Ah, we’re near the end of our journey in the basics of curly hair care! This is the third part in a three-part series describing the foundations of hair care, applicable to everyone from waves to the tightest of kinky corkscrews. If you’re interested in reading about Curly Basics: Product Guide, and Curly Basics: how to wash/co-wash, click the links! If you’re here to learn about maintenance (or, code for, how to get your hair to stay awesome without having to wash every. single. day.), then you can keep on reading!
So, you’ve got your head in a t-shirt, the humidity is through the roof, and you’re staring at your screen frantically yelling, “What do I do next, Jess?!?!?” First of all, stop it, no one needs to experience a crazy t-shirt-headed person yelling at a computer. Second of all, grab that alcohol-free gel that I was describing to you in the first part of this series. Gently bend over so your hair is hanging down, and take the t-shirt off. Squish up your hair, while still bent over. How does it feel? Pretty moisturized? If so, great! Grab a nice dollop of gel (depending, again, on hair size), and beginning at the ends, squish up through the hair until it’s all used up. If, however, you feel like the ends are a bit dry, grab conditioner (leave-in, or regular, whichever you prefer), and apply a small amount, focusing on the ends. Add the gel after the conditioner is nicely worked in. Now, for my people who are extra coarse and curly, check out this website for some other oil and butter sealant options, instead of gel. Sometimes even aloe vera gel (the kind from health food stores, that needs to be refrigerated) is great at holding a curl.
Next, flip your head upright, let your curls fall in place by shaking your head gently a few times, then rearrange gently, as necessary. If you feel like it’s an extra humid day, or you want a sleeker look, add a little more gel. Don’t worry about the crusty look: if it’s alcohol and silicone-free, once your hair is mostly dry, you can shake and tousle to break any stiffness. Then you’re just left with lovely, touchable, perfect curls!
Now, sometimes my hair can take up to 5 OR 6 HOURS to dry. Ain’t nobody got time for that! While I absolutely abhor heat styling (I’m looking at you, straightening iron!), using a diffuser on a blow dryer with a cool setting can save lots of time, and add some extra bounce. I usually just do it for 10 minutes, just to speed up the process. Wow, gorgeous curls!
But wait – I slept on them last night and now they’re looking a little…well…less than fabulous. That’s not ok! You deserve fabulosity, honey! Keep a spray bottle with homemade distilled lavender water (recipe here, second comment down), and spritz it on. It reactivates the gel in your hair, and can also be used as a ‘spot clean’ and ‘scalp soother’ in between washes. It also smells amazing, and sometimes I just use it to freshen up my car, or put some on my pillow to help me sleep. Mmmm, lavender…
So, there you have it! And although I said that we’re near the end of our curly hair care journey, it is a process that takes time to figure out what works best for you. I’ve given you some good guidelines to start experimenting, and I’ll be including lots of products and homemade recipes in the weeks and months to come that will hopefully prove to be of some use. Let me know if you’ve ever had success with lavender spray, gel, or if this is your first time hearing all of this curly talk! Thanks for reading, my dears!