I have a confession to make: I love curly hair. I love the way it moves. I love the way it has a mind of its own. I don’t know on any given day how much curl I will have or if it will be flat or poofy. I love when people ask if they can touch it. Sure, I love getting my hair blown out for a change and you can’t beat straight hair for shine, but at the end of the day, I love my curls. I’m always surprised when I find out a friend is a secret curly – that she flat irons her hair or has it straightened chemically. I truly believe that if everyone knew how to care for their curls and waves, they would embrace all the wonders of it. Today, beauties, I am going to show you how.
The biggest hurdle with caring for curly hair is finding someone who can cut it. Every one of us has had an awful experience at the salon, myself included. I’ve left looking like an angry poodle or have had my hair shorn within an inch of its life. Sometimes, the cut is OK but the stylist insists on blowing it straight – something I neither want to do nor have the talent to do. Fortunately, things have improved over the years and if you live in a big city, chances are you have at least one salon that caters to curls. Even if you don’t, many mainstream salons have at least one curly expert on staff. Deva Concepts has a list of stylists who have been trained in curly cuts and is a good place to start.
After you have found someone who can cut your hair properly, the next step is caring for it. There is no routine that will work for everyone but I have found that in general, a simple routine is the way to go. One of the greatest joys of curly hair is that it is so easy to care for once you get the right cut. Below is the routine I follow for keeping my loose curls defined and bouncy:
My hair is on the dry side and it looks better when I do not shampoo every day – twice a week is plenty for me. On most days, I cleanse with a conditioner. I take a palm-full and work it into my hair and scalp, leave it on for a few minutes and rinse. Because I use so much conditioner, I use inexpensive products. My favorites? Alberto VO5 Tea Therapy Clarifying Conditioner in Vanilla Mint Tea and Yes to Cucumbers Color Care Daily Makeover Conditioner (I have highlighed hair). My hair doesn’t like silicones or too much protein (wheat protein in particular dries it out) and these conditioners fit the bill.
When I do shampoo, I use a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser and then condition as usual. Some great shampoos are Gary Null’s Heavenly Hair Cleanser (smells amazing!) and Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Shampoo.
There are a dizzying array of products for styling curly hair and this is the main area where you need to experiment to find out what works best for you. You will also find through trial and error that what works in humid weather will leave your locks limp when the temperatures drop. As I mentioned earlier, my hair can’t take silicones, but other curlies swear by them.
I do, however, have a styling combo that I can count on when I absolutely need my hair to look its best. I use an egg size dollop of Paul Mitchell’s Sculpting Foam with a pump of Round Trip. A lot of products can make hair crunchy and stiff, but this provides just the right amount of hold.
For me, the best benefit of curls is it can truly be wash and go. When the weather is warm, I put my products in, scrunch and walk out the door – the less you touch your hair, the better it will look. When I get to my destination, I shake my hair and perfect curls!
When I do not have the luxury of letting it dry naturally, I use my Deva diffuser on my hair dryer, which is set to low and warm. This very unusual styling tool is shaped like a hand, so it can gently lift your hair as it dries. It takes a little while to get the hang of it, but once you do, you will never blow dry your hair without it.
Now it is your turn, curlies! What is your routine?