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Know your Curls

 I am frequently asked what my process or technique is for curly hair. If you have curly hair, you know that it can be totally awesome or totally frustrating to let your curls go wild and free. It takes time to find the right products for your specific curl pattern. Regardless of the products you use, here is a list of 7 must-know tips for women/men with curly hair that will help you with your overall technique.

    Curly hair could take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to completely dry. But it's a great idea to let your hair air dry when possible. Why? Because too much heat is damaging to your curls. Also, curly hair is notorious for being dry, so allowing it to air dry will give your hair days off from being stripped of moisture through heat. Let your hair air dry on days when you don't have to look fabulous.  My favorite wet look is to simply pull some curls behind the ears and pin it down with bobby pins underneath. This keeps any wet hair off the face and you can shake the rest of your hair out to get volume as it drys.

Please don't ever cut your hair wet; it can lead to disaster. Because curls tend to shrink when wet, you want to make sure you cut them at their dry length to prevent cutting too much off. I also learned that it's best to trim one curl at a time (Curl-by-Curl Cut) instead of cutting your curls in small clusters. This technique will also keep you from cutting too much hair.

Pick the right conditioner.

Reading the labels of conditioners is key, but this can be confusing since so many ingredients just add to the thickness, fragrance, or look of the product itself and have no benefit for the hair. I suggest that you avoid conditioners with silicones–this means no products with ingredients whose names end in -one. Although they do add temporary shine, I find they weigh down hair. Every conditioner should contain at least one ingredient from the following four categories:

  • Emollients–shea butter, vegetable oils, wheat germ, olive or walnut oils.

  • Proteins–Wheat, wheat germ, soy protein.

  • Humectants–Panthenol, vegetable glycerine, sorbitol.

  • Moisturizers–Amino acids and aloe vera.

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 Exfoliate your scalp.

If you’re recovering from a longtime addiction to shampoo, your scalp will probably feel itchy a couple of days after you stop using it. An exfoliating mixture scrubbed on the scalp in the shower can help. Recipe: 1 tablespoon brown sugar or quinoa and 3 tablespoons conditioner. We know that exfoliating is good for improving the condition of your skin. Since your scalp is also skin, give it a special exfoliating treatment once a week or so. Exfoliating will slough off any dead skin cells or conditioner buildup, making your scalp healthier and reviving any itchiness. 

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Revive hair with a spritz of lavender.

If you decide to skip a shower one morning, you can spritz your hair with a combination of water and lavender essential oil. Recipe: 1/2 gallon water, 5 drops pure–not synthetic–lavender essential oil; three spray bottles. Lavender has cleansing properties. This quick mist not only makes your hair smell like a lavender field in Provence, it’s also indispensable for cleansing and reviving your curls.

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Don’t over-brush.

Give up the myth that brushing one hundred strokes a night is good for your hair and donate your hairbrush to someone who needs it, maybe your cat or dog. Brushing can damage the cuticle of curly hair and rob it of its sheen.

Keep your hands out of your hair.

Is your hair greasy? Well, a lot of that grease is coming from your hands. Also, if you’ve got a lot of frizz it’s probably because you are twirling your curls too much.


Golden rule: Do not disturb curls!

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