I am over spending hours at the hair salon and if there is one time of year where I avoid it like the plague, it’s the summer. Broiling under a hair dryer in 90 degree weather is not my cup of tea. That is one of the main reasons why I embarked on the journey to restore my heat-damaged curls, so that I can feel equally comfortable in my natural hair as I do with my blowouts.
Here are all of the steps I am taking to live my best curly hair life this year:
Protein treatments are a must-have if you are looking to reverse heat damage. But can be very drying and can even damage your hair if you leave them on too long. Make sure you follow the instructions closely for the best results. My favorites are the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture Dream Come True Wonderful Pre-Wash Protein Treatment ($32, Sephora). I recently gave the new Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein-Strong Treatment ($11, Ulta) a try and it definitely lived up to its name, leaving my hair feeling soft despite its strengthening effect. The Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 ($28, Sephora) is another genius product that rebuilds the bonds of your hair. Professional hair colorists swear by this line and it’s part of the reason why I still have hair on my head despite getting multiple bleach jobs.
For some odd reason, it’s always difficult for me to find a shampoo that doesn’t make my hair feel stiff. Through a lot of trial and error I found my perfect match with the CURLS Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Wash ($11, Target). I love that I get an actual lather going with this product and a softening effect at the same time. It also smells delicious, which is the cherry on top.
CONDITION. CONDITION. CONDITION.
I have a few go-to deep conditioning treatments that I use to make my hair stronger and keep it as hydrated as possible. I regularly use the Amika Nourishing Mask ($28, Sephora) for moisture. Sometimes I go as far as leaving it in my hair overnight. The DevaCurl One Condition Decadence is a must-have for me. I can’t wash my hair without it. Testing out different products can make my hair feel dry and tangled, but this conditioner always manages to bring back that silky feeling I’m looking for.
I have a product that helps me fake it until I make it.
When I’m rocking my natural curls, I apply a leave-in conditioner while my hair is still soaking wet in the shower. That helps seal in maximum moisture and gets me the best results. I lock in the leave-in conditioner and create curls in areas that have been practically fried straight with the Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker ($22, Target). My hair takes a long time to dry with this hair gel but it is so worth it. I focus on scrunching the product onto my heat damaged sections and it magically restores some of my natural waves. It doesn’t give me curls that are as tight as my normal ones but I am still a happy camper.
I am selective about when I get blowouts.
I still love rocking my hair straight but it is no longer a weekly commitment. It saves me money, stress, and gives my curls a break. I only get blowouts for special occasions (I’ve had a lot recently and it’s killing me) and when I do, I get a roller set, and only let my stylist use direct heat on my roots.
I use protection when heat styling.
The R+Co High Dive Moisture & Shine Créme ($29, Beautylish) has been my go-to leave-in conditioner when I get blowouts. It protects my hair from the heat and keeps it frizz-free in between washes.
Regular trims are essential.
Dead ends don’t help anyone. They are a total drag on your curls. Refreshing your ends with a trim will give your hair the extra pep that it needs while it’s in recovery.
I don’t stress.
No one is perfect and I definitely don’t expect my curls to be either. That mindset takes the pressure off the long journey to healthy hair. I don’t take it too seriously, and when I have a bad hair day (or am feeling lazy) I just load up on Eco Styler Professional Styling Gel with Olive Oil ($3, Target) and slick it all back into a bun. Not bothered!