Cider Falls 3

Naturally Curly Hair

I wanted to share this hair portion with you because a lot of people have been asking me about my hair. People have asked either because they are interested in going natural themselves, are already natural and want to know my routine, or are parenting a child with naturally curly hair and are looking for hair care direction.

Well here's my story.

Two and a half years ago, my father had a really short battle with cancer and passed away. I hadn’t spent enough time with my father throughout my life and the cancer was so mean and so fast there was no time to change that fact. It was then that I decided to make some life changes. I’m not 100% sure that chemical relaxers cause cancer, but I didn’t want to take that chance anymore.

So I decided to try the natural route.  

I have had my hair relaxed with chemicals or straightened with a hot comb my entire memorable life and had no idea what my natural texture was. Here I was at the age of ( ) and I had never felt or seen my own hair!! Anyway, I stopped relaxing it and started researching. I found a ton of resources on YouTube and other places. I let the new growth emerge and realized there were curls under there. Sweet!! I went 3 months without relaxing and then.

I chopped it off!

I loved it. I decided to keep it.

So now, we are 2 years in and I still love it. The maintenance however is totally different than with straightened hair.

I had the liberating experience of throwing out all my “straight hair” products, including the flat iron (I read about how that level of heat can ruin the natural curl pattern). After all my research, I decided to start by following a method called “the curly girl method” or CG for short. Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey. It turns out that all curly girls, regardless of race, can pretty much follow the same methods of hair care. Who knew!?

So here are the basics of the curly girl method:

Use a low poo or no poo shampoo (Sodium Laurel Sulfate free) because SLS strips moisture from the hair. If you are just starting out with this method, you will need to use a shampoo with SLS to strip the build-up from silicone products and start fresh. Kinky Curly Come Clean is what I like to use when I need to shampoo. A little goes a long way.

You could also just wash (co-wash) with a silicone (ingredients ending in –cone, -conol, or –xane) free conditioner. Silicones can clog pores and build-up in hair causing stunted growth and dryness. I like to co-wash with Suave Naturals conditioners or TreSemme Naturals. I prefer this method because low poo and no poo shampoos tend to be harder to find and of course, are usually more expensive. I scrub my scalp and hair with the conditioner, rinse and then smooth it through with my fingers to form the curls. The final rinse is always a cold water rinse.

Always use a leave in. I love Kinky Curly Knot Today. I get it at Target. I use about a half-palm full (because my hair is about 8" long, when it was 2'" long, I only used about a nickel sized amount) and smooth it over my curls.

Wide tooth combs only and only comb it when it is wet and full of a product with a lot of "slip" like conditioner.

Don't use a terry cloth towel to dry your hair. They take too much moisture out of the hair and can cause breakage (evidently, good healthy curly hair is all about moisture). If you need to dry the hair a little before styling, you can use a t-shirt or paper towels however, when you apply styling products, they work best when the hair is dripping wet. After styling, the best method is air drying but a blow dryer can be used with a diffuser  and only on the low or medium settings; not high (again, too much heat).

Gotta use a good styling product. I use Kinky Curly Curling Custard. It’s amazing!!

(Eco Styler is an alternative that seems to hold with a good amount of elasticity like Kinky Curly Curling Custard but my experience is that it doesn't rinse as clean and seems to cause a little bit of build up.) It is imperative that your styling product is both alcohol and silicone free. Of course alcohol causes dryness. If you put silicone in the hair at any step in the process, you will eventually have dry brittle hair that needs a SLS shampoo to remove the buildup on the hair causing even more dryness. 
The only thing about most styling products is that they work best if you don't touch the hair until it is completely dry! That usually doesn't work very well with children so I am in the process of researching a styling product that would work when a child is rolling around on the floor, playing outside in the wind or just messin with their newly washed curls.

For second-day through whenever I wash it again, I found a new routine that I simply love. Thanks to a blog post from another Ethiopian adoption family Treasures in Jars of Clay, I started using Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (also available at Target) to tame my frizzys and dryness by spritzing sections with water and smoothing the product over and through my curls. It brings the curls back so nicely with tons of softness and shine.

That’s the short sweet version for maintaining curly hair using the curly girl method. But please don’t take my word for it. Every hair type is different. What works for me may not work for you so please let this be a stepping stone or add to the research you’ll need to do to find out what works for you. My hope is that some of you will be helped tremendously by my experiences.

1 comment:

  1. Tonya, you look great with long or short hair!
    I wish I had curls, but I have "spaghetti" instead!!