Thursday, March 22, 2012

How do you handle your curly hair?

What I WISH my hair looked like! (actress Debra Messing)

I've had curly hair all my life, and although my mane was once the bane of my existence (clever, huh?:), I've now made peace with it.

But after reading my friend Ashley's post on curly hair, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned in my years of dealing with curliness and ask if you have any advice to share.

Not long ago, I blogged about the complicated hair routine I had to go through in the 70's.  Thankfully, excellent modern products and styling tools now mean that I can have straight hair, too.

I would have to say I divide my time about 70/30 with 70 being wearing my hair at least somewhat straight, and 30 allowing it to dry naturally, with the help of styling products that make the curls look prettier and less frizzy.

Here are a couple of products I really love:

Dream Curls Curl Perfecting Spray by John Frieda:

Believe me, I've tried all the high-end products for curls, and this works as well or better than most of them and at a fraction of the price!

I spray this on after washing my hair, then either let it dry naturally or partially dry it with a diffuser.  (If your blow-dryer doesn't have a diffuser, you can get a cheap foam one that looks like a microphone shield at Sally's Beauty Supply that fits on most dryers.  They are a boon for curly hair, cutting down on the frizzies considerably.)

Three things I love about this product:

  • It gives your curls SOFT definition, not crunchy crispiness!
  • The next day (if, like me, you're not one who washes your hair every day), you can spray it on again, scrunch slightly, and the curls are magically back in place.
  • It's inexpensive, and you can buy it almost anywhere.
Sleek and Shine Anti-humidity Smoothing Milk by Garnier

My sister actually just introduced me to this product when I was in Texas, and I made sure to get some for myself right away.

This is a terrific product whether you intend to wear it curly or straight.  If you're wearing it curly, work it through your hair BEFORE putting the Dream Curls in.  If you're wearing it straight, work it into your hair AFTER blow-drying and BEFORE using a straightening iron.

Other than these two mainstays, I'll try most products.

Lately I've begun to use Velcro rollers when wearing my hair smooth, but not completely straight.  I will curl each section with a large curling iron before putting a roller in and spraying it.  I totally use the technique demonstrated by Emily Eddington of Beauty Broadcast in this tutorial.

I rarely wear my hair completely straight--I prefer a full, voluminous look with some teasing and body.

Here are some pics of some of my hair looks:

Curls when my hair was a bit shorter

All-out curls

A flippy look (loosely) based on LolaMarie7's "Texas Barbie"

One of my straighter looks

Trying Kate Bryan of The Small Things Blog's "Loose Waves"

By the way, I have both a large curling iron and a straightening iron, and often use them interchangeably.  I'd like to invest in a very small Hot Tools curling iron to add scattered ringlets when I wear my hair curly.

What do YOU do with your curly hair?  Have any products that you can't live without?  Any techniques that have worked well for you?  Let me know in my comments!


Ashley said...

Thanks for the shout-out! :o)

I think I'm definitely going to try the Dream Curls product. I used to use an anti-frizz serum from Garnier, but I must've developed an allergy to it because the last few times I used it, I felt like my throat was closing up. I quit having that issue when I quit using it. :oP I might try the "milk" product, though.

And I love, love, LOVE Debra Messing's hair! And Melina Kanakeredes' gorgeous locks!

Reformed Grits said...

Cindy, my oldest daughter has really curly hair! (You can see pics on FB.) She used to straighten it with a flat iron, but finally capitulated and now embraces her ringlets! She uses the John Freida Frizz-Ease Serum while it is wet, and literally nothing else. We read once that drying with an old t-shirt is preferable to towel-drying too which I think she does most of the time (when it is convenient!) Looking forward to hearing what others have to share!

Debbi@SheAccessorizesWell said...

I don't have curly hair. I wish I did, my is straight as a board. However, I know some people who have curly hair. I have heard that Bumble and Bumble Curl products are good. Check this out.
They have videos too. I use their products and love them.

Cindy Swanson said...

Thanks, Debbi! I've also heard good things about Bumble and Bumble.

Marie-Thérèse said...

Hi Cindy. This is definitely a post after my own heart. I spent years trying to tame my curls and finally learned how to make the most of them about 10 years ago. Then, to my delight, I discovered Deva Curl products -- soft, shiny, touchable curls.

Your readers might enjoy my take on this:

Redheaded Daybook said...

i have SUPER curly hair that loves to frizz.
when i was young my parents would lather my head with tons of mousses!
once in high school i straightened my hair ALL THE TIME. until 2 years AFTER i graduated. now i go between curly and straight. and i cant live without mousse (two types: curling control and smoothing mousse), frizz buster and sometimes light hairspray. usually when my hair is long i just need the mousse.

thanks for sharing your secrets!

CurylJRM said...

I am 50 years old this year. For years, I used a product on my curls that worked great. Two years ago, it was discontinued!!! Needless to say, I was CRUSHED!!! I called the product line's 800 number and explained my situation. I asked if they had a product they were recommending to replace the one I had been using. They made some suggestions---HORRIBLE!!! I have been searching high and low for something to work. Finally, I saw a video on YouTube with a girl who had hair like me!!! She was caucasian, not mixed, with hair that looked similar to mine. She was using Kinky Curly Custard. I had seen that product a million times and thought it was only for women of color!!! At that point, I figured I had nothing to lose and tried it!! I can't say enough good things about this product!!! It is WONDERFUL! It doesn't flake, it's not sticky, and it smells heavenly!!! Give it a try...I think you'll love it!!!

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