Thursday, February 01, 2007

Curly Girls... Tips for Curly or Wavy Hair and a Note About Silicones for Everyone

To the left is a photo of one of my favorite literary heroines: Heidi. In the book, she was described as having short dark curls. Of course, until I read the book as an adult, I thought she looked like Shirley Temple from the Heidi movie. Of course, Shirly was also known for her beautiful curls. Don't Heidi's curls look sweet?

What about your hair? Is your hair stick straight, slightly wavy, very wavy, or very curly? See yesterday's post for help in evaluating your hair type. Remember, each hair type has its own God-given beauty. God created different types of hair, different colors of eyes, and different skintones for a reason. No matter what your type of hair you have, be content that it is part of your own individual look.

You will find that you will save time, money and frustration by working with your hair's natural bend rather than against it. For example, if your hair is extremely curly, it takes a lot to straighten it, and if your hair is stick straight, it takes a lot to produce ringlets.

We all like to try different looks once in a while, so if you temporarily want to try a cut or a chemical process that is beyond the scope of your hair's natural shape, that's fine. But, be sure to count the cost, first. Consider that you will need to devote more of your day and more of your budget to maintaining a style that goes against your natural type. Most likely, you will suffer a little hair damage in the process. And, if you have your heart set on looking like someone whose hair naturally suits a certain do, realize that you may not be able to duplicate that woman's results 100%, no matter what measures you take.

If you do try to go against hair type when cutting and styling your hair for a while, take a break later on to allow your hair to rest and return to its natural state. I used to wear perms back in the 80's. There came a time, though, when it was time to stop the perms and let my hair go back to its normal type.

(Note: I'm not talking about sticking some curlers in your hair or taking other simple and temporary measures to change your hair style. I'm talking about trying to force your hair into a cut or hairstyle that just doesn't suit it.)

Today, I'll offer some tips for wavy and curly hair, but, first, let's talk about hair products containing "cones". Whether your hair is striaght or curly, this is something you need to consider. If you read the ingredients of many hair products, you will see that quite a few have some sort of ingredient ending in the word "cone". These are variations of silicone. "Cones" are often added to hair products because they coat the hair shaft and make the hair feel silky. They make it easier for you to run your comb through your hair when you wash it.

However, because "cones" coat your hair, using them regularly will eventually lead to product buildup and dull hair. This can be fixed simply by using a clarifying shampoo once in a while.

Some people, however, find that "cones" are permanently damaging to their hair, leading the hair to break-off. Others find that "cones" weigh down their hair so that it does not look its best. If your hair is chin length or shorter, you probably won't have a problem with permanent damage from "cones". But, if you hair is longer, you may or may not find that products with cones in them do hurt your hair. If you do not like the effect of "cones" on your hair, search for products without "cones".

I, myself, am not particular about reading the ingredient list to hunt for "cones". But, I am drawn to products that don't weigh down my fine hair. One product line that is kind to my fine hair is John Frieda's products for blondes, which are greated to clean away deposits of hair product, rather than to add them. I use other products that suit my hair, as well. Perhaps, the products I am drawn to don't have "cones"' I'll have to check the labels to see. But, remember, the shelves are full of products for all hair types. If your hair doesn't take well to "cones", you can find a product without them.

Now, on to the curly and wavy girl tips:

1) Check out Lorraine Massey's web site for inspiration: She gives lots of information about celebrating your God-given curls and waves. See if you can find a copy of her book in the library or buy a copy (about $10.00 right now) : Curly Girl ~ The Handbook
A Celebration of Curls: How to cut them, care for them, love them, and set them free.

I've not read the Curly Girl Handbook, myself, but I've understand that lots of curly-tressed women rave about it. And, I've read excerpts from the book that helped me with my straightish/every so slightly wavy hair. Imho, Massey's book is a primo source of information for information about making the most of waves and curls.

Another site to check out is Ouidad's. She is a curly-haired stylist who specializes in wavy to curly hair. Here's the link:

Naturally is another site where you can find articles and comments about taking care of curly hair.

2) Remember, natural curls and waves are romantic, feminine, and soft looking. Curls and waves are also flattering to the face. They are especially kind to the maturing face, which looks better when framed with soft lines. It's only when you don't understand how to care for your curls or waves that they become troublesome.

So, educate yourself about curly or wavy hair. Keep your hair in good condition. Get a trim that's right for your hair. Learn how to eliminate frizzies. Then, you will not need to do a lot to try to control your curls. If you keep your hair in good shape and in a suitable trim, your hair will look good with a minium of effort.

If you are a romantic at heart, you will naturally love your curly and wavy hair. But, if you are a more modern-minded woman, don't fret. There are some very stylish haircuts that work for curls and waves.

3) Find a stylist who understands how to trim or cut wavy or curly hair. Even if you wear your hair very long, you will need to have the ends trimmed into a pleasing shape, according to your hair's natural lines.

Just because a stylist is fabulous at trimming or cutting straight hair doesn't mean she understands the special needs of curls or waves (and vice versa). You don't have to go to an expensive salon to find a stylist who can bring out your curly hair's natural beauty. You may find such a jewel at one of the discount haircut chains. But, do keep on trying until you find someone who trims your hair the way you want it. One clue that the stylist may understand your hair's special needs is if you notice he or she has natural curls or waves, too.

4) According to Lorraine Massey, 65% of the world's population has curly hair! You are not alone in your quest to maintain your beautiful curls with a minimum of fuss.

5) Curly hair is perfect for creating romantic, lovely up-do's. Use a band to sweep the curls up and back from your face. Then, pin your curls into place to form an up-do. Let a few lovely tendrils escape for a romantic look. Be thankful that your up-dos will always look soft, rather than severe. That's a great quality!

6) If your hair is wavy or curly, remember this trick when you wash your hair: Comb your hair under the water as you rinse out your conditioner. Then, don't towel or brush your hair dry. Just let it air dry or use a diffuser on a hair dryer. Push your hair into curls or waves with your fingers. At all times, resist the urge to brush out your curls. Invest in a pick type comb.

If your curls do begin to droop during the day, revive them with a sprtiz of water or spray-on conditioner. Wrap strands around your finger and then moisten them ever-so-lightly to restore the curl.

7) If your hair is wavy, and you want to coax even more curl into it, do the same finger curl method as mentioned in #6. Wind the curl tightly around your finger as you air dry it or dry it with a diffuser on a blow-dryer. Or, learn to use a scrunching product and scrunch your hair into waves.

8) The natural state of curly and wavy hair is dryer than that of the natural state of undamaged straight hair. You will need to use the right conditioners to keep the luster in your curls and waves. Experiment with products designed for curly hair.

9) Curly and wavy girls are prime candidates for stretching out the times between washings and for occasionally rinsing just with water or for doing a conditioner-only shampoo. Read the web sites mentioned above for more information about how to to that.

10) There is very particular type of wavy hair that is common among people whose ancestry is from the British Isles. This certain type of wavy hair is straight to about ear level and then waves gently from that point downward. You see this hair in medieval paintings or on storybook princesses. This kind of hair can be very sweet and romantic-looking However, it can also look flat, especially on the top, and it can easily become unkepmt if you don't care for it. Thus, this kind of hair can be frustrating, especially if you don't know how to deal with it.

If you have this hair, don't get flustered with it; just keep reminding yourself that you have the hair of a princess. (For some odd reason, this kind of hair was also associated with Druid witches in ages past. But, we won't go there on this blog. Instead, we'll take our cue from all the storybook heroines and the medieval beauties in paintings. On this blog, it's princess all the way!)

Practically, one way to bring out this hair's natural loveliness is to concentrate on increasing volume at the crown of the head. Bring your hair up and slipp in some salon-type, long metal hair clips to hold the roots up as the hair dries. Or, add rollers for volume at the top.

Also, keep this type of hair well trimmed. A flattering do for this type of hair is to pull the sides of your hair up with decorative clips or combs and to let the wavy part hang freely. A bonus is that this adds volume to the crown, just as clipping it upward when it is drying does. When you take out the decorative clips, the top of your hair will hold some extra volume for a while.

11) If you are of any African descent, your hair is likely to be super curly and brittle. Investigate ways to wear it so that you are not continually over-processing it. Be sure to take care of your strands so that they do not break.

12) Not all curly hair is the same. Fine curly hair needs different care than coarse curly hair. Slightly curly hair needs different care than people with defined corkscrew curls. You will find specific information for your hair type at the sites I mentioned in item #1.

13) It is possible to have wavy hair and not realize it. Take me, for example. My hair is on the straightish side. Even when I wear it in straight do, however, there is just a trace of a wave in it. I also have a few cowlicks to contend with.

When my hair is wet, it draws up into lots of S wave. I thought everyone's hair did that. Then, I found out that truly striaght stick hair will not draw up into waves when wet. According to the method for evaluating your hair type I listed yesterday, I am 1c or 2 a (straightish with some waves), rather than 1a (totally straight).

Now, I understanding that I have a very subtle wave in my hair. The wave is not obvious. And, I don't have true curls. But, understanding my hair's wave helps me know what to expect when I style my hair. I can wear it straighter or wavier, depending on which styling methods I use.

14) Most truly curly hair benefit from having layers cut into it. Even if you wear your hair very long, your hair will flatter your face best with some well-cut layers. If you wear your curls up a lot, ask the hairdresser to make sure that your shortest layer can still be put up into a do.

15) All hair "shortens" a bit when it drys after a wet trim. This is because the weight of the water makes your hair hang longer than it does when it is dry and also because you pull your hair straight when trimming or cutting it.

Wavy and curly hair "shrinks" more than stick straight hair does. So, if you decide to cut your own bangs or your own hair, be sure allow for the fact that your hair will curl up to a shorter length when dry. I learned this early on in life, from a time when I cut my slightly wavy bangs way too short!


1 comment:

Julieann said...

I have stick straight, baby fine hair--that I do occasionally curl:) Another great post Elizabeth.