I had a client in my chair recently who was joking around about her gorgeous, voluminous ringlets. She told me that she can always tell when she walks into a salon whether someone can handle her mane or not. She’s had experiences where women have refused to work on her hair because it’s too unfamiliar. In the past, I’ve had women not want me to touch their curls because they assume that with my straight, limp locks, I can’t handle it.
We joked around and swapped stories, laughing off the ways others have judged us by the hair on our heads. But it did bring to light a concept I am very passionate about. As a hairdresser, I’ve made it my mission to be able to work with every head of hair out there. So speaking with my client recently about the prejudices and judgements that still remain when it comes to hair has inspired this post. This one is dedicated to her and her beautiful ringlets. Here are the best tips I have learned from working with every different type of curl.
1. Comb argan oil through your curls before going to sleep.
This will make your curls more defined and glossy looking the next morning and add moisture to dry ends. Use Kevin Murphy’s Young Again oil for the added benefit of heat protection. That way, if you wake up and have to touch up with a curling iron, your hair will have a nice barrier from the heat damage.
2. Braid it up before bedtime.
For extra body, and active curl, tie all of your hair up into a large french braid before bedtime. This is a great way for more lazy curls to maintain an active state the next morning.
3. If you have ringlets, sleep with a headscarf.
A headscarf will keep your curls controlled all night long so that when you wake up, you don’t have a frizzy, tangled mess. Also, it will help control any frizz or breakage from dryness.
4. Invest in the right products for your curl type.
With so many types of curls, it’s important to approach each in the smartest way. For ringlets, a great control cream— like Morrocan oil’s Intense Curl Cream — will tame frizz and add shine and dimension. For a medium curl, a defining spray — like Abba’s Curl Prep Spray — will add volume and depth without taking any weight out. For looser, finer waves, use a texture spray, such as Paul Mitchell’s Sea Salt Spray. This will give you more body and a textured feel.
5. Try Neuma’s Humidity Resistance Hairspray.
This product was one of my favorites when I was doing hair in Seattle. In an hour, a client could step into the salon from a sunny, dry day and walk out into pouring rain, so humidity resistance was absolutely key. I never let a client leave the salon without a shielding their mane with this spray to protect from the elements. And because it’s so light and flexible, it can be layered as much as needed. I would say it’s an absolute must for curly girls!
6. Have a plan for mornings when you sleep in.
I love quick, easy styles for curly girls. I always think they look so effortlessly chic. If you only have a few minutes, part your hair on one side. From that deep part, begin a large braid over your ear and descending down to the opposite side of your head just above your shoulder. Gather the hair from the side you’ve ended up on and add that to your braid. Voila! A fun, sassy five-minute style.
7. Don’t shampoo daily.
Since curly textures tend to lose moisture on the ends easier than straighter textures, this point is crucial. Washing too often will dry out your hair and give you frizzy, messy looking curls. Most of my curly clients can go anywhere from 2-4 days without washing. If this concept terrifies you, read this piece on how to ease into this routine and also invest in a great dry shampoo! If you have time at night, comb your hair from the roots to ends to distribute the oil from your scalp to the ends of your hair for extra conditioning.
8. Only comb curls when they are wet and use a wide toothed comb.
Yes, there is a proper way to comb curls! To avoid breakage, use a wide toothed comb and preferably, comb your hair while your conditioner is on in the shower, or directly after you finish washing your hair. The conditioner will help your comb slide through like butter, ensuring you get all tangles out without breaking those gorgeous tendrils. And don’t worry: those handfuls of hair that come out when you brush aren’t a big deal! Since you brush your hair less often and your hair texture is so active, the hair you shed on a daily basis tends to get lost in your curls.
9. Invest in a great blowout before vacation.
My favorite routine for curly girls going on vacation is a great blowout. If done right, it can last you up to a week and provide you with fabulous hair the entire time you’re away! When you get your blowout, ask for an anti-frizz product to be blown in and for your hair to be styled straighter, or with a little flip to the ends. But make sure they maintain some volume. On day two, you’ll have voluminous strands that are still mostly straight. Day three and four, you’ll have looser, bigger waves. And by day five or six, you’ll have lots of volume and a defined, nice curl that’s closer to your natural hair.
10. Learn to love what you see.
I know it’s easy to get caught up in wanting what you don’t have. I know all about it; I used to eat every crust I could find when I was a little girl because my Grandpa swore it would give me curls. And when it didn’t, I started getting perms when I was 8 just to have the same kind of texture that you get to wake up with everyday! I’m much more comfortable in my own skin (and hair!) now and it truly wasn’t until I looked in the mirror and decided that I was going to find the good in my straight, fine tresses that I finally learned how to truly wear them. I would encourage you to do the same because once you do, your confidence will sky rocket and you can focus on more important things than getting your hair straightened on the regular.