What I wish I'd known: curly hair
Curly hair maintenance is a life-long learning experience, and when you learn a simple trick well out of childhood, it can be a part-pleasure-part-frustration moment. How did something so simple and good to know, take so long to learn?
To help you fast track the process, the Pin asked curly haired adults what they wish they'd known as a kid and who inspired good hair care in them. This is what they said.
What's your story?
Grace Williams //
A game changer for me was realising that water is and should be used as moisturiser.
Spritzing hair with water and then sealing in the moisture with any natural oil took my curls to the next level of bounce.
Mwase Makalani //
I used to use Vaseline and it kept my hair shiny and strong, but as I grew up I realised it contains a lot of petroleum.
I moved to using pineapple and coconut water. Using fresh crushed pineapple keeps it strong and stops the hair from breaking.
I also use organic shampoo as normal shampoos tend to damage it.
Temwa (Mwase's daughter) // I use coconut conditioner.
Lamishi Dauda //
When I was younger I always had my hair straightened and I was constantly using the creamy crack (hair chemical treatment). I wish I'd known how beautiful natural hair is.
Going natural was a game changer and for the first time I got to see my hair in its natural state when I was 20. YouTube is a hair bible and you can learn so much about how to take care of your hair from watching videos.
I have learnt there is nothing wrong with my unruly edges, it does not need to be sleek all the time. I highly recommend applying castor oil on your edges for growth.
Sa'ad Omar Balarbe //
I used to have a really bad hairline and thought I couldn’t do anything about it, so I didn’t take care of my hair much. Every time I tried to grow an afro my hair would keep breaking and falling out.
Five years ago my barber told me to start applying castor and garlic oil to my scalp and hairline. It’s done wonders ever since.
I deep condition my hair once in 10 days, wash and condition once a week, and sleep with a silk durag every night. I’ve stopped losing moisture since.
Amelia Mosely //
I'd tell my 12-year old self to never, ever, EVER chemically relax my hair. I’ve spent two years transitioning from straight to curly for the first time since I was a kid, but I could’ve had the best of both worlds all along with natural hair and the occasional blow out.
Now, I also swear by sulfate-free hair products and the wash ‘n’ go method of Apple Cider Vinegar rinse, followed by deep conditioning, then a bentonite clay, honey and oil mask (if you have time), finishing with leave-in and gel. It’s time consuming, but worth every minute in moisture!
Takani Clark //
The breakthrough in my hair journey was seeing a hair stylist who specialised in curly textures, that’s when I realised how wrong people had been cutting & styling me. I only straighten my hair a few times a year now, I invested in and adore my steam wand instead of a hot iron, it helps to conceal moisture and reduces heat damage. I only shampoo once a week, and finding the right conditioner changed the appearance of my curls and left me with a much silkier, tighter structure.
Years ago I learnt to use oils within my hair care, I love leaving-in kukui nut and coconut oil overnight; both have been used throughout Polynesia for hundreds of years. I’ll do this whenever my hair is really frizzy, dry and brittle.
Medhanit Barratt //
Mid-primary school I relaxed my hair to elongate the curls and it completely damaged my hair. After I realised how dead it was I went to a hairdresser and cut most it off, leaving me with a tiny little bob. In an attempt to hide its length I’d straighten it every single day.
In about year 9, I started seeing a new hairdresser who told me I’d broken a lot of hair and it wasn’t growing because of the way I’d been treating it. She’s been my saving grace! Finding a hairdresser that understands your hair type and doesn't take the easy option is so important.
I barely ever straighten my hair now. I wash and condition my hair with argon oil and immediately braid it into six or so cornrow style braids, taking them out a couple of days later. It gives a healthy slightly longer curly look without applying heat!
What's your story? Add your comment below or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.