Managing the Curly Locks in Winter

Confession:  I straightened my hair.


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!”


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!


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.






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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.

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.




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.

Welcome to Soft & Bouncy Curls

My goal is soft, lustrous, healthy, bouncy curls.

Hi. Welcome to my Curly Girl site–Soft and Bouncy!

I’m a curly girl, and like every curly girl, most of my life, I didn’t know what to do with my hair; I brushed the curls, blew them out, and burned them out with a curling iron trying to look like “everyone else.”

Of course, I never did–look like everyone else–I just had major, uncontrollable–straightened curls–dying to get out and live free!

There was a time, as a young mom, I let them out of their box back in the BIG HAIR days of the 90’s.

Brook and mom

But even then, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was before Curly Girl: The Handbook, which is now right up there with the bible.  In those days, I used a brush, shampooed, used cotton towels, I even blow dried and selectively curled.  There weren’t a lot of product choices back then, but I did use Sebastian’s Potion 9–which is still around and still used by quite a few curlys.  The result, as you can see above, was big hair.

I kept my hair curly for a couple of years, but one day I decided to blow it out and straighten it–I received a few compliments–and I was back at it again.  In fact, I was pretty dedicated to it until last April when I turned 50 and decided it was time to finally be the me I was created to be.

A family member had given me Curly Girl: The Handbook, years ago, but I read it and thought, “Geez, she has no idea how crazy my curls are!  This book won’t work for me!”  Still, little by little, I found myself playing with the ideas.  If I traveled to a particularly humid climate, I’d let it go for a day or two just to see what would happen.

I started to like it.  Kinda.

When I turned 50, four months ago, I went all out curly.  I threw away the brush, iron & cotton towels. I threw away the shampoos, unhealthy oils, and flat diffusers.

In their place, I bought a t-shirt towel, a Deva hand-shaped diffuser that gets up under the canopy, Shea deep conditioning masque, Deva curl clips, Demi-Permanent Hair Color, Sachajuan Styling Cream, Balmain Curl Cream, and most recently, because Balmain is more difficult to get, Pillow Soft Curls.

I’ll review each of those items, and tell you why they’re part of my routine, in the coming posts.

The result is this.


Each month, as my curls get healthier and their “curl memory” is brought back to life, my curls look better.  I won’t lie, some days it is not easy.  On bad curl days, I’m tempted to straighten, but it’s not my hair’s fault.  It’s the years of too much heat and chemicals, and that takes time to repair.

My goal is soft, lustrous, healthy, bouncy curls. I don’t like crunchy. I don’t like sticky. I don’t like stinky or stringy!

If you’re on the same journey, please join me and share your experiences!