InTruBeauty: Curly Hair 101

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Curly Hair 101

I have had naturally curly hair my entire life and have struggled for many years. Learning to love your curls is just a matter of finding the right techniques and products and showing your curls some TLC. I do straighten my hair every so often, but I prefer to let my natural curls loose. If you have naturally curly hair, don't feel like you have to straighten your hair for it to look great. Follow this easy step by step 101 guide and you will have beautiful curls as well. This post is about how to wear your curls naturally.

No More Shampoo!
The first thing you want to change about your curls is using shampoo. I love the feeling of getting a great lather just like anyone else, but you really shouldn't be shampooing curls. Even though curly hair may appear thicker and fuller, our strands of hair are actually extremely fine and delicate. This means you have to take extra care with them. Shampooing your hair is basically detergent in your hair. Gross! It is a myth that you need shampoo to get your hair clean.

Condition, Condition, Condition!
First, using your favorite conditioner (my fave conditioners to follow), apply a dollup sized amount into you palm. Using this amount of conditioner, massage it into your scalp with your fingers. Do this for 30 seconds to 1 minute and rinse out. You will be amazed at how silky and clean your hair actually feels. Your hair is not dirty. By washing it with conditioner you aren't stripping it of the natural oils your hair needs. If you can't quite get rid of your shampoo, I would say use it 1-2 times per week. I usually do still use it about once a week.

Conditioner is your curls BEST FRIEND. You really can't use too much conditioner in the shower. I tend to go through conditioner like none other. For this, apply as much as needed to completely saturate your hair. Regardless of the conditioner, I usually let it sit in my hair for 2-5 minutes. Massage this into your scalp. And make sure you applied it all the way through to your hair, including your ends. Your follicles are actually the only part of your hair that is actually alive, so you will want to focus a lot of TLC on your scalp.

After this has sat in for awhile, rinse it out. I use cold water to rinse my hair out. Not only will it wake you up a bit, it feels great, and will leave your hair shinier. I go about whatever else I need to do in the shower. Right before I'm done, I usually put a smaller amount of conditioner in my hair and leave on for about 30 seconds. I will then rinse out my hair for 5-10 seconds, making sure to LEAVE some conditioner in my hair.

Moisture is Key!
When  buying products, focus on products that are moisture intensive. These are the most important products for curls. I have tried every curly hair product including John Frieda Frizz Ease, TIGI Catwalk Curls Rock, Herbal Essences Twisted, Quidad Curly hair products, Aveda Be Curly, Sally's Beauty Beyond the Zone, etc etc etc. Although there are definite exceptions to this rule, I find that most products targeted specifically for curly hair work the worst on me. Therefore, I focus on moisture rich products instead. Also look for sulfate free and alcohol free products.

Hair Cuts
You are actually suppose to have your stylist cut curls when they are dry. I have never once had a stylist do this. When picking a stylist, I usually choose someone who also has curly hair similar to mine. Curly hair is so different and most stylists have no idea what to do with it. I usually do minimal layers or just cut it straight. Curly hair is very forgiving with cuts and highlights, but some layering can actually work against your curls. Make sure your stylist knows what they are doing. I have tried thinning my hair and I wouldn't recommend that. Its also been suggested to me many times to chemically straighten my hair which I am completely against. (see my prior post on my horrible experience with Garnier Blow Dry perfector which is suppose to be temporary). Resist this. You will have many people encouraging you to straighten your hair.

Here are some of my all time favorite curly hair products:
**as with skin care, everyone's hair is different, but these are the products that have worked the best for me.  I didn't like Curls Rock at all, but my friend's curls looked great after using that product line. These are my top 13 of the current moment.

1. TIGI Catwalk Headshot Reconstructive Intense Conditioner (the pink one, I like the blue Oatmeal & Honey as well)
2. TIGI Urban Antidotes, Levels 1, 2, and 3 depending on the level of damage/repair needed

3. TIGI S-Factor. I love this line including the Papaya Moisture Spray, Silky Smooth Moisture Serum, Smoothing Lusterizer and my FAVE the Serious Conditioner.

4. Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Line. I would recommend the mouse, gel, and conditioner.

5. Aussie Hair Gel

6. Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm and Biolage Strengthening Conditioner, Biolage Color Care Conditioner.

7. Herbal Essences Color Me Happy conditioner.

8. SAMY Twisted Curl Define Spray. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

9. RUSK Sensories Smoother Conditioner. This is the best leave in conditioner I've ever used. 

10. TIGI Rockaholic Fun Times Flexible Hairspray

11. L'oreal Sulfate Free Line (EverPure, EverSleek)

12. Love, Peace, and the Planet Totally Beachin' Coconut Mango Vanilla Body & Waves Styling Mist. This is the perfect spray for loose beach waves.

13. TIGI After Party Smoothing Cream. This is the best smoothing cream. This also provides a great pick me up to transform your hair from day to night or just to refresh it. I can't live without this stuff.










So, here are the steps to take after you have washed and conditioned your hair:


Step One: Grab a large hand towel and place this under a section of hair. Do not just wrap it in a towel 


Step Two: Grab Your Hair in the Towel and Start to Push Upwards 


Step Three: Scrunch! Do this to all your hair with the towel. 


Step Four: Scrunch your hair all around with your fingers.


Step Five: Grab Random Strands of Curls where a curl has naturally formed, twist this, and then twist this  around your finger. Do this with probably about  6-8 strands/curls.


Step Six: Twist the strand up around your finger, bring this twisted curl up to your scalp and srunch. You can use a pen or pencil as well. 


This will assist some of your naturally curls to dry the way you want them to and become more defined & perfect curls 

Okay, so now curls are towel dried and curled with your fingers. You can also curl them with a pen or pencil. 


Step Seven: Let your curls air dry and do something else while waiting (like apply a face mask!). Obviously, we don't always have the time to let curls air dry, but I prefer this method. I hate diffusers but I also don't like my curls looking super full and small. If you blow dry your hair, put it on cool or a lower heat setting and always always use a heat protectant. 

After my hair was dry, I picked about 5 stands on each side of my head and with my medium sized Bed Head curling iron, I curled these sections, following my natural curl. Always use heat protectant too. Use a size of curling iron that is similar to your curl size. I do this just to help nature out a little bit and these curled sections should blend in perfectly with your natural curl. 

(**Bonus Tip**: if you want your hair to be more wavy than curly, I carefully brush it out when wet with a flat end brush or a wide toothed comb and kind of pull on the strands. I wrap much larger and looser strands around my fingers to create larger waves and apply the love, peace and the planet beachin'. I will do a blog on waves and straightening so stay tuned)

My specific products I used today were: Catwalk Reconstructive conditioner, then SAMY curl spray, Rusk leave in smoother, and Rockaholic hairspray. After my hair was dry, I lifted some hair from the crown of my head and sprayed TIGI Root Boost underneath this section and worked this in with my fingers, this will give your roots some added lift and volume. After I finished curling, I applied a dime sized amount of the TIGI After party. 

So, here is the finished product:


Your hair will be soft and smooth and not CRISPY fried curls. I hate the crispy curls look that comes from just loading your curls with gel, sure you won't have frizz, but someone might mistake your hair for a crispy curly fry. Your hair feels soft and natural and yet will stay in place all day!





So now that your curls look great, DONT TOUCH them throughout the day. Instead, I will put some water on my hands and kind of fluff up my hair if it needs it. Otherwise, use TIGI Afterparty for a pick me up. This product is pure magic.

I highly recommend a book called Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey. This is a celebration of natural curls. So c'mon fellow Curly Girls, lets celebrate and embrace our curls!

Purchase on Amazon  here  or for the newer edition click here, around $8 (this also makes a great gift)
2011 Edition
2001 Edition

Yours in Beauty (and curls), 

Jessica :)

Subscribe to stay tuned for my blog posts and how to best straighten your hair, what products and tools to use and how to have beachy waves. We will be doing giveaways, but you have to be a subscriber! See our November Shopping Secrets blog post for more contest details.

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