This week, Renee wants to know if I’ve got any tips or tricks to help her love her curly hair, and boy do I ever! After fighting my curls for nearly two decades, I finally found the right People, Products, and Process for my curl Pattern. Find out what these 4 p’s mean…and how they can help you love your curls too! Links & Resources from the show: Visit Living Wonder to take 15% off of your purchase with code STYLE15 Find a stylist who specializes in curly hair! Deva Curl Naturally Curly Discover Your Curl Pattern Come say hi on Facebook! Resources to help you find the process that works for you:
**This post may contain affiliate links, which means, that I may receive, at no cost to you, a small commission from purchases made through links we provide. Thank you for your support. Some of my favorite products and tools:
- Deva Curl styling products
- Microfiber towels
- Drying gloves
- My Favorite Diffuser
- Ingredients to watch out for
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Read the full episode transcript below!
Ep 60 Office Hours Curly Hair Advice
Today’s episode of Office Hours is sponsored by Living Wonder. If you want to fight the signs of aging, and all the topical creams in the world aren’t getting you there, it might be time to try supplementing with Collagen. Collagen boost plus from my living wonder has 3 types of collagen to hydrate your skin and improve elasticity. I use Collagen Boost Plus everyday, and I love it–I hope you will too. Everyday Style listeners can take 15% off their purchase by going to mylivingwonder.com/style and using code STYLE15. As always you can visit our show notes for the link.
Welcome back to Office Hours–the weekly show of the Everyday Style School podcast, where we answer just one question, submitted by our fabulous listeners, to help make style easier, and getting dressed more fun.
This week’s question is from Renee, who said
Hi Jen, this question isn’t really about your podcast, so I hope it’s ok to send here. I watch your videos on Facebook, and I love your hair. It’s so cute! I’ve got curls too, but they never look nice, so I always straighten my hair. I’d love to be able to go natural, and not have to straighten my hair everyday. Can you share what products you use, and any other tips for curly hair. thanks!
First of all, Renee, thank you for your kind words! Its funny, I get more compliments on my hair than anything else,, but what you might not know is that I didn’t love my curls until I was 35. As a kid, I had long, straight hair, but after puberty hit, and I cut my long hair to a chin length bob, the curls came on with a vengeance, and I spent the next 2 decades fighting my hair every day. In my teens,
I tried to straighten it, but in the early 90’s we didn’t have flat irons or good products, I actually tried to iron my hair with a clothing iron. It wasn’t successful. Later on, I had one heck of a round brush collection and would straighten it that way every other day, giving me carpal tunnel and severely dried out hair. I tried brazillian blow outs, and every straightening product on the market. I tried off and on to wear it curly, but it never consistently looked good–and those times were usually due to insane humidity so why bother, or from hair straightening fatigue, not because I liked the way I looked.
Anyway, after I had my second daughter, I was finding ways to make life easier, simplify my mornings, and since the hair drying was a huge time suck, I decided I would just try to embrace the curls. I got a good cut, figured out the right products, and I’ve never looked back. Now I rarely straighten my hair, and I love getting compliments on my curls when I’m out and about.
I share all of this with you only to say that I haven’t always loved my curls, and if I can go from fighting my natural hair for years, to embracing it, and loving it, you can too! I’ve put lots of links in the show notes.
When women compliment my hair, it’s usually with a disclaimer like the one Renee gave– I have curls too, but they’re not nice like yours. I try to wear my hair curly, but it doesn’t look good, so I just straighten it.
There’s probably a reason for this, which I’ll get to, but I broke down my tips for having fabulous curly-hair into 4 tips–and they all start with P..
So, here goes. The first P is person. You need a person who knows how to cut hair. More specifically, you need a person who knows how to cut curly hair. When I’ve needed to find a new salon, I’ll call and ask who specializes in curly hair. If they say “everyone here can cut curly hair” I say, ok, thanks, bye. Because what they’re trying to say is “we’re all competent”, but what I hear is “we don’t even understand that cutting and coloring curly hair is different”. I don’t want someone who can cut curly hair. I want someone who specializes it. When I made the decision to embrace the curls, I found a Deva Certified stylist. We’ll talk more about Deva later, but it’s a curly hair system–products, method of cutting, all of that. I looked on their website, found someone close to me, and got the best haircut of my life. Paid more than I ever had in my life, but your hair is an accessory you wear everyday…it’s worth it.
Lots of women who don’t love their curls are getting haircuts from people who don’t specialize in curls, and you’re going to have much better results from an expert. Along with that, I really encourage women not to salon or stylist hop–invest the time to build a long-term relationship with a stylist, so they can get to know your hair well. It’s annoying when a stylist says “How much do you want me to cut?” I don’t know Linda, just make it look nice. My stylist never has to ask because she knows how my hair looks best. Now, if you get a crappy haircut, like really bad, you may not want to go back, but don’t just call a salon and take the next person available. It takes time to build a good relationship. In the shownotes, I’ve linked to a couple of sites where you can find curly specialists.
The second P is Pattern. All curly hair is not created equal. Lots of curly girls think that if they just knew how to do their curls, they’d end up with perfect spirals, or ringlets, or beach waves–whatever their “Curly” ideal is. It doesn’t work like that. Curls are divided into categories, 2 and 3, 4 and then sub categories of a, b, and c, The number is curl families–2 is waves, 3 is spiral, 4 is coils. The letter is how tightly the curls are wound, a being loosest. For reference, my hair is a combination of 2c and 3a. I’ve got some tighter waves, and some looser spirals. If I really work hard with an upside down diffuser/lots of product situation I can maybe get to a 3a 3b, but it’s a little poodle ish, so ya know, I don’t do that. Understanding your pattern helps you pick the right products, and helps you understand what’s possible for your curls without a ton of work, chemicals, or tools. So if you’re a 2b and your definition of pretty curls is 3c, sorry sunshine, its not happening. Just a quick note, obviously you can have 2 types of curls–I do, and over time your curl pattern will change. Mine is getting straighter, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, after all the years fighting for straight hair, but it really makes me sad.
The third P of fabulous curly hair is Process. People think curly hair is this wash and go, no fuss no muss thing, and I’m here to tell you, it isn’t. I know my curly girls are nodding in agreement right now. My sister had a friend in town and they came over a couple of weeks ago. She’s a curly girl too, and we probably spent 20 minutes talking about the techniques and processes we’re currently using to make our curls look good. From the plopping method, to the pineapple method, to prayer hands vs scrunching, and when to break the cast, if you’re even breaking the cast at all, this ish is complicated. So again, if you’re someone who doesn’t love their curls, I gotta ask–have you invested any time in finding the process that brings out your curls the best? There are a ton of resources online–facebook communities, you tube videos, websites that talk about different processes and techniques for curly hair. I’ll link to a few, but in no time you’ll be speaking this whole other language saying things like no-poo, co-wash, clumping, squish to condish and doing the rake and shake.
Since you asked about my curls, I’ll share my process. I use a non-lathering shampoo, followed by conditioner that I only wash out 70% to 80% depending on the humidity levels. I might add a little conditioner back in for extra curls. Once the conditioner levels are right,, while my hair is soaking wet, I put a ton of gel in it. My gel is right in the shower. Then, I do upside down prayer hands, flip over and do a rake and shake. I get the excess water out with a microfiber towel. Curlies–don’t ever let that terry cloth touch your head, and then get a little bit more water out with paper towels. Then I don’t touch anything until my hair is completely dry and I scrunch to break up the gel cast. That’s it. Viola! Wash and go, right?
You might be wondering when the hair dryer comes out, and honestly, almost never. My curls are so much better when no heat touches them, so if at all possible, I air dry. If I can’t air dry, I use a dryer on a cold setting with a diffuser shaped like a hand to get volume from the root. Again, lots of links in the show notes if you want to check this stuff out.
The last P is products. There are a few curly hair product lines out there, and a lot of it is trial and error. What works for one person, may not work for you. I am a Deva Curl Devotee. I use their no-poo shampoo, the one-condition decadence conditioner, and arc-angel conditioner. I also have their Mister Right curl refreshing spray for second day curls that need a little reshape.
Again, there are so many curly products and you just have to try to see what works for you. Knowing your curl pattern is super helpful in picking the right products.
While I can’t recommend any products specifically, there are a few ingredients to watch out for.
First, sulphates. Sulphates strip your hair of natural oils, and make your hair frizzy. They’re the ingredient responsible for creating bubbles in soaps and shampoos, so when I said I use a non-lathering shampoo, that would be why.
The second ingredient to watch out for is silicones. A little disclaimer, there are good silicones, and bad silicones–unless you really know what to look for, just avoid silicones. Silicones coat your hair, and make it smoother, silkier and more manageable. So why would you want to avoid them? Over time they cause build up, which can result in frizzier hair, and a lifeless curl.
Finally, oils and waxes like paraffin, petrolatum, and parabens. They may make your hair feel nice, but over time, they weigh your curls down and over time, your curls wont be as defined, or manageable.
If you want nice curls, get good at reading labels and figuring out which products help curls and which hurt.
I think one of the reasons women with curls don’t love them is they decide one day to wear their hair curly, use some crappy drugstore products, or worse, the same thing they use all the time and say, see, my curls are terrible. You can’t just dip a toe in the curly waters one day and make your decision based on that. I would recommend, if you’re ready to embrace your curls, or enhance your curls, figure out your curl pattern, read about products and methods that are right for your hair, and give it two full weeks to see if your curls are improving. If they are, then invest in a good curly cut, and you’ll probably love the results.
Renee, thanks so much for asking the question–I hope this encourages lots of curly girls to love their locks.
If you’re a curly girl who has a product or a technique to share, head to our Facebook page and share it. If you’ve got a question you’d like me to cover in Office Hours, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Living wonder for sponsoring the show, head to mylivingwonder.com/style to take 15% off of your purchase with code Style15
Finally, your five star review on Apple Podcasts means the world to us. Thank you for rating, reviewing, subscribing and sharing That’s all for today–see you next week! Until then, stay stylish