To all those with curly hair, this scenario may sound familiar. I wake up in the morning, do my usual routine, and free my curls from the bun it was in from when I was asleep to avoid a bad hair day. I part my hair in the way I’m most comfortable with when I wear it down, confident in the way it falls around my head, and I’m ready to face whatever is going to come at me. Just a few hours later, I go take a toilet break, and when I look in the mirror, I see that my curls have become bundles of frizz and tangles, and I’m ready to call it a day as I scrunch the ugly ringlets back up in a bun.
For almost all people with curly hair who don’t have their hair routine figured out, everyday is a bad hair day.
For almost all people with curly hair who don’t have their hair routine figured out, everyday is a bad hair day. Curly hair has a mind of its own, and since all hair in general is different, it’s vital to know what products and strategies will bring out the best in it. If you too have to deal with a daily haircare crisis, here are some suggestions to making your curls work for you:
1. Don’t wash your curls everyday
This seems disgusting to some, especially when you always want to be fresh in the clammy Manila heat, but washing your hair everyday will strip away the natural oils that your curls need to avoid dryness. Experiment with washing schedules that can range from every other day to twice a week, and you’ll find which pattern makes your curls look best.
2. Get a hot oil treatment for your scalp
Even if it’s better to not wash your hair everyday, this practice causes your scalp to be more prone to dandruff. Hot oil treatments rid your scalp of the gunk, and you can ask for one in any hair salon. Take note of how long it takes for your scalp to regularly accumulate dandruff again, though, after you take the treatment. It’ll be a basis for how often you need to have it done.
3. Condition before you shampoo
Those struggling with curly hair know that conditioner is our soulmate. Since curly hair is naturally dry, it is important to do the most with your conditioner during wash days. This tip works for those with flat roots and who want more volume (if you want to see an example, visit CurlyPenny on YouTube and watch her video “My Big Curly Hair Routine For Volume”). Since conditioners are generally thick, they sink in the curls and weigh them down, so it’s better to start with it in your shower routine before moving on to shampoo.
4. Comb your hair in the shower
I never brushed or combed my hair dry because I knew it’d make me look like a lion, but this caused my curls to bunch up in a forest of tangles. I then discovered the wonders of combing your hair in the shower, and it was a game-changer. Invest in a good wide-toothed comb and use it right after finger-combing your hair with conditioner; start from the ends of your hair and work your way up. Not only does this easily detangle your hair but it separates the strands so that they curl and fall in place when dry.
(Going back to the first tip, note that washing curly hair can be very tedious and time-consuming. It’s best to do tips 3 and 4 on weekends or on days when you’re least busy, depending on your washing schedule.)
5. Wet your hair with low-pressure, cold water
Curly hair is very sensitive, and the pressure and temperature of water against your hair can harm it. Cold water on low pressure doesn’t overheat the hair and prevents frizz and damage, and it best retains the moisturizing and cleanse from conditioning and shampooing.
6. Drying with a microfiber towel
Okay, I actually think it’s a battle between microfiber towels and conditioners on which is the soulmate of curly hair. The coarseness from the fibers of normal towels are abrasive, so microfiber towels are very gentle and preserve moisture. I find it most helpful to scrunch your hair dry with the towel just enough until it stops dripping with water after your shower. Plopping your hair for 10-15 minutes after scrunching also helps in forming your best curl pattern.
7. Explore haircare products
Don’t be scared to try out products that are unfamiliar to you (but check of course the ingredients and formula to avoid an allergic reaction). There’s a wide array of oils, sprays, and creams that will bring out the ultimate definition in your curls. If a product is too heavy or isn’t effective, try something lighter, and vice versa. Give everything a shot until you find the right fit for your curls. My personal favorites are Human Nature’s Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, their Professional Salon Care line and Natural Conditioning Hair Mist, and Beach Born Sea Salt Spray.
8. Sleep on silk
Friction from sleeping on cotton pillow cases is a big cause of frizzy hair. Silk pillow cases are a bit of pricey investment, but it’s worth your money. If you don’t have a silk pillow case, you can also use a silk scarf that’s just lying around in your cabinet. Make sure it’s big enough to wrap around the top of your pillow before you catch those zzz’s so that it covers all parts and sections of your hair.
The fight in taming your curls and bringing out its highest potential never stops, but never forget that beauty goes beyond the surface. Rock your blessings and be your own kind of beautiful, and it will shine beyond all physical aspects and boundaries.
by Bernice de Gracia
art by Chelsea Madamba