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Taming Your Natural Curls

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Often, the “grass always seems greener on the other side o’the fence”… true with hair types too! Those with beautiful natural curls to die for lament the woes of dealing with curls.  Those sans curls would often trade their straight tresses in a heartbeat!  For you natural curl-headed beauties, we have answers and a guiding light to help you see your curls as beautiful.

First, curly hair is different from straight. There are hard and fast rules.  Some are just our opinion, some have been passed down from generation to generation of curlmeisters. First one: never brush curly hair. This is true. Unless, of course, you love that big, bushy, frizzy, ‘Roseanne Roseannadanna’ look. The only time you should EVER brush curly hair is before you wash it. And be sure to use a brush with rounded tips, and get tips right on the scalp. Curly folks don’t get much scalp stimulation, so you need to brush down on it to loosen the old skin and bring blood up to the surface of the scalp, which feeds the follicles to continue to grow a healthy crop of curls.

Once in the shower, wash and condition with products designed for curly hair, which usually provide lots of moisture to drier-than-average hair. Use a wide tooth comb to get the tangles out during the conditioning.

Leave the conditioner in for a minute or two, or even five.  Then rinse for a minute.  Now here’s where this gets interesting.  Keep some light gel curl prep product and leave-in conditioner on the floor of your shower or on the ledge of your tub, where you can reach it easily.  Bend from the waist, flipping your hair upside down.  Use two or three pumps of the curl-prep, and add a quarter-size puddle of the conditioner, mix in your hand.  Now, apply from ends to roots.  Yes, that is backwards from what you usually do, but you want most of the goodies on the ends.  Now squish it through, closing your fists on the curls, and squeeze out the excess.  Wrap your hair in a towel and jump out of the shower.  Let some of the water absorb into the towel.  When you’re ready to dry your hair, unwrap the towel and get your blow dryer and diffuser attachment on and ready, and start from the back and work your way to the top.  Again, flipping your hair over is a good way to access the top.  You’ll need some practice to find the way that works best for you, but this technique will keep your curls from frizzing and they will also stay intact and spiral beautifully.

Most curly folks already know that natural curls are not too consistent.  Some go north, some go west.  So if you want to change direction of some of your wayward ringlets, wrap it around your finger the way you want it to go, and aim the diffuser at it on a high heat, low air velocity setting for a few seconds, then take away the dryer and let it cool down on your finger.  Unwrap and there you have it:  bouncing and behaving curls.

Curly hair doesn’t like mornings.  It tends to be quite tangly and while you slept, it got involved with your pillowcase’s cotton threads and turned into a cotton ball.  Here are some tips to avoid this phenomenon: Prior to hitting the hay (sorry, that’s an unfortunate pun in a curly hair article), gently pull your hair into a loose ponytail on top of your head.  Even if your hair is bob-length, the longest parts will reach into the soft elastic, and you’ll avoid most of that pillowcase involvement.  Then in the morning, just mist your hair with a curl activator spray, or add some of the curl-prep to a spray bottle of water and use that.

Washing every other day is a good idea, since the negotiation process tends to be a bit lengthy.  It’s funny how people associate curls with ‘wash and wear’ hair.  There is nothing easy about most curly hair… many need four products and fifteen minutes to wrangle it down to a dull roar instead of the lion’s mane it wants to be.

Hopefully this gives you some illumination on how to deal with your own curls.

Source: Adapted from Karie Bennett

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