Curly hair… Let’s start with some history…
When I was just a little curl…. eh girl…
Everybody who has curly hair knows that curls have a life of their own. You can try to tame it, but you will never succeed. I have tried for many years. When I was younger I was never satisfied with my hair. It was curly, but not enough. So when my hairdresser asked me if I wanted to try straight hair I said “yes”. I tried it a couple of times and I must say I did not really like it. All of a sudden my hair was very sophisticated and cleaned up. Also, when the wind blew through my hair I could feel every hair move separately. Very weird! And when a drop of water would fall on it… POOF, my hair would curl again. I used to know this girl who straightened her hair by using an iron and a cloth. Very dangerous – I tried it once and burned the skin in my neck- and it is not good for the hair. No, it was definitely not my thing. So I came to accept that I had curls. But I was never really happy with them as I did not have a full head of curls like Katja Schuurman. For the Dutch readers: Yes, I was aware she had hair extensions in that time.
Then I grew up!
About 6 years ago I changed my haircut dramatically. I was fed up with my long semi-curly hair and I cut it short with layers. Wow, that was a good change. I actually had volume and my curls looked nice. Gone were the bad hair days. Since then, I have been very pleased with my hair. My hair and I have a good understanding together. I now know that a good haircut is necessary (layers girls) and how to take care of it so that it will sit the way I want it. Well, most of the times. I still see my curly hair as a part of my body with a life of its own 🙂 This might sound very weird, but I think even my husband now understands what I mean when I say my hair has a life on its own. 🙂
So, how do I take care of my curly hair
My hair is very thin and curly and with that type of hair you should not let your hair grow too long because then it will just hang flat on your head without volume (see my picture with long curly hair below and you will get the idea). So it is above my shoulders and layers do the magic trick. But ask your own hairdresser for advise before you start chopping off your hair 🙂
Then it is important how you treat it. My basis is the Curly Girl Principle, but I have adjusted it a little.
The Curly Girl Principle
The Curly Girl Principle explains everything about the different types of curls and how to handle these curls. What for example works for me, might not work for you because you might have a different type of curl. But there is a red line to follow:
- MOISTURE! Make sure your hair is moisturised. Meaning, use a mild conditioner. And with mild I mean not too heavy, otherwise your curls will hang without grace. The conditioner moisturises your hair, and moisture will make your hair healthy, shiny, bouncy and maybe more important: not frizzy. Frizziness is caused by dryness. So when you hair has enough moist, the frizz is gone.
- Do not use any shampoo, conditioner or hair styling products with parabens, silicones, sulphates, alcohol or perfume. “Clean” products like this are also known as “No Poo”.
Silicones are used by the cosmetic industry to make hair look more shiny. They do this by adding silicones in the products and those silicones create a layer around your hair. Your hair might look shiny, but due to the layer of silicons your hair is actually drying out. You can recognise silicones by looking at the ingredients list of your product. Any ingredient ending with –one is a silicone. There are some exceptions, so please see the following website were information on this topic can be found.
Sulphates, also known as SLS, are detergents that are harsh for your hair, but are for example needed to remove silicones from your hair. Sulphates is the ingredient that makes your shampoo foamy. Yes, it cleans, but it also is harsh for your hair. Look for a sulphate-free shampoo. Sulphates can be recognised when an ingredient in the ingredient list contains the word -sulphate. Also, look at this website for a more detailed list.
Other ingredients like alcohol and perfume dry out the hair and can irritate the skin. Parabens is debatable. They are used to extent the expiration date of your product. Some say that parabens cause cancer. However, researchers still disagree on this one.
Important note: before you start using No Poo products, you have to make sure you remove the silicons from your hair before you step over. So you need a shampoo with SLS but without silicons. The shampoo that I use for this is Citrus Mint Fresh Shampoo from Fructis. This shampoo also does not contain parabens.
Step by step
- I wash my hair with shampoo every 3 to 4 days. I use at least 2 different shampoos to alternate, as I do believe that your hair gets “immune” for a shampoo when you use it too much. At the moment I am using Dr. Organic Argan Oil Shampoo and Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo.
- I always use conditioner. And to match the shampoos I use the Dr. Organic Argan Oil Conditioner and the Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner. When I shower and do not wash my hair with shampoo, I always use conditioner. If you have hair that needs to be combed, then this is the moment to do this. Use a comb with big teeth while the conditioner is in your hair. This type of comb will make sure your hair does not get damaged and it will define the curls already.
- After showering I hang forward with my head and go through my hair with my fingers when my hair is still soaking wet. So do not dry your hair yet! If your have already combed your hair during step 3, then just loosen up your hair gently. Then I scrunch my hair carefully to scrunch the curls in my hair and to scrunch some of the water out. Just do it a little until your curls are defined. Then I take a walnut sized blob of Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution (and this is the best styling product ever!) and I scrunch this in my hair,still hanging forward. Confident Coils moisturises your hair and makes sure you curly strings look healthy and stay together. It also makes sure there is no frizz. I really love this product! BTW, you can also use hair gel for this step. Make sure it has not silicones.
- Now comes the other important trick: dry your hair still hanging forward with a micro fiber towel. I have bought a big one in a shop that sells deterrent products for the house. If you do not have it at home or cannot find it, you can also use a clean t-shirt. By using the micro fiber towel you will soak up a lot of water from your hair in a gentle way. It will also make sure that the chance your hair will be come frizzy is small. So NEVER EVER use terry cloth on your hair as it will damage your hair and make you hair frizzy.
- After that I gently come up and I usually let my hair dry naturally. Yes, I am one of those women who go out on the street with wet hair! You can also use a hairdryer. Always use a diffuser and end your hair drying with cold air. By doing this, you will close the cuticles of your hair which will make sure your hair looks shiny and not frizzy. Make sure you only dry it for about 80% to keep the frizz away. So it still be a little bit damp.
- Now comes another important trick: DO NOT TOUCH YOUR HAIR UNTIL IT IS DRY! If you start touching it before, your hair will become frizzy. It is hard, but you will notice the difference.
- When your hair is dry, you will see you have thick curl. I you want, gently go trough your hair to loosen up the curls a bit.
And that is seriously all I do with my hair. Because I let my hair dry naturally, it does not cost me any more time than usual. Because I do not want to set my hair with a hair gel (I want my hair to be nice and soft), my hair usually starts very curly and during the day it gets less curly. Around 12 my hair is exactly the way I want it till late in the evening.
In this post you have seen that I use Jessicurl. This is a nice product range developed by Jess McGuinty for curly hair. The webshop is very interesting because you can check what type of curl you have and which products from Jessicurl are suitable for your hair. Also, there are many handy instruction videos. The products are very mild and are not tested on animals. They are all Curly Girl Principle proof. In the Netherlands the products can be ordered online. I have ordered my products with Krullen&Zo. I will do a full review of the products I have used in later article.
I hope you found this useful. For me it really opened my eyes and the procedure really works for my curly hair. I do advise to give yourself some time to try out what works best on your hair. And if you have any great tips, then leave them in the comments.
Edit December 2014: Please also see my updated routine.
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Thank you! Rosalie