I've wanted to do a post on just curly hair for as long as I started this blog. I find that most people (most hairdressers and hair stylists included) really haven't a faintest idea on how to handle curly hair properly. After 18 years of experience with this hair of mine, allow me to shed some light on curly haircare.

First, let's deal with some myths surrounding curls.

Myth #1: Curly hair IS an afro.

Fact: So not true! In fact, they are two separate categories - curly hair and kinked/wiry hair. The difference is actually a lot. The most obvious being that both look completely different from each other. Curly hair (if the word curly isn't descriptive enough) forms curly locks of several strands of hair. Kinked/wiry hair looks like frizz, whereby each and every strand is naturally zigg-zagged and individual, therefore creating the fuzzy look. So please don't make the mistake by describing beautiful curls as a 'fro'.

[Ah, but if you do like afros, curly hair can easily be turned into one by blowing wet hair upside down, at the same time combing and back-combing to separate each strand. Keep it big and high with lots of hairspray. I've done it once. ;)]

Myth #2: Curlyheads can only have long hair to look good.

Fact: You can have any length - long, mid-length or short. Really short, pixie-like styles is also possible (think Halle Berry when hers was short), but remember to make sure it suits your face-shape. The only thing about deciding the length is it really depends on whether you are willing to spend time doing your hair or not. If the answer is no, short and mid-length is better because it takes less maintenance.

[If you want to go short, stick to a layered cut (think Meg Ryan during her heyday) to prevent sides from spilling over and making you look like a frilly mushroom. In fact, best always go layered, no matter what the length. Blunt cuts are so outdated.]

Myth #3: Curly hair must be washed everyday to keep it under control.

Fact: You so think you're taking the easy way out by washing your hair daily so that you won't have to deal with frizz. Keep doing that and your hair will become even drier, frizzier and more prone to split ends. Don't ever do it. Just stick to this rule - wash it every other or every 2 days (you can even go more than that if you're so lazy, like me. Just as long people don't start avoiding you). The reason why you got to do this is because curly hair is the most manageable and the nicest a day after a wash. It has picked up natural oils, which is the best at keeping it tame. Same thing applies if you need your hair looking best for a function. It's better to wash the day before or 2 days before.

[If you really need to wash soon after your last wash, skip the shampoo. Instead, rinse, condition well then rinse.]

Myth #4: You cannot comb curly hair!

Fact: It's difficult but it can be done. My advice? Don't comb...when it's dry. It hurts like hell! Save yourself from the torture and only comb it when wet and conditioned (before rinsing out the conditioner) when you bath/shower. I do that, and it is such a lifesaver. Experts will say, "No, must comb or it'll tangle! Use a boar's bristle brush!" bla bla bla... Okay, as for tangles, yes, you must comb. But! the boar's bristle brush is expensive. Don't bother with it. My experience tells me that the best method is: When wet - wide-toothed comb; When dry - your fingers!

[I never understood why hairdressers are so stubborn and won't listen to me when I tell them to comb before rinsing out conditioner and not after. They always look at me strangely, as if I don't know how to handle my own hair!!!]

Myth #5: There is no point trying to have curly hair in humid weather. Look what happened to Monica in Friends when they went to the Bahamas.

Fact: All I can say is, I'm proof! It takes work but our Malaysian tropical weather should NOT be the reason why you need to commit 'curl murder' and go do rebonding/straightening. DON'T DO IT. The process not only destroys your opportunity of being so totally unique, but damages the hair beyond repair. Plus, it's much cheaper to maintain your natural hair type than changing it.

Enough myths. Time to go into the super-important tips for everyday care for your curly hair.
  1. ALWAYS use moisturising shampoo and conditioners. If need extra, use leave-in conditioner after every wash.

  2. NEVER wash everyday. Remember the rule!

  3. NEVER comb everyday. (Why in the world would you want to put yourself through such God-awful pain everyday anyway?)

  4. Sorry, but you MUST use a cream or mousse on your hair after you wash. It's the only way your hair is guaranteed frizz-free or at least, frizz-minimised.

  5. IMPORTANT! Recipe for perfect bouncy springy curls: Apply product when hair is wet and style by twisting the locks around your index finger. Begin by dividing hair to 3 sections: right, left and back. At each section, take hair by layer (starting from bottom) and twist about 1cm-wide or wider locks. Do whole head. Leave to dry naturally. For more volume, dry the roots only with a diffuser, leave the rest to dry naturally. The best part is you don't have to do this everyday, only twice a week at least, after each wash.

  6. Again, it's easiest to comb every time you wash. Apply conditioner, comb for a few minutes to get the tangles out, then rinse. Keep a comb handy next to your shampoo bottle.

  7. Your fingers is all you need if you really want to keep it as cheap as possible. Comb and style with it. While other people need curling irons, rollers and perms, we curlyheads need only a couple of fingers and a little product!

And that's all! It's really that simple. Of course, this is for the everyday gal who can't afford the time, energy and money to do treatments and more high-maintenance stuff. This is basically all I do for my hair. These are definitely time-tested tips from someone who really knows about curly hair and the stress that goes into it when trying to keep it manageable.

As for products, Dove shampoo and conditioner for Dry hair is excellent and I've been using it for years. I am a great fan of the Japanese brand Lucido-L Moisture Styling hair cream. Its got no fragrance so you don't feel too bombarded with smell when you apply it and its non-sticky. Plus, it only costs RM15 at Watsons and Guardian. One bottle can last me 2-3 months++.

I believe it really worth taking a little time and effort to take care of this type of hair. All it needs is some TLC. Sure, I spend an hour max. washing, styling and blowing my hair. But it's only a couple times a week and the results pay off. Girls who truly embrace their natural curly hair are rare. And it doesn't hurt to receive compliments every now and again! ;D

Bottomline, embrace your beautiful, naturally curlicious hair!

Say NO to rebonding/straightening! :D
6 Responses
  1. sofia Says:

    its quite rare to see curlicious ppl in msia....
    but if its curly its usually on guys and well...big. nice post btw. i like :D

  2. True...cuz curlicious ppl here ususally opt for straightening!!! its a crime! haha
    ooh...guys with curly hair is NICE...:P

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Well looky what I found here :P
    Long time no see eh :P

    Btw, my hair is not curly. but its wavy :D
    Stop by my site sometimes eh.

    Or go here http://maximiller.deviantart.com/

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Hey !!! the most important rule of curly hair never be common n straighten it ! EMBRACE YOUR CURLS !

    good tips- I also always comb my hair while the conditioner is in. Only wash 2-3 times a week and if i let it dry by its self the curls r bouncier. If I use a hairdryer t culrs start to weigh down.

    PS: Am the same person who commented b4 on the curly hair from Mrs. N's blog. I like your new blog outlook. FAB !
    I found this organic shampoo + conditioner its the best yet for my hair.

    from: annonny !

  5. nafisa Says:

    i also live in kl, i also have curly hair which simply becomes a ball of frizz on most days. my curl is more like botticelli curl, or not so tight curls. i do follow all the rules you have mentioned above. i am looking for a product that will de-frizz my curls yet keep them soft. mousses keep da frizz in check but make my hair rough same as gel. serums n creams dont kill the frizz :( please comment here if you know anything. thanks!

  6. The truth is, no matter how hard you try, if you continue living in Malaysia, you can never truly escape the frizz. As much as I give TLC to mine, it will start frizzing up by the 2nd day after the wash. All I can say is, either migrate (haha) or try reducing it at least. I usually do this by twisting my curls over and over again (and now its a habit). This will just keep the curls in place and make them look more orderly.
    As for a product, like I mentioned, Lucido-L moisture hair cream is a good and cheap product you could try. I agree, mousses does work but it makes the hair hard and rough. So stick to a cream product. You can find it at Watsons or Guardian. After you wash, apply, twist and best leave to dry naturally. However, i find that without a diffuser, the hair can get quite flat on top. But its up to you. Good Luck! :)

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