Saturday, August 16, 2014

How I Style My Naturally Curly Hair: Part 3

How do you style your hair?  What products do you use?  Do you use a diffuser or other tool?

Step 0:  Wash your hair as described in Part 2.  Your hair should now look something like this.

Hey-o! Straight out of the shower selfie

I almost always use three products on my hair.  The first product depends on my hair's length.  For the medium length hair I have now, I love this texturizing cream.  As you know, my hair has a fine texture, and this cream gives it some "grip" and hold without being crunchy.  For short hair, sometimes I don't use anything besides mousse and hairspray, and for long hair, I typically use some sort of gel, because it helps with frizz (I've found that I have to touch my hair a lot more when it is long).

For a diffuser, I use Revlon Ionic Tourmaline Ceramic hairdryer, as I wrote about here.

The Lineup

Step 2:  Flip head over.  Dispense product into one hand.  Distribute product between both hands.  Apply product to hair, starting at ends. (We're only doing mousse and cream for now.)

MOUSSE:  I go ALL over, starting at ends and scrunching into roots.

CREAM:  I go on ends and middle ONLY.

Step 3:  Part hair and shape curls.  Shaping takes a little practice, and you may need to add some water to get it to curl like you want.  I typically just shape the curls around my face and maybe the top layer of my hair.  This helps the hair lay a little better.

Flip hair to opposite side.  Slide finger down scalp, gently separate top portion of hair, and flip it to the other side.

I'm parted, so now what?

Grab small sections of hair and twist to make ringlets (I only do this around my face)

A little tamer
Step 4:  At this point you have two choices:  diffuse or partially air dry.

If you want, of if you are especially busy, you can walk away and do something else for 30 minutes to let your hair partially air dry.  It still needs to be noticeably wet for the next part (around 50%-60%).

Otherwise, grab your diffuser, and let's get going.  There are a few tricks to using a diffuser, so I've made you a few gifs to help explain how to "hold" the hair with the diffuser and how to position the tool (and your head).  It's important to tilt your head towards the side you are drying so that the ringlet isn't stretched over your head, but is allowed to fall straight.  Hold the diffuser in each spot for 8-10 seconds.  If you move too fast, you'll cause your hair to frizz.  It's more like a curling-iron than a hairdryer at this point.  Dry to about 60%.

To dry the ends:
Start below the hair and come straight up, hold for 8-10 seconds and then grab a new spot.
This can also be done with your head upside down.

Step 5: Grab the hairspray.  Lightly grasp the top layers and spray non-aerosol hairspray on the roots all around your head.  Then, use your diffuser to dry the roots and add volume.  I usually go over each section only once or twice, because I just want to "set" the hairspray and not dry out my scalp.  My hair is usually 90% dry at this point.

Do your best to not break up the curls, and for heaven's sake do NOT push up from the bottom, because you will end up "fluffing" your hair and looking like you stuck your finger in an electrical socket.

 To dry the roots (for volume):
Start on the side of your head and stick the diffuser "fingers" onto your scalp.  Move the diffuser up a few inches to relieve the weight on the roots.

Step 6:  Admire your crazy, amazing hair.  Mine usually settles a bit after this, especially as it finishes drying.  When it's dry, I usually feel through it a bit and see if there's a spot that somehow didn't get any product.  If there is (there usually is), I spray a little more sprunch spray or an unscented aerosol hairspray on that section (otherwise it will puff up).  If you don't catch a section in time and it puffs up (hours later or the next day), just wet it down and reshape the curl and then add a little product (I usually just do a spritz of hairspray).  I also separate some of the curls if I end up with a Shirley-Temple-type ringlet, which happens occasionally.


See that crazy stray in the back?  Just pull it down and tuck it in.
(those curls in the front are on their way to Shirley Temple)


If you look at the clock in the background of these pictures, you'll see this took 17 minutes from start to finish, but I was also taking pictures.  It typically takes me about 10 minutes to do my hair in the morning.

Leave your questions in the comments.  Hope you enjoyed this series!


This post is part 1 of a series on how I style my curly hair. (I will update the links as the pages are posted)
Part 2:  How I wash my hair
Part 3:  How I style my hair

Friday, August 15, 2014

How I style my Naturally Curly Hair: Part 2

How do you wash your hair?  How often?  What products do you use?

I typically wash my hair every other day.  I know that many curlies wash their hair way less than that and I know some that wash their hair daily.  The reason I wash my hair every other day is because I think it gets "nappy" by the second day, and washing fixes that!

I only use sulfate free shampoo and conditioner on my hair.  Sulfates are the compounds that make regular shampoos wonderfully sudsy and are in all sorts of shampoos (and all prices).  They are really good at stripping everything off of your hair and making it feel "squeaky-clean", but, because of that quality, they also dry out your hair (they strip off all of the natural oils).  Curly hair tends to be drier and so "squeaky-clean" isn't really a good thing, the natural oils your scalp produces help keep your hair shiny and frizz free.

Up until now, sulfate-free shampoos were only available in salons and came with a fairly hefty price tag, but if you consider that I only wash my hair every other day, then I could reasonably afford a shampoo 2x as much as drugstore shampoo if I used to wash it daily.  I usually spend around $15 for a regular-sized bottle, or between $25 and $40 for a jumbo sized (many times I can find deals on the larger bottles).  Recently, I saw that L'Oreal now has a sulfate-free product for curly hair for around $7 a bottle.  I haven't tried it, but it's on my list when I run out of the Redken stuff.


The Shampoos:

The Conditioners:

So, here I am, product in hand.  Now what?  (I have no pictures for this part... for obvious reasons.)

How I Wash My Curly Hair:
  1. Wet hair thoroughly, shampoo as normal.  Occasionally, I shampoo twice if my hair was really dirty.  I know that the sulfate-free stuff is gentle on my hair so I don't worry about drying it out too much.
  2. Flip head over and squeeze out as much water as you can.
  3. Put a quarter-sized dollop of conditioner in your hand, spread it between both hands and scrunch it into hair starting at the ends.
  4. Comb the conditioner through hair with hands only and work it up to the roots (but try to get very little if any on the roots).  Continue combing until you have all of the tangles out.
  5. Twist hair into a high bun and secure with a hair tie.  Do not rinse.
  6. Finish doing whatever else you need to do in the shower.
  7. As the very last thing you do, flip your head back over and take out the hair tie.  Comb your fingers through your hair as you hold it under the shower stream.  Continue combing until you feel that 95% of the conditioner is rinsed out.
  8. Turn off the shower, squeeze all the water you can out of your hair with your hands.  Dry off.
  9. Wrap your hair in a towel for about 30 seconds, and no more than a minute.
  10. Unwrap and get ready to style, or twist it into a high bun until you are ready to style (no more than 15 minutes).

This post is part 1 of a series on how I style my curly hair. (I will update the links as the pages are posted)
Part 2:  How I wash my hair
Part 3:  How I style my hair

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How I style my Naturally Curly Hair: Part 1

What type of curly hair do I have?  How long have I had curly hair?  What kind of hairstyles worked on my hair?

I'm answering these questions in this post.  Whenever I see a "curly hair" post, I want to see lots of pictures so I know what type of curly hair the poster has.  If her hair is similar to mine, I will try her suggestions, but I know that there are many different types of curly hair and what works with one person may not work with another.

I have always had naturally curly hair, and as a child I sported some amazing hairstyles.

Or should I say Afros?

All cuteness aside, I come from a family of straight-haired people, so it took me several years to learn how to tame my hair.  I tried pomades, gels, serums, and creams of all kinds, from the drugstore and from the salon.  I never went through a straightener phase, like some girls have, because I kept my hair very long up until my junior year of high school, and have since varied between chin-length to mid-back length (my hair grows really fast).  These are a few examples of my hair type at varied lengths, using the method I will describe in my next two posts.

Chin Length

A few inches past shoulder

Very long

Angled Bob (Very Short in Back)

Whew, that was a lot (and I hate selfies, so I apologize).  Another thing important to look at is texture.  My hair is very fine, but I have quite a bit of it.  It is pretty much the opposite of coarse.  When I straighten it, it is smooth and glossy and doesn't even hold a curl.  The photo below is straightened with only a hairdryer and a flat iron; I didn't use any product because I was getting ready to donate it.

Curly vs. Straight
So, will my method work for you?  I hope so!  Your results will depend a lot on what type of hair you have, so that's why I spent so much time explaining what type of hair I have.


This post is part 1 of a series on how I style my curly hair. (I will update the links as the pages are posted)
Part 1:  What type of hair do I have?
Part 3:  How I style my hair