Curly Hair: A Tutorial
I have talked before about Jack’s curly hair and how it’s been awesome from the very beginning. Well, those curls had to come from someone. That someone is me. My hair is incredibly curly. I spent years hating it. I always wanted smooth and perfectly straight hair like my sister. At some point in my mid-twenties, I finally accepted my curls. Then I spent the next decade-ish (you could do the math, or I could just tell you that I’m 34) learning how to style my hair so that the curls are nice, not frizzy (usually) and basically in a style that hopefully doesn’t look like “mom hair”. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to straighten my hair when I have time. And I even had a Brazillian Blow Out earlier this year (my hair was straight for a few weeks, but mostly it just made my curls softer and less sproingy. I liked it, but it really just made me appreciate my true curls even more). I’m just finally at a point where I can say that I love my curls.
After a nice Twitter conversation about curly hair the other day, I was somehow nominated to do a tutorial post on curly hair. So here it is. A few disclaimers. First, this is what works for me. It might be different for you (or your kid). It’s all about trial and error. Second, I was in no way paid/compensated for mentioning any of the products below. I just really like the products and they work for me.
Ok, so first, the most important thing you need to do is find someone who knows how to cut and style curly hair. And get a cut/style for curly hair. Almost every curly hair style can be worn straight if you want, but that’s not necessarily true if your hair is cut in a style that is meant to be worn straight. And I really can’t stress enough that you need a stylist who knows how to cut curly hair and be able to work with your curl type, hair type and face shape. You need someone who will say no when you want to do something ridiculous (like how I ask for bangs once a year and my stylist just shakes his head and says no) or will work with you to find an alternative that will look good and make you happy. (short layers around the face instead of bangs still nicely frame your face).
Products are the next thing that you will want to figure out. I use a mix of salon products, mid-range products and cheapish stuff from the grocery store.
First up is shampoo. I rotate between two salon shampoos. The Unite volumizing shampoo (I know, I know, I don’t need volume, but my stylist is like a crack dealer. He gave me a bottle free and now I’m hooked) is usually for the winter. I think I pay about $22 for a 10 ounce bottle that lasts me about 3 months.
In the summer I use L’Oreal Professional Series Absolute Repair shampoo. My hair tends to get dry in the summer. Add in the humidity and I need something to help control the frizz. I get this at my salon for about $23 and it lasts me about 2 1/2 months. I’ve seen it at Giant Eagle a couple times, but the price is comparable to my salon.
I am 110% loyal to my conditioner. I use Frizz Ease Smooth Start Hydrating Conditioner. The “smooth” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not for straight smooth hair. The hydrating part is what’s important to me and my dryish hair.
Ok, so in a glimpse of my daily routine, I’ll tell you that I always wash my hair first in the shower (yes I was my hair every day). Then I put in the conditioner and leave it in until just before I’m done. Rinsing the conditioner out of my hair is the last thing I do in the shower. Some people swear by rinsing their curls in cold water before they get out of the shower, but if you ask me that’s just not a good way to end a shower, so I don’t do it.
So this is what I look like when I’m ready to do my hair. I put my hair in a towel and leave it there until I put on some makeup.
I comb my hair with a wide-tooth comb then I drag out the styling products.
First I start with Frizz Ease Dream Curls. Again it’s from the grocery store and I pay about $6. (As a note, I often find coupons for Frizz Ease products in the Sunday paper)
After that I use a curl masque from Tigi. It’s their Curls Rock Amplifier. I discovered it about 6 months ago and I love it. My hair needs something to weigh itself down a little bit. Mouse is too light and I’ve never found a gel that I like. This product has the weight of a gel but doesn’t make my hair crunchy like gels tend to do. You can get this at some grocery stores for around $17 or you can find it on Amazon for closer to $7.
Ok, a side note here. When I apply the Frizz Ease Dream Curls and the curl masque I do it with my head upside down. My stylist once told me it helps distribute the product better. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but I do it anyway.
Next I dry my hair. I remember at one point reading that you should let curly hair air dry. My hair looks like crap air dried. First, it’s so thick that it takes the better part of the day for it to dry on its own. 2nd, if left to it’s own devices, my hair will dry pretty much plastered to my head. It’s not pretty.
About a year ago, I discovered the genius that is a difuser. It’s a fabulous invention. And not hard to use. I spent years fearing it but one day on a whim I grabbed the one that inexplicably kept in the bathroom cabinet. It changed my life. My curls are more defined, softer, and less frizzy. On hot summer days, I want to marry my difuser.
I start at the ends, dry those and basically work my way to the top of my head. Again, it works for me.
You should never, ever completely dry curly hair, so I stop when it’s about 90% dry. I spray a little Suave extra hold hair spray just around my hairline to help keep my hair off my face.
All told, the entire post-shower process takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Super easy and super quick.
And the final result:
Now here is the important thing to remember: this is not what my hair looks like every day. My hair is a little different every day. That’s the beauty of curly hair. It has a life of it’s own. It does what it wants each and every day. The real trick is learning to work WITH your hair and not against it. Once you learn how to do that, I promise you will embrace your curls too.
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