Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Caring for Curls

I inherited my curls from my dad. Guys have the option of just cutting their curls as short as possible so that other people are fooled into thinking it is "thick". Girls, however, are faced with the daunting task of creating a style from what can easily become a haystack. When people see our family one of the first things they comment is, "Wow, look at all that hair!" Our drains are saying the same thing for a completely different reason!

Curly hair can not be changed, but it will behave differently depending on how it is treated. So for you moms out there with curly headed kids here's the low down.

1. Never (I repeat, "Never!") brush, pick or tease curly hair when it is dry. If you do each individual hair will leave its friends to have a party of its own. There's no going back when that happens. Your only options are to put it up or wash it. Only wet, well conditioned hair should be brushed.

2. Curly hair is by nature dry. I myself was a church camp phenomenon when I could go under the water at the pool and come up with completely dry hair. You must allow the hair to be saturated before applying shampoo. Then let the conditioner have a little extra time. You must teach your daughter (and yourself) to be patient.

3. Use a good gel product applied to the ends first, but don't over "scrunch". (Creating volume is not likely a problem). To read about my all time favorite products look here. A good rule of thumb is that the gel should be watery, not sticky in your hand.

4. Curly hair is also more porous so it sucks in whatever it comes in contact with. This means that it needs some protection before getting into chlorine. Wetting hair and applying conditioner before swimming goes a long way to keep curly hair healthy.

5. Never, never, never blow dry or apply heat to curls. It is disastrous.

6. Run quickly from any hair stylist that says, "I can thin your hair" or "Let's texturize it here". This is done with special thinning scissors that remind me of pinking shears. Or they may use regular scissors and run the blade across the hair to "shave" back certain areas. This is a tragedy that is not easily undone. (I'm speaking from experience here). When curly hair is cut in this manner the individual hairs have varying lengths. This only serves to thicken the hair from underneath and create terrible rats. Also, the next time the same technique is used there is no way to tell how the hair was thinned the last time to repeat the same layers. It's very bad and can take years to undo.

7. Find a good stylist and stick with her. Preferably she would be a curly head, too. Thankfully, curly hair can go longer without being cut, but a consistent hair stylist will be able to tell what is and is not possible with one's hair. She will learn the patterns and quirks of your child's curls and be able to teach you both how to care for it.

8. Consider it a blessing. Once your curly haired girl learns to care for it herself she will be a low maintenance gal.


Heather L. said...

I love your curly hair, Monica! And your kids' curly hair. But, everytime I think that, I think that you also probably feel like screaming at your curly hair sometimes. :) Your post was so entertaining, besides informative. I'm afraid curly hair is not going to be a problem in our house, as much as i always wanted it (of course I wanted those perfect curls like you see on the suave adds or something). :)

Martie said...


Thank you so much for your post. I have totally straight hair, but I have a son who has a head full of frizz, and it is so dry and unmaneagable. I am going to try the product you suggested. Thank you for the valuable tip!


Sniz said...

I loved the pictures of you and your girls. We are close to a family that has four blonde girls. The oldest one has long, straight, silky hair, but the other three have white-blonde afros. Seriously, their mom showed me once how long their hair really is. She pulled a curl down and it was halfway down her back, but no matter how long it gets, it's the same, round helmet...the helmet just gets more dense the longer it gets. And they are almost albino, they are so fair. And the oldest daughter, in typical kid-fashion, is always flipping her hair around, hoping to make the others jealous. It was fun to read your post. My friend does not have curly hair, but I suppose she's learned some of these things for herself already! :-)

mindi said...

I love your hair, and your kid's hair! Gorgeous!
Now what to do with someone who has in-between hair that is always frizzy? That would be me . . .

Monica said...

I say treat yourself like you have curly hair. You likely do. My oldest daughter has the same issue. She always cried because no matter how much she brushed it, it would never be silky and straight. Since we've been treating it differently she's been much happier, and much curlier:)

Kevin & Amy said...

Thanks for the comment you left about the paint square idea. I'm going to try that. Very creative! :)

VAIL said...

My opinion on hair - is either be curly or straight. None of this inbetween business! Mine is wavy - a wannabe straight, but with a few rebel spots where there are irritable waves - making it difficult to figure out just what to do with it! Love your hair!

Kristin said...

Thanks for the tips - mine is more wavy than curly. But this info helps me too.

Mrs. G said...

Your hair is so pretty, Monica! Your daugther's hair looks almost exactly like mine. I'm hoping I can be a good "curly rep" for my one-year-old. I never liked my curls until I saw hers.

And I know what you mean about the drains! My hair once killed our vacuum.