Calling All Curly Folks!
Today I’d like to talk about something very near and dear to my heart…the most versatile and beautiful hair type, CURLY HAIR! Sadly, the majority of curly-haired folks tend to be frustrated with their hair, and will go to great lengths to tame it and perm it into submission. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is hope: you can have easy-to-maintain, healthy curly hair that needs only a minimum of styling in the morning to look fantastic. I have helped people fall in love with their curls, simply by teaching them to embrace their natural texture through correct haircare and the right haircut.
The first thing you need to do is realize that Vancouver doesn’t have an ideal climate for hair in the first place. How many of you have to carry around a flatiron for upkeep during the day? I know that the second you step outside into the rain, frizz just takes over. Please do yourself a favour and throw away your flatiron! Heat styling will severely affect your natural hair texture over time, especially if you’re touching up during the day (or worse, not protecting your hair with a heat styling serum or spray!). Long term flatironing changes your texture, creating more frizz and making it look terrible if it air dries. Flatirons are now manufactured with very high maximum temperatures, which are extremely damaging. Heat causes the internal structure of the hair to come apart just a little, resulting in a loss of natural body and volume…your hair feels limp and lifeless, then when you head outside on a rainy Vancouver day, all sorts of crazy fuzziness happens to frustrate and confuse you.
There is hope! I will say it again: THROW AWAY YOUR FLATIRON. There will be a period of bad hair days for about a month or sometimes even longer – stick with it and do not flatiron or blowdry your hair during this time. Allow your hair to air dry and use quality curly hair products to support your transition. I adore the TIGI Catwalk Curlesque line; it really does give you volume and curl separation. I love how it makes my wavy hair soft and beachy-looking without tangles or crispiness. I see a difference even if I just use the shampoo and nothing else! It’s so important to air dry during the transition period because your hair needs to learn to go back to its natural wave pattern. If anything, you could gently diffuse-dry on low heat until it’s damp, then air dry the rest. The most valuable tip I can give during this stage is that you must not, under any circumstances, touch or brush your hair as it’s drying or afterward. It will stretch your fragile hair and cause insane amounts of frizz. You want your hair to start looking like this if it’s wavy, or this or this or this if it’s curly. These styles show uneven curl from processed hair, and I picked them because they do represent stages along the way to having even, clean, naturally frizz-free hair.
On tightly curled or coiled hair types such as African hair, it can be more difficult to embrace your natural texture for many reasons. I urge you to give some serious thought to going natural. Here is my favourite site for natural African hair. If you have used a chemical relaxer, there is nothing you can do but grow it out or cut it off. Relaxers cannot be re-permed. If you are just a chronic flatironer, there’s hope! Try the All Soft line from Redken. I love it on natural African hair, but it works well for anyone who prefers a stronger and heavier smoothing product.
For thicker or heavier hair types, nothing beats Rene Furterer Karite for softening and restoring curl integrity. When I still worked in the salon, I had a client who was (and still probably is) an internationally known bellydancer. Her perm had been ruined by another salon, and she came to me in desperate need because she could not chop off her long thick hair – a bellydancer with a pixie cut just doesn’t have the same sex appeal. Her waist-length hair had become hard and crunchy, and the curls had turned to zig-zaggy uneven crimps. She started a strict regimen using the entire Karite line, with deep Karite oil treatments once a week for 5 weeks. It completely restored her curls and gave her back her signature soft, flowing hair!
Buy a quality protein conditioner such as Redken CAT and use it once a week for 4 weeks, then taper off to every 2 weeks for a maximum of 6 months. Then take a break for a few months before starting on a regular biweekly application for regular maintenance. Alongside this treatment, apply a cuticle sealer such as BC Bonacure Repair Rescue Sealed Ends as needed. What this will do is help to restore the broken bonds caused by heat styling, and it’ll seal the hair cuticle to strengthen your hair from the outside.
I just reread this article and noticed I completely got ahead of myself. Sorry about that! To start the whole process, you need a curl-enhancing haircut, which I have called my Curly Cut. I learned an awesome technique many years back, and I always say I didn’t pay the instructor enough for the course. Once you understand how it works, it makes so much sense, but it’s a very weird technique. The only complaint I have ever had about this cut is that it made someone’s hair TOO curly, and they just weren’t ready for it. The photo on the right is of one of my clients who was tired of the damage her relaxer was causing and wanted to embrace her natural curl. It took about 4 haircuts over 18 months to get her curls in line, but as you can see, her hair now looks FABULOUS without any product in it! The two upper left images are the Before shots from our first visit, then After shots from that visit are to the right of those, and the lower images are after her most recent Curly Cut.
I’m willing to bet that the majority of straight-haired people reading this right now actually have curly or wavy hair…
- Do you find that you get little curly bits up near your parting or around your hairline? Especially in humidity?
- Do you have fluffy, unmanageable frizzy hair that has always caused you grief?
- Have you tried keratin treatments such as Brazilian Blowout, or oil products such as Moroccan Oil to tame your hair, and found that it only helps a little, or that you need to use a ton to have any effect at all?
- Are you a chronic flatironer?
- Does the thought of air-drying your hair and them leaving it unstyled freak you out?
- Do you get the dreaded ‘triangle head’ shape and you have been told you need your hair thinned out to make it look OK?
If you answered yes to any of those, there’s a really good chance you’ll benefit from my curly haircut. Even clients with a slight bend in their hair will benefit, and you can get bounce and body with this cut even on the thinnest and finest hair. It works fantastic on wavy hair types, and gives them the elusive beachy waves with little to no effort (of course, the Awapuhi Sea Spray does help a lot to achieve this look..and it smells YUMMY). I have also done curly cuts on mixed race hair, Indian and African hair, and extremely damaged/overhighlighted hair…all with good results. It even works awesome for men’s cuts too! Yep, it sounds too good to be true, but I swear it isn’t. This cut was designed with plain and simple common sense, by a curly haired person who understands that curly hair just doesn’t respond very well to the standard long layer cuts.
If you still need reasons why it’s so liberating to go natural, here you go:
- You can wash your hair more frequently and your scalp will be healthier.
- It cuts 30-60 minutes off your morning beauty regimen.
- Curly hair is so sexy! You can just whip it up into a romantic messy bun in seconds or leave it loose for classic beachy Victoria’s Secret hair.
- Your hair will be healthier and shinier.
- Your hair will grow longer and thicker because it won’t be breaking off from heat styling damage.
- No need to worry about the weather in Vancouver…it just gives your curls more body.
- It looks great with the new Ombre colour trends.
- You can go longer between haircuts.
- Chemical straightening and Keratin treatments are so freakin’ expensive! If you leave your curls alone you can save a lot of $$$.
- On the rare occasion when you do choose to flatiron your hair, it’ll be shinier and softer with more body and movement.
So! Any questions? Are you wondering right now if your hair wants a curly haircut? Contact me today and we’ll chat about it.
Credits for the photo above:
Hair by myself, Vancouver Mobile Hairstylist
Photography Kin Chan