Growing up as a tomboy with long curly hair led to a lot of trouble. I constantly had bits of twigs or mud caught in it (leading the the nickname what-a-mess after the book character) and my mum used to actually chase me around the garden with a comb… Then being a teen was even worse. Bad experiments with crispy hair products and straighteners led to many years with a dreadful frizzball permanently attached to my head. It was only after cutting my hair right off to a pixie crop at 18 that I started to really look at what my hair needed to look its best. I think I may have finally got the knack of it after all these years. For anyone else who suffers the trials of messy curls instead of smooth waves, these are my tips for keeping your curls in top shape.
Step away from the hairbrush! Curly hair gets full of tangles, and brushes tend to cause a hideous amount of breakage trying to tear through the knots. Breakage equals flyaways which equal frizz. Plus, brushing curls tends to pull them apart and lead to that lionsmane level of fluff. Let your hair alone and use a wide tooth comb instead. Even better if you only comb it when you’re detangling with conditioner.
Use good products. You don’t need lots, but once you find ones that work well with your hair, stick with ’em. I currently love this Paul Mitchell shampoo* and conditioner* from his Curls Range which I was sent by LookFantastic. It smells like tropical fruit and detangles in a second, plus it rinses out really well so my hair doesn’t feel full of product. I’ve been using it for the last month now and my hair has been working really well with it. For styling I use a peasize amount of curl cream, and my trusty Kerastase Elixir Ultime (full review here). And that’s it. A few high quality products do wonders for me.
Embrace hair masks. Curly hair tends to be dryer than most, and a little bit of TLC can go a long way. About once a fortnight I tend to do a deep condition, with coconut oil or any mask I have hanging around. My ultimate favourite is the Neal’s Yard Rosemary and Cedarwood hair treatment. It smells so good. Every couple of months I try to do a DIY hot oil treatment- heat a bowl of olive oil until it is gently warmed through and cover damp hair with it. Then wrap your head with cling film and a warm towel before sitting around for half an hour or so. Then wash it like normal. Topping up with treatments I find so helpful- it means I get the nourishment without having to use heavy hair products every day, which weigh my hair down.
Put your hair up before bed. Curly hair wants to tangle like mad, and leaving it down whilst you sleep is the surefire way to look like a mad cavewoman the next day. Every night, I split my hair in two, twist the two parts around each other, curl it up into a bun and tie it up. In the morning, I can take it out and look like a normal human being. Fewer tangles, fewer breakages and less frizz. Its even better if you can sleep with a silk headscarf on or a silk pillowcase.
Refresh your curls. After a night’s sleep, my curls can be a little squashed. When I found out the easy way to resolve this, I was a very happy bunny. That photo up there? Third day curls. When you wash your face in the morning, just run some water through your hair too. Dampen the squashed curls, move your hair where you want it for the day and then get on with your breakfast or make up. Your hair will dry pretty fast and you magically have springy curls again! It is like magic, honest.
Go natural. Keeping away from heat and hair dyes helps curls one hell of a lot. Any damage your put on curly hair always shows up so much more. It is already less shiny than straight hair because of how light hits it. Add in damage and you’re sure to have lacklustre, frizzy, undefined curls. I’ve just managed to grow out my last lot of hairdye and my ends are finally as healthy as the rest of my hair. I get the urge to do mad stuff to my hair all the time but honestly, I want healthy, glossy curls more than I want a different hair colour. Letting my hair air dry is so important for my hair looking nice. One puff of a blowdryer and I turn into Cousin It because all the curls break up. If you get really have to, use a diffuser, but your hair will honestly look best if you let it air dry. Put in your product and style your parting etc as soon as you get out the shower and then leave your hair the hell alone until it is dry. The more you mess around with it, the more frizzy it’ll get. I simply part my hair, turn my head on each side and use my fingers to shake my curls out gently and then do no more. My hairdresser showed me this, arguing it was better than any scrunching or twisting and he was right. Learning to embrace and work with my natural colour and curl has made my hair look a thousand times better.
*I was sent these products to review but this is not a sponsored post, I have not been paid for any links nor are they affiliates. I liked them, so I’m sharing them with you*