When I was a girl I hated my curly hair. I was very jealous of the other girls with the angelic shiny straight hair. Mine was frizzy and unruly. Brushing was a pain. I promised myself to straighten my hair as soon as I’m old enough to do so. I had my hair chemically relaxed; unfortunately the results were not pretty. My hair looked lifeless and I had to use flat iron to make it presentable, a process that took me at least an hour. The flat look of my hair did not flatter my face and I hated going for days without washing my hair. Several years ago, my friend Susan told me about the book Curly Girl. To this day I consider this book to be the best curly girl companion. It taught me to accept my hair, to live in peace with it and even to love it. Most importantly the book thought me how to take care of my hair's special needs.
That book was the beginning of a journey to learn how to care for my curly hair: to find the right hairstylist and the right products for it. Here are some of the things I had learned:
Curly hair requires a special haircut. It tends to grow like a pyramid: flat on the top of the head, wide on the sides. A skillful hairstylist can give it a nice round look. You can find a good hair stylist by reading reviews online on websites such as Naturally Curly and Yelp. It’s time to have a new haircut when your hair looses its rounded look and starts looking again like a pyramid.
Curly hair tends to be dry. Be gentle with it. Use SLS-free shampoo and a good conditoner. Currently I use Acure Argan oil stem cell Shampoo and Conditioner. I love how gentle the shampoo feels on my hair and scalp. My hairstylist recommends shampooing the roots only. Washing my hair, she spreads conditioner on the hair avoiding the roots, and then adds shampoo to the roots only with her fingertips. After rinsing she adds the final conditioner application, which she rinses with cold water to lock hydration. Give your hair the extra moisture by using a good hair masque once a week, or after dyeing it. I love using Earth Science Olive& Avocado deep conditioning masque. Use gentle hair color. The best I have found is Eco Colors. It is based on natural ingredients. It does not smell toxic, it is safe for pregnant women, and it leaves the hair soft and shiny. I use their black color, which I find to be the best for my Mediterranean color pallet.
As I mentioned before, curly hair is naturally dry and moisturizing it is very important to give it a healthy shine. Leave-in conditioner is essential for preserving moisture in the hair but it is not a styling product. It is hair primer. To tame the curls use styling gel. I use Alba Botanica's leave-in conditioner and AubreyOrganics' B5 hair styling gel. When I use these two products, I first apply the leave-in conditioner, then the gel. Recently I came across Jane Carter’s Curl Defining Cream, it’s a product that has both moisturizing and styling qualities. It took me a few days to get used to the waxy feeling, yet the results are great and last all daylong.
After applying the products, comes the styling part. The best styling method, I am aware of, is Rake and Shake by Ouidad:
You can dry your hair lightly with a diffuser, or just let it dry naturally.
It might sound like a lot of work, but it really takes a few minutes, once you are accustomed to doing it.