Managing the Curly Locks in Winter

Confession:  I straightened my hair.

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After seven months of total Curly Girl, winter hit, and my curls went nuts! My old routines didn’t work. Something was wrong, and I couldn’t figure it out.

I decided to straighten my hair and see what it looked like.  I didn’t go crazy straightening it–just blow dried it, then some light use of the curling iron.  Very light.  I could have cried touching that hot iron to my hair.  I was worried it was all going to break off the instant I finished.

When I was done, I looked in the mirror with amazement.

It was long. Much longer than when I started. Freaky long–for me.

I was able to see the condition of the ends much better and they were split and dry.

I realized I needed to start pouring the moisture into the ends in the future and I needed to chop off the really bad part, which was about 1 1/2 inches.

I realized I don’t look as fun with straight hair.  My family was all like, “What did you to do to your curls?  I like your curls better!”

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I assured them it was a one-off, and my curls would be coming right back at the next washing.  And here they are–along with my new fedora from Amazon.

Now, I admit, there were some things I liked about my straight hair.  Number one was that it was manageable.  I’d go to bed and wake up the next day with somewhat civilized locks.

It also dried faster.

Which brings me to my topic: Winter Curly Locks.

Winter is a challenge.  It takes 6 hours for my hair to dry by itself–5 if I speed it up with the hand diffuser.  Also, the air is drier out, and my curls go bad more quickly.  If I wear a knit cap, it’s like putting a cotton towel on them–sucks the moisture right out and goes to instant frizz.

That is why I purchased the fedora–hoping it would hold the locks down in the wind–without turning them into ash.  I have another one coming from Pendleton, the Zanna fedora, because I fell in love with this curly girl model wearing it, and I want to be her.

I mean, isn’t she cute?  An awesome ambassador for the CURL!

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There are also some knit caps I found that have silk sewn into them.  They’re not cheap, but neither was the fedora from Pendleton.  I saw them at around $50-$70.  Who knows, though, you may find some at a craft fair for an even more reasonable price.

I came up with a solution to the dry ends and the lengthy drying time.  I now only wash my hair once a week, allowing it to mostly air dry with some diffusing at the roots.  I add a curl cream when it’s saturated.  I’ve been using Balmain Curl Cream (love the smell and bounce) and Kerastase Discipline Oleo-Curl Creme, 5.1 Ounce (I’m trying it out as a backup).  I use a little of the Sachjuan after it dries–if there is remaining frizz.

On the days I don’t wash, I do rinse off my ends in the shower and recondition them.  After I pat them dry with the t-shirt towel, but while they’re still very wet, I apply new curl cream.  The ends dry much faster than washing the whole head, and I’m usually pretty good and ready to go after an hour.

I think this is going to help grow out the length MUCH faster!  The enemy to long hair is dry ends.

If you have winter tips, please share them.

 

 

 

 

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Some Bad Curl Days

Last week, I had some bad curly hair days.  It was disappointing, and it made me want to straighten my hair.  It also made me want to cut it off, and I kinda did.  Kinda.

It was all driving me crazy, but the part that was driving me MOST crazy were my curly bangs.  They were a mixture of stringy and frizzy. I googled what to do with curly bangs and did not find any solutions.

So, I cut them.

Wet.

I did the same thing when I was four years old and days away from being a flower girl in a church wedding.  But you’d think, after 46 years, I’d outgrown it.  Apparently not.  (Tip: NEVER cut your hair when you’re in a bad frame of mind.)

Here’s me before I cut my curls, waiting for the hair to dry last Saturday (4 days ago).  I’d used the Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque in the shower.  I’ve used it for quite a while now.  Out of the shower, I added another Shea Moisture product–a leave-in conditioner, and I used A LOT of it, hoping it would add needed moisture since my hair had been getting frizzy.

curly hair at 50 Curly girl techniques moisture products SheaMoisture

After it dried.  I  added Sachajuan and lots of Balmain Curl Cream.  It looked decent….for a couple of hours.

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The second day, I woke up with it looking frizzy and crunchy.  I wet down the curls with my water, lavender and conditioner mixture, and as I ran my hands through, I could feel a TON of product.  Just yuck.

That’s when I cut the bangs.

When it dried, it looked like this.

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You can’t really see a whole lot of difference. The middle portion of the bangs shrunk up quite a bit, but the rest are not noticeable.

What I didn’t like about this hair is that it felt stringy and crispy. (You can kind of see that in the picture.) When I’d run my hands through, they’d get tangled up and feel like dried product. And, by the time I got home from work, it was poofy and frizzy!  It had just gone wild.  (I should have shot a picture then!)

I got on the internet and googled “stringy curls,” and found article after article that blamed it on too much product.  I had used A LOT of product!  As my hair got worse, I used more.

Someone suggested washing with a clarifier, and I happened to have Suave Clarifying shampoo.  It has been probably 5 months since I shampooed, so I thought it would be safe to strip the hair and recondition with my new SheaMoisture product–Jamaican Black Castor Oil Intensive Strengthening Masque.  The new masque felt a lot different than the other.  The raw shea butter feels like it sounds–solid butter style, whereas, the Black Castor Oil Masque was runny and oily-soft.  It smelled good.  Honestly, it felt in my hands like what my hair needed.

When I was out of the shower, I dried the hair with my t-shirt towel and added in a quarter sized dollop of As I Am Leave-In Conditioner, and I put the towel back on for ten minutes.  After ten minutes, I worked Sebastian’s Potion 9, my 90’s favorite, all through my hair.

It felt like the old days.

I’ve always wondered what Potion 9 is–a leave-in conditioner?  A gel?  A curl cream?  I guess it’s all those things.  It has “9 botanical extracts” and is a “wearable treatment.”  It has been around for a LONG time, and has a ton of reviews, and still only a tad under a perfect 5 stars on Amazon.

One reviewer said, “if you have thick curly hair (Check) look no further, this is what you want. (Check) It detangles, tames, and conditions your hair. (Check) Will order again and again. (Check).”

Here I am with nothing other than the SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the Potion 9, a dollop of As I Am Leave-In Conditioner, and a little Balmain on the bangs to make them longer which, in retrospect, I shouldn’t have done because the bangs look slightly stringy.

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But the mass of my curls were soft again.  Bouncy again.

Freedom!!!

Lesson learned.  You CAN have too much of a good thing.  Oh, and I only added water and a couple drops of lavender to my touch up spritz today, and they sprung right back to soft perfection.

I wish I could say THIS is the routine that will work every day, but we all know that is not the case with curly hair.  My only hope is to get smarter at diagnosing issues–by feeling the hair and sensing what it needs–and then quicker at making necessary changes.

For now, I HIGHLY recommend the Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the Potion 9 as products to keep in your Curly Girl cabinet.  And, if you feel the product in your hair, you may want to consider clarifying.

The Hand that Rocks the Curly Hair

The Deva Curl Diffuser Is Simply Brilliant!

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Okay, okay, whoever invented the Deva Curl Hair Diffuser, step right up and take a bow! I mean really, you thought out of the box here.

The Deva Curl Hair Diffuser is simply brilliant!

First, it leaves your canopy basically untouched and gets right to your roots.  If you have thick, curly hair, you know how long it takes for those roots to dry….all day!  But not anymore–not with the Deva Diffuser.

I discovered this product about four months ago, and I think it is helping my hair to grow out faster and healthier.  Curly girls are all about leaving the moisture in the follicle, and this little do-mommy succeeds.

The big, green hand of a super masseuse. I love showing this product off to friends and family.  They’re like….WHAT the?!?

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But it feels so good and is just perfect for drying the roots and leaving the canopy, basically, untouched. I saw a review that said theirs melted.  I don’t get it.  Mine doesn’t come close to melting.  It’s tough as nails.  I can’t even imagine the kind of heat it would take to melt this thing! Like, the flames of hell?  It seems pretty indestructible to me.

You may want to check out the specs before buying to insure your blowdryer nozzle fits into its arm.  It has an elastic-y part that seems to fit about just anything, but better safe than sorry.  You can also buy it with a hairdryer, if you’re worried.  It comes in this set. (click on link).

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Genius, I tell you!

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Balmain Curl Cream, How I Love Thee

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Oh, Balmain, how I love thee!  Let me count the ways!  

You’re not Sticky, Stinky, OR Smelly. You don’t leave my curls Crunchy, Crispy, Greasy, or Oily.  And, you don’t make my curls Dry or Frizzy!

If  you were a man, and I was single, I’d MARRY you!

Chapter One:

I met Balmain on a Norwegian vacation spring ’17.

Icelandair had lost my suitcase full of curly girl products somewhere between Seattle, the Arctic, Iceland, and Norway, and I had to go out shopping for replacements in the land of straight-haired, blonde, super tall and fit Viking Women.

A straight, blonde-haired Viking woman nice salesperson was thrilled to see a curly  haired human in real life, and she happily led me to their section for curly haired people.  It consisted of 3 products: Balmain Curl Cream, Sachajuan Styling Cream (for straight and curly), and a smoother.

I bought them all!

Chapter Two:

I fell in mad love with Balmain Curl Cream and Sachajuan Style Cream.

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Chapter Three:

On returning back to the US, I realized my one tube of Balmain was almost empty. Ahhh!!!!  I looked on Amazon. No luck.  I looked at all the US online shops.  No luck.  I wrote Balmain and they gave me the name of their US division.  I ordered 3 tubes from them at about $40 / tube plus shipping.  Since then, I found it online at an English website called Beauty Expert, and they will often sell it at $31/ tube and free shipping with a minimum order.  I usually buy everything they have.

Chapter Four:

Balmain is the perfect lover–the kind that makes you believe in yourself and your curls.  It is described thusly:

Flexible, natural curls that last all day! 

Reveal the charm of every curl with the new Balmain Curl Cream, inspired by the expertise of the Balmain Hair backstage stylist team. The Curl Cream is invigorated with the signature Balmain Hair Couture fragrance. The lightweight formula activates and defines curls resulting in soft, bouncy and well-shaped waves. The signature Balmain Argan Elixir and Silk Proteins shield the hair against heat styling and protect strands from harmful UV rays. The Curl Cream helps fight frizz without flattening texture and defines spirals without making them crunchy. It hydrates the hair resulting in flexible, natural curls that last all day.

Chapter Five:

We lived  happily ever after…as long as I can find replacement Balmain!

The End.

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Balmain Curl Cream Ingredients List:

Contains: 150 ml | 5.07 FL.OZ

Ingredients: Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Myristyl Alcohol, Polyquaternium-10,

Gossypium Herbaceum Seed Oil, Pvp, Polyquaternium-22, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl

Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Acetate, Sodium Chloride, Isopropyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Parfum

 

 

Don’t Touch!

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Don’t touch your curly hair as it dries!*

This is hard for me.

I love to mess with my hair as it dries.

I love to mess with my hair period.

I twirl the curls.  I feel the canopy.  I run my fingers through the roots. When I was a kid, I used to chew on it.  (There’s probably a name for that in the psychiatry bible.)

However, if you touch it while it’s drying, you will, guaranteed, create frizz.  (cue: frizzy  halo nightmare!)

Not that it’s the end of the world.  A little curl cream will take care of the occasional frizzed curl, but….

It will cost you more of your curl cream–which can be expensive–and, since you have to use more of  your product–it may cause more of the crunchy/crispy.

So, word to the wise curly girl–don’t be like me.  Don’t TOUCH!

 

 

*unless you’re putting product in it.

Second, Third and Fourth Day Curls

It’s one thing to have beautiful curls on Day One of our Curly Girl routines, but what do we do on Day 2, 3 & 4?

I found a great YouTube tutorial today that you may want to checkout.  I had been spraying my 2-3-4 Curls with Lavender water mixed with conditioner and then scrunching them up.  After watching this video, I doused them with the same water mixture, and then styled like she does here-minus some of the twirling. (I don’t have the patience.)

Afterward, I shot some fancy photos to show off a curly girl attitude–no smiles allowed–just sheer–Love My Curls Shitzpah!

Then I smiled, because hey, I love curls.

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Recipe for Conditioning Water Mix:

The water mix for my 2-3-4 Day Curls is a spray bottle filled with water & then add 3 drops of lavender essential oil, which I purchase on Amazon for about $13.99. (It’ll last forever)  And, a few squirts of As I Am, Leave In Conditioner.  (I really like all of the As I Am products.)  I shake it up and apply generously to my hair, then run my fingers through to comb it.

Does the Devil Have Curly Hair?

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Another day, another shocker.  My daughter came home from work last night–she’s a supervisor at a Starbucks Coffee–and she said, “Hey mom, you were right about some people not liking curly hair.” 

She caught my interest.  Why do you say that?

“Because a girl I work with has hair like yours–in fact, she looks like you–and a couple came in today and asked for another server because they said she had brown, curly hair, like the devil.”

What in the hell (no pun intended)?  What did you do?

“I told them they either get served by her or they should leave.  They decided to leave.”

Whaaatttt????

Now, don’t get me wrong, there have been moments in my life where I’ve thought the devil may have had his hand in my hair—but I have NEVER heard the devil has brown, curly hair.

I googled it, and turns out, there are a few folktales from around the world that feature the devil and curly hair–usually someone tries to see if he can straighten it, and if he can’t, he’s the devil.  (Click here for link to the stories)

And, then there’s the possibility that it’s racially motivated–Jewish hair, African hair–or just plain unruly–thus devilish–hair.  (Think Jezebel.)  So, in this way, curly hair may represent foreign–exotic–uncontrollable–different from us–scary.

It reminds me of the poem everyone recited for me and my curls as I was growing up by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

There was a little girl,
            Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
            When she was good,
            She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

I intend to do more research on this idea now that it has been so starkly confirmed to me that there is, indeed, CURLY HAIR prejudice out there.  What are its origins? What are its intentions? And, how do we fight back against it?

First, it’s time we all understand–“Curly hair is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle.”  People say, I like the way you’re doing your hair now.  Um, I’m not “doing” my hair.  I was “doing” my hair, but now I’m “doing” nothing except letting my hair be itself.  This is who I am, and it’s not up for a vote.

If you have experienced curly girl prejudice, I’m sorry. I hope you’ll read Curly Girl: The Handbook, pass it on to others, and wear your hair natural to be an ambassador for other closet curlys.

In the meantime, have fun and enjoy those curls–you hot little devil!

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