I've had a love-hate relationship with my curls for my whole life.
I hated them when I was a teen, pre-curly mousse and diffuser days.
Then I loved them for quite some time. Products made curls easy, and diffuser driers made styling a breeze.
The arrival of hormonal changes meant more than fatigue, irritability and an Apple shaped figure. It also spelled the end of easy curls. Suddenly my curls frizzed, and flattened, and did anything but behave in the springy fashion to which I mistakenly felt entitled!
I did what any self respecting frizzy haired lady would. I straightened it.
First like this. This was also the beginning of letting my over processed blonde hair, go naturally silver. Seems odd I know, but my natural colour at this stage was quite dark, with some silver strands.
Over a period of about three years, I progressed to this. Silver, and straight. I loved this look, but ultimately, the endless blow drying and straightening wasn't doing my hair any favours.
So a Curly Hair Artiste was found, and she is now in charge. I sat patiently for two hours recently, while she coaxed my frizz back into curls and swirls, whilst at the same time, complimenting me on my silver hair, and calling me 'lucky'. Well. I never! That's a first!
So apart from a very interesting cutting technique which involves cutting the hair dry, what else was new?
This method advocates a moisture, moisture, moisture approach. So a sulphate-free shampoo, good conditioner and a couple of styling products, are key.
You will need a sulphate-free shampoo, a good quality (thick) conditioner, a styling gel, and a leave-in conditioner or conditioning mousse.
Here is the method:
1. Wet hair, and apply suphate-free shampoo to the roots of your curly hair. Using your fingertips, massage the scalp well. Curly hair is susceptible to product build-up on the scalp as we don't use a brush on our hair. Work the shampoo gently down to the ends of your hair. Do NOT pile your hair up on top of your head and swirl, like I always have. All you're doing is scrambling your curls, which results in frizz.
2. Keep the hair soaking wet, and using a about a large thumbnail sized blob of good quality conditioner, start working the conditioner into your hair starting at the ends, and using your wet, and flattened palms to work the conditioner up towards the roots. Do not rub. Just use your fingertips and palms to gradually disperse the conditioner. Conditioning the roots of your hair is unnecessary. Do this in sections, until your hair is thoroughly saturated with conditioner.
3. Mentally separate your hair into four sections. Side, side, front and back. Flip your head over, and adding a little water to the hair with your palms, start sliding the conditioner through 'ropes' of hair strands (each section might be about 4 ropes if your hair is fine like mine...more if it's thick). Slide your hands from scalp to hair ends, like you're pulling on a rope. You're looking for your hair to feel like a wet noodle if that makes sense. So keep sliding till you achieve that feel, then move on to the next section. The first time you do this, it may take several minutes, but the more you do it, the less time it will take. You're looking to close the hair follicles, and lock that moisture in. Heat opens the follicles, the roping and the conditioner, helps to seal them.
4. Trickle rinse the hair, slowing the water pressure so that most, but not all, of the conditioner rinses out. Keep the hair soaking wet and stay in the shower.
5. Apply your styling crème, or leave-in conditioner with flat palms, the full length of your hair strands. Just slide it along. This should take no time at all.
6. Emulsify a coin sized blob of gel, and apply this the same way. You might need more than one blob.
This sounds like a lot of product, but you are only using coin sized blobs each time, emulsifying them with a little water to make them easier to spread.
7. Leaving the hair as wet as possible, flip your hair over, and blot with a microfiber towel. Do not rub, and do not coil longer hair on top of your head, twisting it into a towel, like I always do. Just blot gently, and leave it as wet as you can stand it.
8. Using little butterfly clips, clip sections up into little loops near the scalp. You're just pushing the hair upwards, and clipping it near the roots to form loops that will add volume when your hair is dry. Think of an inch worm. Pick up a curl, inch worm, clip. Yes, it looks a little silly. But it works. Alternatively, here is an old trick from the 80s when curly hair truly was the rage. Bend at the waist, and flip your hair upside down. Using a hairdryer with a diffuser, and without touching your curls, gently direct the heat at the ROOTS of your hair, close to the scalp, massaging with your fingertips to dry the scalp and roots. You want to encourage a little lift at the roots (as you are with the clips) without frying the rest of your hair. You even want to very gently 'tangle' the roots, to encourage that lift. So massage very gently until you feel the roots drying, and move your fingertips in tiny circles to facilitate that volume. Remember, just the roots NOT the curls. Leave the rest of your hair to air dry. This works really well, and is especially effective when you want your wet hair to look public-presentable in a hurry. My curly hair takes about 4 hours to dry, so this is a good way of speeding up that process without drying out the rest of my hair.
9. Now the hard part. Leave your hair alone. Do not touch it, or scrunch it, or dry the curls with heat. Let it dry naturally. My hair takes about 4 hours to dry properly, so on the days I'm washing it, I get up a little earlier. By the time I get through my morning routine, drive my daughter to school, and go for my morning walk, it's dry.
10. You can now gently and carefully remove the clips from your hair, and give it a final gently once over with a diffuser dryer if you wish. Do not disturb the curls. Just gently scrunch to break the 'cast' of the gel and crème, and allow your curls to look their best.
Now this sounds like a lot of trouble, but I find that if I do this one day, I can get away with a mist of water from a spray bottle, a bit of leave-in conditioner to refresh the curls, and not much else for 3 or 4 days, so it's well worth the trouble.
I'm happy with my new Curly Girl method.
Will you try it on your own curls?