When you think of a beautiful woman, standing at the beach, staring into the sunset, and catching the ocean breeze billowing through her long tresses, what does that look like to you? For me, that is a caramel blonde with long, straight hair who looks photoshopped during the ocean breeze and photoshopped immediately after. For me, that is a straight up hysterical fantasy because these curls will never look like that effortless image.
So does that mean I hate my hair? Not at all! At least not anymore. I can’t say the same was believed by 5 or 13 year old me. But now I have been able to embrace my differences and one of them happens to be my hair. I have dark brown curls that tend to take on a personality completely of their own.
After decades of trying to tame my mane, I have decided it was time to embrace each curl, kink, wave, or whatever else my hair wants to do that day. So what do I do to keep myself from pulling a 2007 Britney Spears-esque style modification? I have developed multiple curly hair hacks that really work and really help keep my hair easy to maintain and looking effortless!
- Do not use cotton pillowcases or towels! Cotton is an abordbant material that wicks out the moisture that curly hair needs, especially the natural oils that your tips are already lacking.
- DO use satin/silk pillowcases and microfiber towels. Satin/silk pillowcases will allow your hair to maintain its moisture while also being slippery enough to reduce the number of late-night knotting. Microfiber towels will soak up the excess water while letting your hair keep its adequate level of moisture.
- Don’t have either and don’t want to shell out the cash just yet? I use a t-shirt when I travel that has the same priciple for my hair in that it does not tug, snag, or overdry my hair. I also have a satin sleeping cap that I got at the DOLLAR STORE which serves a simliar purpose to the pillowcase while keeping all of my hair out of my face and off my neck.
- Do NOT wash your hair every day. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again -everytime you use shampoo, you are stripping your hair of the pollutants, dust, product build-up, and other gunk but you are also stripping your hair of its natural oils which prevents frizz and maintains curl ringlets.
- DO wash your hair every 3 days or so. And try cowashing instead of your standard shampoo. Cowashing is a cleansing conditioner that cleans your hair withou the soapy suds so there is little to no moisture removal. You will need to detox your hair once a month with a solid cleansing shampoo that you’ll follow up with conditioner but the less you strip your hair, the healthier it becomes!
- Do NOT use a brush…ever. Brushing will go against your curl pattern and cause frizz and breakage.
- DO untangle your hair with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb only. Better yet? Do it while you’re in the shower and your hair is still sopping wet rather than dry and prone to breakage. I have also used a detangling brush after a particularly intense hair styling session but try to limit the use overall.
- Do NOT dry your hair with a standard hair dryer. No, I’m not telling you to spend $500 on a “new” hair dryer with fancy lights and buttons. However using a standard dryer will localize the heat and over dry your hair which can lead to burning and breakage.
- DO use a diffuser as you do not want to target heat on any strand of your hair -the more you can spread the heat around the faster you can dry without overdrying. If you want some volume, diffuse your hair upside down!
- Do NOT skip the leave-in conditioner. Curly hair has this knack of twisting and turning which means the natural oils from your scalp don’t tend to make it to your tips which leads to frizz and anger.
- DO use products meant for your curl type and make sure you use the right amount to fill in the gaps that nature missed! Depending on how thick and tight your curl is, you will may use different products than your neighboring curly-haired friend but please take prudence on how much product you use. If the directions say dime-size for shoulder length hair and your hair goes a bit farther, try a quarter size at most; over-saturating your hair will leave it flat and oily.
- Do NOT to straight to bed without some maintence. After a long day, your hair is just as tired as you are and needs some particular TLC.
- DO develop a nighttime routine just as you do for your face. Using a good oil on the tips of your hair will seal the dry cuticles and prevent knotting and frizz. And yes, I said oil so you can go and buy Moroccan Oil or use that coconut oil that you have laying around somewhere.
- Do NOT neglect your monthly hair duties.
- Curly hair needs to be pampered. Once a month, after detoxing your hair, follow up with a good hair masque. I personally use olive oil, coconut oil, and honey and let that sit for a couple of hours, or overnight if your hair is particularly thirsty, and rinse. This masque will reinvigorate your hair while adding luster and controling that dandruff issue you don’t want to talk about.
- Do NOT forget to cut those locks once in a while.
- Once you found a salon that you like, and in order to do so, call around and make sure they have stylists that work with curly hair if the salon is not exclusively for curly hair, make an appointment every 3-6 months depending on your length. Now I will tell you that I finally found a salon by me that is AMAZING with curly hair and specializes in just that. It took me years to find a place that did not tell me “Oh wow. You have a lot of hair.” If your stylist ever says that and looks like a deer in headlights -RUN!
- Do NOT use standard hair ties.
- Standard hair ties will tug and break your hair. It may be a little 1980’s but if you are putting your hair up for a gym workout or a lazy-day do (gotta love a top bun), then add some extra conditioner and use a scrunchy or non-elastic tie. I personally use a lot of bobby pins to achieve my updo’s!
Let me know if you have tried any of these hair hacks & tips and if they worked for you! Got any more hacks or tips to share – c’mon curly-heads…lets share the wealth!