This may come as a surprise to anyone who isn’t lookin really closely at my instagram photos or doesn’t know me in real life, but I have pretty thick, curly hair. It hasn’t always been this way. Growing up I had really fine hair with a bit of wave to it, but it wasn’t until I donated a foot of my hair to locks for love in the fifth grade that my hair really started to curl up.
I hated it.
Growing up in the early 2000s as a curly girl was tough. From scene kids to prepsters, everyone had pin straight hair. I used to love Taylor Swift’s curly hair because she was the only real celebrity out there who I saw had hair like mine and right as my curl really started to pick up, she switched to her straight hair she’s now had for years. As it turns out, Taylor’s hair actually just lost it’s curl pattern, (probably from years of heat damage) but my tween brain processed this change as curly hair = bad.
I got my first straightener in middle school and I still have it. Before then I used to beg my sister to straighten my hair or sleep in a thick braid to try and change the pattern. Even though my mom and brother had straight hair, neither of them knew much about what it means to have to take care of it so I had to learn for myself. For a long time I thought I had dandruff when it turns out I was just drying the crap out of my hair and scalp washing it every day.
My curly hair owes a lot to my family friend/ hairdresser Catherine Bolivar (hi if you’re reading this). I had bounced around between hairdressers for a while and when I got to Catherine she asked the simple question, “what shampoo and conditioner are you using?”
If memory serves I responded with some herbal essences coconut shampoo. I walked out with a bundle of Paul Mitchell curly hair products.
My hair started to look a little better, showing less frizziness from the damage. Then coming into high school, I decided to dye it for the next two years. Thankfully I had less time so I stopped using so much heat and the hair only had damage coming from one side.
By my junior year I knew something had to change, so I stopped dying it and tried to make little changes to take better care. Slowly but surely my hair picked back up to about a 2C wave.
The summer before senior year I really fell into a deep dive on youtube of how to take care of curly hair and started using things like hair masks and deep conditioners regularly. My hair finally had some of the moisture it needed.
This summer when I was happy with how the new growth was looking, I finally made the big chop. My hair is wayyyy softer and less frizzy. There is definitely a lot of damage and things to be changed, but my hair is significantly healthier and when treated right gets to about a 3A curl.
My best tips
- Wash your hair upside down. The less resistance you can put on your curls the better
- Dry your hair with a microfiber towel or soft old t shirt. Your hair is breakable, so be nice to it.
- If you blow dry, use a diffuser on your hair, working in sections upside down. This diffuses the heat so it isn’t so harsh on your curls and helps it dry without resistance.
- MOISTURE MOISTURE MOISTURE. Curls crave moisture so make sure you’re using leave in conditioners and oils when you get out of the shower.
- Invest in a good dry shampoo and heat protectant. You shouldn’t be washing curly hair a lot because it gets dry, and if you’re using heat you NEED to protect your hair