UPDATED: My type 2A wavy hair care routine & favourites

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Wavy 2A Haircare Routine

Hello wavies!

I wrote my original wavy haircare routine back in 2018 and after two years+, constant chops and colour changes I wanted to write this post to show you how my hair is looking post-CGM, almost two and a half years (29 months) on.

In my opinion the Curly Girl Method is quite a lengthy hair journey to follow and if you follow it strictly, it can be very difficult. It’s also incredibly varied when it comes to results – some people start CGM and see beautiful transformations as little as three months into it. For others, it takes them a year plus – then there’s others like me that are still on the journey of discovering what works. I started off following it so strictly – no hair brushing, no clarifying but I eventually ended up with stringy waves and product build-up  on my roots.

Summer 2019

After a year, I started getting used to the products more. Then by 18 months I kind of figured out that gel really works for my hair and the styling technique also makes a big difference. However I started bleaching my hair and my 2A waves regressed to 1C straight-but-bendy hair. Here are some photos of my hair back in July & August 2019. I used a strong-hold gel, applied with lots of scrunching and wet plopping then scrunched out the crunch (SOTC) after fully air dried:

You can see July’s hair looks more straighter but by August, the waves tried to come back. It looks wavy but also more stringy as I put in more colours. Sometimes chemical processing can bring out the hair’s curl pattern but at the expense of drying out the hair. The result is stringy waves like mine but I loved my unicorn colours too much to care! I was able to salvage my hair with regular deep conditioning and cutting out all heat styling. 🙂

Spring 2020

So what’s changed with my routine since then? A few things. My hair is back to being 2A most days and if I’m really lucky, a few strands of swirly 2B dotted around my head. I really need to stop the damage from colouring. It’s like an addiction, seriously. My hair was its healthiest 1 year post-CGM (minimal hair colouring) and the waves were well-defined. You can see a photo in my previous posts. I need to get my hair health back to then! I’m still using the same brands; Shea Moisture and Noughty but introduced a few new ones too. I also realised that my hair responds well to both low-poos and co-wash and I need to clarify my hair every now and then.

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April week 1: day 1 post-wash, my 2A waves looking good (using low-poo, air-dried)
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | My type 2A Swavy Wavy haircare routine UPDATE
April week 2: Another semi-colour and hair looks slightly stringy (using low-poo, air-dried)
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Wavy 2A Haircare Routine
May 2020: On wash day. Hair looks healthier and clumping better! (using co-wash and diffused)

I mentioned in a recent blog post about sulfate-free cleansers that wavy hair will experience build-up more quickly than type 3+ curly-haired girls. For me, my hair needs to be clarified with a sulfate-based shampoo to ‘reset’ as a sulfate-free cleanser just doesn’t cut it. However, when I use a sulfate-based shampoo I always follow with deep conditioner for 20-30 mins straight after and apply a leave-in conditioner or curl cream as my final styling products. I only do this type of clarifying when my hair really feels like it needs it (usually after 3 months). The last time I clarified my hair was in March 2020.

Note: Only think about clarifying with a sulfate-based shampoo if you’re NOT strictly following CGM. If you are then try looking into rinse techniques ie. Rice Water Rinse (coloured-hair friendly) or Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse.


My updated type 2a wavy hair routine

[I will make sure I update this routine section whenever I change up my routine instead of creating a new post unless it’s really necessary.]

Cleanser: I wash with a low-poo cleanser once or twice (max!) a week. I swap my low-poo for a co-wash every three weeks or whenever my hair feels like it’s lacking moisture. I apply the product in my hands and concentrate on the roots, massaging firmly onto the scalp, I don’t dig in or scratch the scalp then with any left-over residue I try to scrunch it into the mid-lengths and ends. Currently using Shea Moisture’s JBCO Strengthen and Restore Shampoo (low poo) and Noughty’s One- Hit Wonder conditioning co-wash (wasn’t sure with this one at first but it has helped my hair to clump better)

Conditioner: I always use conditioner after cleansing and apply with the ‘squish to condish’ technique. I apply the product when my hair is dripping wet using prayer hands. I de-tangle my hair with my fingers and rake hair away from my head to ensure my hair doesn’t stick to my head for when I apply my leave-in and stylers. Currently using: Noughty Colour Bomb conditioner

Leave-in Conditioner: I’ve been skipping this step as I’ve not bought myself a new leave-in cream and my daughter’s leave-in is too heavy for my hair. My previous go-to choices were As I Am leave-in conditioner for more hydration (very lightweight) or Shea Moisture JBCO leave-in cream for more moisture. Currently using: Noughty Thirst Aid conditioning & detangling spray which I recently purchased to try out – it seems to work nicely on wet/damp hair and I guess it counts as a leave-in conditioner in a spray form. 

Gel: Gel works a real treat on my hair, it always gives me the best definition and hold if I get the right one. I apply my gel when my hair is still wet and rub a big amount into my hands (if it’s a thick gel, I add extra water in my hands) and apply using the prayer hands method and gently scrunch in. I scrunch enough to squeeze out a a little excess water but not too much. I tend to use A LOT of gel to get a super solid cast which I scrunch out when it’s fully dried. I’ve found that when I add a small amount of gel I don’t really get a cast and then my waves don’t hold past the first day. Currently using: Twisted Sistas amazing dream curl gel or ECO Styler black castor & flaxseed gel. I refresh my waves using Boucleme’s curl defining gel and water. I apply using prayer hands but gently 

Styling finish: I usually leave my hair to air dry however I recently tried using a diffuser again and it really brought out my waves. I diffused until my hair was 80% dry but I think I could get away with just diffusing 50% dry then leave to air dry. I really don’t like adding heat to my hair but it seems to work really well. I diffuse by alternating the hot and cold settings and will continue to style this way when I’m short for time.


My haircare favourites!

Here’s a list of my favourite products that I’ve used over the years. The ones I’m currently using are listed in my haircare routine above but I’ll put an asterisk (*) beside so you can see here too. I’ve used a fair amount of other products from same or similar ranges too but as I didn’t enjoy them as much as I thought I would, they haven’t made it onto this list. I will also add to this list as I find more products I enjoy using and find works. Enjoy!

Cleansers:

  • As I Am Co-wash Conditioning Cleanser (co-wash)
  • Noughty One- Hit Wonder Cleansing Conditioner (co-wash)*
  • Noughty Wave Hello Curl Defining Shampoo (low poo)
  • Shea Moisture JBCO Strengthen and Restore Shampoo (low poo)*
  • Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Weightless Shampoo (low poo)
  • Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yoghurt Hydrate & Repair Shampoo (low poo)

Conditioners:

  • Noughty Colour Bomb Colour Protecting Conditioner*
  • Noughty Wave Hello Curl Defining Conditioner
  • Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Weightless Conditioner
  • Maui Moisture Hydration Hibiscus Water Conditioner
  • Maui Moisture Smooth Revive Vanilla Bean Conditioner

Hair Masks:

  • Noughty To The Rescue Moisturising Hair Mask*
  • Garnier Silicone-free argan hair mask

Curl Enhancers & Leave-in Creams:

  • Shea Moisture JBCO Leave-in Conditioner
  • As I Am Leave-in Conditioner
  • Noughty Thirst-Aid Conditioning & Detangling Spray*
  • Cantu Moisturising Curl Activator Cream (curl cream)

Stylers (Gels):

  • Boucleme Super Hold Styler*
  • Boucleme Curl Defining Gel*
  • Twisted Sistas Amazing Dream Curl Gel*
  • Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly
  • ECO Style Professional Styling Black Castor & Flaxseed Gel (black lid)*
  • ECO Styler Olive Oil Gel (green lid)
  • DevaCurl Wave Maker – not a gel, more like a creamy ‘whip’ texture

 

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My TOP 5 sulfate-free shampoos (low-poo cleansers) for wavy hair

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Straight, Swavy and Wavy…

Type 1A hair is classed as poker-straight hair, 1B is straight hair with a few bends and kinks and 1C is straight-ish hair with a slight wave – this used to be called ‘swavy’ at one point. Type 2A hair is the ‘breakthrough start’ of wavy hair – hair looks loosely wavy and/or with a loose but visible S-curl pattern. When I started CGM ‘swavy’ was a curly girl term but it seems to have died out as I guess it’s more recognised as wavy hair now.

If the explanation above doesn’t help, I hope the image below does:

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Curly Girl Method Hair Journey
Type 1-2 / Source: Rebloggy

Most people’s wavy hair will be made up of a combination of straight, swavy, wavy, even curly hair so don’t be disheartened if your locks look like mermaid waves one day and then straight with kinks the next day – it’s completely normal.

Over the two years, I’ve now come to terms that my hair falls between type 1C swavy and 2A wavy. When I was following the CGM very strictly I did find that I was getting better wave definition and I was even getting 2B and a few 2C wavy strands. Unfortunately that didn’t last long as I continued to bleach and colour my hair like crazy. 🙂

It is an expensive learning curve as my hair doesn’t have any specific curl direction nor does it clump well. I think that may be due to all the colouring. The only way I would probably get better results is if I stopped the hair processing altogether… I might end up doing so but not yet.

I love that I’ve learnt so much about natural hair care and since CGM I am happy to say that sulfate-free shampoos, or low-poo cleansers for curl-talk terms, are really fantastic products and should be the way forward for everyone who wants healthier hair.

So what are sulfates?

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Credit: Matthew Tkocz via Unsplash

Sulfates are lathering agents in shampoos that are responsible for that “squeaky-clean”  hair feeling after each use. Sulfates are known as ‘surfactants’ (a detergent-like foaming agents) and removes dirt, oils and debris from the hair surface. However prolonged or excessive use ie. shampooing daily can actually clean the hair too well and end up stripping the hair of its natural oils. What this eventually does is cause your hair to go into overdrive and produce more oils leaving you with greasier hair quicker. So what do you do? You reach for the shampoo again thinking you are making it better but you’re actually making it worse. The scalp needs to re-balance.

This same process happens to our skin, when the skin ie. on our face becomes dehydrated, it produces excess oil as it needs to re-balance – but you think you now have combination or oily skin so you reach for astringent alcohol-based products that strip your skin and leaving it even more dehydrated. The result? A never ending battle of dehydrated skin that leads to excessive oil production and possible acne. It’s a personal battle of mine too and I only found out a couple years ago.

Shampoo.. Low-poo… No-poo… Say what?

The lingo for the Curly Girl Method takes some getting used to but I’ll break down these curl-talk words in layman’s terms:

Shampoo – lots of lather, contains sulfates (gentle ones, harsh ones, or both)
Low-poo – minimal or little lather, gel or fluid consistency, sulfate-free
No-poo – no lather, rich and creamy, sulfate-free, also known as ‘co-wash’ which is just short for conditioning wash

In addition to sulfate-free shampooing cleansers, I also make sure that my haircare is free from parabens, silicones and any other petrochemicals or nasties. Easiest way I found is to look for vegan-friendly products or botanical products. A lot of ‘natural’ products are not always that natural… always read the ingredients list!

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My type 2A waves on a good day. Day 1 after wash day.

Is a sulfate free shampoo (low-poo cleanser) right for me?

Personally, I think everyone can benefit from a sulfate-free cleanser, especially people who do not use a lot of additional products in their hair. Many of the low-poos (gentle cleansing shampoos) cleanses the hair well. The only downside is that you won’t always get much of a lather but you’ll get used to that. For straight or swavy/wavy (type 1-2A) hair girls, and guys, that do use a lot of product in their hair ie hairspray, gels, creams, hair oil, leave-in treatments, it might be a good idea to still use a sulfate-based shampoo every now and then to thoroughly clarify the hair.

However, make sure your conditioner is silicone free! It’s fine and dandy using a sulfate-free cleansing shampoo but if you’re following that with a silicone-based conditioner you are not achieving anything apart from perhaps greasier-looking hair. The reason for this is because as good as a low-poo is, it will not be enough to remove silicone build-up. So if your other hair products contain silicones, you’ll need to clarify your hair. There are also clarifying methods you can look at ie. Apple Cider Vinegar rinse and Rice Water rinse – the latter is recommended for coloured hair.

I wash my hair once (twice max) a week with a low-poo but when my hair feels a little more dehydrated I like using a conditioning cleanser, also known as a ‘co-wash‘ or ‘no-poo‘ as these shampoo/cleansers have NO LATHER. (As I am co-wash conditioning cleanser is my go-to product). Once every few months, I switch out my low-poo for a sulfate-based shampoo and follow with a deep condition or protein treatment for 15-20 mins. I’ve found that this routine works well for my hair but you can read more about that in my other posts.

What else should I avoid if I am following the Curly Girl Method and/or want to look after my hair better?

If you’re new to the curl game or just want to avoid haircare nasties, here’s a list of what to look out for and avoid: https://www.curlsbot.com/curly-girl-ingredient-list/

You can also take a look at this article on the top 5 mistakes wavies make when starting CGM here on NaturallyCurly.com. It explains more about what I’ve mentioned in this post in regards to clarifying and more.

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Credit: Curology / Unsplash

Top 5 sulfate-free cleansers for swavy & wavy hair

I have personally used all of the cleansers below so it’s been tried and tested on my type swavy wavy hair. All cleansers are lightweight so I’d say they’d work better on fine to medium density hair. If you have medium-high or high density hair, you might need something richer/moisturising like a co-wash.

Hair porosity also comes into play – if you have low hair porosity, try a lightweight low-poo cleansers as your hair will be more susceptible to build-up. You can always layer up on moisturising styling products ie leave-in conditioners, creams, mousse or gels after. For high porosity hair, you might want to try a co-wash first or the Shea Moisture JBCO and Manuka Honey shampoos which contains shea butter for that extra moisture boost. Curly Cailín wrote a post on her favourite low-porosity haircare products and listed some really good products that I love too including the As I Am co-wash I mentioned earlier!

1. Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Weightless Shampoo

I really loved using this low-poo cleanser. It lathers up nicely and a little goes a long way when using it. The coconut water hydrates the hair but as it’s so lightweight it’s cleanses well and doesn’t leave my hair feeling weighed down. I love using it in the summer as I get really hot and sweaty so this is a good one to keep my hair light and fresh. My waves also looked fab from wash day up to three days after – with a little refresh in between but fab nevertheless. It is one of my summer staples. It smells nice and fruity too.

Wash Rating: 5/5

2. Noughty Wave Hello Shampoo

This was one of the first wavy hair products I used and I enjoyed using it. I wasn’t a massive fan at first as it doesn’t lather much for a low-poo cleanser however if you’re already used to non-lather cleansers, you’ll like this one. It smells herbal which I love but some might not be a fan of the scent. As it doesn’t really lather, there’s not much slip so I always ended up using probably a lot more than I needed but I didn’t mind. As it was so gentle, I could do a double cleanse and rinse to really clarify my hair without it feeling stripped. I also love them because they are a British brand!

I wrote a review before on the Noughty Wave Hello collection here if you fancy another read.

Wash Rating: 4/5

3. Bouclème Hydrating Hair Cleanser

Another great British brand that I really love – the packaging is great, it smells delicious like sweet lemons or sherbets and is packed with glycerine. The hydrating cleanser lathers nicely and is very lightweight. It cleanses my hair well.

I usually have to use a refresher or curl cream with water to revive my waves after using this for my wash day as the air at home is really dry and it can leaves my hair feeling so light that I can feel the static – I don’t know if that even makes sense or it’s only me that experiences this static behaviour but it’s something I’ve noticed with my hair. However I still rate it as a good product and I know some others swear by it. They sell travel sized bottles so if you’re keen, give the smaller bottle a go.

Wash Rating: 3/5

4. Shea Moisture JBCO strengthen & restore shampoo

I really love this low-poo and think it will always have a space on my bathroom shelf  whilst I have my bleached hair. It really helps to nourish my hair but also cleanses deeply at the same time. It smells amazing, the peppermint with shea butter makes it smells like butter mints. Yummy.

Wash Rating: 5/5

5. Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yoghurt Hydrate and Repair Shampoo

I really like the Shea Moisture range (it’s one of the first brands I tried) and decided to give another shampoo from their brand a try. I picked this one originally for my daughter who has fine type 3A/B curls and found that all of the other shampoos I’ve used for her before just didn’t do her curls any justice – even the beloved Shea Moisture JBCO shampoo! I used this on her and it worked a treat! It cleanses well but the lather is so silky smooth, it made her hair feel so soft after rinsing that it felt like it could skip conditioner… obviously we didn’t but you know what I mean.

I used it and it made my hair feel silky smooth too, I really liked using it. It also had a really good lather, more lather than all the other low-poos listed above. A little really goes a long way with this one. It cleanses well too so win-win all around!

Wash Rating: 4/5

BONUS: Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo

This is a product that I am waiting to try out. I got a small tester in my recent Look Fantastic purchase so I will give it a try on my next wash day. I’ve heard nothing but great reviews. All have said it cleanses brilliantly but leaves hair feeling soft and waves in check. The price range is also very affordable so a great product to try if you’re starting out your CGM journey. If your hair is glycerine sensitive, this is the perfect one for you to try as it’s glycerine-free unlike the others listed above.

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NB. This post contains some affiliate links

6 months update: My Curly Girl Method hair journey…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method: Straight to Wavy Hair Journey

From straight hair to wavy hair…

Last year, December to be exact, I decided to start a hair journey called the Curly Girl Method (CGM). This method is known by many hair bloggers as the technique to really bring out your natural waves and curls. The method encourages using natural hair products that contain no parabens, SLS, sulfates, silicones, alcohol denat and other chemical nasties. It’s said that by eliminating these ingredients, wavies and curlies will be able to unleash their hair’s full potential.

My hair has always been – what I thought – was pretty much straight hair (fine/medium density) with a few kinks. It wasn’t until I started looking back at some of my photos that I noticed I did have a wave halfway-down my hair and thought I might as well give the Curly Girl Method a try…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method: Straight to Wavy Hair Journey
Before and After CGM: The waves are coming through!

Here’s a pic of my before and afters. Wow oh wow! What a difference right?! I’m telling you, no matter how much I tried to scrunch my hair before going CG, there were no waves were coming through. Now I can even get my waves to come through with a quick spritz of water on the second day!

My hair type:
Curl Type – a combination of 2A/2B
Density – fine/medium
Porosity – high as it’s coloured
Length – long

Here’s what I was using/am using now:

  • Shampoo: I used Noughty Wave Hello until March when it ran out and switched over to Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion as I bought it when it was on sale for half-price on Look Fantastic.
  • Conditioner: I used Noughty’s Wave Hello conditioner and also switched over to Shea Moisture’s Fruit Fusion weightless conditioner in March.
  • Deep conditioning hair mask: I didn’t use one to start with as I couldn’t find one that was good and cheap but then found Garnier’s new argan silicone-free mask in February and was using that once a week. I now use Noughty’s Hair To The Rescue mask once a week.
  • Styling: for styling I was using a CGM favourite, Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly which smelt amazing and worked well however I got tired of scrunching out the gel cast and moved over to my new fave styling product, the ECO Styler olive oil gel (green one) which I got from the African/Asian hair shop. I still use both. When I prefer to have a natural, softer wave I opt for my daughter’s leave-in product, ORS anti-breakage monoi oil curling creme however it’s too heavy for my hair so I’ve been thinking about purchasing the Noughty Hydrate & Shine serum. As my hair is fine/medium it needs really light products and I’ve found Noughty is great for this (more below)… 🙂

My favourite products/brands

There’s no doubt about it, the two brands I really love is new UK brand, Noughty and popular US brand, Shea Moisture.

I first heard about the Shea Moisture brand from my friend who is mixed (Jamaican/Chinese) and she has coily hair (roughly 4B curl type) and she recommended the castor oil range for my children’s hair. When they launched their weightless Fruit Fusion I decided I had to give it a try. Unlike Noughty, Shea Moisture’s shampoo still lathers up quite well without SLS and sulfates. For people who are just starting out on CGM and feel like their hair might not be able to handle the little/no lather and have fine to medium hair will love the Fruit Fusion range. It smells really nice too and the coconut water in the Fruit Fusion range seems to help my hair stay a little more hydrated.

Noughty is a brilliant UK brand and I can’t recommend it enough for curlies and especially wavies. The products are always weightless and smell amazing too! Every product is 97% and vegan-friendly – they never test on animals. I was sent the ‘to the rescue’ hair mask by Noughty to try and I was a little skeptical at first because I tried the Garnier argan range and as lovely as it smells and feels on my hair in the bath (the only silicone-free range by Garnier), it tends to weight it down – it’s great for Baby Girl’s curl type 3A/3B hair though! Noughty’s hair mask is extremely lightweight, easy to apply and smells absolutely delicious – think sweet, sweet almonds! The mask was light enough to not even fully rinse out. I really loved it and it definitely offers my hair more moisture without weighing it down. On the Noughty website, they offer free delivery for orders over £10 – happy days!

Another brand I’d like to try is Boucleme, I’ve heard lots of good things about their products so might try them out once my Shea Moisture products have finished.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method: Straight to Wavy Hair Journey
My CGM hair journey from December to April

6 months on…

I started off with straight hair that had a few kinks in it here and there. After six months of going CGM, I would say my wavy hair curl type is a combination of 2A/2B. There’s few good clumps of 2B but it’s mainly type 2A. I’m really excited to see how my hair journey progresses in a few month’s time, and eventually in a year’s time.

It’s been a difficult six months as I loved dying my hair and now it’s so tricky as each time I dye it, it gets damaged. Hair masks with protein does help but my hair eventually feels weighed down by it so I’m still looking for a protein-based hair mask that doesn’t do that… still searching! If you know if any, please comment and let me know asap. Plus if it’s available in the UK that’ll help as US products are really expensive to ship over. I would love to try out the Deva Curl range but it’s expensive to ship and I’ve read reviews about it being watered down from Amazon purchases… yeah I’ll pass on that one.

My top tips and advice for fellow wavies…

  1. Squish to condish is one of the most important steps in our hair washing routine. After adding conditioner, I comb through my hair with my fingers to detangle then squish to condish from there to rinse and finish.
  2. Don’t fully rinse out all of the conditioner – stop rinsing one cycle short to leave a little conditioner in, I find it helps with the flyaway hairs. If you find this too ‘greasy’ you can run water over the top of your head and cradle your hair to prevent the waves from stretching out.
  3. Scrunch scrunch and scrunch! When towel-drying use an old cotton or jersey tshirt as it’s much softer and prevents frizz. Stop scrunching halfway to add your styling product however I found with gel it’s best to add it to the hair when it’s wet then add in again when it’s halfway dry.
  4. Plopping works great unless your hair is very long. A quick blast with a diffuser will help cut drying time and helps prevent the waves from stretching out, I usually switch from a blast of the hot setting to 5 secs of the cold setting then wait 3-5 secs before taking the diffuser away to do other sections.
  5. Regularly trim your ends to keep your hair healthy.
  6. A weekly hair mask is vital especially if you have coloured hair like me. Experiment between products with and without protein (if your hair is low porosity, it won’t like the protein).

The Curly Girl Method does really work but it is definitely NOT a quick hair fix. You do really have to work hard for your waves and watch out for the products that are not CGM-approved. British Curlies can help with their extensive list of ingredients to avoid if you get stuck.. there’s lots to remember! Learning more about my hair has also made me realise how much I need to teach Baby Girl about her hair when she gets older. Unfortunately our products are different and she requires a little more care than I but it’s a good learning curve. She loves her curls and I’m so glad that she does! 🙂

If you haven’t had a chance to read my first Curly Girl Method blog post, you can do so here: https://thegreenwichmummy.com/2017/12/22/curly-girl-method-for-wavy-hair-my-haircare-journey-and-routine/ – there’s some pretty useful links on there too and good to know hair tips and advice for wavies and curlies starting out their hair journey.

The Greenwich Mummy | London Family Lifestyle Blogger


I was kindly sent a sample of Noughty’s ‘to the rescue’ hair mask to try in exchange for a product review. All words, photos and opinions are my own content. This post also contains affiliate links.