Whether your hair is curly, wavy, straight, or somewhere in between, it is almost guaranteed that at some point in your life you have looked in the mirror and been tempted to shave it all off(if you have not, then I am beyond jealous and a little impressed). As someone who falls into the former category, I would like to share some tricks that I have learned over the past two years about how to manage and appreciate my hair that I wish someone had told me a looong time ago.
*disclaimer*: I am NOT a professional or wiz or anything, this is all based on personal experience
1. Don’t Brush
First off, I am very new to the curly hair journey. Although I have had curly hair my entire life, I never understood until about two years ago that there are certain methods and steps that you have to follow in order to maximize your curls’ shine. The greatest mistake I made by far was brushing my hair. If you have anything short of naturally straight hair, don’t brush it dry! Some hair types (typically those that lean more towards wavy than ringlets) do well with a post-washing brush, and others do much better without any brushing at all. Since I have stopped brushing my hair, I have found that my hair not only looks better but it tangles significantly less than it did when I brushed it.
2. Conditioner vs. Shampoo
Shampoo is important, but it should be used only near the scalp and roots of hair. Regardless of your hair type or texture, the ends will always be somewhat drier than the roots, and shampoo can be extremely harmful, especially if you have drier hair. The same goes for conditioner: It’s purpose is to hydrate hair, so avoid contact with roots to keep hair from appearing greasy.
3. Leave it be
Curling irons, hair dryers, and flat irons are damaging to hair in general, and with waves and curls it can mess up your hair’s natural pattern. If you do use heat, make sure to use a heat protectant and do not straighten or curl your hair with anything other than a hair dryer while it’s wet.
There are more hair products than just dance-recital gels and holding sprays. Leave in conditioners, oils, salt sprays, detanglers, cremes, mousses, masks, and more are all available and, with thoughtful research and a touch of trial and error, you can certainly find product(s) that work best for you. Although some products are just for occasional use, many can quickly become go-to essentials that boost shine, bounce, strength, and confidence. A major game-changer for me was curl cream. There are hundreds of these at Target and Walgreens, and there is something out there for everyone (I prefer a lighter weight one that holds my hair more firmly). Do not be afraid to try something new; experimentation here is key to success!
5. Perception vs. Reality
This last step applies to more in life than just hair. If you wear your hair, your clothes, your personality with confidence, certainty, and positivity, no one will question you. Believing in yourself and realizing how beautiful you are is, unfortunately, one of the hardest things to do, but it is also one of the most important mindsets for young women and girls to foster. Whatever your greatest worry may be, remember that a little bit of confidence and self-love goes a long way:)