Everybody loves curly hair—on your head, not so much their own. Does your very curly hair just get too bouffant? Way too big. Does it look better when it’s wet than it does dry?
Some of us have very curly hair that is strong and springy. There is no need to scrunch it to make it curl. In fact, scrunching makes it go crazy.
Our very curly hair often requires a lot of control, but we want product that remains soft. We don’t want it to dry hard and crunchy—that just causes more problems when the wind blows.
More product—the right product—keeps the individual curls in their spirals. Without product, the hair tends to fan out- creating undefined volume and frizz.
So, to help control very curly hair:
Note: Many products produced for curly hair are intended to intensify curl. Those are for people with a little curl or wave in their hair. If you already have very curly hair, you won’t need them.
Curly haired women are always searching for the perfect blend of products and procedures to tame their curly locks. Many of us have spent numerous hours in the struggle. Hair stylist and curl expert, Quidad is no exception. She has dedicated the past 30 years to unraveling its mysteries. As a result, she has earned the respected title of “The Queen of Curl.” She is a salon owner with a team of stylists, all trained in curl care. She is an educator and the author of “Curl Talk.”
I relayed some common reader concerns during our interview.
Quidad, on the current trends.
Quidad says that curly hair is definitely in style right now. “The current trend is funky and fun with lots of movement and texture. Short looks with curls are very in right now… lots of bobs, pixies and chin length cuts. The alternative is long, funky 70s/80s shag.”
Quidad, on going from years of straightening natural curl to a nice frizz-free curly style.
“From constantly straightening the hair, over the years they have pulled the eternal life layer out of the hair. The hair can be brought back to life by repeatedly treating it with a deep conditioning treatment. This will hydrate and feed the hair, putting the life back into it so it’s able to perform.”
As we know, there are many different types of natural curl. Some people have beautiful soft round curls while others have tighter, kinkier curls. I asked Quidad what advice she has on treating our own individual types of curl.
“My rake & shake method is the ultimate way to be able to create your individual cur pattern. Using the rake and shake application and technique you are able to get beautiful, defined curls. You are also able to choose the diameter of the curl by the amount of hair that is between your fingers for the raking movement. For bigger curls, rake a larger section and for smaller curls, rake a smaller section.”
And what is the rake & shake technique?
“Pour styling gel into your palms and separate the hair into a 1 inch or 2 inch section (depending on how large or small you want the curl pattern to be). RAKE through the hair with your fingers vertically and then horizontally to evenly distribute the styling gel. After the raking has been completed, hold the section at the bottom and SHAKE. This allows the hair to bounce back into its natural curl pattern.”
I tried this technique after my next shampoo. It took more time than my previous methods but it was definitely worth the effort. It made a noticeable difference. My curls were rounder and firmer. They stayed in nicely for the second day with very little touch-up needed.
I had the privilege of trying out one of Quidad’s line of products, specifically designed for curly hair. Botanical Boost is a spray-in, leave-in conditioner. It contains an impressive list of herbal extracts and proteins. It is suggested for use with wet or dry hair. Used on wet hair, it is conditioning and provides protection from the elements. Used on dry hair, it revives curl and helps to get rid of frizz.
Quidad – pronounced Wedod – is not called the Queen of Curl for no reason. This woman knows curl.
If you’ve grown up with curly hair, you know the agony. You painstakingly push it into the smooth, shiny style you love—and it rains. Through the day, the humidity entices it into waves where you didn’t want them, frizzes the ends and poofs the whole style to twice as full as you wanted it.
Then, some woman walks up and screeches, “You have curly hair. You are so lucky!”
The sad truth is that ninety percent of curly haired women hate their hair. They spend forty- five minutes blowing it out, smoothing it into shape. And this is every time they shampoo. Then they have to avoid humidity at all cost, or spray it with a super-hold, anti-humidity hairspray. They gaze at fashion models and movie stars, longing for the sleek, shiny, straight hair.
But take heart Curly Girls, things are looking up for up for us. Curly hair is becoming stylish. Natural hair, with all its funky mismatched waves, is trendy.
Learning to love your curls, after years of contempt, isn’t easy. The answer may lie in condition, control and shine. Naturally curly hair almost always lacks hydration. Extra moisturizing shampoo and conditioner is needed to keep it in balance. Look for products with the words moisturizing, hydrating, or smoothing in the name or description.
Styling aids control the volume and keep the curls separated. I prefer a product that stays soft. A soft gel or styling cream keeps curls separated into ringlets and is more manageable. An anti-frizz serum or smoothing serum should also be applied. There are numerous lines of smoothing serums, frizz control, and curl enhancers available. Shine will come when the condition and control issues are dealt with. Many gels, serums and frizz aids are made to produce extra shine. The market is finally catering to curly haired girls.
Apply the products evenly, making sure to coat the entire hair shaft. Comb only enough to distribute the product and to remove tangles—or better yet—dump the comb and use only your fingers. Curly hair is at its best air-dried or diffused using an attachment to the dryer, keeping the curls in place. Scrunch only if needed. Many women have curl springy enough to curl without help. Scrunching is grabbing some hair and pushing the curl in while gently squeezing.
After it is completely dry you may loosen the locks with fingers or a large pick. Never comb or brush the hair after it's dry. This only increases the volume, separates curl formation, and frizzes the hair. Experimenting will show you just how much fluffing your hair will stand without morphing into a frizzy mess.
Fill a spray bottle with half water and half leave-in conditioner.
Keep the bottle on hand for mornings when you are not able to shampoo. The mixture spray will reactivate the styling aids and freshen your curls.
Start thinking about the freedom of not having to fight your curl. With proper care and products, curly hair is beautiful. All those straight haired women will be anxious to tell you.
Sometimes hair products designed for curly hair aren’t what a curly haired person needs or wants.
My hair is very curly and has uneven texture. I’ve used gels, mousse, curl creams—everything on the market created for curly hair. I hadn’t found anything to give me the look and feel I wanted. I’d use a product for a day or two and invariably return to blowing my hair out. Smooth styles worked best until the weather was such that my hair wanted to be bouffant.
Finally, one day, fed up with blowing out my style and knowing I would fight the fullness for two days before it got into a shape I liked—I applied my smoothing cream, left the bathroom, and let my hair dry on its own. The result was the best curly style it’s ever been in. The curls were separate round curls, soft and springy. I could play with my hair. My curls looked good even after I slept on them two nights. I haven’t used my blow-dryer or flat iron for an entire month.
Finally! I love my curly hair.
This is how I do my hair. Keep in mind, you may have to adjust product amount and styling technique to fit your individual curl. We curly girls know what works perfectly for one may not work for another.
Lynne Chapman served as Hair Site Editor of BellaOnline.com for fifteen years. She is a professional stylist and colorist of more than forty years.