Learning to embrace your curly hair
Curls are in. Here’s how to love yours.
It all began with The Rachel. From the moment Jennifer Aniston appeared on our screens in the ’90s sitcom Friends sporting that now infamous hairstyle, it seems we’ve been obsessed with sleek, polished, straight hair.
For curly girls, it’s been tough. Engulfed by a sea of sleek shiny hair and products to straighten, relax or “fight the frizz”, it’s been hard not to feel like there was something wrong with our hair – that it needed to be brought under control or straightened into submission.
But finally, curls are in. And not just those loose tousled beach waves. We’re talking big, textured, natural, real wild curls.
Halle Berry kicked it off at the Oscars last year when she embraced her natural curls and since then, plenty of celebrities have been doing the same. Fashion magazine Harpers Bazaar recently declared “wild curly hair would be the trend everyone will be wearing in 2018” and even the perm – the hair treatment you thought would never rise again – is back.
If you have natural curls, it’s time to let them shine – although as any curly girl will tell you, that can be easier said than done.
There’s an art to creating and maintaining a good-looking head of curls, but with an apparent shortage of hairdressers who know how to bring out the best in curls, it can be difficult to know where to start.
The saviour of many a curly-haired local is hairdresser Emily K, who has curls herself and specialises in cutting curly hair.
She says a good haircut is the first step to loving your curls, but amazingly, cutting curls isn’t something taught in hairdressing school. This explains why so many hairdressers will wet your hair, comb it straight and then cut it exactly as they would cut straight hair – an approach that just doesn’t work, according to Emily.
“The problem is, curly hair doesn’t sit or stay like that,” she says.
“You need to see it in its natural form and see the curl pattern.” This means leaving the hair dry in its natural state and cutting each curl individually to create the best shape.
“It’s like pruning a bush. It’s all visual,” she says.
Emily’s own hair care routine generally consists of a wash and
condition once a week, followed by gently towel drying her hair with a microfibre towel. She then adds a curl creme and blow-dries her hair upside down with a diffuser. To keep the frizz under control and stop tangles in between washes, she wears a silk scarf to bed or puts her hair up in a loose high ponytail overnight. In the morning, it’s a matter of letting it out, and adding a little serum to refresh the curls and add some shine.
When it comes to curl products, Emily says she avoids looking at internet forums, because the amount of information can be overwhelming, and what works for one person’s curls will not necessarily work for someone else. One product she does recommend however, is Olaplex, a treatment she uses on her own hair and on her clients. Olaplex is often used for coloured or damaged hair, but is also effective on curls.
“Everyone has disulfide bonds in their hair, but curly hair has more than any other hair type,” she explains.
“Through colouring, wear and tear, and age, they break off. So what Olaplex does, it’s a bond multiplier. It puts these bonds back together and therefore reforms curls back into their natural state.”
She says learning how to manage your curls will help you love what you’ve got, but the best advice she can give is to wear your curls with confidence and treat them as an asset.
“A lot of the time it’s just getting used to seeing yourself with curly hair,” she said.
GETTING THE BEST FROM YOUR CURLS
● Find a hairdresser who knows how to cut curls and will give you a dry cut.
● Use good quality products without too much alcohol or other drying ingredients. You don’t have to spend a fortune – just find what works for you.
● Avoid shampoos and conditioners containing sulfates, parabens or silicones.
● Use a moisturising treatment or mask at least once a month.
● A curl creme can help give your curls definition without crunchiness.
● Let your hair dry naturally or blow dry with a diffuser attachment. You can get extra lift at the roots by blow-drying with your head upside down.
● Applying a small amount of light serum or oil between washes can help give create shine and control frizz.
● Wear your hair in a loose ponytail on the top of your head or wear a silk scarf to bed to minimise frizz between washes.
● Most importantly, wear your curls with confidence.