One of my favorite moments as a hairdresser is showing a client who has wavy/curly hair how amazing their hair truly can be. It’s no mystery that curly hair is one of my absolute favorite types of hair to work with. When ever a client comes in showing the slightest evidence of curly hair I bubble up with anticipation to see how curly it really is. Sometimes the client looks at me confused as if I’m speaking a foreign language. They know they have wavy hair, but have never tried to style it in its natural state. Most likely because no one ever taught them how to. This post is meant to skim the surface of curly hair. How to maintain it at home, and bust some myths associated with it.
The Basics: Drying
Drying curly hair shouldn’t be a pain. It’́s true that it takes a little more initial work than straight hair, but the time is minimal. Everyone’s hair is different and the steps that follow are just how I prepare curly hair. You will probably find that you will need to tweak my steps to suit your hair. This is a good starting point if you’ve never done this before.
Step 1: Shampoo – These instructions are for your shampoo day, but can be followed if you are just rinsing your hair in between shampoos. For curly hair, I recommend you shampoo your hair as infrequently as possible. Shampoo can strip the natural oils from your hair and over shampooing can result in oily roots and dry ends. The most important part of this step is that after you shampoo you always follow it with the corresponding conditioner to reverse the effects of the shampoo on your hair and return your hair to it’s neutral PH.
Step 2: Leave-in Conditioner – Run your hands the length of the hair to squeeze out the access water. Apply your leave-in conditioner, from roots to tips. Use a wide tooth comb to comb your hair to get all of the tangles out. It might help to section your hair, you can then comb your hair with your fingers to get even distribution. At this step, you want to hear a good scrunching sound when you scrunch the ends. This indicates you have enough product and water in your hair. If you have very dry ends, you can then add an oil on the ends in the same manor.
Step 3: Curl Cream – Use an old cotton t-shirt to grab your hair from the bottom and scrunch to remove excess water. Next, use some type of hold product to help keep those curls in place while it’s drying. I recommend KEVIN.MURPHY KILLER.CURLS. Put a decent amount in your hands. Rub your hands together to get an even distribution. With your head tilted to the right and your hair falling naturally, hold your hands in a prayer position and then clap your hair between your hands at the base and drag them to the ends. This insures that you can get the product across all of the hair strands and wont break up the curls. Then tilt your head to the left and repeat the same process on the other side. Then tilt your head up to get the back, and then to the front to get the front. Essentially you are moving around your head, moving the curls to get a more natural fall at the base of the curl. Make sure you get every last curl. You can add more product to your hands as needed. This will take time to learn how much product is right for your hair. Move the curls around to be situated as how you would like them to dry. You might have to twist some of the curls in the front or at the parting to make sure any loose hairs are incorporated into a curl and fall correctly.
Step 4: Leave it be! – Possibly the most important step. Once you’ve applied the product, you should be able to leave it be, and let it air dry. The most important part of this step is… DON’T TOUCH IT! You need to wait until the hair is 100% dry before you can touch your hair. Your hair will continue to change it ́s curl while there is even the slightest amount of water in your hair. Don’t run your hands through your hair, don’t put it behind your ears, and don’t put it up in a ponytail, until it ́s 100% dry. Once it’s completely dry you can scrunch the ends to break the “cast” that can get created on the hair. If you prefer to use a gel to dry your hair this will be even more evident. You´ve seen that hard gelled crunchy look on curly hair all too often. Curly hair is not meant to look like that, it just means the “cast” around the hair hasn’t been broken. Properly dried curly hair should be light, soft and bouncy, not crunchy, hard and crispy.
Preparing your hair shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Drying your hair might take a while, but you don’t need to spend an hour with the hair dryer to make your curly hair look incredible. Patience is the key.
On day two, if you haven’t gotten your hair wet in she shower, put a little serum or leave-in Conditioner, like UN.TANGLED to the ends to get those curls back together.
Breaking some Myths….
FRIZZ – Frizz is what happens when one hair no longer falls inline with the rest of the hair. This can happen for a number of reasons. If your hair is healthy and you style your hair as I mentioned above, the frizz should be minimal. The most common cause of frizz in curly hair is when you run your hands through your hair, and thus disrupt the curls and separate the hair. If your hair is dry or has been damaged through chemical processes it can be easier for the hair to become frizzy, so keep up with that leave-in treatment.
Diffuser – This isn’t necessarily a myth, but I just think most people aren’t sure how to use a diffuser. It ́s true that using a diffuser on your hairdryer will create more volume than air drying. It will dry your hair faster while working against gravity. Using a diffuser isn’t a must. You can just leave your hair to air dry if you use the steps above and will have beautiful curly hair. To use a diffuser it is best if you put your hair dryer on medium speed and medium or high heat.. The higher the heat, the quicker it will dry, but the more damage will occur. The lower the heat the longer it will take, but little to no damage will occur. Keep in mind, with this drying method, you don’t want to run your hands through your hair. Start with your head upside down, and work on the roots and mid lengths of the hair. Just aim the hairdryer at the roots and mid lengths. Don´t pick up the ends with the diffuser, that comes last. Then come up and tilt your head to the right and work on the roots and mid lengths on the right. Then to the left, and to the back. Keep you head in each position for no more than 2 minutes with the hair moving around your head to give you the most volume and natural fall possible. Continue this, moving your head around, until the roots and mid lengths are 95% dry. Finalize the drying process with your head upside down again and then pick up the ends with the diffuser to dry the ends to 100%. Once you are done you can scrunch the ends to break the “cast” and shake out those curls, the more you shake out the curls, the bigger the volume.
OK, so that was a lot… If you’re still with me, I applaud you. I know all of this is easier said (or written) than done. If you are having troubles with your curly hair or just aren’t getting the look you want, send me a message with your question and I will try to get back to you as quickly as possible. Good luck with those curls!