Current curl care: autumn 2014

Current curl care: autumn 2014

An intro.

Back in 2011, I became aware of Lor­raine Massey’s famous Curly Girl method. Hav­ing spent a life­time hear­ing both praise and shame about my hair (“it’s so pret­ty!” “you should straight­en it, you look like a wild woman!”), find­ing this book was real­ly val­i­dat­ing and helped me embrace my hair in a way I’d nev­er real­ly been able to.

I tried to stick with the method laid out in the book, but just…struggled. I strug­gled with it. Wash­ing my hair with con­di­tion­er? Drench­ing it in gel? Nev­er ever being able to brush it or tow­el-dry it? My hair seemed more healthy after doing it for a few months, but my scalp was con­stant­ly itchy and felt like I could nev­er quite get rid of any buildup that hap­pened. I also felt like the entire process was tedious with­out hav­ing enough of a pay­off. I even­tu­al­ly gave up and went back to the “typ­i­cal” sham­poo, con­di­tion, gel. My hair cer­tain­ly suf­fered, but my scalp felt so much bet­ter.

When I start­ed wear­ing make­up reg­u­lar­ly for the first time this past year, I start­ed focus­ing on hair care as well. I found some old sham­poo I’d got­ten when I tried to do the Curly Girl method a few years ago, and absolute­ly fell in love with it. My hair was soft­er, scalp was hap­pi­er, and every­thing seemed to be going great. So nat­u­ral­ly, that sham­poo was dis­con­tin­ued (Burt’s Bees, you have betrayed me!), and I’ve been on a search for the per­fect hair care regime ever since.

Pictured: the frizz and unruliness of my hair. Somehow not pictured: IT IS ALSO OILY, WHILE BEING FRIZZY AND DRY. I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

Pic­tured: the frizz and unruli­ness of my hair today. Some­how not pic­tured: IT IS ALSO OILY, WHILE BEING FRIZZY AND DRY. I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

My hair right now.

I’ve been adjust­ing my rou­tine as need­ed for the past 8 months, but espe­cial­ly as fall has set­tled in (and with it my rise in the con­sump­tion of cof­fee and orange juice), my face and scalp have been dry and flaky. My face care rou­tine hasn’t changed much at all — I’ve just added a cou­ple drops of vit­a­min E oil, and it’s been fine. My scalp, on the oth­er hand, is still con­stant­ly itchy and just in des­per­ate need of help. I’ve also noticed that as my scalp is more unhap­py, my hair has got­ten frizzi­er soon­er than usu­al. Typ­i­cal­ly the third morn­ing after doing my hair, it’s a lit­tle frizzy but still man­age­able. Late­ly, though, on the sec­ond morn­ing after styling, it’s simul­ta­ne­ous­ly frizzy and a lit­tle oily (which is UNHEARD of for my hair!).

My process.

I only wash my hair 2–3x a week. I find that any more than that, and it gets dry, frizzy, and gen­er­al­ly unhap­py and unpre­dictable. The last thing I want is for my curls to be even less pre­dictable than they already are!

The first thing I do in the show­er is wash my hair. I’ve tried not using my fin­ger­nails on my scalp, but this always leaves my scalp feel­ing like there’s a build-up that I haven’t quite washed off and typ­i­cal­ly leads to my scalp itch­ing like crazy. When I’m fin­ished rins­ing the sham­poo from my hair, I use a gen­er­ous amount of con­di­tion­er and leave it in while I wash the rest of my body. The last thing I do before exit­ing the show­er is rinse most (but not all!) of the con­di­tion­er out of my hair.

When I get out of the show­er, I very light­ly tow­el-dry my hair — I’m care­ful not to rub the tow­el over my head, but just to press it to my head to soak up excess water. Then I grab argan oil and dis­trib­ute it through my hair, focus­ing on the tips. I use a rather gen­er­ous amount of this, as well, then top it off with a frizz-reduc­ing hair spray. I let my hair air-dry for a few hours, then seal the ends with a lit­tle bit of gel right before bed. In the morn­ings, usu­al­ly all that’s required is a lit­tle bit of frizz-reduc­ing hair spray and shak­ing my hair out, and I’m good to go for a few days!

For the past few weeks, I’ve also been doing a jojo­ba oil mask on my scalp for an hour or so before my usu­al sham­poo and con­di­tion­ing, but unfor­tu­nate­ly the supreme­ly itchy scalp remains.

I feel like my process is a lit­tle too time-con­sum­ing, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing I have a slight­ly-grown-out pix­ie cut, so any input my fel­low curly girls have is more than wel­come!

The products.

Sham­poo. I’ve tried Aveeno’s mois­tur­ing sham­poo and Ogx Moroc­can Argan Oil Sham­poo, but both of them seemed to strip more mois­ture from my hair than they put back into it. So I recent­ly switched to Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibis­cus sham­poo, which is total­ly sul­fate and paraben free. Thus­far, I’m real­ly enjoy­ing it. It doesn’t leave my hair feel­ing com­plete­ly robbed of mois­ture, but it also doesn’t feel like it leaves any sort of residue on my scalp or hair. My curls have been a lot soft­er since I start­ed using it, and I’m all about how the com­pa­ny focus­es on empow­er­ing women and uses sus­tain­ably renew­able organ­ic resources.

Con­di­tion­er. At the rec­om­men­da­tion of a cou­ple of friends, I tried the Ogx Moroc­can Argan Oil Con­di­tion­er. Ini­tial­ly, I real­ly liked it, but I’m not sure it’s work­ing as well as I want to think it is because of the sheer amount I have to use (not quite a hand­ful). No mat­ter what con­di­tion­er I use, I end up leav­ing it in my hair for 10–15 min­utes before most­ly rins­ing. I try to make sure there’s just a lit­tle bit left still in my hair before get­ting out of the show­er.

Argan oil. I use either the Pen­e­trat­ing or Extra-Pen­e­trat­ing Moroc­can Argan Oil from Ogx, usu­al­ly a half-dol­lar amount or more. I also use a tiny amount of this in the morn­ings when I wake up and need to smooth away some fly-aways. I can­not say enough good things about this prod­uct. Seri­ous­ly. If you have thick, dry, curly hair, go buy some. Now.

Sprays, gels, and creams. This is where I’m pret­ty sure I need to change some­thing. I typ­i­cal­ly use not doing this, but wasn’t too thrilled with the results.)

Things I’m going to try.

Wash­ing my hair less. I’ll still be show­er­ing 2x-3x week­ly, but I’m going to try sham­poo­ing my hair only 1x a week, and just rins­ing and con­di­tion­ing it the oth­er times, just to see if that helps my scalp retain its nat­ur­al oils a lit­tle bet­ter.

Coconut oil hair and scalp masks. We found a nice big jar of coconut oil at a local mar­ket for pret­ty cheap, and I’ve read rave reviews from friends and strangers alike about the mag­i­cal prop­er­ties of coconut oil for my hair. So tonight, I’m going to try it and see if it helps calm my scalp a bit.

Switch­ing con­di­tion­ers. Thanks to Ulta’s recent Buy 1 Get 1 50% sale cou­pled with their 20% off your entire pur­chase coupon, I was able to pick up some hair prod­ucts I was run­ning out of, so I picked up Shea Moisture’s Hibis­cus and Coconut con­di­tion­er to go with the sham­poo. I’m going to try it to see if it works bet­ter with my hair than the Ogx argan oil con­di­tion­er does, and if I could maybe get away with using less of it.

What about you?

What do my fel­low curly peo­ple do for your hair, espe­cial­ly in the harsh fall and win­ter months? Any input on things I might be over­look­ing or over­do­ing in my own rou­tine?

Posted in Fat Girl,