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.