Thursday, September 6, 2012

calling all curlies!

so, i talk about my hair a lot.

but it's just so fascinating to me.

(apparently i also take a lot of pictures of myself.)

after spending years arguing with my hair, i've finally started trying to accept my natural texture.  (sometimes.  obviously i still straighten it occasionally.)

i've been doing tons of research on hair care since i discovered the curly girl method a few months ago.  (technically, i have type 2A-2B wavy hair, not curly hair, but some of the same principles apply.  [here is a link with the different hair types.])

there are a ton of curly techniques that i'd never heard of before i discovered the naturally curly/wavy internet community.  plopping, co-washing, here's a little summary of what i've gleaned.

basic care for wavy hair

-don't wash it every day.  most people probably shouldn't shampoo every day, but curly and wavy hair tends to be especially dry (this is extremely true for me) so washing it 1-3x a week is usually ideal.

a tip i've read for making 2nd (and 3rd and 4th...) day hair work is to wet it with a spray bottle in the morning and scrunch it with a little product to "wake" the curls or waves back up (my hair never looks quite as good after i've been sleeping on it all night.  go figure.)  i haven't tried this yet but i'm going to.

speaking of nighttime, i've heard sleeping on a satin pillowcase does wonders for combatting frizz and keeping waves from looking atrocious.  i haven't tried this, but if you have, i'd be interested to know if it helps.

-do. not. brush. your. hair.

if you have curly or wavy hair, this is probably a no-brainer for you.  brushing just destroys the curl pattern and causes hair to frizz out.  a lot of women comb their hair in the shower with a wide tooth comb before scrunching and plopping, but that's the last time you're allowed to run anything through your hair.

-when drying your hair, don't rub it.  don't put it in a turban.  heck, don't even use a towel.

microfiber towels or t-shirts are recommended.  right now i use a t-shirt to dry my hair (by scrunching and then plopping...although my plopping technique still needs work) but i'm going to try a microfiber towel the next time i wash it.  i need something that will soak up more water and help my hair dry more  quickly.

yes, plopping makes me feel like a dork.  but i think it makes a difference.  a noticeable one.

-using a diffuser to blowdry my hair (after it's air-dried for a bit) makes a huge difference--i get more volume, and a more defined wave pattern (this morning it actually looked curly when i was done!  and then i went outside and it fell into a flatter wave.  boo.)

there is a proper way to diffuse your hair.  youtube will teach you.  (also look up wet-setting...basically you twist your hair before diffusing to help define the curls.  it takes some extra time but it works.)

-co-washing (conditioner-only washing) and no-poo (no shampoo or conditioner, washing with a baking soda solution and apple cider vinegar rinse)...i'm not going to go into all the details but you can look both of these methods up.  a lot of women have had success with them.  i tried both methods for about a week each but didn't last any longer than that.  :)  i hear you really need to give it at least 6 weeks before judging the results though.

however, i have made one big(ish) change: using a sulfate-free shampoo and silicone-free conditioner and styling products.  (fyi...they're hard to find.)  basically, sulfates strip the hair (ammonium laureth sulfate, which is usually the second ingredient in most shampoos [after water], is also the primary ingredient in dish soap.  cuts grease!).  silicones coat hair to make it shiny, but they also weigh curls and waves down.

right now i'm using the L'Oreal EverSleek shampoo and conditioner (from the place where i get all my fancy hair and i really like them.  but i like to switch it up a lot and i'll probably be using something different next month.

lastly, if you're interested, here's a sample wavy hair morning routine.

i want to love my hair.  my friends, if you have any tips for coaxing out the curls, lay 'em on me!

(by the way, it's really hard to take a picture of the back of your head with an ipad.

just so you know.)


  1. Great job all the way around. I should embrace my waviness also....

  2. Good to know! I never even considered embracing my wavy hair! Thanks for the liberation!

  3. Anytime! Haha. Wavy hair has been "in" for a while so I think it encouraged me to try to work with my hair. (remember when stick-straight Avril Lavigne hair was in?? I've killed a few straighteners trying to achieve that.)

  4. wow. I haven't done much research on how to have better wavy hair. Your hair looks awesome in these pictures!

    I'll have to try "plopping".

    p.s. I hate diffusing. It looks great for 5 minutes and then its looks like i did nothing to it! Probably because my hair is really heavy. :(

  5. yeah, i haven't had much luck with diffusing, i seem to have the same problem (it looks great and then falls flat).

    however, today (2nd day hair) i woke up, wet my hair (just to make it damp), added a little product, and diffused it...and it actually held volume all day! it wasn't quite as curly as it started out, but it looked even better than it did yesterday. i was pleased. plus it took about 7 minutes to do, which is not bad at all.

    however, you have lustrous, thick, long hair and i can see how the weight of it might make diffusing pointless.

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  7. Use a hair spray on the roots of your hair BEFORE diffusing ... it works for my wavy hair at least. I just purchased AERO GEL STYLING SPRAY at my Salon and it definitely cuts down on the Frizz!

  8. Oh yes, since blow drying it every time I wash it AND living in a rainforest blow drying is often redundant as it gets wet as soon as I step outside I use a dap of BIOSILK and allow to 'dry' naturally. The same company makes CHI but it is a heavier product. Please continue to post further tips, thanks! I too fought my hair for years, good luck!

  9. Thanks Cynthia, I'll try that!!

  10. Hi Heather! Okay, so I used to have GREAT success and lots of positive comments about my hair when I would do a special curling technique for my wavy hair. I would brush my hair in the shower after conditioning and then let the hair get completely wet again. (I wouldn't touch it with a brush again til the next time I showered) Then I'd shake as much of the water out of my hair instead of using a towel. I found that the shake caused my hair to section itself into curls on it's own. then I'd grab a bunch of gel for frizz control and scrunch my hair with the gel. It was a pretty good amount of gel. If there was still a lot of water in my hair I would grab a towel and scrunch my hair with it the way I would with just my fingers that way it still reinforced the curls I was trying to make. Then I'd let it dry. The hard part of this method is that you have to let it dry on it's own, but I always did chores or homework during this part so it didn't make too much difference. I would scrunch it every so often with my hands to make sure the wetness of the hair wasn't dragging the curls down, and at the end when it's dry it should be a bit crispy, but the curls should look great. Then I'd scrunch my hair with my hands and loosen up all the gel. Then the hair is left soft and touchable with great curl. If parts of your hair don't curl so well naturally just do a quick touch up to those parts with a curling iron.
    It sounds like a complicated method but really it's just mostly not brushing your hair after you get out of the shower and scrunching with gel. Feel free to try it, it was great for me. Have fun and enjoy :)

  11. i looooveee your hair. I'm excited to go read about stuff and find out about mine, too!

  12. I still wish that I have your hair : /

  13. thanks, briana!! i'm about to wash my hair so i'll try your tips. i usually scrunch the water out with a towel, but i never tried shaking it before.

    do you find that gel works the best for you? i haven't used gel since high school but i remember it working well, and you can "scrunch out the crunch". i've been using a curling creme (which gives good definition and softness, but not much hold) and a mousse (which is okay, can make my hair really dry-feeling and tangled if i accidentally use too much).

  14. nikki and jill--thanks! :) i never thought anyone would say that to me, i always thought my hair was so poofy and terrible. but it's not so bad after all.