Recently I shared how fed up I have become with straightening my hair. I have a ton of hair (it’s a blessing and a curse, ladies – I promise!). The time involved in blowing it out and then straightening it since I don’t have the arms, hands, or skills of a pro stylist is intense. Not to mention, the heat tools consistently used on my hair for the last 2 years have left my hair dry and damaged.
I received so many messages from my fellow curly girls who have been wanting to do the same. The idea of just being able to wear your hair as-is seems to be a freeing thought among us women. And while every curl and mane is different and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another, it got me thinking. Maybe sharing the journey of bringing my curls back to their best selves might be entertaining. So here we go with my curly hair journey and embracing my natural curls… part one. Because it’s a process.
Just so you have the full picture…
I have always had wavy hair. However, they were pretty much contained to the bottom layers of my hair. Because of this and because there are like twelve more layers on top of them, it was never anything I tried to accentuate in my younger years. However, as I entered my child-birthing years it was crazy to see that with each cub my hair became curlier and curlier. Those postpartum hormones are crazy, y’all. So my waves started to morph into tighter ones while my other layers started to catch on to what was going on.
For reference, this is my hair naturally air-dried back in 2018, shortly after having our sweet Brooks. Back then I was wearing my hair natural all the time and it showed in my curls. The thing with natural curls is you can’t beat them up. When you do over long periods of time, they lose their umph. The constant straighening and hydration loss through heat tools makes it so they can’t remember their full potential. Have I made this awkward?
One thing I have noticed is that my curls have become tighter. This picture was shortly after Brooks, but over the course of a year or so following giving birth to him, my curls have continued to adjust. So it’s anyone’s guess at this point as to what I will end up with after this curly hair journey and embracing my natural curls.
Since my days of wearing my hair consistently natural over two years ago, I have ditched unhealthy products. So… the synthetic fragrances, phthalates, parabens, the junk found in products? All things I have worked to ditch completely so this curly hair journey is not just about wearing my curls naturally, but working with them naturally. Easier said than done since curly hair can sometimes call for a lot of product to make look good.
I’m sure you are thinking, so what Kara. However, since moving to Nashville almost two years ago I have tried to wear my natural curls, air-dried like I had done so many times before, and it has not been the same. They don’t feel like they had before. The change in climate and the added humidity in the air is new for my curls. So what worked before in the dry desert heat will not work here. It’s like starting from square one. And hopefully, I can come out of this curly hair journey looking like Blake Lively instead of Monica Geller
So, here we go! I am simply starting with what I have and plan to share the things, products, and tools that help me restore my curls. When you are in the process of trying to get your curls back or embrace your natural texture, you have to have patience. It truly takes time to allow your curls to retrain themselves and look as good as they can. Getting fed up and going back to heat tools and straightening will put you right back at square one.
My first day washing my hair with no intention of straightening it was this past Sunday, March 21st. One thing that has always worked well for my hair and that helps my curls from getting matted underneath is combing them out in the shower. This Ouidad wide-tooth comb is one I have had for years and I love it.
If you want to add this step to your curly routine, make sure you get a wide-tooth comb. This will allow you to reduce tangles, but won’t break up your curls and cause more frizz. I simply comb my hair out completely with conditioner applied and then rinse after.
Do not use terry cloth towels on your hair! This is a universal rule for all curls. The terry cloth material causes your curls to frizz. You either want to find yourself a curly hair-friendly shower cap or use a cotton t-shirt to wrap up your wet hair after you have washed it. I simply use my husband’s older t-shirts to wrap my hair up after.
This is how my hair looked on Sunday just after washing it.
Because I am working to avoid any products with unhealthy ingredients and chemicals, I went ahead and used my DIY all-natural beach wave spray. A combination of a few essential oils, witch hazel, and water. While this is great and really works for texture and that beachy summer vibe, I am hoping to find additional products that will help my curls be more defined and curly. But I’m starting with what I have to start letting my curls restore themselves.
If you are not concerned with ingredients, one product that I had a lot of success with is the Kristin Ess Curl Defining Creme. Inexpensive, you can find it at Target and it really did make a difference for my curls a few years back. And while it is phthalate, paraben, and sulfate-free, it rates a whopping 8 on the Think Dirty app because of fragrance (on a scale of 10 being the worst). Those darn synthetic fragrances, I’m telling ya.
One product I did grab since I knew I was diving into this whole curly journey thing was the Xtava Black Orchid hair diffuser. This thing is huge! Now, it has to be said that I was totally influenced by Miss Hale who has been a wealth of knowledge with curly hair care and has an incredible head of curls herself. Like, literal goals. She swears by this diffuser for curly hair. I figured I would want it in my arsenal.
While I would love to allow my hair to air dry, I know there will be times that I can’t wait hours. And from learning some tips from Miss Hale, curls need help to look their best so it might be something I want to experiment with.
I had to buy a new hairdryer that worked with the Xtava diffuser and found this one at Ulta. Just in case you are needing to do the same – wink! It’s the Infiniti Pro Lightweight by ConAir.
On Sunday, though, I wanted to see how my curls did by themselves. No tools aside from that DIY spray. After a few hours, this is how they were looking. They definitely need some bounce back on those top layers. But I can see a glimmer of hope in that front section. If I can get my entire head to do that? Look out world!
You can see the layers underneath and how tight those waves are. It’s crazy to see how much my hair has changed over the years through having cubs!
I know that I need to consider getting some layers to help with the weight. Right now, my hair is so heavy that my curls are weighed down immensely. Adding some layers to my hair might help them spring up a bit.
And in full transparency, within just a little bit of snapping these pictures, my hair was piled onto my head. This hair is a lot, y’all! And my curls were just frizzy enough to be annoyed by them. But I have some products I am going to try showing up soon so I will see how those might help my curls.
I’m thinking maybe a once-a-month share on how this curly hair journey and embracing my natural curls is going. I’m hoping to be able to share a visual difference with those of you wanting to do the same. As I said before, it’s a lot of patience to allow everything we did to fight our curls to undo itself. Two years of consistent blow-drying and straightening. It’s going to be a journey for sure.
Any questions feel free to leave them below! I’m not an expert, but happy to share what I have discovered! And got any tips? Leave those as well because your girl is going to need all the help she can get! Wink!