeofnature mousse and flaxseed hair gel 😍 . Somethings to remember – ✅ Remember to have your hair SOAKING WET when you try to detangle after applying conditioner – I often put my head under the shower after applying the conditioner and right before finger detangling- the force of the water makes it easier. I couldn’t show that in this video though because my bathroom is tiny and the lighting is terrible 🤣 ✅ I’ve been sceptical of Devacurl but this is a good conditioner – not too heavy, mild scent and good detangling slip. You can read my full review on THECURIOUSJALEBI.COM ✅ You can skip the gel and just use a mousse in case you want softer definition, great for soft waves or fine curls ✅ A big mistake I see newbies making is the amount of conditioner and leave in conditioner they use – if you’re in doubt, use a TON of it!! Your curls need them, especially in the beginning. ❌ Just raking in gave me great results on day one but not as much definition as I’d get with a styling comb! Using the latter also gives me less frizz on day 2,3! . 📣 Want to try the conditioner and more genuine devacurl products in India? Head on over to @naturallyyounme and use my code CURIOUSJALEBI for a discount! 😁

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Step 5- Rinse Out The Conditioner

Now some girls if they’re feeling lazy or just do not want to spend on another product like a leave in conditioner, choose to leave some in.

Confused? 😛

It means that they don’t rinse out the conditioner fully. Some of it remains in the hair keeping it moisturised until it’s time to wash again.

I tend to fully rinse it out since I apply a very generous amount to aid detangling and keeping all of that in will leave my curls weighed down.

I then follow up with a store bought leave in conditioner.

Don’t worry about what is better since it depends on person to person – I suggest you try both ways to see what suits you more!

Step 6- Apply a Leave-in-Conditioner & Gel

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Sorry for the video being too overexposed!! It’s not easy shooting myself outside without my glasses on 🤣But here’s what I did for the results you saw in my last post- . 💥 Smoothed on two dollops of @mielleorganics pomegranate and honey leave in conditioner to both sections of my hair. Just coat your strands with it. 💥 Took my @curlkeeper flexi brush and combed through. Watch the twisting motion carefully – that is the secret of my clumping! 💥 Smoothed on the @mielleorganics ginger and honey styling gel. Remember to emulsify this with some water in your palms if you be it’s too sticky for you. A little goes a long way! 💥 Again take some gel in your palms and scrunch up to remove excess product and to encourage #curlformation 💥 Repeat with a T-shirt if necessary and air dry or like I prefer – use a diffuser (video tutorial of diffusing the right way on my YouTube Channel!!) 🌸 And voila! 😁 . I had stopped shooting with my camera for some time now, choosing my phone but honestly I prefer pictures and videos with my dslr. Time to put in the work for videos again and not end up with an over exposed video like this! . You can get all these 3 products in India 🇮🇳 from @naturallyyounme – use my code CURIOUSJALEBI for a discount!

A post shared by Pallavi| (@thecuriousjalebi) on

Now if you didn’t leave any conditioner in or most of it is rinsed away, apply a leave in conditioner of your choice.

You can also use a curl cream, this is a thicker, richer product meant for very curly hair.

You apply these products the same way you applied the conditioner and comb.

This will ensure your curls remain moisturised, hydrated and soft for a few days, until it’s time to wash again. Skipping this is not recommended if you have very curly hair.

In wavy hair, simply applying the leave in conditioner or a gel to each section with your palms (also called smoothening it on or Praying Hands Method) will preserve the clumps. Combing wavy hair will break the clumps.

A  very common question I get is – Do I need to apply both leave in conditioner and gel?

If you have very curly hair, the yes, apply both. Your hair type is drier, needs more moisture and will remain defined longer with both.

If you have wavy hair, you’ll need to experiment. Some loose waves or curls find they need to use JUST a gel after rinsing out the conditioner. Some find leave some conditioner in and then using a gel works better.

And some even love using a tinyyyy amount of leave in conditioner or curl cream before gel gives great results!

I would strongly recommend you to experiment and learn what works best for your hair! 🙂

(Psst- You can read more tips for wavy hair in these blog posts.)

Following these tips each time you wash your hair will greatly improve your texture, reduce frizz and make detangling a dream.

Some of you who have recently started to do this might get scared and think that suddenly you’re losing a lot more hair – that is not true.

Since you stop combing curly hair every day when it’s dry and normally, everyone loses 50-100 strand of hair everyday, that gets trapped and suddenly comes out when you finally wash and comb in the shower. Try reducing the no of days between wash days to see this in action!

If you want to speed up the health of your hair, you HAVE to deep condition regularly.

Learn how to deep condition wavy or curly hair in this post – How to Deep Condition

I find doing this weekly ( I strongly recommend this to new users) over time leads to less knots and tangles to begin with!

If you found this post helpful, you’ll LOVE my video tutorials on my Youtube Channel – The Curious Jalebi. 

I also post simple tips on my Instagram page @thecuriousjalebi that I hope you check out.

Lastly, if you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post or drop me the question on my private coaching group Ask Jalebi!

  • Reply

    Hi Pallavi, I’ve recently started detangling my hair in the shower after applying conditioner. But this disrupts my curl pattern and leaves me with soft but frizzy, undefined curls after the shower despite scrunching and leaving in some conditioner (I use Arata). Earlier, I used to detangle my hair only once with oil a few hours before washing my hair. Please advise?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja

      Hey Malika, if that works with you, do that. Detangle before, condition and use your fingers to distribute it if you don’t want to comb then, Alternatively, next time, comb after conditioner and then rinse. SMooth on gel (don’t add a leave in) that should help the pattern more

  • Reply
    shreya ramakrishnan

    Hi Pallavi! I’ve been reading all the sections of your blog and beginning to follow your advice on my hair. Firstly, thank you! It’s very comprehensive and I’m going to follow everything you’ve said .

    My hair seems to be a combination of 3A/3B and coily also..I have been having huge hair fall issues. My hair has been knotting and falling whenever I touch it.

    untill a few months back I was combing myhair everyday after using leave in conditioners or oils..then I completely swicthed to not combing and only using leave in conditions. I’ve been coming once or twice a week after oiling. I tried your method of combing yesterday and while I think the amount of hairfall was the same, if hair is at its weakest when it’s wet how is this method healthy? Is it normal to experience pain while using this method or should I be patient enough to ensure that I experience no pain?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja

      See hair is weak when its wet but when we comb it dry it separates and fluffs up. We need the conditioner to coat and enter each strand and that happens after we comb after applying conditioner generously. What makes it easier- using a conditioner with lots of slip, using a detangling brush on lightly oiled hair BEFORE your shampoo.If you’re experiencing pain, chamge your conditioner or apply more generously. Don’t go too long without washing.

  • Reply

    Hi Pallavi,

    #Help me

    You’re my life saver to my straightened hair. I’m following your CG method for 6 months. My hair type is 2b wavy. I’m using khadi natural henna shampoo, enliven conditioner and also as leave in and diy flax seed gel. Still my hair is dry and frizzy. Pls help what products I should use. And also suggest me deep condition mask.

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja

      Thank you for linking to my article! Loved yours as well! XX Pallavi

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