As curly girls, we’re told from a very young age that it is not professional, attractive or acceptable to let our natural hair out. We are pushed into straightening it since our parents, sisters, aunts, and cousins rarely know how to take care of our curls. Luckily for us, there is a lot of information out there about curl care these days and most of it is a result of the work and exploration done by women in the Black and Afro-Latina community.
But it can be difficult determining what’s right for your hair type as well as how to apply those techniques to non-textured hair. I recently had the pleasure of joining four women in the curly hair movement for a @curltalks panel chat about our curl journeys and this is what I learned from them:
Curls don’t come in a bottle.
When we’re starting our curl journey it’s easy to see a product as a “solution.” Curl inspo is great when you have that exact hair type but there is no product on earth that will change your hair type or give you a specific curl pattern. What you need to focus on is finding YOUR curl pattern and hair type underneath the damage. I spent so much time hoping a product would make my hair look like the model, when in reality I needed to let go of that fixation and just love what is coming out of my head.
Scalp care is everything!
Personally I was obsessed with the hair on my head and not the thing it was actually coming out of. That was a mistake! Your scalp is like the soil and your hair is like a flower, it’s not going to grow if the soil isn’t healthy. The moment I started taking care of my scalp, my hair changed. Scalp care can look many ways too! It can be massaging oils before bedtime, it can be hot oil treatments and hair masks, or it can be learning how often to cleanse your hair.
Have a wash routine.
I used to wash my hair every day which is a BIG no-no. A key difference between afro-texture and 3A-3C curls is the scalp’s oil production. The main reason we wash so often is because our scalp gets oily, right? That’s another reason why our curls are dry and brittle. The solution goes back to scalp care, just like the skin on our face, the skin on our heads over-produces oil when it’s too dry. When I started treating my scalp like my face it got less oily! You also need to make sure that your shampoo is sulfate free and moisturizing enough for your scalp. Once your products are right you should determine how long you can go between washes by testing it out. My routine is three days, I wash on day one, condition or revitalize with spray day two (depends on the weather), and repeat for day three, on day four I wash again and start all over.
Protective care is key.
Curly hair is naturally very porous, which also makes it lose moisture very quickly. At night our hair’s oils are getting sucked up into the pillowcase or simply drying out because of the atmosphere. When our hair dries out it breaks off, so making sure it’s taken care of is super important. I personally haven’t tried satin-lined bonnets but I’m planning to buy one. I also make sure to braid my hair before bed and sleep with a silk pillowcase.
Steam, steam, steam!
I haven’t tried this YET, but I have conducted my own experiment. Steam penetrates the core of your hair strand and infuses it with moisture and can significantly reduces frizz and improve moisture. For my experiment I soaked my hair in the tub as to saturate my hair similar to the way warm steam would. When I got out and added curl cream—no frizz! It’s a game changer ladies!
Are there any techniques or tips I missed? Let me know in the comments!