On Curly Hair

Today’s post is going to be completely off topic, and I hope you will forgive me. But I kind of feel like I need to explain something. Especially as I plan to do more posts with myself in them this month.

I have curly hair.

Should that even be such an admission? I think the only reason I feel like it carries import is because the online persona I display on this blog mostly has straight(ened) hair. See my profile picture at the top left? (For reference, my blog layout has changed since I wrote this post, but the pic I’m referring to is here.) And if you click through the posts under Sewing for Me, you’ll find exactly 4 in which no part of my hair has been blow dried, curled, pulled back and/or straightened. In fact, these are the only pictures with my hair in something close to its natural state (not counting the posts from this week).

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might notice that the oldest picture is from this June. As in, I blogged for a whole year before showing my real hair.
I think this is somewhat common among girls with curly hair. We grow up fighting with it, having bad hair days, and using every product and tool under the sun and then hoping for dry weather to keep it hidden. Which is why two of those pictures above are from our trip to Hawaii – I knew I had no chance of low humidity at the beach.
So what’s changed? Two things. I’m getting older, and my time is precious. So I’d rather not spend it fighting with my hair.
And secondly, I read Curly Girl: The Handbook. Notice how much better defined and less frizzy my curls look in the colorblocked t-shirt picture? That was after I read and implemented the book’s suggestions, which basically boil down to this: use sulfate/silicone free shampoo as infrequently as possible, sulfate/silicone free conditioner in large quantities, sulfate/silicone free gel, and handle your hair as little as possible.

So my actual hair routine now (in case anyone cares) is to clean my hair using just the water in the shower most days. I’m down to shampoo use about once/week. And I used to think I had oily hair, but I am amazed at how it is not oily as I cut back on shampoo (first to about every other day, then twice a week, and so on). When I do shampoo I’m using Burts Bees Baby Bee Fragrance Tear Free Shampoo & Wash, just because I had some since that’s what I use on the boys, and is technically not even shampoo because it’s a body wash too. I use lots of (cheap! only $0.78) V05 conditioner, and a pea size drop of (also cheap!) Aussie gel. I don’t dry my hair when I get out of the shower, instead plopping it into a t-shirt, then if I need to dry I use a diffuser. And I’ve pretty much stopped using my hairbrush in favor of my fingers.

This is so much faster than my old routine of straightening. So I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more curls around these here parts. I won’t say I’m in love with my hair, but at least I’m beyond wanting to divorce it (for now. Which, incidentally, I have done a few times. Like Michelle Williams pixie cut divorced. But with my hair, I’ve come to the conclusion that short is just as much, if not more, work to style).

Ok, fess up. Who else has curls? And how do you care for them? And more importantly, have you figured out how to love them instead of fight them? Because if you have I want to know the secret.

Thank you, readers, for letting me get that off my chest. We shall return to regularly scheduled topics (do I even have any of those?) tomorrow.

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  1. says

    Girly girl here :)
    I have never read the book, but I figured out early on in life that my hair works much better when I don’t shampoo. I haven’t shampooed in years. I have never owned a brush and I don’t let a towel touch my hair (even at the pool).
    One time I went 7 years without getting a haircut. My biggest problem has always been finding someone to cut my hair. Nobody seems to “get” my hair. Now I get my hair cut by a Oiudad certified stylist and it is sooooo worth it.
    I don’t do my hair every day. I can go 3 or so days without getting it wet. I just spritz in a leave-in conditioner, smooth and scrunch… then go. I feel pretty lucky about that.
    I have had a love/hate relationship with my curls. But we have made up and we are doing fine. Yes, most of my blogs posts omit my hair. But that is mostly because I don’t feel like doing my make-up 😉

  2. says

    I have curls (a different texture, but curls none the less). I spent most of my childhood and adulthood using relaxers and straighteners because I didn’t believe that my hair would be manageable without them. It wasn’t until I had my girls that I stopped fighting my natural curl. I didn’t want my girls seeing mommy “fighting” for beauty because they have hair just like mine. My haircare routine is so much simpler now that I don’t have tons of product and appliances all over my bathroom counter to keep my hair straight. :-) It may sound strange, but going back to my natural texture has been a big dose of freedom for me.

    By the way, Melissa, you look beautiful in curls!

  3. Estelle says

    I don’t have curls, I wish I did. I have straight hair and have always envied those with curls. Nothing short of perming it will make curls stay, except, now that I’ve let my hair grow much longer than it has ever been, it is starting to develop ringlets at the ends!

  4. LisaRae says

    I have the curls. I just donAted 12 inches so my hair is really short. I shampoo once every 3 week unless I plan on straightening it. I use mousse and sometimes a diffuser. I don’t completely hate my hair but there are days when I am at its mercy

  5. Kristie says

    Being a licensed cosmetologist, and a girl with curly hair gives me a completely different perspective. I have learned over the years that every head of curly hair works differently. For me, I use things with silicone. And I put a bunch of moisture back into my hair. I can curl my hair better with mouse rather than gel. But my friend with curly hair has to use opposite products that I do. It is very interesting. The thing I have learned about curly hair, or hair in general, is to learn what works best for you and go for it. And then learn to love yourself, because you are the perfect you! :)

  6. Kristin says

    I am going to check that book out! I have curly hair and let me tell ya, I know I use way too much product so I have been looking for alternatives to see what works the best for me =)

  7. says

    I have curly hair too! And I only shampoo twice a week and only brush it when I am putting it up for work. I learned in HS to love my curls for the simple fact that they are mine… I figured out since they were not going to go away, I might as well learn to love them.

  8. says

    I have curly long hair, also. When wet, it’s down to my booty. When dry, it grazes below my bra. I accepted my hair a long time ago. My mom had always referred to it as my crowning glory. I do wash and condition my hair everyday because otherwise it feels extremely heavy, especially on top. I try my best to only use biolage hydrating, but the budget doesn’t always cooperate. The one absolute must for me is Iso Bouncy creme. It defines my curls, controls the frizz, and it smells amazing without making my hair crunchy. People are constantly touching my hair and I’m like, “Yes, it does look, feel, and smell fabulous doesn’t it!” No, I don’t really say that but my hair is one thing I not only accept but am proud of!

  9. Vanessa@Designs By Sessa says

    So really I usually MAKE my hair curly for my blog photos. As I’ve gotten older the back is so wavy and I usually just need to sprunch and do curl spray when it’s wet to make it more curly, but normally I have straight hair with waves! haha! You always want the other!

  10. says

    I have curly hair now,,,but had straight hair when I was young. When it turned grey, it came in curly, and I love it! I never, ever dry it with a dryer, and just use a light spray conditioner & moisturizing shampoo on it. I must confess in the humidity in the summer, I occasionally resort to using frizzease when it starts growing to gargantuan proportions!

  11. says

    When I was a kid everyone was getting perms. I got mine straightened! Junior high… Then in high school I realized that I love my hair. Haven’t owned a brush since then. I do have a hair dryer, but I have no idea why I bought it! I think it was actually for an art project at some point! I wash every few days. Hadn’t heard about not using shampoo! And I use a leave in conditioner on the days I do shampoo. Your hair looks great! Enjoy how amazing easily curly hair is!

  12. Kinkycurls says

    I have had tiny ringlet curls since I was about thirteen and I hated them up until about my senior year. I wear it long for a while and then go super short and donate it. My biggest reason seems quite common for us girls with curls, no one can cut curly hair! I’ve read many comments saying they don’t wash their hair, for starters I’m a nurse and in my opinion my hair must be washed nearly EVERY day. I use different things but I feel like as with the rest of your body your hair sort of develops a resistance to one product when used all the time. I change products whenever I run out. Also, I never brush my hair I use my fingers, but this is simply because it’s easier than brushing. I use a palm full of Aussie moist conditioner ( I do always use this product, but will sometimes add a curl or frizz serum or curl mouse) and run it throughout my hair with my fingers until its spread evenly and scrunch, then I do what most curly haired women run screaming from… I blow dry until dry with both settings on high and with the director on. This kinda of gives me a quick hot oil- like treatment daily. I get defined, soft, manageable curls. Sometimes it’s a lil too stiff if I use too much but a lil manipulating, scrunching or running my fingers gently fixes it. And once you get the amount right it doesn’t feel any different than other products like mouse but looks better. I’ve tried every trick in the book but this has made me change the way I look at my curls and boosts my confidence. One last thing, I’ve talked to lots of women who say that curly hair doesn’t “look right” straight…. I blow dry in divided sections with a large wooden ceramic boar hair round brush (got from Walmart) It gives beautiful smooth hair, even at the ends, but gives a loose wave. A flat iron on high gives me that perfect stick straight look and holds it longer. But straightening is a time consuming process and is rarely worth it to me.

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