I decided to write this post because a lot of people ask me questions about what to do on wash day and how they should style their curly hair; specially the days I wash my mother’s clients hair at her salon.
Since the release of the curly girl handbook, a lot of new styling methods have been developed and brought back. I often tell people to watch YouTube videos on specific issues pertaining to their hair. But because every head of hair is different, I will share with you the basics of what to do and how to do it on wash day, but before we begin;
Identify Your Hair Texture And Problems
Naturally curly has a detailed chart to help identify your hair type. This is probably the best way to identify what kind of hair you have; the curly girl method uses different names like Corkscrew and Botticelli to refer to different textures. The great thing about this list is that it gives you a brief description of each hair type and as you go through it you can check off the things that describe your hair. It also gives you styling tips which you should definitely take into consideration since not all my tips apply to all hair types. You should always keep this chart handy as your texture changes because it can help in choosing new products. You should also spend some time reading through Texture typing to learn about other details you should be aware off. You may find that you have a combination of these textures and that’s normal but just be aware, your hair will keep changing.
Shop for products
If you are first starting out, I suggest you start by using product samples. This way you won’t have to commit to using a product that doesn’t work with your hair or set it aside to expire. Always start out by using products from the same line. I have found that cross using products is not beneficial because each manufacturer make products that work with each other. Many of the brands in the market release their products in collections not individually. Always make sure to read the label to know what’s inside the product.
Tip: Shampoos that have sulfates strip your hair dry by removing its moisture and too much of it increases frizz. Sulfate is found in laundry detergent and dishwashing soap, so just imagine that you are putting both in your hair when you choose to buy it. You should purchase a sulfate free shampoo, a no poo, or a natural soap like Black African soap.
Before You Wash:
Apply some conditioner to your scalp as this will moisturize your hair prior to washing. Wearing a shower cap when taking a steamy shower also helps raise the cuticle to lock in moisture. You can also pre poo which simply means applying oils to your scalp before washing.
Begin Your Wash:
You should only shampoo once a week, unless you let someone do your hair and they did something horrible or you went to the beach or pool and need to wash off the chlorine or salt from your hair. Apply the shampoo directly to your scalp, you don’t have to coat your whole head with shampoo, when you rinse and let it run through the rest of your strands the rest of your hair will be washed. Do not clump all of your hair on top of your head as this will cause tangles.
Tip: Do not wash your hair on rainy or humid days, it is much harder to dry and retain moisture. Even if you use a diffuser to dry, your hair will frizz and if you forget your umbrella, there goes your styling routine.
Use a Conditioner to Detangle:
You can either finger detangle or use a wide tooth comb but always make sure you start from your ends to your roots to avoid pulling a lot of hair or cause breakage. Make sure to apply conditioner when detangling to soften your hair and make it separate easier.
Apply a Deep Conditioner:
If you’re stuck on where to start and on a budget, I suggest the Aussie 3-minute Moist Deep Conditioning Treatment. I usually apply this when I wash off my conditioner and proceed to shower and wash my face, that should give you a full 3-minutes. Otherwise, commit to the Deep conditioner from the line you choose to buy (If it has one).
SCRUNCH, CRUNCH, SCRUNCH!
Raking products into your hair is a great way to make sure it’s evenly moisturized and elongate your curls. But scrunching your hair helps you retain your curl patter and add volume. While it doesn’t necessarily give you length, it helps retain moisture in your hair. As the day progresses, your volume lowers which is why some curly girls often carry a hair pick with them to fluff it back. I start scrunching my deep conditioner right after my hair is detangled.
Tip: Remember your hair soaks in moisture better when its wet, not dry.
Proceed to styling:
I won’t tell you what styling products to buy without knowing what your hair needs if you have an idea, proceed to using those products. Leave your hair soaking wet when you’re fresh out the shower (Depending on your texture), flip your head upside down and scrunch in your leave in and any other product you want to apply. You will hear squishy sounds as you do this. If your hair dries fast, sprits in some water to add any other product you haven’t applied. Use a microfiber towel or cotton T-shirt to scrunch in the excess water before drying.
Tip: If you have damaged hair, finger coiling can help get your hair change back to its natural form. I suggest you only do this to the strands that don’t curl.
Air Dry or Diffuse
Both are great options, but I find that when you’re first transitioning or trying to repair your hair, air drying is better. Diffusing is great, the best way to prevent heat damage is to use a hair dryer that has a High/Low– Heat setting and Low/Medium/High- speed setting. You should always diffuse in a high heat low speed setting to avoid frizz. To avoid heat damage, I like to dry my hair 70% or up until it’s no longer soaking wet, blow some cold air and finish by air drying. If you choose to air dry, do not touch your hair, this will cause frizz and disturbance to your hair’s natural state. Other than parting your hair where you want it, there should be no touching.
Tip: When you diffuse your hair, only do it on your wash day. Keep the use of heat to a minimum and always attach a diffuser to the nozzle.
It is great to apply oil once your hair is fully dry, the same way it is done when you straighten it at the hair salon. This is a good way to add shine and moisture into your hair and a great way to protect your tips.
Where To Begin?
If you want to achieve smooth and soft hair I suggest you consider trying the Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea line. I have not tried all the products but I have used the co-wash and styling cream and my hair always comes out very smooth and sleek. But like I mentioned before, not all products work the same for all hair types, so always go for the samples.
Always Straighten Your Hair With a Professional
You should not refrain from straitening your hair altogether if you don’t want to, if you do that’s great but don’t feel obligated to be 100% natural. If you just want to learn how to wear your hair both ways, you should go for it. The beauty of curly hair is that you can wear it curly or straight, you can do with your hair what many girls who don’t have your texture wish they could. Just make sure that you have a professional straighten your hair; using a flat iron does not make someone a professional. If your hair stylist can’t help you achieve straight hair with a blow drier then they don’t know the proper technique. Just because you use heat protectant doesn’t mean your hair won’t be damaged.
Do Not Feel Obligated To Buy Certain Products
Most people on social media get an incentive for using a product and SOMETIMES they just received it to try it and that’s fine. But if you see that a person constantly puts reviews or demos for the same product, then know that there is someone pushing for them to do so. It doesn’t take credibility away from the line, but its just propaganda and the internet is full of it.
You may be growing out your hair but a length check does not demand for you to straighten it. All you need to do is measure the length of an individual strand as the months progress, It is not mandatory to straighten your hair. This won’t help you better its health as you will be exposing it to direct heat. The less heat you use the better!