I have curly hair. I’m not particularly happy about it, but there it is. I’ve spent the last 15 years straightening the life out of it but now that I am a mum, I just don’t have the time to mess about and I’m having to embrace the wave. But I kind of feel as if I’m having to learn all over again – at the grand old age of 31 – how to style my hair. I’ve done a lot of Googling and Pinteresting to get ideas as to how to get my hair looking decent in not a lot of time and this is what I’ve learned. [Disclaimer: Curly hair is so varied, so these tips won’t work for everyone, but hopefully you can take something away from them!]
1. Realise that it won’t be easy Some people have amazing skin and can go make-up free without scaring the children. Some people are blessed with fast metabolisms and eat what they like without having to worry about the scales too much. Some people have great hair and go to bed five minutes after getting out of the shower, only to wake up with beautiful beachy waves. I have found that most people have one thing that makes them the envy of all their friends, and have to put a bit of work in with one or two other aspects of their appearance. If you are a curly girl, the chances are that your hair is going to give you no end of grief and you will never be a wash and go type of person. Once I accepted that my hair was a pain in the arse, I found it easier to deal with. I’m lucky that I don’t have to wear a lot of make-up but I have to spend forever on my hair. That is my lot in life. And I’m (kind of) okay with it.
2. Product, product, product (and heat) I couldn’t style my hair without using a few different hair products. Apart from the obvious shampoo and conditioner (I use John Frieda Frizz Ease Smooth Start – everything else causes loads of static), I use John Frieda Frizz Ease Original 6 Effects serum; John Frieda Curl Reviver Styling mousse (brand loyalty or what!); and whatever hairspray is on special offer. I also have to use curling tongs if I’m going to work or want to look in a mirror without dying a bit inside.
3. Experiment I’ve tried quite a few new things recently, since trying to get back in touch with my curly side. Not everything has worked but I’ve tried out plaiting my hair when wet; changing my parting; drying my hair naturally or with a hairdryer; different products; etc etc. I can get a lot of different looks within the curly spectrum depending on how I style it, especially as curly hair NEVER does the same thing two days in a row! I usually attempt new techniques on a day that I’m not going to work in case something goes horribly wrong and on some occasions I’ve had to totally iron out the waves in order to salvage the style. But, the more I’ve experimented, the closer I’m getting to finding a really straightforward method of getting nice hair without a lot of fuss.
4. Colour is your friend. If I didn’t have my hair coloured then it would look like a hedge; I need the lighter bits to break up the sheer volume. I have a ombre/balayage kind of thing done by the amazing Paula at Northburn Hair which means I don’t get any roots. Obviously long-term colouring is going to damage your hair – there’s no getting away from that – and after 15 years of highlights my hair does need to be cut quite often to keep it manageable. But when I consider the alternative, I can cope with a few extra split ends.
5. The longer, the better Curly hair springs up A LOT. My hair looks about two-three inches longer when I wear it straight than when I let it do its own thing. I would advise getting your hair cut when its dry rather than wet, so you don’t get any nasty surprises once it’s styled. Obviously it helps to look after your hair as much as possible to avoid damaged ends and regular trims, but as I’ve already said, I need heat styling and highlights so this isn’t an option for me! My curls need a lot of weight to keep them from being really tight and perm-like and it’s nowhere near long enough yet. I think I’ve got about a year or two before it’s right.
6. Leave it alone!! I am a fiddler when it comes to hair. If my hair is straight, then it’s okay, but many a time I have gone from curly hair to a triangular mess after pulling out every wave. Gwenn also pulls my curls out quite a lot and I’ll end up with one frizzy straight side and one bouncy curly side after we’ve been playing. I’m also guilty of twiddling it when it’s drying therefore ruining it before it’s even had a chance to “set”.
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks to making curly hair work! What products are your “can’t do withouts”?