So you have just started the Curly Girl / Curly Hair Method, or you have been doing it for a while, but your hair doesn’t look or feel right…. Right? We all experience this, even years into embracing our curls. Our hair is like a snowflake and will most likely never be exactly the same way twice. But that’s what makes this never, ever boring. ☺
Let's get right into it, then. If your hair isn't doing what it used to or what you think it should be, here are 10 tips for solving common curly hair issues:
1.Give your hair a "reset".
Generally one thing that is a good & easy thing to do is clarify and deep condition. If your hair and scalp are just not cooperating over a period of time this will give you a reset. If you have hard water you will want to use a clarifying shampoo that also removes minerals. If your hair is fine and don't deep condition often just use a regular conditioner afterwards. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.
2. Use one new product per wash.
My next suggestion won’t sound very interesting or fun at all… is to experiment with one product at time. So when your package of the new and exciting latest products from Curl Warehouse arrives try (repeat try) to use just one of the new products and blend it in with other products that you already use. This way you know how it feels and behaves with your hair and scalp. Next time add in another new product and so on. I know it isn’t fun but if things turn out great or the opposite - they turn out awesome! … you will know what worked or didn’t work.
3. Keep it simple.
My next bit of advice is to make your routine super simple, i.e, a shampoo (if you use one), a conditioner, and a gel. You can always use a bit of your conditioner as a leave in before the gel. Keep practicing your techniques like squish to condish, raking, prayer hands, scrunch, plopping, clipping and diffusing. As long as your shampoo is mild you can do your routine everyday if you want. It will take time to get comfortable doing your hair this way so practice, practice, practice.
4. Give yourself time.
One thing I know for sure is to plan your washday when you have at least an hour of time. When you can slow it down and enjoy your routine the results will show. A good washday will usually result in good refresh days. Watch and feel for certain signs from your hair as you do wash:
If the shampoo felt a bit drying don’t try to detangle at first - just get your conditioner in there afterwards and let it sit. Detangle super slow, section by section, and then let it sit again.
If wet frizz remains after detangling try a gentle brushing with a brush - like the Curl Keeper Flexy Brush - or a wide toothed comb until the cuticles lay flat. I would not brush without some type of product in your hair to reduce any unnecessary friction.
- Water is your friend so keep a spray bottle handy to wet down your hair anytime for a quick re-set. Check out the Continuous Spray Bottle from Curl Warehouse for this purpose.
5. Understand the importance of product formulas, not just ingredients.
Ahhh ingredients…. I haven’t even touched this on this yet but I know you are reading and hearing suggestions like you need protein, you need moisture, or get rid of glycerin, coconut, and aloe. But here’s the thing: those ingredients are pretty common. So let’s say you add or remove one of the above and it works – well, great. But …if it doesn’t, the question is why? It has a lot to do with the formula. For example, maybe you tried a Jessicurl product and that didn’t work and then you tried Kinky Curly products and they worked great. Yet they are both protein-free. I wish I could wave a magic wand and tell you exactly what you need but hair characteristics, weather, previous damage, last haircut etc., are all going to come into play with your results.
6. If you can, buy sample sizes of the products you want to try.
Or, if you can't, gift any that don't work to a friend who wants to try them. Utilize the buy, sell, trade groups for products - you'll probably find one for your city, province, or area on Facebook. But remember most products have at least a year shelf life (check with the manufacturer if you're unsure) so don't hesitate to just tuck that back in your supply basket and try it again in a few weeks or months. You might be pleasantly surprised to find it works the second time around due to a change in the products you use with it, dew point, season, and so on.
7. Keep a hair journal.
Write down/take pics each washday. It will make it easier for you to start nailing down your routine.
8. Try to stick with the same products for a few washes (2-3 weeks minimum).
Trying something once (unless it was a completely tangled mess) won’t really give you the answer as to whether a product "works" for you or not. Oh and for the completely tangled hair situation, grab a shampoo you know and start again.
- If your hair turns out mostly okay after a re-wash, use the same products again and maybe increase/decrease the amount and try another technique or two.
- If it still isn’t working add/change one product and experiment again a few times. Your hair might not give you what you want right away but you will slowly narrow down what is working and what isn't.
- If you use different products every wash and you are still fairly new to the Curly Girl / Curly Hair Method, your hair might rebel a bit to the constant changes. Once you do find a good mix of products, use this for a while and get back to focusing on your techniques. I once used the same products for 2 years. I was busy with work and I knew how my hair would turn out so I didn’t change it much. Once my work commitments changed then I started to experiment because I knew if it didn’t work I wasn’t going to be in the office with not the best hair. Plus there are so many cute accessories like Puff Cuffs and Zazzy Bandz out there now to put your hair up and go!
One thing that helped and surprised me was a hair analysis. This is when someone takes samples of your hair and looks at it under a microscope. They can tell the size of your hair, the porosity, the texture etc. If you are getting to the end of your rope this might be an option as they do come with a fee.
10. Take a course or get some help from a professional.
Another idea that has also has a fee is to take a course. What, wait, a course? Oh yes, there are a few out there that will give you specific information, videos, etc. Most of these come with access to the creator of the course so you can get some additional help. There are also some stylists out there who do one-to-one coaching or consultations to get you settled into your routine, with or without a hair cut.
Over time you will learn your hair by touch and sight. Now I mostly know right away if something will be good and I also feel like I can get pretty much any product to behave with the techniques. You may or may not want to hear this, but if you have this figured out in 3 months that is amazing! It really takes longer than you expect to know what to do and when. Give yourself 6 months to a year and whole bunch of patience and kindness to figure it out.