“Oh my God, your curls are amazing! Why haven’t you worn your hair like this before??” “Because I honestly had no idea that my hair was curly.”
I’ve had this exact conversation multiple times a week since March 2018, when I finally embraced my natural hair texture. It’s usually followed by a look of disbelief, along with a phrase along the lines of, “uhh…what do you mean you didn’t know?” I mean I didn’t know. I knew my hair wasn’t stick straight, I knew it had some bends in it. I knew there were more bends after my daughter was born. But I’m wavy-curly, and brushing out my curls post shower meant that they didn’t reform.
So the things I did know- my hair was wavy, frizzy, and there was a lot of it. I purposely got haircuts that weighed my hair down in hopes to fight some of the “mess” and I used smoothing serums to try to get my hair to behave. Every few years I’d embark on a journey to make my wavy hair look good that usually just ended in a certain amount of time and money spent before I’d give up. I tried a random product I had at home before a family gathering with my husband’s family- they all loved it. I hated how sticky it felt. But with how much he loved it, figured I’d try again. This time something changed. I found an Indian curly hair blogger! I wasn’t trying to follow the advice of someone with a similar curl pattern that had thin, low-frizz hair. Nor was a trying to follow the advice of someone with kinky coils. I immediately consumed as much information as I could. About a month later I got my first curly hair cut. I was just as surprised as everyone else that my hair curled like that. Around the same time I gave up products with silicones and embraced the Curly Girl Method.
I’m lucky that I started my curly hair journey with relatively healthy hair. People who have damaged their hair more have to wait longer to see results. But a month and a half after the curly cut, I fell in love with what my curls were capable of doing.
Please don’t think that is what my hair looks like all day, every day. It was a perfect storm of things that made a fantastic hair day. But that day I fell in love with my curly hair. So as I’ve figured this out more, here are the top things I want to share:
- Method matters. When a comb touches my hair in the process and how I apply products makes a HUGE difference in how my hair looks. If I try to comb my hair after putting products in, it will dry a stringy mess. Same goes for brushing or “raking” products in.
- Hair porosity is a thing. You can be low, medium, or high. I’m low. Damaged hair is high. This impacts how well your hair absorbs products- and often times will determine what products will work well for you depending on the needs of your hair. This works the same way as skin- if you have oily skin, your face may not like the same moisturizer as someone with dry skin.
- Your curls will change over time. The more you encourage your curl, the better they will look. I have a few “curlier” curls that frame my face, but most of the rest of my hair is pretty wavy. A few months into my curly hair journey I already saw new ringlets forming on the under layers. I won’t tell you that you have to stop straightening your hair. But know that if you want your curls to reach their full potential- you have to ditch the heat.
- Gel is not your enemy. Did you immediately think of hard, crunchy hair? I did, too when I started. Two parts to consider- 1. Gel formulations have come a long way since we were kids. 2. Even the ones that get crunchy, called a gel cast, is fine- because it protects your hair while it dries. The part that none of us knew about as kids? Once it’s dry, you scrunch out the crunch and reveal soft, touchable curls.
- Be patient. Pot calling the kettle black. I’m not a patient person. But it took some trial and error to figure it out. And there have been days that I’ve had to entirely re-soak my head because I put way too much of something in my hair, etc. With each month that happened less and less.
It can be frustrating. So why do I suggest that you do it? Because it’s worth it. Once you get the hang of it, you can leave the house after you rolled out of bed in the morning and still look great in the evening. Because it’s less stress. You don’t have to worry about the weather un-doing everything you did that morning to make it look good. And the most important part? Because it’s a part of your natural beauty and you were meant to rock it.