Like most naturally curly gals, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my own hair over the course of my life. I’ve had times when I loved it, and plenty of times when I was beyond frustrated with it. I’ve straightened the life out of it, and I’ve had cuts that made it practically impossible to manage. Frizziness has been the bane of my existence.
There have been plenty of times when I have walked out of the hair salon, jumped into my car, and started to cry because I hated how my new cut came out. There have also been plenty of times when I received compliments for my curls, all while thinking, “If you only knew what it was really like to have curly hair….”
I’ve looked on with envy at those girls with the straight, smooth locks. I’ve tried to hide my curls behind severe (and unflattering) updos. For many years, it was a struggle.
How Curly Girl Helped
It wasn’t until I read Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey and learned how to properly care for my hair that I began to truly embrace my curls. In fact, reading that book helped me come to terms with the frustrations I had experienced over my curls. I actually learned to embrace my curls.
My curly hair is now healthy, happy, and proudly on display for the world to see. And when I get a compliment on my hair, I gratefully say, “Thank you!” with complete sincerity, because I love my hair, too!
Please don’t think I’m bragging about my hair. I struggled for so many years to accept my hair as God made it. Now, I can finally say I am grateful for my hair and glad that God made me the way he did.
One of the most important things I learned from Curly Girl was how to wash and style my hair properly. The major problem I had over the years with my hair (frizziness) was primarily caused by the products I was using and the way I was using them. Now that I have a curly girl friendly hair care routine, my hair is so much happier.
My Basic Hair Care Routine
First, and most importantly, I do not shampoo my hair. (The Curly Girl method may be even more about what you don’t do than what you do.) That’s not to say I don’t wash my hair; I just don’t use shampoo to wash it.
If it has build up of any kind, I will use a tiny bit of baking soda (maybe a teaspoon), mixed into about a cup of warm water. I pour this over my hair, massage in, then rinse out thoroughly. I don’t do this every time I clean my hair, however. It can be too drying if used often. It really only use the baking soda every three to four weeks or so.
Any other time I clean my hair, I use a light conditioner that doesn’t contain any silicones, sulfates, or drying alcohols. (I’ve learned to read hair care products ingredients lists very carefully. Lorraine Massey goes into great detail in the Curly Girl book about which ingredients are good, which are bad, and what effect each has on curly hair.) This is called co-washing in the curly girl world. The product I like to use most for this step is Suave Naturals. It’s cheap and smells like coconut, so it makes me happy.
I massage the conditioner into my scalp, then rinse out through the length of my hair. Believe it or not, there is a proper technique to this step, which I learned from the Curly Girl book.
Conditioning is Key
After cleansing, I heavily condition my hair with a nice thick, creamy conditioner like Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner. Moisture is so important for curly hair. Dryness is what causes frizziness. So, if your hair is moisturized, you won’t have to deal with as much frizz.
The Shea Moisture conditioner is nice and moisturizing and it doesn’t have a strong scent, which I like. I use about a tablespoon of this (yes, that much–my hair is quite long), smooth it down the length of my hair, then comb through my hair with a wide toothed comb. Then I rinse thoroughly again.
The next step in my routine is one more conditioner. I use about a quarter sized amount of the Loreal Ever Curl sulfate free hydrating conditioner. I smooth that over my hair and rinse, leaving just a bit of the conditioner still in my hair. This helps lock in the moisture and keep the curls well hydrated.
After washing and conditioning, I towel dry with a microfiber towel. I don’t use terry cloth–it roughs up the fibers of the hair, causing frizz. (Curly haired people tend to be obsessed with frizz, or rather, ways to get rid of it.)
After towel drying, I apply a tiny bit of leave in conditioner to just the ends of my hair. The one I’m currently using is the Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk. Then, I apply a silicone free gel like Aussie Headstrong Volume Gel.
Styling My Hair
I follow this step with either blow drying my hair with a diffuser attachment, or air drying. I usually air dry my hair because it’s healthier for it, but it takes hours to dry completely. So, if I’m in a hurry to go out somewhere, I blow dry on the low or medium setting, with my head tilted downward and using the diffuser to “scrunch” the hair up toward my scalp. The diffuser is extremely important because without it, the curls will just blow all over the place and look all windblown and messy!
An important thing to note is that I do not comb or brush my hair when it’s dry. Combing or brushing dry hair breaks up the curls and disrupts the natural curl pattern, which leads to–you guessed it–frizz.
And as we all know, we don’t want that.
I seems like a lot of work, but after all these steps, I know my hair will turn out looking pretty and healthy. I don’t cleanse my hair everyday, either. This style will stay looking good for three to four days or more (with some minor effort at freshening it up) before I need to do the whole process again.
I love the freedom embracing my curls has brought me. I don’t stress or worry over my hair like I used to. Now that I know the steps to take to properly care for my hair, I’m happy with my hair most of the time now.
Even on days with frizz, I know that’s just part of the uniqueness of my hair, and I flow with it (usually). Sometimes it’s okay to be a little untamable.
If you’re a curly girl like me, I highly recommend you read Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. It could quite possibly change how you feel about your hair!