Taming the curls

clear glass container with coconut oil

When I was about 32 my hair underwent a big change. I had a drastic hair cut (think Annie Lennox circa Sweet Dreams) and when it grew back it was curly. It wasn’t any sort of problem until I moved to South-East Australia – from 80% average humidity to 55%: not what my curls like at all.

In my first few months here I took part in a hackathon and worked on a project called First Curled Problems. Winning the hackathon was great, but the real prize was learning about how to manage my curls in this dry climate. The Curly Girl method means I only shampoo once a week, no parabens, no silicones and no towel-drying. And for about a year now, I’ve been making my own curl cream. Today I had a session making a new batch, plus a couple of other products. So I thought I’d share the recipes for other curlies (and so I don’t have to do a search every time I need to make some!)

The main thing is finding the base ingredients. I buy them from n-essentials. Aloe vera gel does go off, so I’d suggest buying in small quantities if it’s for your own use.

I find the curl cream and serum both work best when applied to really damp hair. If you put them on hair that’s too dry, they can make it a bit limp (at least, that’s what happens with my hair).

Curl cream


  • 1/2 a cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 a cup of shea butter
  • 1/2 a cup of aloe vera gel
  • a couple of drops of vitamin E oil (optional)
  • a couple of drops of a scented essential oil (I use tangerine or jasmine)


  1. Mix the coconut oil and shea butter together until it’s like a whipped mousse.
  2. Add the aloe vera gel and mix vigorously.
  3. Add in the vitamin E oil and essential oil if using and mix.
  4. Put into a container (these quantities fill a hummus container)
  5. Use within 6 months, as aloe vera gel goes off.

Sea salt spritz

This seems particularly good for livening up the roots. Spray some close to the scalp to give your curls a bit of lift.


  • 1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon jojoba oil
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • a few drops of vitamin E oil
  • a few drops of a scented essential oil (I used lemongrass)


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a spray bottle (I’m recycling finished Dermalogica containers!)
  2. Shake before use to emulsify the oil and water
  3. Use within 4 months.

Anti-frizz hair serum


  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp rose water
  • 2 Tbsp Aloe vera gel
  • a few drops of vitamin E oil
  • a few drops of jojoba oil


  1. Mix all ingredients together vigorously.
  2. Put into a container (one that you can squeeze an amount out of, I’ve used a different recycled Dermalogica container)
  3. As this contains aloe vera gel, use within 6 months.

Have you got a favourite curly hair tip or recipe? Leave it in the comments!

Published by Antonia

I'm a British citizen and European Union official, who lives in Brussels again after 6 years in London and 8 in Melbourne. My blog(s) reflect my interests in the EU, yarncrafts, organisations and dog ownership.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: