Know of someone who always has great second or third day curls and you’re envious?
Have you tried to bring your second day curls back to life only to face a ton of frizz and fluff?
Does summer humidity destroy the curls you’ve so lovingly revived? Leaving you to walk around looking like a hot mess?
Or are you almost desperate to figure out how to refresh your curly hair without washing it? Because ain’t no one got time for that every day!
What curly girl doesn’t feel your pain?
So how do you refresh curly hair to make your second day hair look good? Smart curly girls do this. They use a process between washes that involves applying a mix of water and products to bring their curls or waves back to life. Spritzing the water and smoothing the products over their strands. The idea is to revive their bounce and spring without washing.
Okay so on to the details. Keeping in mind what you’re going for is a refresh of the visual curls or the ones you actually see.
Quick Section Navigation
- VIDEO: Easy Way To Refresh Slept On Curly Hair With A Spray Bottle
- VIDEO: How To Refresh Curly (or Wavy) Hair Without Frizz
- VIDEO: What To Do With Second Day Curls That Fail
- How To Refresh Curls After Pineappling
- Tips For Refreshing Curly Hair
- VIDEO: Should I Brush Out My Curls?
Now most approaches to refreshing curly hair with water more or less follow an approach like the one laid out in this video by Curly Susie. So if you’re wondering what to do with second day curls you should find this helpful.
Easy Way To Refresh Slept On Curly Hair With A Spray Bottle
This video demonstrates the refreshing process step by step.
It also shows her overnight pineappling set up PLUS what her hair looks like BEFORE refreshing to give you a point of reference.
What you’ll need
- claw clip
- spray bottle set to fine mist
- leave in conditioner you know works well in your hair
By the way, you can pretty much be a product agnostic when refreshing curls. What I mean by that is whatever product works in your hair when styling after washing will work to refresh it.
Anyway here’s the basic steps to take to revive your curly hair without washing it!
1) SECTION if you have thicker, longer hair leave the bottom most section down first. Also if you have more hair, divide it into more sections so you can properly dampen and get product on every strand.
2) DAMPEN with spray bottle set on mist. Experiment to find out how much dampness works best with your hair.
Fun Fact: Do you use styling products like creams, gels or curl serums whose first ingredient is water? If so some find anytime they mist their hair with water the product is reactivated so they don’t have to add it in again. Or at least not add as much as the first time.
3) CONDITION by first rubbing a dab of leave in conditioner between your hands. Then apply on the top and underside of your curls using the praying hand technique. The idea is to gently smooth it over the surface of your visible curls or waves.
What leave in does here is add moisture to your strands which will help fight frizz.
4) GEL IT repeating what you just did with the your leave in only with gel.
What this does is seal in the moisture which can’t help but keep the frizz down. It also does a little something for definition.
This is why some use both conditioner and gel. You want to use products that work without weighing down your hair.
5) SCRUNCH the product in just a little.
Then let more of the clipped up hair down and repeat the process until all your hair has been treated with TLC.
Tip: Don’t forget the hair on the top of your head. Much of the focus is on the sides but the top needs a little refreshing love too.
6) DIFFUSE when done with the dampening and product application. Should take no more than 10 minutes max to dry since your curls are just damp.
Curls refreshed. The ideal end result is bouncy, uniformly curly hair.
Diffusing is also another way to deal with curls gone straight on top. Oh and for more check out our diffuser tips and tricks article.
Of course if your hair volumizes just fine without diffusing then skip it and just let it air dry.
Tip: Don’t expect to have the perfect routine down pat immediately. How long it takes to get to what works for you depends on the shape your hair is in. It may take a month or two of experimenting to get to the method that brings out the best of your next day hair – whatever day that is.
If a breakout of frizz is your normal when refreshing using a spray bottle see if this doesn’t let you avoid all that.
How To Refresh Curly (or Wavy) Hair Without Frizz
Now I know some reading this are frustrated “refreshers”.
That’s because most curl refreshing tutorials tell you to spritz your hair damp using a spray bottle of water.
Problem is for some that only unleashes overwhelmingly bad frizz!
So here’s how to refresh with a minimum amount of water – no spritzing.
This method’s claim to fame is you get the revitalized curls you want without the frizziness you don’t.
See the difference?
Unfortunately the sound quality of this video isn’t all it could be. So you may need to turn up the volume to hear the pearls of refreshing wisdom she shares which basically comes down to:
- Wet your hands (wet not super drippy or anything)
- Squeeze out pea-sized amount of leave in or gel
- Apply using the praying hands technique
Tip: You’ll need to get your hands wet multiple times as you work your way around your hair. You basically focus on one side at a time then flip your hair upside down to get the back.
IMPORTANT: Using praying hands to smooth the product on rather than finger combing it through your strands is key. It is especially important to those with looser curls. Because raking can sometimes break up the clumps and straighten out your curls. It can also encourage frizz.
Why this works. She feel this approach redirects the frizz back into their proper clumps.
(In case you’re wondering she’s using Aussie Instant Freeze Gel.)
The next step is to GENTLY scrunch it to encourage curling. Specifically she cups the hair in her hand then squeezes it up to her head to do all she can to not create any frizz.
Any curls that failed to join in are finger coiled (away from her face) to get them in line.
She finishes up by diffusing for volume.
What To Do With Second Day Curls That Fail
Now it’s likely you’ll also notice some curls went all wonky on you during the night. They’re what I like to call “failed curls” or ones that simply didn’t survive the night intact.
Here’s how to quickly fix those:
First you have to find the “visible” curls that aren’t playing nice (yeah you don’t care about the underneath stuff). Pay particular attention to any around your face.
Once you’re found a failed curl you’ll want to wet it down with your spray bottle.
Then add a bit of product between your fingers and smooth the frizzy curl down with it. She used Deva Girl SupeCream.
But what if you’re avoiding Deva Curl? Or you simple want a more affordable alternative? For you Shea Moisture Coconut And Hibiscus Curl And Style Milk can be used to get your hair to curl up again.
Next finger curl the entire length around your index finger.
Pin the coil of hair up with a bobby pin.
Now you’re ready to let the whole shebang dry and set for like 10 minutes.
Finally take out the bobby pin and let your new curl friend be free.
Fun Fact: Frizz is a moisture-less curl waiting to be refreshed.
How To Refresh Curls After Pineappling
An often overlooked part of refreshable next day curls is what you do with your hair overnight. Some swear what you do with your curls at night is THE most important part of any refreshing routine.
So yeah. Your bed time protective styling matters. Because a known frizz factory is night time friction.
Some can get away with putting their hair up into a simple bun.
But most find pineappling works much better. That’s where you sleep with your hair on the tippy top of your head in like a high ponytail held super loose with a satin scrunchie.
It’s better still if you wrap a silk scarf over that.
Or you can use a satin cap if your mane is too short to pineapple.
When combined with sleeping on a silk or satin pillow case you’re setting the stage for responsive, bouncy day 2 curls.
Oh and any pillow friction? What’s left mostly affects under layers keeping your visible curls safe.
Guess what else? Some apply products at night if things are getting kinda crazy. Like skimming mousse over the most afflicted areas. Doing this can give you even more help in the morning.
Others like to put a little leave in conditioner in their hair the night before.
Or you may find applying water to their roots before pineappling the night before refresh days makes a difference too.
Then too your hair might benefit by giving it time to “breathe” when you first release it from the pineapple.
Nothing big. Maybe 10 to 15 minutes.
But this gives the clumps a chance to reform on their own. You know before you go at them with your refreshing routine?
We took a closer look at the whole pineappling curly hair thing. So if you’d like to know more you might want to check it out.
Anyway if you’re waking up not loving how things went over night these tips might help.
Tips For Refreshing Curly Hair
Tip #1 A Lil Product With That?
Some like to add a little product to their spray bottle water to create what one YouTuber referred to as her “hair refreshing milk”. Okay. Guess the water may turn a little milky.
Now how much product you want to add just depends.
Some mix in a few pumps of leave in conditioner into the water
Others are much more precise advising you mix something like one part conditioner to 10 parts water.
Then Lorraine Massey recommends half water half conditioner – whatever your fav one is.
Obviously there is no one right answer as to what you put in your spray bottle. You can use all water or go all the way up to half product.
If you opt to mix in conditioner just start somewhere and play around to see if more or less product makes your second day curls any more manageable.
Better yet some gel users report an unexpected benefit. Each day they refresh gives them softer curls. What have you got to lose to try it to see if it works that way for you?
Tip #2 Micro Fiber Rescue
Spritz too much water? Use a micro fiber towel to scrunch out the excess to speed the drying process along.
Tip #3 Oil as Frizz Fighter
Some will use a little oil over their dry hair and then scrunch that in. This not only makes your hair really shiny it also help tamp down the frizz.
Fun Fact: It takes a lot less time to dry refreshed hair because your roots are not all wet.
Tip #4 Rake and Shake To Get It Big
For those going for mega volume two idea. First fluff your curls from underneath to keep from frizzing up the curls on top. Then shake your head upside down to shake out the curls to amp up the volume instantly.
Tip #5 Hair Witness Protection Day
For those eager to get one more day out of your last washing do this. Wear your curls anyway but down. The idea is to disguise the fact you’re on day four, five or whatever. So yeah. Think braids, a pony tail or wear things up in a bun to hide the fact your curls are past their prime.
Should I Brush Out My Curls?
Most know one thing you should never do with dry curly hair is brush it. While you may already know what happens if you brush out your curls here’s video proof that the results aren’t pretty.
You can see how brushing just killed the clumps, crushed the volume and unleashed the frizz.
So don’t do it.
Anyway finding yourself riding the 6:00 AM Hot Mess Express doesn’t mean your hair is dirty. Or that it needs to be washed again already. See if you can’t apply the tricks shared here to refresh your wild and cray-cray locks back to yesterday’s former glory.
Ready to think refresh first wash later?
If you found these ideas to be refreshing and they are just the kind of thing you love why not pin this for later? You could also follow our curly haired board on Pinterest while you’re at it!