Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Cool-headed, Unruffled, and Curly Carefree

Written by Shelley Stejna
People always say the grass is greener on the other side, but if you have curly hair, this takes on a different meaning. You have definitely cursed your straight-haired friends at least once, if not many more times when they’ve offered their casual compliments: “I wish I had your hair!…What I wouldn’t do for a set of curls like that…” Yeah, meet me on a rainy day, at the beach, or in the sweaty summer. And then we’ll talk. People may like the way curly hair looks on others, but when it’s your own set of locks, you know about maintenance, and it is no bouncy Salon Selectives commercial. It’s just not always going to look “like you just stepped of a salon.”
People always say the grass is greener on the other side, but if you have curly hair, this takes on a different  meaning. You have definitely cursed your straight-haired friends at least once, if not many more times when they’ve offered their casual compliments: “I wish I had your hair!…What I wouldn’t do for a set of curls like that…” Yeah, meet me on a rainy day, at the beach, or in the sweaty summer. And then we’ll talk. People may like the way curly hair looks on others, but when it’s your own set of locks, you know about maintenance, and it is no bouncy Salon Selectives commercial. It’s just not always going to look “like you just stepped of a salon.”

So, while curly hair is quite possibly the best, cutest thing on the planet, it can get a little nuts sometimes when the humidity starts rearing its hot and ugly head. If your hair is super curly, then you know what it means to cross paths with the “f” word—frizzy—in the summer…and the winter. Curly hair will meet its match if you abide by these tips on how to deal when the frizz comes on thick.

COMB: Never brush curly hair. This is a seriously important rule and should be circled AND highlighted in your curly hair manual. Brushing breaks the curl pattern and causes major frizz. If you still feel the need to “brush” curly hair, try using a pick or a wide-tooth comb and only do so while wet—you might even want to try keeping one in the shower.

WASH: Do not over-wash your hair. If you are currently washing your hair every day, cut back to every other day, and then work your way down to a maximum of 2-3 times a week. Curly hair is naturally dry on its own—it doesn't need to be cleansed as often as straight hair, even if you run around in circles and work up a sweat every single day. Feel free to rinse and condition the hair in the shower if you need to go through the motions and skip the shampoo. Most products are water-soluble and will rinse away once wet, leaving no sticky residue or buildup.

SHAMPOO: When it does come time for shampoo day, only lather the scalp and smooth the rest down the hair shaft lightly. Don't over-scrub, and please be gentle. You might even want to ditch the “poo” altogether. There are actually shampoos out there that eliminate the over-soapy lather and save you from a poofy nightmare that sometimes takes days to recover from.

CONDITIONER: When applying conditioner, saturate the ends first and then apply less to the scalp. Let it sit on the hair for a bit and then use your wide-tooth comb or pic and brush through. This will make your life easier as it helps detangle your hair, readying it for product application.

PRODUCT: If you let your hair air dry without using a styling product, it will dry on the frizzier side. Curly hair is naturally frizzy, so the whole purpose of product is to keep the curls together and stop the frizz from coming. A good combo to try is to start with a defrizzer and then finish with a gel so your style keeps. If you like a more natural look, you may choose a leave-in conditioner or a smoothing lotion, neither of which stick, crunch, or crackle.

STYLE: Always apply product when the hair is wet. Invest in a water bottle, so you can mist your hair down if it has already started to dry by the time you’re ready for stylin’. Work product through from roots to ends. I like to take my hair in three sections—bottom, middle, and top—to make sure I don't miss any spots. Scrunch the hair upwards for a curlier effect. And try not to touch it too much until it dries—you don’t want to mess with the chemistry that’s happening.

DRY: In the summer, I recommend air drying if you can wait it out because the less drying, the better. I would keep that as a general rule that certainly has flexibility. For instance, in the winter, it might just be too cold to leave your house with wet hair, so when speeding up the drying process, make sure you stick a diffuser to the end of your hair dryer. This will help keep the curl intact and whole. Once dry, it’s always a good idea to slightly re-scrunch to soften it up and make it look more natural.

SLEEP: Try sleeping with your hair in a loose ponytail to salvage the curls for an extra day. It might not be perfect, but you can always count on a little pomade to calm down flyaways.

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