Frizz. The biggest concern when embracing curly hair is how to get rid of frizz.
The real goal, though, is managing frizz. Frizz can actually be useful for curly hair- it's what gives us volume and full, juicy curls when properly managed. When not properly managed, it can leave our curls looking undefined and messy.
There are two main areas to consider when it comes to managing our frizz: friction and hydration.
The friction we expose our hair to is a big factor in causing it to frizz and misbehave. The goal to well-defined curls is to keep them in curl clumps; the natural tendency for the hairs to group together in a certain pattern. Whenever we touch our hair, we are exposing it to excess friction. The most detrimental time to expose the hair to excess friction is when it is wet. The way we handle our hair needs to be considered from the moment you begin washing your hair.
1. WHERE DOES THE SHOWER WATER HIT YOUR HEAD?
Right when you jump in the shower, you tilt your head up and let the water hit the crown of your head and work its way down. This is how I did it, too, until I realized how much pressure I was allowing to hit the top of my hair. This crown area, where your hair parts, is an area that develops "halo frizz".
My number one tip in eliminating this halo frizz is to avoid letting the water hit there directly. Instead, I look down at the tile, flip my hair over, and allow the water to hit the hair on the back of my head close to my neck. This is how I wet my hair all the way through as well as rinse out the shampoo and conditioner. Not once does the full pressure of the water hit the top of my head.
2. DO YOU TOUCH IT WHILE IT'S DRYING?
Of course, you have to touch your hair some while it is wet, but this should be limited to styling. It is while your hair is still very wet from the shower that you should be applying any styling products to your hair. Once your hair is styled, still very wet, you can move on to using a microfiber or 100% cotton cloth to remove excess water. Ideally, you will diffuse your hair with the diffuser attachment on a hair dryer to truly "set" your hair. By cutting down on drying time, there is less opportunity to touch it while it is wet.
3. WHAT DO YOU USE TO DRY YOUR HAIR?
We covered this in the first installment of "Embrace Your Curls", but I feel it needs to be reiterated here. Do not use a terry cloth, loop-weave towel on your hair. This fluffy texture made with little loops causes friction on your hair and pulls apart your curl clumps.
Instead, use a microfiber towel or 100% cotton t-shirt to gently absorb excess water. These two types of fabric are smooth and won't pull at the hair. You can gently remove excess water with either of these options.
4. DO YOU BRUSH YOUR HAIR AFTER IT IS DRY?
This one has been coming up a LOT in conversations lately. While most of the curly hair "rules" are loose, this one is pretty firm. Curly hair should absolutely not be brushed as a means of refreshing your hair. This will only result in hair that poofs and appears frizzy even if it is healthy and properly hydrated. By brushing your hair, you are separating the curl clumps, which are your curls' backbone for definition. Us curly-haired people will never be the kind of people that can just run a brush through it before heading out the door. That just does not work for us. We have our own ways of refreshing our curls and preserving them between wash days.
I only use my brush on wash days. I use it in the shower to de-tangle my hair while I condition and as I am styling to set my curls the way I want. Once my hair is styled, the brush goes in the drawer unitl I'm ready to do it again.
I'm not quite sure I'm ready for the internet to see this, but here it is: My ringlet curls freshly brushed out. Even though my hair is healthy and properly hydrated with great curl definition, it looks wild and frizzy when dry brushed.
5. HOW DO YOU SLEEP WITH YOUR HAIR?
Bedtime can be crazy-time for your hair. Even if you put it up, the whole outer layer is rubbing against your pillow causing... friction. The best way to combat this curl killer is to sleep with your hair in a satin bonnet and/or use a satin pillowcase. The satin fabric is ultra smooth and doesn't pull at your hair. It will keep your curls clumped together without causing excess frizz.
The first five tips for managing frizz had absolutely nothing to do with hair products. These are things you can start right now to help manage your frizz.
Aside from friction, frizz occurs when your hair is literally reaching out to the environment looking for water. The next three tips will require minimal products to ensure your hair is properly hydrated.
1. HOW OFTEN DO YOU SHAMPOO?
The most detrimental advice given to curly-haired individuals just starting their curl journey is to ditch the shampoo and just use conditioner. This advice was born during a time when we didn't have a lot of good options when it came to shampoo. Drugstore shampoos along with salon shampoos all used sulfates as their primary cleansing agent. Sulfates are harsh cleansing agents that strip your hair and leave it feeling depleted.
Now, though, we have SO many better options. Mild, yet effective shampoos, like all the solid shampoos we offer, can be used frequently. They are gentle and clean without stripping away moisture. It is important to wash regularly to get rid of buildup.
Buildup happens along the hair strands from all sorts of things; styling products, natural oils produced by your scalp and skin, minerals in our water, and other environmental factors. We wash our hair to remove this buildup so that our conditioner can actually hydrate and replenish the inside of the hair shaft. If we don't remove the buildup frequently, our hair will remain dry (even if we are "washing" with conditioner), and our curl pattern will be distorted and resistant to clumping together. This dryness will only exacerbate frizz.
2. IS YOUR HAIR SOAKING WET WHILE WASHING AND CONDITIONING?
If you have high-density hair, meaning a LOT of hair, it is possible that it is not getting entirely wet. Spend a little extra time in the shower making sure your hair is completely saturated. When you get to the conditioning stage, you want there to be so much water with your conditioner it feels like seaweed. This means it is super slippery and juicy. When you have a lot of conditioner, but not enough water, the conditioner might feel heavy and your hair won't clump together. If a lot of your hair is stringy and separated, try drizzling water through your hair while it still has conditioner in it to achieve this seaweed feel.
Since our solid conditionersare concentrates, water is your friend! Make sure your hair is soaking wet, apply the conditioner, and add even more water to get those juicy, squishy clumps.
3. DO YOU SQUEEZE OUT WATER BEFORE YOU STYLE?
I used to squeeze excess water out of my hair before stepping out of the shower to style, then apply my styling products to damp-ish hair. This caused excess frizz because I wasn't locking in all that wonderful hydration from the water!
Your styling products do not actually style your hair; they hold the style that happens in the shower. This means you want to keep your hair soaking wet while you go through your styling routine.
The main thing I want you to take away from this article is that our hair will be as awesome as we treat it. We have curly hair that behaves totally differently than straight hair; we cannot expect to use the same techniques. Take the extra time to learn how to handle your curls to bring out their best and you will not be disappointed!
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