I love my curls. I truly do. While some women with curly hair wish their hair was straight I only wish that mine were more curly. Actually I bet there a lot of you out there with hair like mine that think you need to straighten your hair because it is just not curly enough to wear curly. I went through most of my life that way. My hair was fine, fuzzy, fluffy, horrible. It was too curly to be considered wavy as it was just not smooth. Yet it just wasn’t curly enough to really be curly. It was a disaster. Yet I hated how my hair looked straightened because it was just too fine and thin. If I wore it straight there was simply not enough hair.
The process of learning how to work with my curl, and make the most of it, has been one that has evolved over many years. I think I was in high school when I finally figured out that I needed to STOP BRUSHING MY HAIR. Yes I don’t brush my hair. EVER. I think brushing curly hair, in most instances, is one of the worst things you can do. Surefire way to turn your head into a frizzy mess. While I long to have long, thick, wavy hair I could brush till it gleams that is just not going to happen.
I used to also think that traditional hair mousse was the styling aid of choice for those with curly hair. Ugh can you say CRUNCHY? Yuck!
So I thought it was time I shared the tips and techniques I have learned over the years that have made my hair look it’s best.
Do Not Towel Dry Your Hair – Do not let a bath towel touch your precious curls! Regular bath towels can cause frizz by roughing up the hair cuticle. If you insist on using one then please squeeze. Don’t rub!
Apply Styling Products to Soaking Wet Hair – I had heard this tip but still always lightly dabbed away excess water in my hair with a towel. Wrong! It really makes a huge difference to apply your styling products to sopping wet hair. You can wring the water out of your hair with your hands of course, but no towel!
Use a Microfibre Towel – There are now a variety of microfibre and other special towels being marketed just for hair. Mine happen to be a pack of microfibre towels marketed in the auto detailing section of Canadian Tire! Maybe one day I will try a “special” one but even the ones I am using have made such a remarkable difference with my hair. After you apply your product to soaking wet hair you simply scrunch your girls with the microfibre towel which helps shape your curls while absorbing the extra water without roughing up the hair cuticle. Make sure you remember to not use fabric softener on your towels as this impedes their ability to properly absorb water.
Use Duck Bill Clips for Extra Lift At the Roots – This is one step that was actually a little tricky for me. It can be hard to find decent duckbill clips. I was lucky enough that my mom had some from eons ago. I also picked up more at my hairdressers. I like the ones that have holes in them because I think it probably improves airflow and drying time but I could just be deluding myself. I also like the ones that have a bit of a curve to them as opposed to being stick straight. Just slide them in right at the roots. You don’t have to be meticulous in their placement. Just space them out and make sure you don’t open up the clips too wide and pick up to much hair to keep it looking natural. This helps keep your hair from being weighed down as it dries. We all want to avoid the dreaded pyramid head of flat roots and volume at the ends. I want all my volume up top!
Air Dry as Much as Possible – The best way to preserve curl shape is to let it air dry as using a blow dryer can increase frizz.
A Quick Blast at the Roots with a Hair Dryer with Diffuser for Extra Volume – I find what works best for me is once my hair is mostly air dried I use my hair dryer with the diffuser attachment to lift and dry my roots. I find this give me even more volume than if I just let it air dry 100%.
If Your Curls Need a Little Help then Do It! My hair is much curlier on the underside of my hair than on the top. This is true with a lot of people with curly hair. I have a few areas, particularly on the top at the front, that just do not curl well. I use a tapered clipless curling iron to fix these areas. It only takes a few minutes and it makes a huge difference in how my hair looks. I don’t know why I thought for so long this was something to be ashamed of. Maybe that is an issue unique to me but for some reason I thought it was some sort of sin to give my hair a little styling help. I mean people with other hair types routinely blow dry, flat iron, curl their hair. I don’t know why I thought with curly hair I had to make it all happen on my own. I even know someone that had the most amazing curly hair that I later found out had a section of her hair permed to match the curl of the rest of her head. What a great idea! I am happy with my quick curling iron fix.
Don’t Touch! Finally leave it alone! If you want to keep your curls formed and frizz free then resist the urge to touch and play with your hair. I will massage my roots periodically throughout the day to aid in maintaining volume at the roots but I try to avoid my old habit of scrunching my hair through the day.
When it comes to products I have found that it is usually necessary to combine products to really get the results I like. I usually apply a volumizing foam first and then follow that with a firm hold gel or defining cream. I avoid silicones in my hair products as my hair is super fine and I find it weighs it down. I will do a full post on some of my favourite hair styling products soon.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. Do you have curly hair? Love it? Hate it? What are your favourite curly hair techniques?