26 August 2011

BEAUTY // the girls with the curls (part ii)

Recently I've gotten a few emails asking me to do an update on the girls with the curls: how to love your curly hair, a post I did back in February about naturally curly hair.

So here it is. A slightly disorganized but always sincere update on what I've learned in the last six months. Which is kind of a lot. There's a lot of things you just need to learn as you go along.

get a real hairdresser.
I've been scarred too many times by Supercuts hairdressers who haven't a clue how curly hair works. Seriously, people, it's just not the same as straight hair!

When looking for a haircut, you'll need to spend a few extra bucks if you have curly hair. Unfortunate, I know, but in my opinion absolutely necessary.

Look for these three things:

ONE, a salon exclusively for curly hair. These are more common in big cities.

TWO, a salon that's all-around awesome with very well-trained staff. If you're in Maine, Greater Portland area, go to Akari and ask specifically for Dee. She is magical. My grandmother, mother, and I all go to her and she's fantastic. Plus she has cool tattoos. I'm going myself on August 30th, the day before school. See you there, lovelies. ;)

THREE, a hairdresser who has curly hair herself. Even in aforementioned awesome salon (with the exception of aforementioned Dee), ask for a hairdresser who has naturally curly hair. She'll know better what to do with your locks.

if you're using Pantene, stop right now. 
I know, I know. I have upon occasion gushed about Pantene loving my curls. But... it doesn't.

What it actually does is coat each strand with wax, which will initially be great and make your hair look super-shiny. But after a couple months, your hair gets dull and frizzy because the cleaning power can't get through the wax buildup.

As Dee puts it, Pantene is like McDonald's for your hair. Junk food. Bad. Will probably last for a thousand years unchanged.

on the other hand, Moroccan Oil is amazingly fantastic.
If I could afford it I'd get every Moroccan Oil product ever made. Every single one. Even the wrong ones for my hair. It's that amazing.

But I can't. *weeps* So I use their Hydrating Styling Creme. It's the best thing that has ever happened to my hair! Plus it smells amazing. The original oil is also great for a little added shine and frizz control.

I've also heard good things about the Intense Curl Creme but I can't vouch for it.

stop using shampoo.
Seriously. Stop right now.

If your hair is dry (and if your hair is curly than in all likelihood it is also dry, it's a fact of nature) then overshampooing will make it worse. I cut shampoo out of my routine altogether, except after swimming in the ocean or a chlorinated pool (and even then sometimes not). My hair is so much better for it!

I once experimented with my hair. I didn't wash it for a week (I took my regular showers, but I put up my hair and didn't wet it). At the end of the week it wasn't greasy or knotty or anything. It actually looked pretty good.

I'm not saying to stop washing your hair — ew. But instead of washing it every day (even without shampoo) wash it, say, every other day. Find the right schedule that lets your hair's natural oils shine « Heehee. I made a pun and your hair will be way less frizzy. Overshowering strips your hair and leaves it dull and fuzzy.

frizz is not always your enemy.
I know girls with curls (including me, at one point) who are so afraid of frizzing up that they load their hair with product to keep it down. Guess how your hair turns out? Crunchy and stiff. Those two problems arise when you overthink your hair.

Just like good makeup, curly hair should be natural but somehow better.

Need proof that soft is better than totally unfrizzy? Look on the red carpet. Taylor Swift, one of my curly-hair icons (though my hair has smaller ringlets than hers) definitely has some flyaways and bits of hair that escaped the main curl (look at this picture). BUT, that's what makes her hair look so gorgeous.

So it's okay if your hair doesn't look like this all the time (hint: she got those curls with an iron, not genes). It's better to not kill the frizz with product. If you feel über-self-conscious about it, pop a hat on.

Fuzz is cute. Seriously. And plus, invite everyone to touch your hair. It'll be soft and you won't care if it gets frizzier!

"ethnic"/African-American/black hair is totally awesome.
I'm lost as to what is politically correct nowadays so I'm just going to say WHATEVER YOU WANT TO BE CALLED, I LOVE YOUR HAIR. Seriously. Big poofy hairdos are amazing. I wish I could pull it off. But... I'm Irish. Fate did not favor me.

So girls, don't relax or straighten or treat your hair. Everyone thinks it's gorgeous when it's natural. Really. They do.

PS: What IS the correct term? I have a friend who is half Indian and she's chill with "black" but I live in a saddeningly overwhelming white community where there is no diversity and so I am utterly clueless.

Go ahead and ask, I won't bite you. There's a lovely little comment section just for you.

I was wondering what you think of long curly hair with straightened bangs?
I think it depends on your hair. If you have Taylor Swift hair then it will probably work. You know, more relaxed. If you have my hair it will just look weird.
As a rule I say no to bangs with curly hair, even side bangs. Too much work, and straightening them every.single.day will make them really dry and wrecked.

Do you have a fav conditioner that I can find easily and is cheap?
I use L'oreal Vive Pro Hydra Gloss, you can get it at the supermarket. I'm going to ask Dee when I get my hair cut whether it's okay or McDonald's-y, but I've been using it a couple months and it seems okay.

What are your feelings about getting perms?
No. Just no.

When I comb my hair it takes forever because it's so knotted. Any tips?
Hmm, I'm afraid not. My hair never gets tangled because it's always in these defined ringlets/chunks that don't mix with each other. If it gets tangled more towards the nape of your neck you would probably be okay brushing there... in the shower I'd just put a couple million gallons of conditioner on it. Have you tried detangler? That might make things easier.

What can I do to give my hair less volume?
Don't brush it, definitely. Also try putting oil (like the Garnier Shine Serum) on your hands and smoothing it down. I'd recommend getting layers so it's an evenly distributed volume, though, because volume is one of the great things about curly hair!

Do you know any good non-drying shampoo for swimmers?
Hey, swim sister! If I do use shampoo, I get Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Hydrating shampoo. It's like knockoff Moroccan Oil and it works great. Also, when you wash your hair after getting out of the pool, rinse with cold. It makes your hair shinier.

If you don't use shampoo in your hair, what DO you use?
Just conditioner in the shower and a little pump of my Moroccan Oil when it's damp. Honestly it is totally clean. Smells good, too.



  1. Ahhh! Your hair is gorgeous. I actually want curly hair. Really badly.

  2. P.S. Unfortunately, I don't have curly hair. But thanks for sharing the tips! I'll apply some of them to my straight-sort-of-wavy-blonde hair. :)


  3. taylor swift has the best. hair. ever. :)

    puns are awesome.

    thanks for the post! even though i have (maybe literally) the straightest hair ever, i loved what you had to say.

    p.s. i agree with you on the african-american/black/no idea- hair! epic!

  4. I have suuuuper curly-frizzy-tangly hair. Recently I started following some of your previous curly-hair advice, [no brushing] and it helped the frizz, but here's the thing. When I comb my hair [in the shower, w/ conditioner] it takes me FOREVER because my hair is so knotted. Plus it hurts, and I'm afraid that I'm breaking it even though I'm not using a brush. Any hints? :) Thanks!

    PS - Your hair is super pretty. =D

  5. I desperately need a haircut. My layers have all grown out and I'm at the point where my hair is up every single day, without fail.

  6. I would agree with the first of this list. Get a hairdresser who knows how to work with curly hair! I got a haircut once and the lady said she knew how to work with curls, but when I got home and washed and styled my hair, it was boxy and awful. I had to get another hair cut.

    As for the dry hair part of this: I really think it depends on the hair type. My hair is curly, but it's also extremely greasy. If I don't wash it every day, it gets greasy. If I don't use shampoo it gets greasy. When I do use shampoo, it's nice and soft and usually not very frizzy. So I think it really depends on the type of hair how to best take care of it. I really do envy those of you with dry hair!

  7. Thank you! I have curly hair, but my top layers don't curl, which drives me crazy. I love what you said about hairstylists - totally agree. Mine has curly hair and she gives me so many tips.

    Question: Do you have a fav conditioner that I can find easily and is cheap? :)

  8. My mom was reading a journal by Laura Ingalls, and in it, she gave direction for a clean face and hair. She said the same thing about hair washing - don't do it every day. It will make your hair healthier and thicker, and if you think about it, ladies really had nice hair back then, considering like no shampoo or anything.

  9. You have AMAZING hair!

    Question: What are your feelings about getting perms? I used to have curly hair, but as I've gotten older it's relaxed and straightened out. I miss my curly hair!

  10. I have curly hair, it's not natural. I got a perm a couple years ago and it's never gone away. I'm learning to get used to it and love it. My friend's friend just told me to stop using shampoo and I thought that was weird. Now that you said it too, maybe I should try it. :)

    Thanks for the tips!

  11. I'll have my best friend read this. She's always asking me for tips, but since I have really weird hair that is wavy on some days and straight the next, I couldn't give her any advice.


    P.S. Taylor Swift's hair is curling iron curls. Look at all her pictures, the size of the curls are different in almost each one.

  12. From someone with a head full of natural long curls: As gorgeous as curls are, they are a lot of work...until you find what works for you, that is. Then they are so much easier then straight hair.

    Ditto to what you said about washing your hair less frequently. I did that for years and my hair became just yuck. That and pulling it up when it's still wet makes it so dry and brittle. A year ago I started getting serious about it though and now I finally have it nice again.

    For me I just 1.) use leave in conditions (J Beverly Hills has a great one) and 2.) apply some AG RE:Coil to the ends after washing. Have you tried the RE:Coil? I have tried so many products and this is by far the best. It leaves your hair so soft and smells fantastic.

    Then again, as you said, just letting it go natural is a great look, too.

  13. Good post Olivia I like this one better then your last one. :)
    I usually wash my hair every 2-3 days and never use shampoo. Every month or so I will just to clean my scalp,but thats my routine.
    After wards I'll put some leave in conditioner and some times a tad bit of gel,and it works great,also I sometimes don't wash out all of the conditioner I put in my hair,but if I'm going to use quite a bit of leave in cond. I don't.

    I totally agree with the part about hair salons,DO NOT go some where like best cuts,curly hair needs a 'good' hair salon. :)Oh,and layers are awesome with curly hair!

  14. i WANT curly hair sooo badly... :(
    guess i'll have to console myself with getting the straight hair genes from my dad by looking at yours & Taylor's hair. ;)

  15. Okay, so I've never heard the 'no-shampoo' bit before, but I may just try it. I have super thick wavy/curly hair and find that when I use shampoo (of any kind!) my hair gets stiff and feels as if it's been stripped. I finally cut layers into my hair after seeing that your curly hair didn't freak out on you, Olivia! And I am so glad that I did! The layers on a curly head are AWESOME. =)

  16. Thank you for the tips! My hair is curly and frizzy when its humid, and wavy when its dry out. Frizz control tip: I found that spraying my hair only on the top layer with Aveda sap-moss spray works really well, or the "Its a Miracle 10" leave in product spray! (It is a bit more on the expensive side, though.)

  17. My hair is almost EXACTLY like yours (maybe a little bit more curly) The thing with my hair is it gets really big...Really big. Not so much fluffy, it's just really thick. Is there somthing I could do to give my hair less body (I know sounds crazy!)
    Emily www.thenerveofverve.blogspot.com

  18. i wish i had curls! even just one. but i love morroccan oil just as much. sharing this info with my ringletted friends.

    www.paperplanesandmaryjanes.com (awesome giveaway going on now!)

  19. LOVE this post!! My hair is curly too, so thanks for these tips! I have to try Moroccan Oil! I actually have side bangs, but my hair is a bit more relaxed on top, so usually my bangs just get a little wavy and look fine. I tend to shy away from straightening them much because I just HATE the thought of damaging my hair like that!
    And I wish I could get away with not shampooing my hair, but I have swim team every day, and so I have to get that nasty chlorine out somehow! Do you know of a good non-drying product for swimmers? (:

    ♥ Kailyn

  20. Hmmm i think i'll have to try not shampooing my curls...
    Also a great product for curly hair is the John Frieda Finish cream. i put it in my hair every morning and it looks great

  21. So if you don't use shampoo in your hair, what do you use?

  22. I loved this post Olivia! =D Your hair is AMAZING. Alas, I have (like my friend Guinevere) the stick-straightest hair ever. But on the plus side, It's always smooth and soft and people always want to pet it :D My only problem is the my hair is SUPER oily and sirty and tangled by the end of the day. :P


  23. Ha ha!! Have you ever tried Dove shampoo and conditioner? They work pretty good for my curly hair but, I still have friz..one thing i totally hate about curly hair!! but like you said, friz isn't always your enemy.

  24. All your questions have been answered! Leave more if you like. You guys make me feel smart.

  25. Great post girl! i to have curly hair. Its not nice curly like yours though... its a mess..lol..
    I agree though.. stay away from Supercuts! Get a REALY stylist! :)

    I ADOR panteen on my hair.. I wanna switch to Tresame or Dove eventually but I gotta get through what i have left of Panteen ;p

  26. My hair is wavy. Mostly. If I don't wet it somehow in the moring it has a tendency to get frizzy. The great thing is I don't need to use any hair product. Which is a blessing. Do you have any tips for tying down the frizz without having to soak your head which can cause you to get a cold?

  27. @ Victoria: Never wet your hair without first combing it to get the knots out. If you jump in the shower and start washing your hair with knots in it, it will only become worse-a huge, matted mess. Water effectively "sets" the tangles in your hair.

  28. Also, make sure you run your fingers through your hair even as you're washing it, to keep it from getting tangling. Don't pile it all up on top of your head and rub it around, either. (Talk about asking for tangles!)

  29. But my hair is slightly curly (nice ringlets if I cut it shorter) and nearly straight after a couple days wear without washing. It was very straight when I was a child, but when I turned 12 it changed and I spent 3 years trying to figure out why it wouldn't stay straight after I straightened it. I used to wash it every other day, but my scalp has gotten less oily and quite sun-parched this summer so I've switched to every three days. (By the way, it's also important to protect your hair from sun damage.) My favorite hair product is an Olive Oil cream:

  30. these are awesome! my curly hair is a pain in the butt, but I'm always getting compliments on it ;) have you ever tried blow drying with a difuser? it works wonders!

  31. great tips! my mom has really curly hair and there are days when I take after her a lot. its good to see someone else who knows how to do curls right!
    p.s. a great book to read is called Curly Girl it has some great tips and even home-made organic ideas that work well too :)

  32. *agrees* it's all true. (from a curly girl)

  33. ahh! thanks so much for this. you don't know how much of a help you were. ur the best!

  34. What a timely post! I'm into the no/minimal shampoo thing too, especially during swim season. Urrgh I've been back and forth over the Pantene thing and just started using their conditioner again; it seems to be the only one that's not super-expensive and moisturizes. Maybe I shall switch again...

    The hairdresser thing really makes sense. This last time, I had my mom trim my hair instead of going! They always try to 'thin it out'... razor the ends and all that.

    Oh yes and I love love love Biosilk for a healthy hair serum. Fav products that I can't afford would be Bedhead curl cream, Bigsexyhair products, and Biolage's foaming mousse. :)

    I have some new tips! Thanks so much for this post! Oh yes and you are gorgeous. :)

  35. I loved this post!

    One thing to watch out for in products is silicones. Water usually can't wash them out and they need a sulfate (usually in shampoo) to get rid of them. Otherwise they buildup and make your hair nasty. They're easy to find in products, any ingredient ending in cone conol, or xane is a silicone.

    Another thing to look at is coconut oil! It does wonders for the hair. That and argan oil gel are my absolute faves for curly hair.

  36. LOVE the post!!!! I'm a VERY curly-haired natural blonde... you could say i have taylor's hair... maybe.

    I totally agree with every word of your post! I've been back and forth over Pantene for a while... the Aussie products make a good substitute.

    A good cheap conditioner that I use is... (k, don't laugh) just plain Suave. I gave it a try after my hair got overly frizzy from Pantene and to my suprise it worked super well! and it's suuuuuuper cheap. really.

    so, yeah... another 'thing' i do to my hair is use DevaCurl Heaven in Hair deep moisture treatment. It's a professional product that you put on your hair before you condition and let it sit for ten minutes. When you wash it out... it's REALLY like heaven in hair. :)

  37. one thing that works wonders for removing buildup from products like Pantene, gels, and others is just plain old white vinegar. Use it straight on just-washed hair. Just pour it on, scrub, and then rinse.

  38. (sigh) I almost wish I had curly hair, so I could just use those tips! It sounded like you were a pro and all! I ♥ your hair : )

  39. i have one more question if its not too late to ask...
    i have very curly short hair and i've noticed that if i brush it out in the morning it isn't as curly, just sort of wavy and frizzy. i like having curls though, should i just stop brushing my hair in the morning?

  40. OKAY--I realize this is super duper late...but I was off the computer/gone for a week and didn't get around to commenting until now. The way you describe your hair sounds very similar to mine. Defined individual curls, dry-ish and not greasy, prone to frizz. The only thing I'd say is that you look like you have slightly tighter curls than me.

    My question is this: often I'll shower at night just to save myself time in the morning. Do you have any tips about what to do with my hair once I wake up, since it's dry, curly, but maybe a bit frizzy?

    Thanks girl. =) xo

  41. @Libby: Yes, just comb with your fingers if it tangles.
    @Jennoelle: That's what I do. Make sure it's all-the-way dry before going to sleep, and if you sleep on a satin pillowcase it will reduce tangles and frizz.


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