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The Curly Girly Chronicles: How to Tame Unruly Hair and Conquer the Frizz

a woman resting her neck against the bathtub with her mid-long length curly brunette hair hanging outside the bath
Embrace your Natural Beauty

It's true what they say that curly hair is a beautiful gift in genetics but it can also be a curse when you don't know how to tame it. I personally was best friends with my hair straightener for years and even recall one Christmas when that was my biggest ask to Santa. While I still like to straighten my hair on occasion, I can assure you I have many more days that I embrace my curls now that I have learned how.

Let's leave the struggles in the past and learn how to rock those natural curls.

Tip #1 - BE LAZY - Skip daily washes

Say what now?! Skip washing your hair daily if you can. Often times we are taught to bathe daily from head to toe but curly hair is typically much drier and frizzier than straight and/or oily hair. Over-cleansing the hair can lead to additional frizz! YIKES. That's what we are trying to avoid... Sometimes folks find it helpful to have a routine scheduled "wash day" where they include hair cleansing in that day's shower routine. Others like to just wait it out when they can. Typically I wait about 3 days before shampooing my hair. If I find myself doing some dirty work or sweating a lot I make exceptions. Sometimes if it's been a really humid day I like to give my hair a midway reset or at least that's what I think of it as. I will do a rinse wash and not use any shampoo, just water. It seems to help the frizz become more tamed for the following day.

Shampoos have surfactants which are ingredients that cause the bubbling and help lift the dirt and oils from the surface aka the cleansing agent. There are some that are gentle and some that are more harsh. By not shampooing daily I am able to retain my hair's natural oils that aid in moisturizing and protecting the hair. This reduces the chances of frizzing as it increased hydration and overall hair health. Curly hair is also typically drier due to its structure needing more time for the oils produced by the scalp (sebum) to make their way down to the ends. Not only can this benefit your hair but the scalp itself as over washing can lead to itchy flaky skin. Finally, let's face it, time is of the essence. Say you spend 3 minutes a day shampooing... that's possibly 21 minutes a week... that's enough time to make up for a quick yoga session or maybe a nap!

Play around with how long you can go between washes and see if you find a difference!

Tip #2 - Face mask.. but for your hair!

Maybe you have heard of it, but maybe it's a new concept for you. Just like facemasks that are targeted towards different skin needs like clay masks for oil control, we can target our hair's needs as well. Hair masks can be done as frequently as you like but I prefer to do them bi-monthly to monthly. There are pre-made masks you can buy to use, or you can try your hand at making your own. Do use caution because some ingredients you might find in DIY recipes might not want to leave your hair as easily as they go in. In Asian cultures fermented rice water is a very popular hair treatment that can be fairly easy to replicate at home. Other popular additives include but are not limited to coconut oil, argan oil, aloe, egg, honey, banana, and yogurt.

As a personal care formulator, naturally, I like to experiment with different ingredients and see how my hair and scalp react but typically a pre-made mask is a safe and usually less messy option. Masks can be left in the hair for varying lengths of time. I usually a lot an hour for the mask to sit in my hair while I tend to other tasks before my shower. You may find you need an extra shampooing after some masks.

Tip #3 - Shower Prep

When you do hit wash day it's best to comb your hair prior to jumping in the shower. The best practice is to use a wide tooth comb or your fingers to remove any knots or tangles. Fine tooth combs can increase the mess of tangles so I recommend avoiding those as your first detangling option. Start with the ends of your hair rather than at the roots. If your hair is really unruly it may be best to use a pre-shampoo moisturizing treatment or detangling conditioner. These can not only help ease the tension of knots but also prevent excessive drying from shampoo.

Tip #4 - Time for the Poo... Shampoo that is

It's important to find the right products for your hair. Not everyone's hair reacts the same even if it looks the same. Allow a little while for your hair to adjust to new products before determining if it's the right product for you. There are a few products you should steer clear of no matter your hair type. Opt for hair products free of sulfates parabens, silicones, formaldehyde, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and certain alcohols (ethanol and isopropyl are drying while others like cetyl and stearic are moisturizing).

When cleansing with shampoo, focus on the roots rather than the ends. Ends are typically drier than roots. The shampoo will trickle down your hair to the ends anyways when you rinse. Conditioning is vital for our curls! They crave that extra moisture. To delay my own wash days use a limited amount on the top of my head and focus it from the midsection to the ends of my hair. I allow the conditioner to sit in my hair for the rest of the time I'm in the shower doing my thing. Rinsing the conditioner is my very last step before hopping out.

This one is for the brave souls... can you bare the chill? Colder water is more beneficial for not only your mental state, and your skin but also your hair! It can help prevent frizz by reducing breakage and split ends.

Shop our shampoo and conditioner bar line here.

Tip #5 - Drip Dry, Towel Dry, or Drip Dry?

Whenever possible let your hair air dry as much as possible to avoid heat damage. If you choose to use a towel avoid rubbing the hair as this can cause friction of the hair strands leading to breakage and, yup, you guessed it FRIZZ. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water using a microfiber towel, or an old t-shirt by scrunching your curls upward to encourage formation.

If you must use a dryer, try using it in a cool setting rather than hot. Additionally, you may elect to use a curl cream, gel, or styling mousse. Like our drying method, you want to apply by scrunching from the ends upwards. If you comb it through your hair you risk breaking up the chunks of hair that will dry together for a beautiful curl. Most hair dryers have a diffuser attachment but if you do not have one you can also use a similar-shaped strainer from your kitchen in a pinch. The secret to diffusing is to leave the hair dryer off while you scrunch your hair from ends to roots then turn it on low while drying. Avoid moving the hair dryer too much and turn it off when pulling it away from your head to grab your next bundle of hair. This method allows you to minimize frizzing and maximize curl definition.

Tip #6 - Protective Styles

I am not a cute sleeper. I toss and turn, snore, steal all the blankets, hog the bed, and have full conversations that make no sense at all. As you can imagine I probably put my hair through the ringer some nights with all the ruckus. Luckily, there are a few hairstyles that can help protect our hair when we are sleeping or throughout the day. My personal favorite is a loose braid. While I do love the crimped effect two tight French braids give my hair, it does pull on the scalp a bit which isn't truly ideal. A loose braid keeps my hair from my face, doesn't pull at the roots, and prevents tangles and frizz. If you sleep a bit more peacefully than I do you might find a low bun, or twists to be equally or more effective for you.

While I personally do not have a silk pillowcase I have heard great things about them and do think they are worth the try if you find yourself needing a new set of sheets or wondering what to put on your birthday wish list. They decrease the amount of friction a traditional fabric pillowcase will cause which decreased the chances of

split ends, and breakage. Silk is not as absorbent as other materials so it is also less drying to the hair. They are also supposed to reduce the likely hood of wrinkles and sleep lines on your skin as well!

Did this post help you?

  • I learned so much!!!

  • I knew all of this already.

  • Only time will tell.

Rock those Locks!

You are well on your way to loving your natural curls again. I hope this comprehensive guide to washing, drying, and styling curly hair has empowered you with the knowledge and confidence to unlock your hair's true curly potential. Remember that finding what works for you is a journey of self-discovery and experimentation. Be patient, have fun, and celebrate the unique texture and versatility of your curls. Here's to a lifetime of fabulous head-turning hair days.

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