Wednesdays are my creative days. I go to the gym, cook a full gluten free breakfast for my husband and I (omelets this week), blog and try new curly hair product routines.

As I mentioned on Instagram (@shinewithjl), I have three trips planned during the next six months. I am headed to New Hampshire to see my family for one week, Atlanta for 4 days while my husband is at a tech conference and Sandals Grenada for our first vacation in two years!

I’m a planner and overly organized. So, I’ve been trying to put together the best curly hair styling products that mix well with my travel hair dryer. If you read my review of the dryer, it works amazingly well for its size. Its one downfall is the lack of a cool function. When diffusing curly hair, cool air is your friend.

small travel hair dryer for curly hair
Click image to purchase.

My wash day results with the travel hair dryer have been on point. You can see that from my multiple wash day reviews. However, day two curls have been a bit frizzy and by day three I’m ready for another wash day as my hair is dying for moisture.

Hence, my quest for the perfect combination of curly products. Add to the fact that I want to pack minimal toiletries, you can see my frustration. However, I am committed and will figure this out.

Below is my latest curly hair wash day routine with my travel hair dryer. I’ve also included day two curls so you can see how well this combination of products worked. The addition of a heat styling protection cream is new for me.

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wash day with heat protection cream

step 1: co-wash

I haven’t co-washed in a long time. Since I just cleansed my curls four days ago, I decided to co-wash. I also thought this would help my hair hold onto moisture with the use of my travel hair dryer.

Wet hair thoroughly, use several pumps of Shea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils Low Porosity Protein-Free Conditioner and massage scalp for several minutes.

step 2: condition

After rinsing all the conditioner out of my curls, I carefully finger-combed Shea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils Low Porosity Protein-Free Conditioner through my hair. I placed my hair in a bun and left the conditioner in for 3 to five minutes while finishing my other cleaning responsibilities.

Squish to condish with cool water while rinsing completely out of curls.

step 3: apply leave-in conditioner

After fully rinsing out the Shea Moisture conditioner, use the finger comb and praying hands method to apply Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In to wet, dripping hair. Squish to condish!

step 4: Plop for 1 hour

My husband has several t-shirts that have either shrunk or stretched out. He has a thing for high end undershirts. Thankfully, this works out for me. I use them to plop my curls while wet. (As of 2022, I know use this Microfiber Towel for Curly Hair. Ready my review of the microfiber towel.)

After I apply the leave-in conditioner to my curly hair, I plop and find a task to do for an hour or so.

step 5: Finger comb heat protecting cream

I explored the darkest nooks and crannies of my bathroom cabinet and found a smoothing heat styling protection cream. Back in the day when I straightened my curly hair, I would use Pureology Smooth Perfection to have shiny, frizz-free locks.

Maybe this same smoothing cream would give me shiny, frizz-free curls?  Check out my curly hair photos and let me know what you think!

step 6: Finger comb & scrunch gel

I ended with my favorite curly girl styling gel, Kinky Curly Curling Custard. First, finger comb gel throughout hair and then scrunch until you can’t scrunch anymore.

step 7: Air Dry for 30 minutes

After applying your two styling products, find something to do for 30 minutes while the product sets. I find I get an unreal cast on my curls when I let it sit for a bit before diffusing.

step 8: Diffuse

Diffuse using your travel blow dryer (if you are so lucky as to be traveling) with detachable diffuser.  Make sure to leave the dryer on low heat.

While drying start upside down and dry sections of curls for 90 seconds at a time. Turn head from side to side as you diffuse each section until 90% dry.

Since this dryer does not have a cool setting, I let my curls dry naturally the last 10%.

Wash Day results: Day 1

My curls had a wonderful cast to them and yet my roots were soft and flexible. I left most of the cast in as I enjoyed how defined each ringlet was.

Day 2: refresh

Here are my day 2 curls. I wore the same top so you could see how similar my curls were from day 1 (Plus, it’s my new Calia athleisure top and I love it!). While my hair is parted the opposite direction for volume, my curls look great! Let me also mention, I spent 30 minutes outside last night watering the lawn in the heat and humidity. That is certainly one way to test curly hair products!!

I SOTC-ed with Surface Bassu Hydrating Oil and gave myself a scalp massage this morning.  (I love that this comes in a 2 oz. bottle perfect for traveling. It also smells like berries!) That’s it! I don’t like to spend much time on my hair day 2 and this wash day really held up for me.

What do you think of my second day curls? I included a photo of the back of my hair so you could see how well my hair kept its curl pattern. I did not sleep in a pineapple. I only used my silk pillowcase.


Diagnosed with Celiac Disease eleven years ago, I've been on a journey discovering what it means to be truly healthy. Join me as I share my personal fitness goals, gluten free recipes I've tried, travel tips, curly hair product reviews and all things creative.

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