Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Caring for your curly hair

So if you are like me and have curly hair, you probably experienced some __ period when you just didn't know what to do with your hair and spend hours, days, years trying to figure out how you can make your frizzy curly hair look like those Curly Sue locks. 

Well, let me tell you, my mother is Asian. That being said, she knew nothing about ethnic/curly hair and treated my hair like she did hers. Washed it every nigh, brushed it out and tried to put them in ridiculous ponytails leaving the shorter hair in the front of my face frizzy and sticking up. 
(yes that was me as a kid. don't ask me how I knew about the myspace peace sign then)

I think a majority of us curly haired girls opt for the easy way out - straighten it. I never got a perm as a child, but as soon as I learned how to use a hot comb (12? 13?) I was taking HOURS literally to straighten my hair almost everyday.

Then I discovered gel. My hair looked like I had greasy jerry curls but was stiff and broke my face out. 

I finally figured out how to manage my hair, with out doing any of those things, but then I came to Japan. Finding hair products for my hair type isn't the easiest. Worse is finding a hairdresser who knows how to manage curly hair. 
(ignore the contacts phase lol)

Anyway, before I get carried away, let me tell you the tricks/tips I discovered over the years. Maybe it can help some of the half Japanese/Black kids I see all over Tokyo who are definitely suffering the same problems as I did... omg.. it brings tears to my eyes... lol

1. Get the right hair cut. I say this first because nothing you do with your hair will look right (unless its braided or something) if you have the wrong cut on curly hair. Your hair would either end up like a christmas tree, or a round ball-shaped afro. Funny, I had saved a document on my computer years ago on what results came up for the right cut for curly hair. I coped and pasted it :

Graduated layers, stacked on top of one another, with more length at the crown (instead of underneath), allowing lots of curls and spirals to form in a way that's pretty, not overwhelming.

2. MOISTURIZE. yes... can't say it enough. Curly hair are just naturally drier. So we need to give it lots of moisture. It will keep your hair less frizzy, so get to it. I don't wash my hair everyday cause that strips the natural oils in my hair and makes it drier. So I wash every other day or so, but in between I just use conditioners. 1ce a week I use a deep conditioner, and I also use serums and other things like that daily.

3. Comb, don't brush. Now this one, I don't always do but do as I say, not as I do lol. You should only comb your hair when it's wet. I untangle my hair while I condition, it's less painful and untangles the hair faster. Once your hair dries DON'T comb it anymore. You'll make it frizzy!!!

4. Be careful using dryers. Use a diffuser if you will blow dry you hair, but honestly, letting it air dry will help keep the curls in place. Once your hair is combed out after the shower, you can use your fingers to twist the hair to guide how you want the curls to look like. Blow drying will mess that all up anyway (unless you use a diffuser) One option is to braid the damp hair, and pin it up all night. This will also help give your curls some structure for the next day when you take them out in the morning. 

5. Products. Gel, well I mean it works I guess but I don't recommend it. Nowadays I like using waxes I found here in Japan. They come in many different strengths for different purposes. They keep your hair in place and the curls together, but they don't get hard or flaky. The curls stay flexible, bouncy, but neat! I can't get pink moisturizer here obviously, haha, so I use serums and other leave in conditioners.

Sorry for the uber long post, but I hope this helps someone. I'd also like to know other tips if you have any! I'm sure I forgot other things that will come to me later, but let's leave this already long blog post where it is.