Ban the frizz and keep the curls -
Celebrate the Curl
Fight the Frizz War and Define Those Curls
Having curly hair is one of those things. Whatever style you choose to adopt, be it curly, straight or something in-between its hard work keeping the frizz at bay and youre hair shiney, light and soft.
Its very nature is dryer than regular hair, thicker and coarser and after years of struggle ive finally reached the conclusion that allowing my curly hair to go its natural way looks better than forcing it into some unnatural style that takes hours I rarely have available.
And then, in the first gust of wind it all goes to hell in a fruit basket anyway!.
So..., Im here to celebrate curly hair, share some well worn tips on keeping youre curly hair curly, (even in the worst of weather conditions) and generally giving an all round thumbs up to our unique style.
its fun and........
.................. its ours to reclaim!.
And in the end, celebrating our unique and wonderful look is all part of celebrating ourselves.
So, if theres a way to make it feel soft, hold its curls without weighing it down with chemicals and help it to resist the frizz in the wind and rain then maybe its time to put away the tongs and give our curls another go.
There are so many products out there that promise to ban the frizz. So many that promise defined curls and shine. I know, Ive tried them all and spent a fortune.
In the end i told myself..., 'This isnt rocket science. I am smarter than my hair and I can sort this problem out'.
So, after some effort, lots of advice from a variety of hair stylists, from afro experts to curly hair enthusiasts, I have come up with a fool proof method for handling our wonderful, fabulous, uniquely individual hair.
First piece of advice is to avoid shampooing every single time you wash youre hair.
It is dry already and many of the main shampoo brands on the market are full of surfactants that strip our hair of the much needed moisture (oil) that keeps it soft, shiney and curly, even the ones that promise to nurture and protect dry hair are too aggressive for our curls. I do wash my hair with shampoo but only once a week, the rest of the time I freshen it through with a conditioner.
It is possible to wash youre hair with conditioner. You dont get that lather and the cleansing effect isnt as good, but it does refresh the hair and scalp, gets it clean enough without stripping it dry and if you rinse it out thoroughly you will feel a huge difference in youre hair. That awful, matted, clinging-to-itself, fuzzyfelt meets cottonwool effect just doesnt happen. I promise.
So., you have washed with conditioner now you condition with conditioner.
Just as you would normally condition after washing. Only now you leave the conditioner in. You do not rinse it out. You do not use a brush or comb, instead gently tease the knots out with youre fingers. Now gently towel dry without fuzzing up youre hair whilst leaving enough dampness in the hair If you wish to use a curl definition cream, but only a tiny amount is needed.
Now, leave youre hair alone. Do not touch it with youre fingers, do not brush it, do not comb it. Just let it dry naturally and prefferably do not go outside in a wind, it will effect the softness as it dries. Once youre hair has dried you will have youre defined, soft curly curls back.
Next time you wash (or the time after, it depends and you will soon find youre own particular routine,), wash with shampoo. Rinse thoroughly. Add youre conditioner, comb through with youre fingers. Alternatively you can use the shampoo wash as youre day to brush through and get out all of those knots and tangles simple finger combing doesnt always get rid of. It is a relief to brush youre hair, so feel free to really go for it but again do not rinse out the conditioner. Because you have shampooed this time and possibly brushed you may need a little more curl definition cream. Again, its trial and error the first few times until you work out how youre hair responds.
I have found that since Ive been handling my hair this way the need for curl enhancers has become less and less. Now i rarely use them, usually only when my hair feels very dry or when i have shampooed and brushed.
'Yukky build up, heavy greasy hair, EEK!' - i hear you cry - not atall, honestly, try it and see for youreself.
As I type this I can absolutely promise you that this is day 2 since my last shampoo wash and since following these techniques my hair is still curly, still soft, still light to touch and ive been out in the wind and rain most of the day and im completely frizz free!
Every now and again I do wallop a load of thick gloopy conditioner in, brush and rinse thoroughly. It has to be done otherwise we end up looking like Dreadlock Disney (whoever he is). On the whole I try to brush my hair once a week tops, usually when I shampoo. The rest of the time I comb through with my fingers and ONLY when it is lubricated with conditioner, never never when its dry, youll just break youre hair and frizz it up again.
I do not use a hair dryer, but I have been told by someone in the know that if i were to get a hair dryer with a diffuser I would end up with amazing results. Personally i prefer my hair to fall naturally without too much bulk. But if youre after big hair and lots of defined curl this is what you should do: This has been advised to me by a hair dresser in London who is mad about curly hair and has spent 15 years perfecting the technique:
With youre hair just washed and conditioned (he rinses the conditioner out for this treatment, but remember he is going for bigger, fuller hair) he uses Kerastase Essence Absolut. Apply 3 pumps of the product onto your hands and run through youre hair gently, work it iember this is for bigger, fuller, bouncier curl effect) you apply n gradually. His tip is to put some of this amount on the back of youre hands and when you feel you need more product its there for you to rub into youre palms before applying. Work the product in with youre fingertips carefully, gently and thoroughly.
Then get youre diffuser, put the hairdryer onto its hottest heat but at its slowest speed. You can dry youre hair at a high heat without risk of frizz with this product. The trick apparently is to dry without disturbing the hair or moving it about. So gently sit sections of youre hair into the diffuser bowl and just let the heat do the rest. Go around youre whole head of hair drying it in this way. Do not scrunch it, but let it dry as it sits there.
When the hair is almost dry, pump one more blob into youre hand of the Essence Absolute and now scrunch it through youre hair to calm any bits of hair that escaped the first round of drying.
When the hair is absolutely dry apply just one more blob to youre hand and work it through the hair. You can pull it, tease it, tweak it and rake it and you can keep doing this until you have got youre hair looking as you want it to look.
So products tried, tested and true:
.Kerastase 'Bain Satin' shampoo - it comes from '1' for normal hair to '3' for very dry, but '2' is fine. Use two washes, one to cleanse and the second to get the goodness of the shampoo into youre hair. Rinse thoroughly and only use an amount equivilant to a 5 pence piece with each wash. www.lookfantastic.com/hair/kerastase
Herbal Essences 'hello hydration' for Dry/damaged hair - i love this, its cheap and works www.Boots.com/haircare
L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss, Intensive Shine Masque - you only need a little of this if youre using it to leave in but if youre using it for the brushing session really slather it on, but rinse rinse rinse. www.elvive.com.au
Kerastase 'Lait Vital' conditioner - use a 10 pence piece amount and really work it in. www.lookfantastic.com/hair/kerastase
Kerastase 'Essence Absolut' - a masque rather than a conditioner for use with hair dryer and diffuser.
Boots Curl Cream - cheap, cheerful and really does the business. www.Boots.com/haircare
Curl Harmony - Hair milk - you can get a good sized trial bottle for around £2.50 - it definitely does work www.curlharmony.co.uk
I dont know about anyone else, but I do find if I use one product over and over again it loses its efficacy. Try different products and find the ones that work for you. Its worth having a few different ones at hand and ring the changes.
And so to summarise all of that into some manageable order:
You dont need to shampoo every time. Use a conditioner instead of shampoo and always rinse out thoroughly. Then...,
Apply conditioner through wet hair and leave it in.Comb through hair with youre fingers only but not too much, just enough to get rid of knots and tangles, too much combing through with fingers will disturb the natural curl. Only use a brush or comb occasionally and sparingly, perhaps once a week.
Allow to dry naturally if you are not using a hair dryer. Do not touch youre hair as it dries naturally or go out in a wind, it will only make the hair feel dry and the curl definition will be affected.
If you wish to use a hair dryer with diffuser I strongly suggest you buy 'essence absolut' to protect youre hair and help define youre curls.