Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based person, she/her, mama, creative, colourful, caffeinated, plus-size fashion lover, lefty feminist killjoy #funbutmakeitfashion


Conquering the Curls. - Our curly hair care routine.

One of my most asked questions on Instagram is how I deal with Zoe's curls. I do not have curly hair so its been a bit of a learning curve for me too, but I thought I would write up a little 'what we do' post. I am no expert, we have just experimented and come up with what works for us right now. I am completely open to tips and tricks, or product suggestions that you love.

Zoe had quite straight hair up until her first birthday when it started to curl, it was still quite fine but over the past 2 years it has thickened and grown curlier and curlier. It is almost to her bottom when wet, but as it dries it bounces up into wonderful ringlets.

We have tried all sorts from the Curly Girl Method, to Low-poo/No-poo, serums, oils, leave in conditioners etc... Some worked well, some did not, but we have learned and added to the routine as we went. We stumbled across a brand called Curly Ellie 6 months ago and fell in love. The brand was developed by a Mum of a curly haired child who was fed up of the pain of combing her curls so developed her own range of products. The products are gluten free, SLS free, SLES free, dairy free, peanut free, wheat free, silicone free, paraben free and we are free of all mineral oils. ANother thing I like about the products is they are mostly coconut free (the shampoo has some ingredients derived from coconut oil), so many products aimed at curly hair are coconut based and Zoe has a coconut allergy so I am wary.

So without further ado, let me talk you through our routine...

This is Zoe's hair pre-wash. We tend to only wash Zoe's hair once a week (unless needed, she's three so something comes home with sand/paint/beans etc... in her hair). We find washing less actually really helps combat dryness and frizz. If we want to neaten up her curls midweek we tend to just spray with water and apply some leave in conditioner and allow to dry naturally again.

We start with a thorough shampoo, we do love the Curlie Ellie Shampoo as it has no nasties and smells amazing, but it is pricey so we also have some silicone free Superdrug stuff we love too.

Her pony friend is getting in on the action too, luckily Zoe is really good with water and doesn't mind getting it in her eyes etc... But having a toy in their that she gets to wash helps her with sitting still through this process.

Up next is conditioner, I apply a generous amount, especially around the ends and knotty bits, then grab a comb. We have tried a plethora of combs over the years but have settled on these wooden beard combs! They are cheap (ebay) and wooden so can withstand a lot, I cannot tell you the number of plastic combs we have broken trying to comb out knots. One important point to make is that we only ever brush Zoe's hair when wet, with plenty of product, brushing when dry is a big no no with curls - you'll end up with a HUGE frizzy helmet of hair rather than bouncy ringlets.

My method for combing is simple, lots of conditioner and tackling it section by section. You lift up a small section, hold it tightly below the root and comb downwards, its important to hold it so that when you comb you don't pull at the root, your hand takes the brunt of the pulling meaning little to no pain for Zoe. I hope I have explained that well, if not I can post a little video - let me know.

An additional occasional step (we don't do this every time) is a hair mask, if its feeling super dry or neglected, or we have a fancy event coming up I might add this in to give it that little bit extra. Its just a case of slathering it on, leaving it for 10-15 minutes then rinsing. I've also used some Lush products like H'suan Wen Hua, which is a product I use on my own hair.

Once you are all rinsed and done splashing about, its time for the post bath products. I know this seems like a lot, especially for a child, but its only once a week and its honestly worth it for me.

I use the Curly Ellie detangling spray and leave in conditioner. The leave in conditioner is the wonder product for me, if you buy any of the Curly Ellie range this is the one - the superstar. Once out of the bath I use an old cotton t shirt to squeeze excess moisture from Zoe's hair (rubbing curls with a towel is another no no, frizz central), and then spray with the detangler - combing it through to ensure all knots are gone. Then I rub a small amount of leave in conditioner in my hands and run it through her hair, focusing on the ends first then the front (so less product goes on the front and more at the back).

I run my fingers through as I do this to separate the curls a little and style her parting to the side, as when its central it tend to fall into her eyes, so a side part is easily managed with a clip.

I always make sure she has some toys or her tablet for this bit as asking a 3 year old to sit still while you comb and style is a big ask. She does love having her little pamper sessions though, and the detangling spray means we rarely get any tears or upset with brushing.

I try to let her hair dry naturally and completely before bed, although we are having some issues with her waking up with frizz, we are planning to try a silk pillow next to see if it helps combat this. With the hot weather though I think its unavoidable sometimes. I quick spray with some water and a bit more leave in conditioner in the morning and she is good to go though.

I hope this has been helpful, and please do share your own curly tips or tricks!

I purchased all of the products myself, this is not a paid review in any way


  1. Hari Om
    Zoe's hair is simply gorgeous!

    Coconut allergy is extremely rare, so must present you with some trubs as the oil is now commonly used in so many things and is not counted as an allergen for labelling purposes. Actually, coconut is generally labelled now becuase it is going through a phase of being 'the next best health product'; i.e. seen as a benefit rather than a problem. Tricky business!!! YAM xx

  2. You have touched good quality points here. In whatever way continue


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