Thursday, February 6, 2014

Life as a curly-haired girl.

I don't think i've ever actually done a beauty blog entry on here - which, when I think about it, is kind of unusual considering how addicted to beauty products I am. But I was thinking about it, and I decided that I should do one for my fellow curly-locked warriors, out there on the battlefield between crunchy mousse and oily serums. 
You should take a note, that this is only what works for ME. All curls are not created equal, and what might make my ringlets may not make your day. All of this is just 12ish years of research done by yours truly as to what works and what is a piece of crap. 

Caring for your Curls
I have a confession for you internet: I don't wash my hair. Ever. I'm serious. I haven't for like, three years. The reason I initially stopped was from a horrible hair fiasco three years back where my bangs broke off to like, three inches. It was awful. I knew my hair couldn't handle any added stripping, so I stopped washing it entirely. After my hair grew back, though, I figured out that I didn't actually need the shampoo. After some internet research, I found out why. 
Curly hair is curly for a number of reasons, but one of the trademarks of curly hair is how dry it is. This is because when you have straight hair, sebum (the oil produced by your skin and scalp) can travel easily down a straight shaft of hair - it has more difficulty making it's way down a spiral. (Read more on that here.) To top it all off, you should know that shampoo is a detergent - it strips your hair of literally everything, including the stuff to make it soft and shiny. I find that the pressurized water from my shower head and conditioner is more than enough to remove any "grease/dirt" from my hair.

The Co wash
Many curly girls, myself included, live by the co wash: using a conditioner to wash your hair as opposed to a shampoo. Co washes (conditioner wash) aren't really a new concept, but Wen took it a little more mainstream; all those women were at least enough to convince a large group of gals to join the no poo movement. If I can be honest- I really didn't like Wen. Okay, not actually fair since I only tried the knock off version. But still. It left my hair dry and frizzy.

Up until recently, I've used a drug store conditioner as my co-wash: Neutrogenas triple deep treatment conditoner. Not actually supposed to be a co wash, but that's what I used it for. It made my hair silky, but I needed something a little more moisturizing.

Right now I'm a little hooked on Carol's Daughter products, so I'm using their moisturizing black vanilla conditioner instead. It doesn't weigh my hair down at all, and I don't notice any excess dryness until the next morning. And it doesn't hurt that it smells like a carton of Bryers ice cream. There are a lot of co washes out there which are actually marketed as co washes, but like I said - I used a drug store conditioner for a long time as my co wash. When you're shopping for a co wash, you'll want to avoid sulfates and silicones. Many co washers recommend you use a sulfate free shampoo at your roots every now and again, but its really all about your hair type.

Drying your curls
I know this may sound stupid, but hear me out: that towel you're using yo dry your body? Yeah, that one over there- stop using that to dry your hair.
The typical terry cloth towel is way too rough on your hair's cuticle: the shingle like structures that go down the length of your hair. Upsetting and fraying your cuticle causes frizz. Instead, go buy some microfiber cloths. They're way more absorbant and they're way gentler on your curls. You can buy microfiber towels specifically for hair, or you could just go buy some from an autobody shop.
When you use the microfiber towel, don't ring your hair or rub it up and down. Huge no no. Instead, pat and scrunch it dry.

Styling your curls
(This is for sure the part where preferences will split off. But this is just my everyday styling routine, and results may vary.)
So when I style my hair, there are a few key elements that I'm looking for: volume, curl definition, and minimizing frizz.


For volume, I go for the bodifying booster from Hairtrition. I was so shocked at how big my hair got when I first starting using this stuff. I spray at the roots, trying to go all over but especially focusing on my lower layers, then I blow dry upside down (after adding my curl defining product). When uaing this stuff, I have to be sure not to spray too much, as it will result in my hair lookong oily. Another volumr product I've used is the Organix brand sea salt spray. I find this stuff better for when you're trying to sort of refresh your curl's volume after you'vr been out all day.


So for curl definition, I have not found a better product that the hair pudding from Carol's Daughter. I got a sample from Ulta and fell deeply in love. I use a reeaaally tiny amount every day (about a quarter) rub it all over my palms, and scrunch it evenly into my hair while its still wet. When it dries, my curls are soft, touchable, and non greasy. The price is pretty steep for this stuff: the jar costs $22. But I figure it'll last me at least three months given how little I use.

So far, the hair milk takes pretty good care of my frizz problem; but its also winter, meaning that by summer, frizz will be back with a vengeance. So, how to combat it? Oil.
Frizz is caused by a damaged, over dryer cuticle. So the best thing to do is put some oil into the mix. If I'm in a pinch, my go to is a smoothing serum. There are lots of these out there, and honestly, I've found that most of them are the same. But when you look for one, make sure it doesn't contain alcohols or silicones. And bear in mind that a little goes a LONG way, and adding too much will make your hair super greasy.

The Dreaded Hair Cut
After my last hair dresser made my hair a purple maroon color when I wanted a natural copper, I've been a little too afraid to try another. But getting a bad dye job is not the only struggle facing a curly girl with split ends. Elizabeth from Delightfully Tacky really said it best: some hair dressers just don't get curly hair.
I've been trying to grow mine out - that mixed with my fear and my impeccable cheapness is preventing me from going to a hair salon. I trim my own hair, and had my room mate help me to put a couple layers in it the other week. When it comes to fluffy, curly hair, layers are pretty much something you need; without them, you end up with triangle head. If you're curly, you know exactly what I'm talking about. So when you go for a cut, make sure it's with a qualified stylist who actually understands how your hair works.

I hope you enjoy this extensive rant on hair care! I would love to hear any other comments or reccomendations from you guys, so, leave them below!

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