Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Curly Hair Secret Tips: Clearing Up Confusion

Although my own hair is more wave than curl, I do have ringlets embedded throughout my tresses.  In fact, famous Curly Girl, Lorraine Massey when I met her many years ago after her Curl Bible was published, told me I should let my curls out.

The issue with my hair, which I discussed with Lorraine, is because of the length of my hair (below my waist) and the weight, the curls get compressed in the back at the nape of my neck.

(Goldwell Brown Collection - KPSS - All Rights Reserved).

My own unusual curl pattern highlights the most important Curly Hair Secret: no two naturally curly haired people are the same.

Therefore, the haircut, hairstyle, products and techniques you use for your own natural curls will always be a unique experience.

Which brings us to Curly Hair Secret Tip #1:

1.  Build your own Curly Care book.

Yes it's great to read what the experts have to say like Lorraine and Ouidad, but ultimately the curls you cultivate and wear out in the world are totally your own.  Start a Curl Journal to write down details about the very best hair cut you experienced and with what hairdresser.

Keep track of different products you try and which ones work best for your ringlets.  Cut out photos of curl hairstyles you would like to try for your own curls.

(Goldwell Brown Collection - KPSS - All Rights Reserved).

Over the years I have created a few different hair and beauty journals including a Long Hair Journal, a Weight Loss Journal and a Naturally Wavy/Curly journal.  It helps me stay focused on my current hair goals and review my hair histories.

2. Find A Curly Hair Expert

All curly hair has a mind of its own, especially when its not layered to remove excess bulk and honor individual curl patterns.  Don't settle for just any old hairdresser.  Take the time to find a hairdresser who truly understands curly hair.  Many hairdressers with naturally curly hair are ideal because they truly understand how curls behave.

Where to find a great curly hair expert?  When you see someone with gorgeous curls stop them and ask who their hairdresser is.

You can also search on various forums on the web for recommendations.  Visit the Hair Talk Forums which has an area devoted to natural curls.  Ask for recommendations there.

(Goldwell Lowlights Collection - KPSS - All Rights Reserved).

If you're in the DFW area, I personally recommend Rose Zuniga as a great hair colorist who is very talented with natural curl and wave patterns.  She has done wonders for my own color and cuts.

3.  Find The Best Products For Your Natural Curls.

The best products will help you create the best ringlets.  Unfortunately there is no guaranteed list of naturally curly products.  Since all natural curls are unique you will need to experiment.  If you take the time to research, you should be able to quickly narrow down the list of products that are right for you.

Take your time and do your research and don't let anyone try to tell you something is not right for you unless you have experienced first hand.

4.  Keep A List Of All Your Favorite Curly Hair Tips

Whether you keep your favorite naturally curly tips in your Curly Journal or create a separate tips notebook, keeping track of natural curl tips is a great way to remember them.  In the past I would see tips and think they were great, but promptly forget them.  The benefit of creating a notebook and adding any snippets you find, is you can also experiment with the various tips.

If you try the tips and they work great, notate your journal with your favorite system.  I always use stars with 1 being a bomb and 5 being a blast.

Listed below are some of my own favorite naturally curly hair tips I have collected over the past ten years.  Feel free to try any you might like.  I would also love to hear your own tips and feedback at [email protected].

-  When natural curls are wet or damp they are most fragile.  Allow hair to air-dry slightly or towel blot to remove excess moisture before detangling.  Always use a wide tooth comb or large pick.  Never use a brush which can stretch tendrils and cause damage.

- Use a leave-in detangler to remove knots, snarls or snags on natural curls.  A spray type detangler product usually works best for natural curls.  If you prefer, use a light leave-in conditioner as your detangler.

(Image of Actress Alex Kingston formerly of NBC's ER - - All Rights Reserved).

- If you have naturally curly hair that tends to be fine or has a tendency to split on the ends, consider sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase.

- Avoid using a brush on natural curly hair even when it is bone dry.  Instead, always use a wide tooth comb or pick,  Make sure the ends are smooth or have soft rubber tips.  Avoid combs or picks with rough teeth or edges which can rip your delicate tresses.

- Naturally curly hair may become full of static at various times of the year (depending on the climate).  Prevent static by using a good leave-in conditioner or defrisant cream before you leave the house. Apply a little extra at the ends where your curls may connect with other items full of static such as clothing or sweaters.

- Chemical hair color and lighteners may negatively impact your curl. While the curl pattern may not be lost, the tightness of your curls may be altered.  Although color may increase volume, it can also make delicate curls more dry and frizzy.  Do your research before you color.  Weigh the pros and the cons.

- One great way to achieve great highlights is to ask your natural curl hair color expert to hand paint stripes of highlights and/or lowlights throughout your entire hair while the natural curl pattern is in full bloom.  This method allows the curls to be painted in their natural ringlet shape and form providing a gorgeous and natural result.

- When applying any type of styling products divide curls into lots of small sections.  Make sure each ringlet section is well coated in order to ensure good  absorption and ultimate tight curl formation.

- Turn up the silk barometer.  Lather your hair with your regular cleansing product, rinse with warm water, apply conditioner combing it out with a wide-toothed comb or pick. Rinse your curls with a slow stream of cold to cool water.  Your curls with be soft and full of shimmer.

- Shower at night before you go to bed. Towel blot after your final rinse.  Apply leave-in conditioner and/or favorite defrisant, gel or mouse. Comb conditioning cocktail through strands working from ends to the roots.  Wrap damp hair in a smooth bun and sleep on hair overnight.

Unwrap your bun as you prepare for your day.  If the moisture level in your hair is perfect, apply a styling gel or anti-frizz product by rubbing product between palms of hands and then finger picking through the curls. If hair is completely dry, spritz first with water bottle before applying styling gel. After apply styling products let rest of hair air dry naturally.  Viola, gorgeous curls with lots of spunk.

-  Ask your haridresser to cut your curls while they are dry. This way your curls fall in their natural curl shape. Avoid pulling curls while they are being cut.

- Comb hair with conditioner in and let sit for a few minutes (use a wide tooth comb). Then rinse. Try not to comb hair afterwards, instead, use your fingers! For finishing and shine use a moisture enriching pomade.

Warning: For some natural curls, use of the fingers will actually made the curls too big or add frizz.  Follow your own curl karma.

- Naturally tighten ringlets by spritzing curls with a mixture of a teaspoonful of fresh squeezed lime juice mixed with a half-pint of bottled water.   Allow hair to air dry.  The citric acid and oils in the lime makes the outer layers the curls contract which tightens the shape.

- Diet and regular haircuts are important in maintaining healthy hair. Too much sugar has been proved to weaken the scalp making it harder to control irritation.

- Always follow a schedule of regular haircuts.  This eliminates the risk of split ends which are ultimately damaging to hair.

- Try the famous Calgon Water Softener trick. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of Calgon into 8 oz. of warm water.  Pour Calgon water mix over your curls after your final rise.  Many curly folks swear it will help to detangle with the added bonus of helping manage frizz and amping up softness.

- Wash curls, condition and towel blot to remove excess moisture.  Apply a good styling cream.  Take curls and separate them into small curl sections.  If you have time separate your curls, lock by lock. While hair is damp and covered with lotion, twist each curl section tightly. (Varying the size changes the finished look) Try twisting ringlets all over your head.  This will create gorgeous tight Alex Kinston style ringlets.  Wear the ringlets down, pulled back or up.


Although I have only shared a small fraction of my years of curly hair tips, why not start now making your own fabulous list.  One of the best ways to have the most fabulous curls is to have no fear.  Finding the very best treatment and styling programs for your ringlets means being willing to take risks.  Remember, the bigger the risk, the bigger the rewards.

Finally, don't ever let anyone tell you how you should wear your curls.  If you love them straight, then do it with abandon.  If you prefer your tresses curly, then go for it.  Just because you have natural curls doesn't mean you have to become a slave to them.  The world of hair is full of great options.  Exercise them with joy and fun.

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