Okay, so ever since I started this blog only nearly a year ago, I have been getting a lot of questions about my hair. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your compliments, questions and encouragement on my natural hair throughout the months. I love all this curl positivity that's going on!!
And I definitely could have used that a few years ago when I turned my back on relaxers and the "good hair" nonsense and set out on a path less travelled. Into the curly-girl zone. So before I get down to the most popular questions I've received, I thought it may be helpful to give you a brief look at my own personal journey, going from hair straighteners, relaxers, curling irons, serums, etc to nothin' but lots and lots of conditioner!
I started getting relaxers when I was 8 years old. It was actually for no other reason than the fact that my mother had to get to work on time and couldn't spend every morning tackling the hugely dense, tangled mess that was my hair. Years of relaxers programmed my mind to believe that the only way to wear my hair was straight and that curly/nappy hair was pretty much a curse. I grew up in an all white and asian community and my mixed background stuck out in pretty much every way. Straight hair was my only desperate option to fit in. So I stuck with it.
It wasn't until I moved to the East Coast and saw natural girls all over the place. One fabulous girl in particular, a Jewish/Italian curly girl told me to love my curls and get natural. She turned me on to one of the best curly hair product lines in the world that I proceeded to use for the next 6 years almost exclusively. Don't worry, I will share this magic potion.
But I was terrified to stop my relaxers. So for a few years, I stopped straightening my hair and wore relaxed curls
With all the relaxing over the years, I started getting careless with the chemical and my hair began to deteriorate. I was also getting tired of feeling like I had to hide my hair. Like there was shame in having extremely curly locks. So when Solange Knowles cut off her hair and didn't look back, Chris Rock unveiled real hair shame to the rest of America, and a new job sat me next to one of the most beautiful natural-haired girls I've ever met, I decided to start over. Completely over!
I shaved everything off.
At first it was awesome. Sinead O'Rebellion!!
And then it wasn't. I felt completely unattractive. I had realized my straight hair had become quite a crutch over the years acting as the majority of my "beauty" and with it all cut off, I wasn't sure where I stood... I was completely vulnerable so even though it was kind of a pity party for that first year, I learned a lot. About natural and about my hair.
I tried every product, watched every YouTube video and read every natural hair blog I could find. I learned a lot because the information is invaluable of course (so soak it allll up!!). I twisted, braided and bleached my hair in all sorts of experiments, and it's so much fun. But I began to think I had to do some awesome laborious style every day to feel good about my hair. So I let it all go and concentrated on me.
With all the vlogs and blogs and forums, the hardest pill to swallow was coming to terms with how realistic my natural haircare regimen would be as well as my ultimate hair expectations.
I wasn't going to magically have different hair or better hair or bigger curls if I tried a certain cream or serum... all I could do with my hair was make it as healthy as possible and keep it that way. Also, there are curly-girl sensations on YouTube and all over the web. They spend lots of time styling their hair in a myriad of ways and using tons of amazing , different products - and they all look fabulous. But that's not me. I don't like using a lot of products, I spend almost no time on my hair and for better or worse, that fact is what ultimately made me come to terms with going natural.
So let's get to it.
I don't like spending time styling my hair. It's a personal thing. I am a wash-and-go gal every single day and I use a blow dryer because I can't stand walking out of the house with wet hair. Especially during the Winter.
I wash my body every day. Therefor I rinse my hair as well. I NEVER use shampoo. I use a cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. I don't dilute it, I pour a cup full of it on my head and detangle my hair with my fingers.
For me, pure vinegar works like a charm. Vinegar is a natural clarifier. I use it daily to clean out any dirt/oil/conditioner build up from the day before. It instantly makes my hair suuuuper soft and easy to detangle. Who'da thought?
- When I get out of the shower, I pat my hair lightly with a towel and then shake my head hard several times
- I use a blow dryer setting it on it's highest heat and it's fullest air flow and blast it all over my head until my hair and scalp are relatively dry
Sometimes I don't blow dry if I'm not in a hurry to get out of the house. I find that when I do blow dry though, my curls don't shrink nearly as much and my hair is bigger.
1. Dove - Nourishing Oil Care Line
This whole line is amazing, making my hair soft and manageable in almost seconds. It's a very simple daily line to keep my hair consistently pretty. Also, it doesn't tend to build up easily.
2. Redken All Soft Conditioner
Makes my hair shiny, fragrant and super soft. It's a great all around conditioner and works well on my dense curly hair, which is impressive. If you use, fill up your hand!
3. Devachan - Conditioner One
This cream is thick as thieves. Brilliant! And makes my curls clump together more, making them thicker and more defined. I only put this in my hair on special occasions though as it's very thick and tends to build up very fast. It's a super humectant. I have used every single product of Devachan and love it all. It really is a revolutionary line for girls with major curls and kinks.
To make my hair shiny, I simply hold my head over very cold water after I wash it. The cold water closes the hair shaft making the "scales" (I call them) lay in one direction, causing the strands to reflect light - thus look shiny. No product. Just water ladies.
Since I'm a minimalist, I don't really like a lot of products in my bathroom. I keep it simple with vinegar and one conditioner. I go back and forth between Redken and Dove dependent upon where I am when I'm replenishing my toiletries and products. Either Bartell's or Ulta.
SO! I hope this has been helpful. I know I don't take as much time with my hair as others, or use all the exotic brands that other curly girls are raving about but this is what works for me. Maybe if you try some of my tricks, you'll have a positive experience. If not, rinse and... try something else!