mrsrev: (Default)
mrsrev ([personal profile] mrsrev) wrote2011-08-07 05:31 pm
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Care and feeding of curly hair

Mostly for [ profile] ramtops because she asked (although maybe not for quite THIS much info!) and also for my own information and remembering in case I ever get asked again.

My hair has always been curly to frizzy. I've tried lots of things over the years, from chemical straightening to silicone serums. And then I found [ profile] curly_girls and the whole "no shampoo, no silicones" routine. I thought it sounded a bit wacky, but I gave it a go. That was about 4 years ago and never looked back.

Basically, the science is this. Curly hair needs moisture. When you wash, then use a silicone-heavy conditioner and then a serum, you lock in the moisture from that wash. But when it's gone, you have to use a harsh shampoo to remove all that silicone, thus removing any moisture that you had, then replace it again with the conditioner etc... you see the vicious circle here? So rule one - no shampoo. This freaks some people out, as they equate it with "not washing your hair". Couldn't be more wrong. Rule two is - no silicone. This includes anything with -cone on the end, and also cyclopentasiloxane and many other thing. The curly_girl website has some posts on what to avoid.

I "wash" my hair with a cheapish, thinner conditioner - currently Morrisons Kiwi and Cucumber, but there are some nice ones out there. Natural Source Mint and Tea Tree is nice too. It's just that a lot of the cheaper ones are the silicone-free type. Use it just like shampoo, rubbing your scalp firmly to dislodge any dirt etc, then down the length of your hair - there will be no froth but this is fine, that's only made by chemicals anyway. Give it a good rinse. Then apply conditioner in the usual manner, be generous with it and leave it on for a few minutes. Sometimes I use the same as the one I've "washed" with, sometimes a heavier one. Some (but not all) of the Aussie range are good, as are a couple of Body Shop/Natural Source. I also find that John Frieda Brilliant Brunette, while containing one of the banned -cones, is fine if I don't use it too often. Rinse this off and,while hair is still soaking wet, apply a little curl cream or gel (I use Umberto Giannini Curl Friends scrunching jelly).

Then lightly squeeze out any real excess water, scrunch hair lightly and wrap loosely in a towel. Some people use an old t-shirt (again, see curly_girls), but the main thing is NOT to rub the hair, just blot gently and then leave to dry naturally - no hair dryer, no touching. I usually then leave mine overnight before I touch it again. In the morning, I spray with a little water, turn my head upside down and comb through with my fingers.

If you really need a comb, one of those wide-toothed detangling combs used at the "wash" stage is ok, and an afro-comb after it's dry might be ok although I've never used one. NO brushes.

It feels a bit odd to start with, but perserverance for a few weeks gave me the nicest curls I've had since I was a toddler, and the confidence to have a curly bob cut instead of always tying it back or straightening. It doesn't frizz when caught in the rain or when getting sweaty exercising, and it doesn't need washing for about four days at a time. If you really must wash every day, Neutrogena do a very light no-buildup conditioner.

Once in a while, I do get shampoo on it - usually at the hairdresser because I've never managed to remember to ask them not to. At the beginning I used to use a tiny bit of baby shampoo mixed with the first conditioner if I felt particularly grubby, like after a long train journey, but I don't even need that now. And my last three hairdressers have been impressed with the condition of my hair. Plus it's cheaper than all that stuff I was using!

So, there you have my curly hair care routine. I like it. If you do try it, let me know how you get on?

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