I’ve got curly hair. Not just waves and the occasional kink, I mean ringlets, tendrils and kind full on curl that cause people to stop what they’re doing and come talk to me about it.
Up until very recently, I was embarrassed by my curly hair. I’d blow dry the life out of it and then flat iron it into submission, hoping it wouldn’t rain or the whole process would be a waste. I spent thousands of dollars (not even joking) on expensive keratin treatments to get straight hair for a few months. I have actually let someone lay my head down on an ironing board while a steaming hot iron tried to rid me of my affliction. I saw my hair as not professional, not chic and not stylish. I wanted the long, flowing waves that Gisele bounced down the runway in, or the long, straight locks that any number of supermodels would have on their head shots, or even, if I couldn’t have that, the kind of hair that would take to a good blow-dry and look sleek and shiny rather than stiff and dull.
Until I decided, one hot summer day not long ago, that I had had enough. What was the point of spending my life deliberately trying to change something that couldn’t be changed? I had stopped dying my hair several years ago to try and remedy the damage all the bleach had done to my head over the years, and I now had a full head of – wait for it – natural hair. But I still wanted it to be different. It may have been the sweltering heatwave which invaded my hometown this summer and the prospect of sitting with a hot blowdryer, flat iron and rollers aimed at my head for the better part of an hour that finally talked me into it… But I was ready. Ready to start embracing the hair which was all mine.
So I found a top-notch stylist who could actually cut curly hair. I paid the fortune and waited the weeks it took just to have my hair cut by her. She went back to basics, going over the 5 rules that those of us with curly hair need never break. I learned those rules inside and out and then, miraculously, my hair started cooperating. When I stopped trying to fight it, it decided to play nice. My frizz virtually disappeared, my hair was the shiny and chic variety I dreamed about – only it was in shiny tendrils which bounced as I walked and made people literally stop what they were doing to come talk to me about them. I had gone from having hair that people looked at and dismissed to having hair that people were envious of. Just by being myself.
- Don’t wash your hair so often: Curly hair is best when the oils aren’t stripped from it, which is what lots of shampoo can do to your hair follicles. I wash my hair about twice a week, but in my everyday shower I use a moisturizing conditioner
- Use a wide-tooth comb : While the conditioner is sitting in my hair, I use a wide-tooth comb to brush through and remove any knots or tangles. Doing it when the conditioner is still in means you’ll not damage any hair, you can ensure the conditioner is entirely covering the hair shaft and it means you actually take the 2 minutes recommended to leave conditioner on your hair!
- Rinse upside down: Quite possibly the weirdest part, I rinse out the conditioner through my combed hair with my head upside down under the water, so the hair is hanging in front of my face. I run my fingers through it gently to make sure I have got all of the product out.
- Immediately towel “pat”: Critical step here – while I’m still standing with my head upside down, I turn off the shower and grab a towel – and then scrunch the towel into the sopping wet hair, being careful to gently scrunch encouraging the curls to form. Flip hair and then finger style your wet tendrils with as few touches as possible to how you’d like it to finish
- Put in product and don’t touch: I put in product to my hair and either blow dry with a diffuser and a teasing pick (if need be) or let it air dry. The key to this part? Don’t touch your hair! The oils on your fingers and playing with the ringlets will just cause the enemy of the curly haired girl: frizz.
After it’s dry, I like to finish with a light mist of soft hairspray to keep the curls as bouncy as possible and if there is any frizz, I calm it down with a serum. My favourites are all indicated in the post but also listed below:
- Fréderic Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo & Fréderic Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner (Trial kit available)
- ghd Wide-Tooth Comb
- Extra Absorbent Towels
- T3 Featherweight Blowdryer and T3 Diffuser
- Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner & Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Oil (perfect for frizz and shine)
- Oribe Superfine Hair Spray