The Secret to Looking After Naturally Curly Hair

I love having curly hair- now. But I didn’t always.
Knowing the Secret to Looking After Curly Hair makes all the difference.

The Big Secret is to NOT look after it at all.

Leave it the heck alone!!!

Seriously though, my naturally curly long brown hair (see photo)IMG_3396[1] doesn’t see a brush or a comb from one wash to the next.

I NEVER use a brush!!

I don’t even own one. It frizzes the hair too much; separating the strands (each hair strand wants to naturally entwine round each other for support), creates electricity and agitates the individual strands.

The only time I comb it is while I’m washing it- after I put the conditioner in I run a long toothed comb with a handle at the top (see photo)IMG_3395[1].
I shampoo as normal (about every 3rd to 4th day, sometimes longer depending if the weather has been humid, I’ve been at the gym etc) – some apply shampoo and rinse twice but I usually just wash it once, before rinsing out- squeezing out as much water as possible with your hands.

I wash my hair over the laundry sink- lots of room in the deep sink, uses less water, saves time, and I don’t end up with hair all over me if I washed it in the shower.

Then I apply the conditioner;

Step 1-firstly to the ‘outsides’ by sweeping our hands (with conditioner on them) over the hair as gathering a pony tail, right down to the ends, and apply a little more to those ends

Step 2-I always make sure I reach the ‘underneath areas’ too- the areas nearer the scalp which can be missed -tip your head down, so it falls all over your face, then apply conditioner from the scalp down through the rest of your curly hair.

Step 3- Using the long toothed comb I begin at the ends of the hair- usually with my head tipped forward over the laundry sink. I start about 2 or 3cm up the hair strand and gently but firmly (??) pull the comb through-.
You may need to do this a few times in the same place to begin with, til the knots are cleared, then begin 5-6cm up the hair stand and pull the comb through again to the end.

Keep starting further up the hair each time, til you are combing from the scalp all the way down, clearing all the knots and ending up with a silky smooth upside down pony tail.

Feels so good doesn’t it!!!!???

Now I wrap my hair up in a towel to allow the conditioner time to penetrate the hair follicles- it’s also good to have a break from hold yourself in that position for a while and your arms from all that combing- before going onto to apply product and drying your hair.
I go and do something else for 5 minutes or so, then come back to rinse- I often do the rinsing part in the shower after I’ve had a wash. Tip your hair upside down- bend forward so your hair falls in front of you- rinse under the running water, you can squeeze the water through, but DO NOT be tempted to RUN YOUR FINGERS THROUGH YOUR HAIR at this point!!!

Squeeze excess water out,(no rubbing!!) and wrap LIGHTLY in the towel while you dry yourself and get dressed- be quick though, you don’t want to pull all the moisture from your hair.

Tip head forward again and remove towel, apply product (which helps to define and moisturiser- mousse, leave in conditioner- see below) as you applied conditioner.

You can leave your hair to dry naturally at this point- but when winter hits you’re not gunna wanna do that!

So I use a diffuser on the end of my hair drier- see photo- IMG_3393[1]this allows for even distribution of heat and air.

Set the dryer at MED to HIGH heat but LOW air.

Tip head forwards and place the ends of your hair into the diffuser and draw it upwards towards your scalp. Hold for a moments. Then move to the next section.

When your arms get tired, tip your upwards again and do underneath your hair, near your neck.

When your hair is dry, stand up straight, sweep your hair back over the top of your head and off your face- a beautiful tumble of curly hair frames your face- GORGEOUS!!

Between Washes

I have a spray bottle full of water which I use to dampen my hair. This reactivates the finishing product I used then style with diffuser and hair dryer as above.

Sometimes I dampen it the night before, before going to bed, and apply Leave In Conditioner, then either dry it off or leave it damp to climb into bed with- I’ve manage to keep my hair swept up on the pillow through the night (even though I turn through the night) and it stays un tangled.
So I wake with dry soft curly hair, to be lightly shaken before styling with clips or headband and I’m ready to go, EASY!!

Structure of Curly Hair

Curly hair has a completely different structure to straight hair.
A cross section of a strand of curly hair shows it to be a flatten circular shape (straight hair is completely circular) so this is where the ‘kink’ happens and the strand twists slightly into the curl.
Looking after curly hair is very important, once it’s damaged it can’t heal itself. You’ll have to have it cut.

Products-
Which products you use depend on how they work on your hair in your environment- everyone is different cos we all live in different weather environments, with different type of water (hard, soft..town or tank rain water….), and depends on the condition of your hair and of your health- we all know that if we feel unwell our hair will reflect that too.

I always go for the brand with products created especially for curly hair- other ‘normal’ or ‘everyday’ shampoo/conditioners etc I have found to be too drying, too thin, or strips my hair of its natural oils and curl.

The combination of different brands can be difficult as well- using different brands each for of shampoo, conditioner and finishing product can mean they sometimes (not always) ‘react’ to each other- ie: not work well together, whereas the same brand for all three are made to work together.

I had been using the Joico products for moisture restoring, with a moisturising mousse as the final defining product.

Then I heard it’s good to give your hair a change so then I started alternating them with the Tigi Catwalk Curlesque Shampoo with the Treatment Conditioner as a ‘normal’ weekly conditioner because it’s nice and thick. Along with the Curlesque Curl Definer as the finishing product.

Lately I’ve been using Eleven Anti-Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner which has been beautifully softening on my hair in the windy dry weather of Queensland summer. I’m using the Tigi Curlesque Curl Definer as the final product and they are working very well together.

There are lots of beautiful Leave In Conditioners too, to help on those dry days.

Hair Cuts and Styles
There are many ways to have curly hair style cut.

I like having mine long with long layers, no fringe. I have had it shorter in a bob, and even shorter in a boy style.

Remember that when you trim a centimetre off the ends it looks like three times that much after a few days; as some of the length is removed it also removes some of the weight which pull the curl down and slightly ‘straightening’ the curl out. So the curl will spring further upwards, making the length much shorter than straight hair would be.

It’s important to find a hair stylist who understands how curly hair works. Or at least one who can hear you and cut it the way YOU want.
I have been lucky enough to find one who does both!!

I ask for a ‘dust’ cut (cutting just the dust off the length) while keeping the light layers throughout.

Unfortunately she hasn’t found how to dry curly hair (must show her one day) so we have agreed that I take my damp hair home and finish it off myself.

I love having curly hair, now. I didn’t always, but knowing how to look after it and finding the right products to use makes all the difference.
Happy Hair Day everyday!!

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About juliehyndman

Writing, poetry, art and life in general
Image | This entry was posted in Living with Curly Hair and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Secret to Looking After Naturally Curly Hair

  1. Anonymous says:

    …. well it works – your hair looks fabulous!! I always wish I had curly hair – but I think you have hit on the secret – learn to appreciate and love your own uniqueness. I will pass this on to my niece who has very similar hair to yours. I’m sure that she will appreciate your advice.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Oh you are so beautiful!!! And so right…it takes a certain ‘settling in’ to appreciate the gifts we were given huh? I also have curly hair and I love the shape of the arcs and the femininity of it. Lucky ducks…

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