Accepting your natural hair is only half of the struggle, but curly hair is the way forward. Having curly hair doesn't come easy, and the issues are vast, the maintaining, the looking after etc.. but saying that, "nothing that comes easy is worth having".. so remember that fact then move forward.
Most of you will know that my natural hair is curly, thanks to both my mum and dad and their mum's and dad's
and their mum's and dad's etc.. (ok maybe a few of them had straight hair, but you get the idea)
Unfortunately, I haven't been kind to my hair in the past and have spent years bleaching, colouring, straightening , scraping it into a pony tail, twisting, tonging, relaxing etc..etc.. so in conclusion I have been quite brutal to my poor locks. However, despite all this, I have managed to maintain the texture and the length with extra care and knowledge. It's not easy but it's not rocket science either. You just need to know the basics.
First and foremost, if you have curly hair, its more than likely
that your hair texture is dry. So rule number one, DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT copy people with straight hair that wash it everyday!! Our hair is already naturally dry, washing it everyday will only wash out all the natural oils that are in the hair and make it even more drier..(if that's even possible).
In actual fact, the less you wash it the better. Hair doesn't need to be washed everyday anyway, but, for the curly girls specifically, less is more. If you can stretch the washes for up to 2 weeks at a time, great!! three weeks is even better. The point is, too much washing & indeed too much shampoo is not going to benefit curly hair at all, it'll only dry it out further. Also, if you can bear it, try and rinse hair with COLD water. Cold water makes hair shinier, locks in moisture and reduces frizz. But don't go overboard, you don't want to end up with a head cold. Now personally I don't think there's anything wrong with a little bit of frizz, some frizz adds volume and adds character. (for the record, mine has lots of frizz - scroll down for picture)
Before we leave the topic of shampoo, it's important to note that normal shampoos can dry out and damage curly hair.. Yes the drama is never ending with us. Make sure you select a shampoo that's not too harsh on your hair. ONLY use shampoos that are SULPHATE FREE, normal shampoos contain sulphate which is salt and detergent and this is far too harsh for curly hair. After shampooing always try to apply conditioner to the hair. In fact if you can manage without shampoo but just condition, thats even better. This process is called co-washing. Conditioning is crucial to lock in moisture. Curls NEED moisture.
Another suggestion that I think is crucial for you curly haired ones is, invest in a satin pillow like NOW!!.. Satin pillows are the way forward. They reduce the frizz that occurs when you sleep. I know you guys thought that it's all about cotton, but unfortunately it isn't, sorry. Cotton pillow cases just rub on your hair causing frizz friction and you'll wake up looking like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards. Trust me I know. It's happened to me on many occasions and its not nice, and trying to resolve the issue is another time consuming matter. Now unless you want to be walking around town with a birds nest on your head, just hid my advice and get that satin pillow case. You can thank me afterwards. (if you don't this could be you.. see pic below)
Please keep well away from gels and hair sprays that contain alcohol. I know we sometimes need that rock solid hair that even a hurricane wind can't blow down, but don't do it. Alcohol is detrimental to your curly locks, so keep well away. All it will do is DRY your hair further and make it brittle. Try using oils and hair creams to tame your hair instead. Now I know at times desperate times calls for desperate measures, but please don't resort to putting Vaseline or hand creams in your hair.. (ok hands up, I admit, I have at one stage done this when all else failed me, but I now know better, if you haven't already been there yet.. DON'T go there)... I know it might sound good at the time, but honestly just don't. Vaseline has no benefits for your hair what so ever. It will just leave it sticky, greasy and clammy. Yes, it may hold down those "picky bits on the side", but I advise against it. As for hand creams, they do not have the right ingredients in them to help your hair in anyway, so again please avoid.
Ok, so admittedly, I've been straightening my hair for too long, using the hair dryer, the tongs plus all the other "bad" things heat wise to make it appear straight. But heat appliances are a huge NO..NO...NO... in fact they're detrimental to your locks.. not to mention evil to your curls.. how would you feel if you were a strand of hair on your head.. getting pulled, tugged, burned, frazzled and fried? well, now imagine your poor hair and what it's going through every time you undergo that harsh procedure.. Have you noticed that sizzling sound when you put oil on your hair then tong it? .. the smoke that appears and the smell?!
Yes we're constantly bombarded with RUBBISH on TV and in magazines that tries to convince and brainwash us that straight hair is the way forward.. what a load of trash!! don't be fooled. Why must we all walk around like clones with poker straight dyed hair? curly hair is just as beautiful. "People pay a lot of money to have curls like the ones you've got on your head, remember that.".. my mum used to say to me, and she was right, but I was hard headed and didn't realise how nice my hair truly was UNTOUCHED. Life is a lesson and we all make errors as we go along.
On the topic of heat, too much sun exposure won't help your hair either, dry hair doesn't need to get any drier. Make sure if your in the sun for long periods, either cover your hair or make sure its deeply conditioned to stop it from frazzling or cooking in the sun. Chlorine and salt, found both in swimming pools and the sea also pose a huge danger. These need to be washed out of your hair immediately afterwards as they cause added dryness. Oh my gosh, it's a never ending saga this curly hair.. the works been cut out for us..
Never try and brush through a mass of tangled curls. That's like trying to mow a lawn of metal?! think about it... The best way to untangle your hair, is to try and firstly do it with your fingers. Slowly working your way through. After that starting from the bottom up you can use a wide tooth comb NOT A BRUSH.. and slowly try and untangle the hair further. These steps will ensure minimum damage to already delicate hair that's tangled up. Furthermore, the best way to do this, is when your hair is wet, as it will be easier to work through. Be careful though, being too harsh could result in you ripping and snagging at your hair.
Bleaching and Colouring
If you can stay away from colouring of any kind, then I would strongly advice you to do so. I have bleached my hair for years, and the damage can be extremely bad, especially for the texture and curl pattern of your hair. (bad bad me!!) Bleaching is especially hazardous , as this strips the hair and therefore leaves it weak and prone to breakage. Not only that, but it dries it out so much that the hair becomes brittle to the touch, and porous. The curl pattern will also become damaged and hair will be so dry that it will no longer be able to curl like it did before. so stay away!! .... BUT.... if you do want to colour your hair try and opt for natural hair dyes such as the henna ones and the brands which contain NO ammonia. These are less harsh and therefore cause less damage to your hair.
Help your hair out
When you have some spare time, try and invest it into applying hair masques to assist your dry hair. You don't have to go and buy the most expensive products from the shops, you will find all that you need in your kitchen. egg whites, pure uncompressed virgin olive oil, avocado and mayonnaise all help to strengthen and deeply condition the hair. Always cover hair with a plastic bag after any application to deeply condition it further and try and leave masques in for at least half an hour, an hour is even better.
Drying your hair
If you have a t-shirt to spare, try and dry your hair with that after washing it. It's a better option than a towel which causes dry frizz to emerge from the friction of drying. Letting hair dry naturally is even better. Air drying will allow hair to dry naturally and for shapely curls to form without being crushed by manual drying.
I have always used uncompressed virgin olive oil. This is a natural oil that will really condition and strengthen your hair. I swear by it. My nan and my mum used it on my hair when I was younger. You can either use it as a hair masque alongside an avocado then wash it out, or you can apply a small amount and leave it in. I usually just leave it in. Please note, it can be quite greasy and oily so don't over do it if you choose to leave it in your hair. You may choose to cover your hair in the night with a hair net to prevent oil stains on your pillow case.
Moroccan Argan Oil
This is another of Morocco's magic miracles. It works absolute wonders, just hit google to do your research on it as I could go on all night about this product. Again, this is an oil that you can leave in your hair. I would suggest using organic natural pure Argan Oil. Nothing with added perfumes or creams. Everyone is jumping on this bandwagon, but Argon Oil ONLY comes from Morocco. If I'm going to be brutally honest, MOST products on the market do not contain JUST Argan Oil, A lot of them are mixed with other stuff, so they are not entirely pure. Do your research before purchasing.
You may want to invest in the Mixed Chicks Hair products as they are designed specifically for curly haired girls and work wonders. They have a whole range of products for curly hair, including shampoos, conditioners, serums etc and these are all designed for the treatment and care of unruly locks.
I hope these few tips have helped you girls out. If you have any questions, please email me directly or leave a comment below..good luck x