Kinks, spirals, waves…the plight of the curly-haired girl to tame that mane is not a new one. How many hours have I logged trying to beat my curls into submission with various tools, potions and heated implements of torture? Countless. That said, I’ve recently made peace (sort of) with my mop, with the help of a few tricks, excellent products and some self acceptance. I shall now bestow this newfound wisdom and upon you, along with a few products I use and love. Use it as you see fit, based on your personal hair texture and styling preferences.
1. Take care of your scalp. Considering it’s the root (literally) of your crowning glory, it pays to take good care of it. So, once a week, before a shower, give your scalp a nourishing oil treatment & massage. Rare Elements EL Treatment and Silktage are both great options, and Silktage doubles as a silicon-free styling aid for incredible shine as well. If you’d prefer to DIY, combine a tablespoon each of olive oil and slightly warmed coconut oil and a few drops of tea tree oil for a rich, pre-shampoo scalp treatment.
2. Cleanse gently. In the shower is where good hair starts. Hair with curl is typically dryer, and more porous than straight hair, so it needs a mild shampoo and lots of moisture. I personally love Rare Elements Pure Shampoo. If you’re on the oily side, Original Moxie’s Get Fresh Shampoo and Linda Kammin’s Daily Shine Shampoo are great options. Some curly girls swear by No-Poo, wherein you skip shampoo all together. Me? I start feeling a little ripe after a week, so I opt for one of these gentle, nourishing options.
3. Condition well. No skimping here and definitely no skipping. Investing in a high quality conditioner can make or break a good curly hair day. I’m in love with Rare Elements Essential Conditioner, which great for medium to thick hair. Acure Organics also makes an wonderful Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner. Fine hair or limp curls will benefit from a lightweight conditioner like Original Moxie’s Featherweight Conditioner. After conditioning, comb or brush your hair and part if how you wear it. Rinse just about all of the conditioner out by standing under the shower and letting the water run through your hair, but keep your hands and brush out of it! The goal here is to let the water and conditioner work together to basically smooth your curls into defined shapes.
4. Tread carefully. No exaggeration; how you handle your hair while it’s damp makes all the difference. Use a super soft shammy or small hand towel to gently blot excess moisture from your curls, from the bottom up. Don’t rub your head with the towel or flip your head upside down. Do whatever you can to not disturb the curls that are forming. The less friction, the better.
5. Twist away. Now is the time to start shaping those curls. If you’re on the dry side, you can start with a leave in conditioner like Original Moxie’s Everyday Leave-in, or for something lighter for fine or fragile hair, the Oasis Moisture Gel. For stellar curl definition, follow with Shape Shifter Reforming Cream, which lends hair a little more bend and flex. Finger twist in small sections, starting at the roots, and work across your whole head.
6. Hold & protect. No, you’re not getting hitched, just working toward the perfect curl, which requires some hold, frizz control, protection from humidity and great shine. Distribute a small amount of lightweight, silicone free defrizzer, such as Original Moxie’s Mane Tame, through the hair with minimal disruption to the curl formation. If you’re hair’s a little thicker or in need of more control, add a dollop of Just Gel to the Mane Tame, and distribute through hair. Carefully. I can not stress this enough. Then DON’T TOUCH until it’s completely dry. If you must get it dry faster, use a diffuser on a low speed and heat setting, focusing on roots and the hair at the nape of your neck.
7. Finish er’ off. Once it’s dry, you can finally touch it! If you feel it’s a little too well defined, the curls are too chunky or it’s somewhat stiff, start by gently scrunching curls to break up the hold a bit, then slowly and carefully separate one curl at a time. For a wilder look, feel free to flip your head upside down and run your fingers through it, which may have you looking like you stuck your finger in a socket, but you won’t lack volume. For high wattage shine, smooth a small amount of a shine serum, like the Silktage mentioned about, over the outer layer, steering clear or roots and scalp.
This may seem like a lot of work, but if you’ve suffered through some of the worst bad hair days known to woman-kind, ever resembled a Qtip or felt a Brillo pad had more shine and definition that your head-o-craziness, take heart. Follow these steps and soon you’ll be rocking some amazing, flirty, fun curls that even those straight & glossy haired girls…the ones we have all secretly wished we could swap hair with at some point…will be sure to envy.
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