I have ringlet curly hair, that if I don't wash it every day starts to "lock up" aka dreadlocks or matting depending on your point of view. Here are the tricks:
- ONLY comb or brush in the shower WITH conditioner in it... and there's no such thing as too much conditioner.
- DO NOT brush or comb again when you get out of the shower. Seaerate into the "essential" style you want while still in the shower, squeeze to ring out. Avoid using a towel or running fingers through hair.
- Use a product (more to follow). Products separate the curls and keep them IN curls instead of in tangles. The most expensive ones will actually let you run your fingers through after they're dry, but you're looking at $50 every week or two depending on your hair length. For $3 a week you get the same LOOK, just not the same feel.
- Use a LOT of product. Each and every single durn bit of hair needs to be saturated in whatever you use. The number one problem most curly haired people have is that they only use a dab. (The second is that they mess with their hair as it's drying. You just can't, and not have it become a lion's mane)
- If you're putting it up, or pinning back bangs, do it now... after you've got the product in... but be careful to grab the individual curls and just sort of pile into place.
- Don't mess with it. If you have to dry it, use a diffuser, or lowest setting of the hairdryer from a distance with a towel held behind the hair so that the hair isn't blowing around. Dry it AFTER the product goes into it. Air dry is fantastic for curly hair. A diffuser essentially replicates air drying.
- Most Caucasian curly hair can't be slept on and look okay in the morning. If you DO have to sleep on it, use a "do-rag"... essentially a stocking cap... with the hair ALL piled in under it. You can make your own out of a pair of nylons and scissors, or spend a buck at a beauty store.
- Learn how to blow it out straight. If you blow it out straight, you can go several days without washing it... but if it gets wet or damp... it'll get poofy/tangly/curls right back up again.
Products, uses, and prices:
$3 ... Garnier Fructis Curls Mousse. (For ear length hair, use about the size of a walnut, for shoulder length a tangerine, longer than shoulder a naval orange). Scrunch the mousse into the hair. Seperate a few curls out by twisting them around your fingers. Air dry or diffuse. Drys quickly. If any feels "crunchy", AFTER it's dry just scrunch it up and the crunch goes away but the curls are still crisp and shiny, unlike other mousses I've tried... where they're either crunchy and icky no matter what, or the crunch goes and the curl turns into a bushy/frizzy mess
$25 + $25 ... Bumble and Bumble "Get Straight" gel and "Grooming Creme". For short hair about the size of a big gumball for gel, and half that for creme. For longer about a walnut + gumball. Use the gel first. It will make your hair feel REALLY slippery (as opposed to most gels that make your hair stiff or sticky like LA Looks). Scrunch through or comb through with fingers and separate out curls. Scrunch/smooth in styling creme. ((This is the expensive combo that holds the curl, but lets you run your fingers through it *after* it's dry. You can also BRUSH it into a ponytail ... which you just can't do with most gels... to get soft curls around your face after it's dried)). Takes a LITTLE bit longer to air dry than the mouse.
$25 + $35 ... Laminates Gel & Bumble's "Get Staight" or other salon quality gel. This combo works, too... but the laminates you're "cutting" with the weaker gel. Laminates builds up and the hair gets kind of oily, yucky if you use too much (maybe a nickel size can even be too much). It's a popular combo, because the laminates lasts for so long, but not my favorite because of the long term effects.
$3 Cheat ... (works on babyfine, SHORT hair, with weak curl pattern/wave only... AKA my son's hair) Johnson and Johnson "No More Tangles". Saturate. And I mean SATURATE. Comb. Air or blowdry.
Blown Out Straight:
- Blowdryer with a LOT of airflow & heat
- Straightening iron... no wider than 3/4" even if you have hip length hair, and 1/2" is better (the smaller iron lets you get close to the roots). Set it at a minimum of 400 degrees. Make sure you're using one with rounded edges/ beveled heat plate.
- Round boar bristle brush.
- Flat brush (if you have longer hair cuts the time in half, but it's difficult to describe so I'm not going to here)
- $35 Kerastase Oleo Relax Serum (lasts for months, smells spicy) or
- $25 Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum (lasts about half as long as Kerastase, smells like watermelon)
+ optional (Kerastase Nacre Nutri-Sculpt, or other pomade)
- Wash, condition, towel dry, brush out.
- Add serum (just a few pumps. 2 or 3 pumps for short hair... so a dime size or less, maybe one pump for super short hair - I use 4-5 but I have longer hair)... pump into your hands, rub, rub through hair like crazy, trying to get everything). Brush out again.
- Separate hair into 3 sections (top, middle, bottom). Use a hairtie to keep top sections piled on top of head, let bottom section hang.
- Using a round brush, wrap hair around brush and pull straight. keeping the tension on the hair dry that segment with hair dryer. If you keep the tension as you're drying, the hair dries straight.
- Move on to the next piece. The smaller the segments of hair you're drying the straighter they'll be in less time. I usually dry about an inchto 2 inch wide piece at a time.
- When you've got the entire bottom section dry and straight, use the straightening iron from roots to ends to get it REALLY straight and glossy. You can curl the ends in either direction or keep a straight line depending on how you twist the iron as you come to the end of the hair.
- Using a hairtie, make a pony tail out of the dry only straight hair.
- Let down the middle section, and repeat. Drying segment by segment, flat iron, put into the "dry pony tail".
- Do the top segment & bangs.
- Take a teensy bit of pomade and rub in your hands until your hands are shiny. Run your hands and fingers through your hair.
The longer curly hair is, the easier it is to manage, although it takes longer to dry. Short curly hair tends to look like a Q-tip that's been rubbed the wrong way. Big. Poofy. Tangeldy. With the RIGHT cut, and a lot of product, short curly hair is super cute... but that cut is VITAL. The wrong cut for curls just ends up making us look like clowns. So it's definately safer to go longer, even if it takes a little more time to dry. Also, you have to go boy-short to avoid tangles, if you're trying to cut tangles out.