My hair used to be the bane of my existence, and yes I know how self-absorbed that sounds. I had super shiny, 0 frizz, straight as anything hair for a long time. It was always in a bob with a little fringe and I looked super cute. Then the puberty monster came and my hair changed into a curly, frizzy mess. There was a lot of denial about it at first, where I would still get a bob with a fringe only for it to just not look so right. I spent years with my hair just tied up in a ponytail or under a hat where people couldn’t see it. Hairdressers would look at me in horror whenever I went in for a haircut because I probably looked a little bit like a lion, huge, thick, curly hair pointing in every direction possible. When I was in my late teens I just wanted emo hair, with layers and the big side-swept fringe but my curls meant I could not partake in this trend without hours of time with a straightening iron in my hand. I never appreciated my hair till my late twenties and I don’t think I ever knew how to take care of it till about 4 years ago. But if you too are suffering from heavy, thick, unruly curly hair I am here to help you! Here are some products and routines you should be doing to make your hair your friend, rather than the alien taking over your head.
LOOK HOW BAD MY HAIR WAS.
ONE: OIL YOUR HAIR.
Shout out to my other South Asian sisters whose mothers and grandmothers would put oil in their hair and make them look greasy for days. We hated them for it at the time but they were on to something. If you want your hair to be less dry you gotta give it some moisture, and if your hair is anything like my hair it’s going to need a flood. Once or twice a week I use a combination of Red Pimento Oil and Black Castor Oil (Tropical Isle do the best oil) on my roots and really massage that into it all. Then I slather the rest in cold pressed, organic, extra virgin coconut oil. I finger comb all of it through, put a shower cap on my head (or wrap in in a scarf) and go about my day. At the end of the day I wash out all the oil. Alternatively you can go to sleep in it and wash it out in the morning. Ayesha Malik taught me about oil via her YouTube channel and I do exactly what she does (because I want her hair so badly). I’ve noticed that a) my hair is more manageable and b) it’s growing faster. OIL YOUR GODDAMN HAIR.
TWO: NO SULFATES. NO PARABENS. NO SILICONES.
I used to use a lot of LUSH products on my hair. Actually I really do still love their avocado co-wash, but all of their stuff contains sulfates and sulfates dry your hair out like anything. Now I just use their R&B Hair Moisturiser. Everyones hair will react differently to different products, and my hair doesn’t mind some curly girl no-no chemicals, but I try and limit them because I know they will be bad for me in the long run. I only shampoo my hair maybe once every two weeks, sometimes once a month, and when I do I use a totally natural, no crap sort of shampoo, you could also use a Diva Curl No Poo but that stuff is EXPENSIVE. My current go to list of hair products in the UK include: R&B Hair Moisteriser (LUSH), Comeback Curls Refresher Spray (CANTU), Argan Oil (OGX), Ultimate Blends Repairing Hair Food (GARNIER), Ultra Defining Gel (DIVA CURL). I am still researching what sort of things you have in the UK, the US had so much more. I was using line from Target that was totally raw and organic by RealRaw Haircare and it was wonderful. But just go to your local store and read the ingredients. I have some super go-to post wash products but I am always trying new stuff to see what does best with my hair.
Just before I left Chicago I bought a satin sleep cap. I was having issues with my hair where I would have it tied up all the time and the hair that was falling out was getting super tangled with my other hair and it was getting really matted underneath. I have straight up had to just cut chunks of hair out because it’s too tangled. In order to combat this and have full length curls I now have my hair tied up for far less time, and use thick hair friendly hair ties when I do this. But when I got to sleep I make sure all my hair is hidden inside my cap. This prevents it all getting tangled and messy while I toss and turn (and I do toss and turn, believe me) and I wake up every morning with really good hair, and reduced frizz. I spritz it with moisturiser or run some argan oil through it and I am good to go. I know people also highly recommend satin pillowcases, but the satin lined cap works wonders for me.
FOUR: NO HEAT ON YOUR HAIR. EVER. STOP IT.
Heat damages your hair. Don’t straighten it. Don’t blow dry it with heat. Don’t use a curling iron. Don’t do any of it. If you need to dry your hair use a diffuser and a cold setting and diffuse dry it, preferably with your head upside down. ALSO STOP USING TOWELS TO DRY YOUR HAIR. The best way to get your hair dry is to add your product into your wet hair, wrap it up in a microfibre hair wrap thing or to use an old t-shirt to wrap up your hair. Leave it there until it’s not dripping wet anymore and then release your curls, scrunch them up and style them and let them air dry to perfection. Towels make your hair more frizzy. Heat makes your hair more frizzy. Both break your hair and heat dries your hair out which is the opposite of what you want. If you need to use heat then you need to be repairing it ASAP with leave in moisturiser or some sort of deep treatment. I used to love straightening my hair, but I don’t do it anymore. I think perhaps once a year to just see how long my hair is when it’s not curly but it takes so long and my hair is so sad after I’ve done it that it’s not worth it anymore.
LOOK HOW GOOD IT IS NOW.
Maryam Hassan is a 32 year old Photographer, Montessori Teacher, Wearer of Yellow from London who transplanted herself to Chicago in 2015. She likes punk music, hash browns, animal facts and mangoes.
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