Byrdie February 2, 2024



How to Refresh Curly Hair Between Wash Days, According to a Hairstylist


Keep your curls looking their best.

Many individuals with naturally curly hair can relate to the struggle of preserving their freshly washed hairstyle. Learning how to refresh curly hair is an essential skill to incorporate into your regimen for various reasons. Not only does the process of washing and styling curly hair demand a significant amount of time, but it can also become costly when using the necessary products on a daily basis.

We're here to assist you in mastering the art of refreshing your naturally curly hair between wash days. Thanks to expert tips from hair texture specialist April Kayganich, your haircare routine will instantly become more manageable and cost-effective.

Keep reading to learn more.


April Kayganich is a hairstylist, educator, and texture expert based in Austin, Texas. She advocates for embracing your natural hair texture with styling and care that helps it to shine.

Leigh Hardges, Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.


Apply Products to Wet Hair

"The more moisture you have in your hair, the more spring and definition your curls will get, making your style last longer," Kayganich says. "Curls are also at their smoothest when wet, so applying products when your hair is in this condition helps it remain more defined after it dries."

Style Your Curls in the Shower

"Rather than waiting to do all your styling in front of your bathroom mirror, put your products in the shower and start the process after you rinse the conditioner out," Kayganich says. "If you have a shower that doesn't have a low water pressure option to add more water to your curls, try styling out of the shower using a continuous spray bottle or mister to add a generous amount of water to your hair before applying the product. You can find these at any beauty supply store or on Amazon."

Sleep with a Silk Pillowcase or Satin Bonnet

"I always tell my clients to make sure they invest in a silk pillowcase, a satin bonnet for short to medium lengths, or a silk scarf for medium to long lengths," Kayganich tells us. "Silk and satin are great materials as opposed to cotton pillowcases and scarves. Cotton roughens up the cuticle, which makes curls less defined and can actually cause breakage. Since curls are already prone to dryness and damage because of the cuticle structure, we have to do all that we can to protect our hair."

Protect Curls with the Pineapple Method

Protecting your hair while sleeping or lounging is key when it comes to keeping curls intact between washes. In addition to wearing a bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillow case, curly-heads should also consider trying the pineapple method. Pineapple-ing, which obviously bears likeness to the fruit it's named after, is the practice of pulling your curls into a high ponytail instead of directly sleeping on them. Hair stylist Leigh Hardges explains, "It’s a method of wrapping the hair to best reduce frizz and hold on to curly hair styles while sleeping." Note: The particular method works best on medium to long length hair as it may be difficult to pull shorter hair into a ponytail.

Follow the steps below to pineapple your curls:

  • Begin with dry or slightly damp hair: The pineapple method works best on hair that's completely dry or slightly damp. 
  • Flip your hair forward and gather it into a loose ponytail: Bend over so your hair is hanging down toward the floor. Use a soft hair tie or satin scrunchie. Gather your hair at the highest point of your head. 
  • Secure your hair: Loosely wrap the scrunchie around your hair and secure it in place. Avoid making it tight so you don't create a dent or crease in your curls. 
  • When you wake up: Remove the hair tie or scrunchie in the morning and shake your curls out. Use a bit of water or leave-in conditioner to refresh your coils if needed.

Use a Spray Bottle or Mister

"First, you will want to mist your hair generously to reactivate any product you used before. This is why it is so important to use only water-soluble products so that when you spray them, you can reactivate the product, and it won't cause too much buildup when and if you want to refresh.  

So mist your hair until your curls start to look smoother and more defined due to the moisture. For wavy, curly, and coily types with fine texture, you can scrunch in some volumizing foam and finger-coil some of the curls to reform them, or work one of my favorites, Hairstory's Hair Balm, through the hair by finger-coiling or scrunching in as well. Feel free to air dry if you please, but I prefer to diffuse on a low heat and low-speed setting.  

I usually recommend misting the hair lightly with water to reactivate the product for those with coily, curly, and wavy types. You could use a little gel to finger coil into the hair or a curly detangling brush to work through (though this might be more time-consuming). You have to be careful when refreshing curls with low porosity or a coarse texture because when the hair doesn't absorb that water, the product can bead up and sit on top of the cuticle."

Skip the Shampoo and Co-Wash Your Curls

Sometimes, changing your wash day routine can make a major difference in how long your result lasts. "Instead of reaching for the shampoo, co-wash your hair with your favorite conditioner (get the hair wet and use the conditioner like you would a shampoo) or opt for a dedicated cleansing conditioner and do your whole styling process from scratch," Kayganich says. "By skipping the shampoo, you allow your hair to retain more moisture, which results in your defined, healthy finish lasting longer."

How Often to Refresh Curls Between Wash Days

"If you prefer a low-maintenance hair care routine, focus more on a preventative route when styling your curls, so you don't have to do too much in between," Kayganich explains. "On the other hand, if you are okay with a little bit of work between your wash days, then refreshing using a co-wash or re-activating product should be done one to two times if you go a week to 10 days between washing in my opinion."