I came to grips some time ago that I have very wavy/somewhat curly hair – something I hadn’t dealt with before. Living in the high country desert most of my life, my hair was thick, full and straight. Moving to the Pacific Northwest, I found myself dealing with massive friz issues and perplexed as to why. I blow dried it straight with heavy anti-friz products with limited results. My hair stylist at one point told me I had curly hair and my response was an emphatic, “No, I don’t!”. Denial. I lived in this state of denial for 10 years.
I’m not sure what finally caused me to rethink and finally accept that curly hair verdict, but I did, and I am much happier for it. So is my hair stylist. Since then, I’ve researched curly hair care. Like any topic, there is always conflicting information. My desire for more natural hair products, and after a lot of trial and error, I’ve developed a conditioner that I really like. I’m still perfecting it. (Shampoo is next). During this process, my hair was looking and feeling pretty dry and straw like and something needed to be done. This is a summary of what I’ve learned:
Remove all the product buildup from your hair using a clarifying shampoo or mix some baking soda into the shampoo you already use. OR – you can use baking soda by itself – diluted in water (roughly 1 part soda to 3 parts water). Your hair will feel like straw. It’s awful and you’re sure it will never be right again. Relax – all will be well.
- Deep Condition:
Some say every week, but I think that’s a bit excessive. Then again, everyone’s hair is different. I’ve tried several deep conditioners and made up a few recipes of my own, but have discovered that – for me – a hot oil treatment works best. Don’t go out and buy those overpriced plastic tubes – just about any oil will do, but I’ve found a combination of oils I really like – each oil imparting different qualities that I can’t get from using one alone.
For my hot oil treatment, I combine equal parts Rice Bran or Meadowfoam Oil (light and easily penetrating) , Coconut Oil (moisturizing), Avocado Oil (nutrient rich) and Castor Oil (softness & shine). For my long thick hair, I need a couple of tablespoons to massage into my scalp and lightly coat my hair. I typically comb it through to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Once the hair is oiled, I wrap my hair in plastic wrap, a plastic grocery bag or a shower cap then cover with a warmed towel for roughly 30 minuets.
- Wash (may need to repeat) & Condition your hair as normal
Full Shampoo, Low ‘Poo or No ‘Poo?
There is no one right way to care for your hair. Everyone’s hair is different and every one has different preferences. I have tried the Baking Soda & Vinegar ‘No-Poo’ method and it worked fine, but not the amazing results that others rave about. I suspect that my curls require more moisture to look and feel their best. As I stated above, I still use the BS wash before deep conditioning, but no longer on a daily basis.
- Shampoo: This method is the traditional shampoo method for cleaning your hair.
- Low-‘Poo: These shampoos do not contain the harsh detergents used in regular shampoos, are much milder and often lower sudsing than traditional shampoos. Many color safe shampoos are low-poo.
- No-Poo: Just like the name implies, but that doesn’t mean you don’t clean your hair. Many conditioners contain enough cleansing agents that they can be used to clean your hair (I’ve heard this called co-washing as well).
- Baking Soda & Vinegar (BSV) is another No-Poo option.
Wash with the same 1:3 baking soda to water mixture described above
Rinse with 1 part apple cider vinegar into 3 or 4 parts water. The vinegar restores acidity to your hair and smooths it, making it feel soft and manageable. It doesn’t smell that great in the shower, but once your hair dries it’s undetectable.