Hello my darling readers,
Today I want to give a very brief synopsis on how to care for your curls with some simple tips that I use on the regular. I did away with heat tools and decided to wear my natural hair in May 2016 and it has been a journey. It’s been less than a year but my curls have seriously transformed into something I grow more proud of each day. Understanding how to properly care for my hair has been pivotal in ensuring that my tresses are healthy and looking their best, and I want the same for you! If you are struggling with looking after your natural curls, don’t despair! I was in the same boat not too long ago. It takes some time and effort on your part, but so long as you continue to love your locks, then they will pay you back by making you look and feel like the sexy woman that you are!.. or man ;). Now without further ado these are the steps I take in caring for my natural curly hair.
Cleanse Once a Week/ No poo’ ing
Heard of the no poo movement before? Personally, I do not shampoo my hair and have not for a couple of years now. Instead I cleanse my hair once a week and wash using a conditioner instead of shampoo (co- wash). This is also known as the no poo method and works doubly as in no (sham)poo and not putting poo, crap *bleep* in your hair.
Reasoning: If you have any other kind of hair apart from straight (type 1) then your hair has a harder time in staying moisturized. This is because as your strand curves, bends and coils, the natural oils from your scalp find it difficult to reach the ends. Now what do traditional shampoo’s do? They strip our hair of natural oils thus making it super difficult for the full mane to be protected. What’s more is that most shampoo’s contain sulphates, silicones, and detergents that are either damaging or drying to natural hair. It’s no bueno!
The goal is to clean the hair with something that is gentle and does not contain ingredients that harm rather than help. I use Apple Cider Vinegar as my cleanser. For those that prefer a bottled product, so long as it is free of the drying agents and detergents aka curly friendly, then its a go. Many product lines have great shampoo’s and cleansers that are already made for you. A curly favorite is Deva Curl Low Poo and Deva Curl No Poo.
Leaving in your regular conditioner depends on your curl type. See my previous post here to deduce where your curl pattern falls. Because I am a 3a/3b type I like to leave my conditioner in all week to aid in keeping moisture locked in. I cleanse. Rinse. Co- wash. Finger comb. Rinse. Flip my head over and apply more of my conditioner. Scrunch out the excess and then style. Conditioner has been a key element in my curl transformation and it is something that I would highly encourage in the care of your own curls. My favorite conditioners are SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner and Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Conditioner.
This may sound like a no- brainer but to some people it is not! I have spent the last three season in Ibiza, Spain and on the whole of the island I could not find a curly- friendly product to save my life. If I bought from my local hair shop all of the conditioners, gels, and creams were not specifically targeted for my type of hair plus the ingredient list was like “oh dear they are trying to murder me.. or my hair.” You need the products that have you and your hair in mind. Check out my post here to read about my favorite natural hair products. Those of us with curly hair need more products than the average person so that our curls can bountifully come to life. The way to look after your locks is to choose products that are specifically made for your type of hair. Many curly products strive for excellence by not adding ingredients that weigh down curls or that injure them in the long run. Get to know the products that you use, the ingredients in them, and what your community says/thinks about them.
To help seal my ends and lock in moisture I apply an oil after co-washing as well as after styling my hair. My oil of choice is coconut oil as it makes my hair shiny and soft. Some other oils that you can use are jojoba oil and grapeseed oil. Both are light weight and do the job without weighing down the curls or making you look like a deep fried treat.
Microfiber Towel/Cotton T-shirt
Have you heard about this? Using a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt after wetting your hair in place of the more traditional route ..er a regular towel. Some people swear by it, and some don’t. Personally, I find that using a t- shirt to dry my hair in place of a regular terry cloth towel really does help in preventing frizz. I find that this method also prevents the towel from soaking up too much water which I need when I begin to style my hair.
Leave in Conditioner + Water
This simple concoction has saved me so many dry and frizzy days! As mentioned above, I cleanse, co- wash then style once a week (see my full method here) but in between if my hair gets dry, loses definition, has too many frizzy lizzies, then I get my handy spray bottle (filled with my leave- in conditioner and water) and spray it on to refresh my coils. It also works for what I like to call strand- sorting. If most of my curls look fab but a few are unruly, I spray my mix on the naughty ones and twirl it around my finger for a few minutes and release to reveal a pretty coil. *If really out of wack I do the same but use a bobby pin to pin it up for longer, wait until it dries and then let it join its comrades.
Satin Scarf/ Pillowcase
I actually adopted this nightly ritual when I was about 16 (over 10 years ago.. oh dear time flies). When I wore my hair straight I would wrap it up at night in a satin or silk scarf and my straight hair would last ages. Each night that I wore it up in my scarf it would help my hair to be shinier, to stay in place, and it worked incredibly well in looking after my hair. I realized, way back then, the brilliance of sleeping with satin and you should to, especially if you want to care for that mane.
Reasoning: Cotton pillows aid in taking your precious strands away as you move about through the night and they also help in frizzing up the hair. To ensure that your hair has a nicer time while you sleep, a satin scarf or pillowcase is just the gentle touch that it needs.
I usually sleep with my hair up in a pineapple with a stain scarf wrapped around my head atop a satin pillowcase for good measure. The best part about having a satin pillowcase is that if my scarf falls off (and it often does) my precious case is still there protecting my curlies while I sleep (and thrash about in dreamland). Loads of choices here.
Oh this beauty beauty beauty. When I first decided to wear my natural hair I couldn’t figure out how to wear my hair every night! Braid it, do a twist out, bun it up.. what? I would style it and want to keep the curls how they were the day before without disrupting them but really didn’t know how. Then I learned of the pine-appling method and it made things super easy (just how I like!). All you do is collect your curls and place it in a ponytail at the top of your head (keep the band around it really loose). When I take my pineapple down each morning my curls are still in place, all I need to do is style them a bit more or refresh them. Nice!
I use a wide tooth comb only so as not to tear out my hair. I usually only comb when my hair is wet and has conditioner in it and will either use a wide tooth comb or my fingers.
When transitioning the biggest help in my curls going from waves to defined curls was the big chop that I had. Getting rid of some of those stringy ends and getting my hair cut in long layers really helped in the health of my hair. If you do need a cut make sure that you elect to go to a stylist who dry cut’s and understands why. Check this video out by Lorraine Massey if you are curious as to why dry- cutting is the only way for curly women to go. Long layers shape your curls, give it volume, body and prevent all the weight from resting at the bottom of your hair (triangle head).
These tips are simple but as mentioned above, it takes consistency to really look after your beautiful hair. These techniques and methods have truly helped me to take care of my curls and I hope that they help you too!
What are your favorite ways to look after your own hair? Am I missing an important tip? Leave any questions or comments that you have below and let’s keep talking about the care of our curls!