You are either born with it or you’re not. It can be fought with all the tools available but break a sweat and it won’t even matter. From Shirley Temple to Diana Ross, many have it. It is curly hair; and if you are anything like me, you have a love and hate relationship with it. I am a hairdresser by trade and yet Mother Nature left me with the table scraps of hair-fine AND curly locks. Forced to stay coiffed with the latest trends for years, I bring you a few clues to tress talents. Although every head of hair is individual and very different, one or two suggestions may bring you style success. Today, I am focusing on long (past your shoulder-blade), color treated hair. 1. Color-treated=damaged. Shampoo with caution. Hopefully this does not put you into cardiac arrest, and your experienced hairdresser keeps you educated on proper hair care techniques. Whether it’s one-process color or double process color and highlights, the natural structure of each strand has been compromised. Because long hair is, in essence, older hair, it must stay healthier to look fabulous for a longer duration. Makes sense, right? Healthy hair does not mean 100% impeccably clean hair all the time. Shampoo strips hair of natural oils leaving it dry and susceptible to breakage. A very unflattering look on anyone. So get in the habit of shampooing less. But don’t tell anyone, since daily shampooing has been given ‘every day’ status lately. No one but you will know, trust me. Focus on how you can call yourself “green” by saving water and shampoo! 2. A quality brush and conditioner is your best friend. When I say brush, I mean a simple, no frill unit to de-tangle. It can be a wide tooth comb, a pick, or a fish bone. I use a cheap plastic vent brush from 1978 that looks a bit like this one: I think they used to cost about $2.00 back then. Conditioning products really are a personal choice, because what works on your hair may not work on mine. Using a rinse-out conditioner as well as a leave-in (while hair is towel dried) makes life easier when detangling. 3. Less is way more. The only time I brush my hair is when it needs detangled or if I am feeling ambitious and wearing it straight. When showering, I wet it and use rinse out conditioner. If you don’t have as fine hair, detangle with conditioner on, and rinse. Gently towel dry, keeping the tendrils together, and do not brush again. Apply a product made for curly hair. If you can find an “All in one” that repairs, smooths, and has a sunscreen, you are good to go. Use a diffuser or air dry without disturbing the natural style to create fuller, smooth, and larger curl patterns which scream HEALTHY! 4. Maintenance is a must! Regular trims are vital to any type of hair. Duh! It can be deceiving when you wear long hair because the growth is not as obvious, except if you wear bangs. Those suckers seem to grow at the speed of light!! Your scheduled trims should be at the very least every two months. The longer the time between, the more likely the ends of your hair will split, and with long hair the damage can travel quite a distance. 5. Thou shall communicate with thy hairstylist. Being a former hairdresser and now a client I cannot overemphasize this. Here’s a few tips for curly hair-ers to get the cut you want.
- When choosing a stylist, be sure to find out what experience they have in cutting naturally curly hair. As many have found out the hard way, 1″ of curly hair is not the same as 1″ of straight hair. Getting a trim for me has ended up looking like a buzz-cut or walking out in the middle of the service. Has this happened to you?
- Look for a stylist sporting the style you are aiming for, and book an appointment with his/her stylist. This goes for any type of hair, really. Even though your hair type may be different, at least the style and cut are not out of reach.
- If you are growing your hair out, do not ever, ever feel afraid to tell your stylist. For the most part, stylists want to make you look good and be happy with their work. Make it absolutely, positively clear what your hair goals are before the scissors move! If you feel unsure remember it is your hair, and you have to wear it all the time!
- I used to tell my clients they were a walking billboard for my work. They would be flattered when approached by complete strangers complementing and inquiring about their hair. If you see someone, anywhere, with amazing hair, I’m sure they won’t mind bragging about it and let you in on their hair master. Try it!
Got a question? Tips you want to share? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you props!