Here I am, never knowing when to look into the camera. All images by Ecleen Caraballo.

When I was younger, I remember looking at women with (what I thought was) effortlessly beautiful curly hair and being perplexed at the fact that mine didn’t just naturally wake up looking like that. Little did I know, maintaining curly hair actually takes a lot of effort!

Still, it’s definitely worth it—especially considering the fact that straightening my hair used to take just as much time, but stripped me of a part of my identity. So, many trial and errors and videos later, here I am. In the colder months, I typically wash my hair one to two times a week. Whereas in the summer I find myself washing it at least twice a week—mostly because I basically live at the beach on the weekends. This week, I decided to wash my hair on a Sunday. And yes, I have to plan ahead.

Morning

I will usually make plans for a morning coffee/brunch situation on one weekend day and then make sure to leave the other one open... for sleeping in. This Sunday I slept in ‘til about 10 and woke up in a panic realizing I had plans at 2 and lots to get done. I made a quick coffee—decaf Café Bustelo in a moka pot—and some toast. Then, I prepped for my shower. One of the reasons I used to dread washing my hair is because it gets tangled easily and only seems to get worse when it’s wet. So now I drench it in coconut oil + jojoba oil and detangle it before jumping in to make my process under water a tad easier.

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First thing I do is wash my face with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, and let my hair get soaked. Then I wash my hair with DevaCurl’s No-Poo Decadence. I found that their Decadence line works best with my hair because it’s a tad more hydrating than any of the other ones I’ve tried, and God knows I need all the moisture I can get. Yet, it seems I don’t know that considering I’ve dyed my hair different shades of blonde several times over the last year. Now, I have the joy of not only worrying about moisture, but also trying to maintain my blonde hair. Yay...! To take care of the latter, I use Joico’s sulfate-free Color Endure Violet line. I split my hair into two sections, lather that on and wait a few minutes to let it work its magic. Next, I’m giving DevaCurl’s new Wash Day Wonder a try, so I follow the instructions and apply a “generous amount” of that from my ends to my scalp and let it simmer before detangling. After a few weeks of trying this out, I must say it does help make the detangling process easier—or at least more than conditioner does, which this week I didn’t even use since it does little to help, despite putting half the bottle on my head. Plus, Wash Day Wonder smells heavenly, with a nice blend of flower extracts, and makes me feel like I am in a spa though I have yet to actually go to one.

After I finish detangling with my fingers (which is better than any other method, including wide-toothed combs and brushes—trust me, I’ve tried), I put a handful of whichever one of the three deep treatments I happen to have at the moment. Right now, it’s Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Repair Mask, Mayoliva Intensive Treatment (as recommended by my dad/hero who went from nudging me to straighten my hair... to sending me 1500 YouTube videos to help me care for my curls), and DevaCurl’s Heaven in Hair. After I let a blend of those sit in my hair for 10-15 minutes, I wash out a bit of it with cold water, and then—my favorite part, and my little secret—I take rosemary water from leaves that I boiled while making coffee and pour it on my head before hopping out. Rosemary, it turns out, is good for promoting hair growth, and it gives my curls a nice bounce and shine.

Then, voila! All done. I wrap my hair in a Turbie Twist Microfiber Hair Towel so that I’m not dripping everywhere while I get dressed, and I move on to the rest of me, which probably feels very neglected at this point.

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For my face, I recently started using the True Cream Aqua Bomb by belif. I love it (and wish it wasn’t so damn small). I have semi-sensitive skin so I don’t mess with it too much––in the past that meant I used primarily Clinique products because I didn’t know much else existed. When my last moisturizer of theirs finished, though, I started this one based on reviews and I don’t think I’m ever going back, sadly for my wallet. But anyway, I let that sink in while I put Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion on my bod, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter for stretchmarks on my bum (because, yes, I have those), and get clothed. Now would usually be the time when I plop a couple of Gold & Snail Hydrogel Eye Patches on and read while I let my hair air-dry—but it was already almost noon and I knew I didn’t have time for that, and would have to go out with evidence that I don’t sleep nearly as much as I should during the week.

Confession: I don’t use toner. I feel like it’s a scam??? I’ve heard good things though, so to each each their own. After moisturizing I pop open my makeup bag and lay it on. By “it” I mean bareMinerals’s Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream. I rub it in with my fingers and add a little extra to my dark spots. I started using this just a few weeks ago and, similarly to just about every other good product, I am mad at how small it is but will likely keep using it anyway. It has SPF and is simple to use. I’m all about easy-to-use products that help me keep the amount of time I allot to makeup application at a high of no more than six minutes.

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After letting that sit in for a few secs, I put Glossier’s Boy Brow in black on my eyebrows, their Stretch Concealer in dark under my eyes and under my nose (to cover up a scar I got when I was little), and Clinique’s Powder Blush in Sunset Glow. All of the above parts of my routine haven’t changed in years. The next ones are where I happily switch it up depending on my mood: lipstick & eyeshadow. My two favorites. For the latter, I recently got Urban Decay’s Moondust eyeshadow in Glitter Rock and I wear it every other day, including today, because it feels like it was made for me and makes me happy, like adding sprinkles to my ice cream does on a warm day—extra but necessary. In fact, as I write this I decided I’m going to get more colors—because why not? I also have a simple golden brown eyeshadow that I got in a sample set from Clinique that I wear on the inner part of my eyelid on every regular, degular, shmegular day. I have my eye on Sunset Gaze from Make Up Forever to replace it and will get it as soon as the sun actually decides to share its warmth with me, as a way of celebration and mental prep for summer.

Onto the lips. At this point, I’m late and it feels like it’s still morning so I opt for a light color—a pink that will cover the fact that the inner parts of my lips are darker than the rest. On other days when I’m feelin’ more adventurous or need a little confidence boost, I go for Nars’s Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella.

That’s it for makeup, and thus my morning routine. I have been thinking of getting a lash curler or lash-enhancing product of some kind though, so if you have a rec—I’m all ears.

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Afternoon

It was now somehow noon, which means I had an hour to dry my hair before I need to run out the door. This is exactly what I was trying to avoid by assigning Sunday as wash day, but I failed miserably. In reality, for my curls to be at their best behavior I need to let them air dry for at least two hours, and then diffuse for about 30 minutes. Today, I had to do 30-30. After 30 minutes of catching up on the news, I put some SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler on my hair and grab my diffuser by Deva and attach it to my (embarrassingly old/probably overdue for a replacement) CHI blowdryer, and proceed to move it in and around my hair at the coldest setting to ensure it was drying, but not damaging them.

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My hair was still soaking wet. I risked getting sick, put my jacket on and went out anyway.

When I got to the restaurant, my friend was about 30 minutes late. Usually, I’m more than willing to give people grace for being late, but today I just wish I would’ve had the extra time to dry my hair. I went to the bathroom, now that my hair had dried (or frozen?) in the brisk wind, flipped my head upside down and shook it around to remove the crunchy cast that the product had formed, and give it a little volume so it looked and felt soft and effortless.

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I treated myself to a bellini and read while I waited. At this point, in terms of products, I don’t use much more throughout the day other than Neutrogena Hand Cream that I keep in my purse for every time I wash my hands, and Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment in Coral for whenever my lips feel dry.

Evening

It turns out brunch included unlimited champagne and coffee at a very reasonable price, so I ended up spending way more time at lunch than I planned for. I like to think of Sundays as a sort of self-care day and was planning on either going to church or taking my momma to the movies. After putting on one of MAC’s orange-colored matte lipsticks, my mom decided she’d rather just have me come over, sit on the couch with her, drink tea, and start a new series on Netflix. Needless to say, I love her.

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I didn’t hesitate to run to the bathroom and take off all my makeup. I don’t keep it on for longer than I have to––same goes for my eye contacts. OK, here’s where I’ve been struggling. For the last couple of years, I was using Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Wipes. Lately, though, my skin feels extra dry (perhaps because of the extremely long winter in NY, or the mini-heater I have blasting directly to my face all day at work). So, I wanted to try something new––and have been using Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water with organic facial cotton rounds.

So far, I’m not a huge fan. I’m not sure if it’s giving me an allergic reaction or if my face is adjusting to the new product––but I’ve got a couple new bumpy friends gracing my countenance that I could do without. Still, I’m giving it a few more days since I read about 50 blogs about how great micellar water is, and am trying to put some effort into my nighttime routine. For as long as I can remember (and I thought this was completely normal until getting yelled at by the people in beauty slack at work), I do absolutely nothing to my face after I clean it at night. No moisturizers, oils, etc. Sometimes, especially now with this new micellar water leaving a thin layer of product on my face, I’ll rinse with water and then I just don’t touch it—not even to dry it. I like the idea of my skin absorbing the water and refueling for the next day on its own sans products. So far, so good!

Awake, and asleep, all at once

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For bed, I sleep on a silk pillowcase, which perhaps sounds fancy and bougie, but is really just something I started doing because my curly-haired friends insist that the regular cotton ones were stripping my hair of its natural moisture.

Before I drag my butt to bed, I flip my head over, tie my hair up in a nice pineapple updo with a flexible hair coil and pray for good hair days from Monday to ~~forever~~.