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If you have curlies, you already know what a beautiful pain it can be aside from the knowledge gap on how to manage it. The downside to curly hair is managing frizz as well as shape and since curly hair can be pretty high maintenance, I’ve put together a list of things proven to tame curly hair for healthier, more defined curls.
Snippet of My Story..Have You Felt Like This Too…?
As a young girl I thought straight hair was ideal since it looks as long as it is, not to mention its ability to win over the boys with a hair flip, pre bend-and-snap times. There was a constant pressure to straighten my hair since I couldn’t help but feel dorky with my youthful, messy curls. I still have to tell myself that I don’t need straight hair to look pretty. And unfortunately there's always going to be a push towards sleek, straight hair considering the stigma that ethnic, coarser hair always needs “fixing” to look “nice.” Have you noticed that?
Moving From Frustrated to Confident
Ever notice how everyone is going on about being authentic? Well it's actually one of the most important parts of your business or career to connect with your people. Those are the ones that become a valuable part of your community and end up following you or buying from you. But it's kind of hard to be your authentic self if you are finding that you can't solve your problems, am I right? Learning how to be comfortable in your own skin is herculean task but nonetheless important. And the best way to get there is to take designated steps to actually feel comfortable. You hair is a prominent feature associated with self confidence so if you keep your hair healthy, it will contribute to a more confident you. This post is for those looking to increase the health of the hair in order to easily create defined curls, eliminate frizz, and add maximum moisture to your daily routine.
“Aw your hair is so bushy” ...Thank U, Next! Maybe you’ve heard someone direct comments or stupid questions at you concerning your hair like, “how do you straighten your hair?” “With a straightener..just like you…?”
When I hear comments like that or horror stories of women returning from the salon uncommonly upset, it indicates a big lack of know-how regarding curly hair, which I believe comes from treating curly hair like any other hair type. Even educated stylists still misunderstand the complexities of curls, which brings me to this next point. Curly hair is like testing hypothesis to find the right formula. Think of it as a journey of testing inputs and outputs.
Curly Hair Requires A Process Of Trial And Error
I’ve named my hair many things over the years. On bad days, the list includes words with 'mother' in it, but truly it’s like its own ecosystem. Although, all the times pens and other collectibles have been sucked into my hair it resembles a venus flytrap (nom nom nom: Pens! Lint! Leftover crumbs, my favorite!). I mean, there is a LOT going on with big curly hair, and it’s a long process trying to find what makes it happy which makes you feel self-confident. But fear not, there are solutions out there!
I can only take you as far as I've gone, but in the end you have to do what works for you! I pray you find some helpful tips for your hair and are able to sift through all the noise around the internet when it comes to curly hair.
First, I’m going to talk about the impact of natural products on curly hair (and the body), and then I’m going to dive into top styling tips and best products for your curls.
Why Switching Your Products Will Have Your Hair + Body Thanking You
In the process of developing a foundation on wellness, I want to be a model of transparency. It's not a secret there is a wealth of products saturating the market. Many are from well known & well liked companies proven to produce results. From my experience on my own health journey researching the effects of chemicals on the body, there comes a time when you can no longer in good conscience support products detrimental to your health and surrounding environments even from popular brands. Sustainable wellness only happens through adopting a natural routine avoiding products that become silent killers. Let's dive into how toxicity in your products is ruining your hair.
Why To Switch To Natural Products, Beyond Just The Effects?
Harmful chemicals accumulate in your system and end up wreaking havoc on your system from the inside out. If you are experiencing uncontrollable frizz, breakage, and dryness not solved by any routine or product line it may be time to reconsider the ingredients. I'm sure you've heard of the disclaimer on sulfates and parabens causing extra frizz & damage to the hair, but you may not have heard about the effects other chemicals found in popular hair care products.
Chemicals in foaming agents cause extra friction increasing breakage. This is aside from some man made chemicals in foaming agents being hormone disruptors.
Salts, sulfates, certain types of alcohols and other harsh cleansers strip the hair of its natural oils leading to excessive dryness, especially for sensitive scalp conditions. On the other hand, volumizers attempt to unnaturally stretch and plump the strands of hair.
Artificial dyes and fragrances over process the hair reducing the integrity of the hair shaft. Typical store bought products even give the impression that they work for a short time frame but long term sustainability is not possible with the level of toxicity causing the hair to be damaged. If you've ever felt like your hair "got used to" a product or that your products no longer work, it's because your hair, and body for that matter, can't sustain on unnatural substances. Period. Now of course chemicals affects any type of hair but I've found that curly hair is the most temperamental and influenced by other variables.
Supply & Demand--No Excuses
With the magical fairies of supply and demand, natural products are easier to find and more affordable to use. Culturally, there’s been a greater shift towards natural products because of the consequences of man made chemicals: heavy metals have been found in makeup, carcinogens in shampoos, formaldehyde in nail polish with a multitude of other cancer and disease linked chemicals found in products we use every single day in high volumes on our bodies and our children's bodies.
What Happens On Your Skin (& Scalp)...Stays In Your Bloodstream
As much as we wish we could leave everything in vegas, the consequences of our behavior catch up to us quicker than we expect. It’s the same for harmful chemicals and carelessness with our bodies; We may not see the effects for a while until it’s too late. Your body can only take so much before one day it turns around and gives you the finger. I mean really, there comes a point when enough is enough. And instead of being sorry then, be cautious right now. The majority of products that we put on our skin (including our scalps) enter our bloodstream in a matter of minutes. That has grave implications for interacting with important functions in the body. Chemicals found in beauty products have been proven to disrupt natural functions of the body once entered into the bloodstream. Think about the number of products you are using per day. If each product has around 7-10 chemicals, the level of toxicity adds up quickly. And we haven’t even touched on environmental and nutritional factors that disrupt the body (and the hair as well).
Just in one days time….
Cleanser Moisturizer Serum Primer Foundation Concealer Highlighter Blush Eyeliner Mascara Eye Shadow Lip Liner
Lip Balm/Stick/Gloss Toothpaste Mouthwash Facemask Hair Masque Shampoo Conditioner Styling Products
It All Comes From Somewhere...We Shouldn’t Be Surprised
It’s no mystery that illness, allergies, autoimmune diseases are skyrocketing. And to make things worse, Since the US has lower beauty standards (and has not changed policy since the 1930’s) only 11 total ingredients have been banned in comparison to the UK’s 1300 banned ingredients proven to be linked to cancers and diseases. Now's the time to be thoughtful about what we put on our bodies because large corporations are not watching your back they're watching their bottom line.
Now that we’ve established a foundation, let’s chat about the best techniques for curly haired gals!
Did You Know To Do This Technique When Trimming Your Curls?
Dealing with damage is something that everyone has to face. I’m sure you’ve heard the recommendation for a trim around every 6 to 8 weeks and while that is a great piece of advice, you might be missing a few important pieces to the puzzle. Trimming of damage prevents the spreading of breakage so far up the hair shaft that you need to go for the ‘big chop.” But instead of trimming it by first wetting it down, trim it dry.
Curly hair sits at a drastically different level than it does when wet and you could end up losing more than you need to, and you want to make sure you know what it will actually look like. Trust me, if you go to someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing you could go for a bob and end up with an afro pixie combo.
Trimming it dry can also ensure you are cutting off true damage. Since the shape of curly hair is often versatile and layered, the damage could look a lot different if you consider the trim based on sections (or piece by piece) rather than assuming the hair altogether. This is something that works best for my hair and doesn’t compromise so much length all the time.
Evan Joseph has an awesome curly haired salon in Ohio and shows a little bit of his technique on IG @evanjosephsalon. He also runs a master class to teach others how to do curly hair since most stylists don’t actually know how to do ethnic, curly, or mixed hair..like at all.
One of the worst things you can do is treat curly hair the same as any other hair type. There isn’t a one size fits all approach. Now, I’m not saying that you purposely want to cut your hair uneven but curly hair doesn’t have to be cut perfectly straight across because it has a different shape anyway, so taking a piece by piece focused approach will be better for your hair in the long run.
What Type Of Brush Should You Be Using On Your Curly Hair?
Now that we’re getting rid of damage, let’s talk about brushing through those locks. Everyone knows how unwise it is to brush through dry curly hair, but the brush you’re using could also impact the hair as well. I’ve heard many people recommend the wet brush with the balls on the end of the bristles. If that works for you, that’s awesome, but for me that ends up ripping my hair out. I use a detangling brush that has proven to be the healthiest for my hair.
I use the brush when styling as well as when I’m in the shower to detangle the hair getting it ready for a deep conditioning. What I like about this brush is that it removes any anchored hair but doesn’t actually remove any hair from my head that wasn’t already ready to come out. Truly, it detangles the knots in my hair rather than brushes the hair out… you can shop the exact brush that I use below...
Don’t Use The Same Towel You Dry With On Your Hair! Here’s Why!
If you want to get rid of frizz drastically, switch to a microfiber towel. Any other texture of towel can cause extra frizz due to excessive friction which causes more breakage on your hair. This particular material is soft and can dry the hair without any damage done. You can grab yours below, and next time you are getting out of the shower dont even touch your hair with a normal towel: You’ll see a total transformation for reducing frizz!
Does The Temperature Of Water Affect The Level Of Frizz? You Might Be Surprised...
Something else that will drastically cut down on frizzy hair is changing the temperature of water when you are rinsing out your conditioner. Instead of leaving the water on super hot, what I do is lean back so the water doesn’t touch any of my body and rinse my hair with cool water before jumping out of the shower. This will allow the hairs to lay down more cohesively and seal the hair cuticle, which seals in the moisture.
Heat Styling? Quick Tips To Reduce Damage
Let’s face it; You’re always going to damage your hair when you apply heat to it. However, if you airdrying when appropriate and steering clear of heat tools daily will reduce the breakage and product build up in your hair.
Blow Dry Tips For Curly Haired Girls
If you must blow dry, always use a diffuser to shield your hair from a portion of the direct heat. This will minimize damage in the process. Many curlies will flip their hair upside down and diffuse upward scrunching the hair for greater volume. Conversely, if you are looking for greater length, stand upright and diffuse your hair. Yes, you may still want to diffuse generally in an upward motion but you can also work your fingers through the hair pulling it down and separating the pieces as you go and putting in a leave in conditioner and a curl cream.
Flat Ironing Tips...DON’T SQUEEZE
When you’re flat ironing your hair, there’s always a discrepancy between what you want to do and what you should do. Any advice will tell you not to squeeze your flat iron over your hair but to let it pass over the hair because of the extreme damage you cause everytime. But I totally get it, you want to have sleek Jennifer Aniston hair.
Another tip to reduce damage is to put on a heat protectant beforehand. This isn’t a revolutionary idea, but you may overlooking something very important. I don’t want you to end up burning your hair or causing extra build up. Using oils on your hair is pretty popular, but if you’re adding it to your heat styling routine, check the smoke point of the oil (the temperature the oil reaches when it burns) you certainly don’t want your hair to be burning when you think you are protecting your hair from the flat or curling iron!
Cream Before Oil Or Oil Before Cream? This Tip Will Make A HUGE Difference In Frizz
The wrong technique could cause extra frizz out of nowhere. Here’s how to do it right...Within you daily routine should be a leave in cream somewhere to add needed moisture on a consistent basis, but using cream needs to be done right in order to allow the hair to properly lay down to get those defined curls. Use a cream before oil if you incorporate it oil into your styling routine. If you use oil before cream your hair is going to be extra frizzy and will not properly lay down because oil tends to seal the hair while the cream is going to moisturize the hair. Your goal here is to seal after the moisture has been added, not before.
Anytime You Style Your Curly Hair, Don’t Forget This One Thing
Curly hair is like a battle. You must conquer from all sides leaving no flank left unmanned. If you are trying to apply product like non curly haired gals (by applying product all at once) you are going to be disappointed at the outcome. Curly hair does not lay down altogether in any scenario, so product should not be applied as if it does. For maximum results, section the hair off in at least four to six sections and apply product to each part, running your fingers through each section. Those with coarser hair have probably found this out on their own, but if you aren’t as thick you may be under the impression that you can do it all at once. I’ve felt the same way many times before, but by the time my hair dries, I’m living in frizz city. The moral of the story is to give your hair the love and attention it needs. And for curlies, that means extra attention for each (bigger) piece.
What To Do About Information Overload; Can You Actually Mend Split Ends? Should You Use Oil On Your Hair?
The internet is such a gift for innovation and efficiency, but finding accurate and valuable information is unfortunately becoming more difficult. It’s like everyone on the internet is immersed in a game of telephone and by the end we come out with gobbledigook. The overwhelming amount of conflicting information is anything but helpful and can actually set you back in more than just your curly hair routine, but other aspects of your lifestyle like your business too. So, in effort to go for quality over quantity (ALWAYS), we’re gonna talk about the BEST solutions for you. In this case we’re getting to the bottom of curly hair, which brings me to my first point.
To Be Or Not To Be...What To Do About Damaged Hair
Some say you should use oil on your hair because it’s great for moisture other say you shouldn’t because it causes hair to be frizzy, causes buildup, or weighs down your hair. Others say oil is an amazing moisturizer because curly hair and particularly ethnic hair does not create as much natural oils as quickly as straight hair. Straight hair girls can twist a strand of their hair and see oil come out while curlies tend to fall on the side of dryness!
The verdict? Do what works for you. There’s no way to know what works best if you aren’t trying multiple processes out. But when it comes to the topic of using oil or not you’ll want to make sure you are first wetting down the hair (always wet down curly hair before attempting styling) and apply a moisturizing cream first, such as a leave in conditioner.
Some say you can mend your split ends other say you can only get rid of split ends and damage by cutting it off. What about all the products that claim to seal the split end..are they all lying or is it not enough to rid damage permanently? The Verdict? The best of both worlds. I wish it was all easy and straightforward just like you do, I’m sure. But alas nothing ever is. Every 6-8 weeks it’s best to trim a little bit off your hair as needed (dry and piece by section, but we’ll get into that further down) as well as use reputable products that can help the damage that you have.
For my hair, I’m never going to be without split ends especially since I live in a dry climate. I mean, my split ends have split ends...literally some of the strands look like a little tree branch growing, so I’m always needing to heal what I can, seal what I can, and cut the rest off. You may find a lot of success in products that reverse damage and the rest may need to be chopped off.
My Product Favorites + Hair Routine!
Shampoo And Conditioner:
If you have curly hair, you shouldn’t be shampooing your hair but every three days or more. You can still wet it down in that time and even add conditioner, but you don’t need to wash every single day. Cleaning your hair & scalp strips your hair of needed oils as well as nutrients and the process of shampooing can cause more friction creating more damaged, brittle hair.
If you’re worried about freshness or liveliness try a nourishing dry shampoo. But be cautious! Most dry shampoos are flammable because they have many carcinogens. You don’t want to be using anything like that on your scalp! I use a conditioning dry shampoo in between washes that is (all natural with no harmful chemicals) and doesn’t leave any white residue in my hair.
I only wash my hair about once or twice a week to keep in the natural oils. When wash day rolls around, I use an all natural/ vegan/ anti-aging/ cruelty free /gluten free shampoo #allthegoodthings. It renews the texture of my curls locking in moisture while giving a nice cleanse that improves follicle strength. It’s the only shampoo I’ve used that I’ve ever been comfortable enough to use on more than just the very top of my hair and I like that it has a patented infused blend of botanical & essential oils. The key for me was to find a shampoo that cleans as much as it nourishes. And that’s a very hard thing to find! You can try these products too! Check out below...
I think it’s important to find a natural hair masque you can do that’s either lightweight enough to apply with every wash or if you have more damage; a heavy-duty, protein-packed masque that you can apply to your hair once a month.
- Every so often after I shampoo, I’ll squeeze any excess water from my hair
- Add an all natural moisture mask for about five minutes.
- After rinsing, add a smoothing deep conditioner to my hair leaving for 5-7 minutes
- and then rinse it with cold water.
Either time that I put on the moisture mask or add the smoothing deep conditioner, I bring in my detangling brush and run it through my hair after I’ve applied the product. This ensures the product is saturated throughout my hair and properly applied on all the strands.
Styling; Restore Leave In Conditioner
Once I get out of the shower I only dry my hair with a microfiber towel (Grab one below!) and squeeze some of the water out of it then apply a restorative leave in conditioner to add moisture and help increase hair strength and vitality.
It helps to restore essential nutrients to my scalp, boosting natural hair growth and improving follicle strength to reduce hair thinning. My favorite part is the it tames frizz and flyaways. But be sure to avoid mixing products of different brands to avoid residue in your hair and build up that can weigh down hair.
Some Key Ingredients of the products I use:
REJUVENIQE patented special blend of oils containing essential powerfully active botanical ingredients. I personally love that this oil has 101 uses (eczema, scalp treatment, daily moisture for your body as well as the ends of the hair + more!)
CAPIXYL Helps reduce scalp inflammation, strengthens and thickens hair while stimulating natural growth.
PROCATALINE Helps maintain healthy levels of antioxidants in follicles to combat premature thinning while protecting color and shine.
CRODASORB UV absorber that helps protect hair from sun damage
Air Dry/ Curl Cream/Frizz Fix:
After the leave in conditioner, I’ll either add some air drying cream or curl cream (whichever I have on me at the time) and let it air dry to get defined curls. If I am pretty frizzy I will add the frizz fixing taffy for 12 hour frizz protection--this product is a game changer! The Curl Cream is perfect for any type of curls, especially kinky curly/mixed hair to define and condition while giving your hair light hold for long lasting frizz free curls. All of the styling products go together, so you don’t have to worry about causing residue in your hair or weighing it down while you are creating the perfect regimen.
Before After - Using Leave In Conditioner + Curl Cream
Air Dry Cream
The Air Dry Cream is great for beachy style waves although I have kinky curl hair and have found it to be effective in defining my curls and cutting down on drying time. I like that I get soft but structured and defined curls without giving it any crunch to my hair. Those with straight or wavy hair also love this product because after you apply it and twist your curls, they can be left for 20-40 (ish) minutes and you have no heat curls!
60 Second Split End Mender Featured In Cosmo Magazine:
I’ll finish off by adding a few pumps to each end of my split end mender. Featured in Cosmo magazine as the latest and greatest, it seals split ends in 1 minute for targeted hair repair along the hair shaft and protects against future damage.
“Monat Rejuvabeads Split End Mender saves you dollar between haircuts by literally sealing split ends back together. It’s a hairy kind of magic and we are all in favour.” -Cosmopolitan
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DYING TO SWITCH TO NATURAL PRODUCTS?
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- Switch To Natural Products it’s better for your hair + body; check out my listed recommendations
- Limit heat styling and follow the listed techniques when applying heat
- Trim your hair with a special curly hair method
- Reduce damage & frizz by using a special towel on your hair
- Change the temperature of water when rinsing your hair
- Shop This Post or Become an Affiliate!
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MORE RESOURCES --> Check out more of the science on safecosmetics.org, Think Dirty app, and https://blog.nutrafol.com/2018/04/16/15-shampoo-ingredients-to-avoid/