April 12, 2021
In elementary school, my curly hair was unmanageable. I was old enough to start taking care of it myself, but I wanted to be just like my friends who didn’t need to do anything, so I didn’t do anything. And while my Mom had curly hair too, she straightened it a lot - the 90s and early 2000s were all about sleek, flat ironed hair.
There are very few photos of me from this time in my life, but when I do see one, I feel sad for that little girl who hated her hair.
Recently, a colleague asked me about my curly hair routine - while she has straight hair, her elementary school-aged daughter has curls, and they are learning how to care for it.
So, that got me thinking. What do I wish I knew back then? Here’s my best advice for young girls with curly hair (and their parents!):
I know, I know. It sounds counterintuitive, but most curly girls don’t use a hairbrush. Brushing dry, curly hair will leave you with a very frizzy mane.
This is the absolute key to my curly hair routine - every time I wash my hair, I comb it through with conditioner using a wide-tooth comb. Instead of using a hairbrush, this is the time where you get all the knots out of your hair.
Before I implemented this practice in middle school, my hair was always a knotted mess. Sometimes if I feel like my hair isn’t that knotted, I’ll use my fingers to comb my hair through, but I never, ever skip it entirely.
I wrote about this in a previous post, but I’m always surprised when people don’t know about this. Everyone has a different curl pattern (and many people have multiple curl patterns within their head of hair), and curls look very different wet than dry. Once you find a hairstylist that specializes in curly hair, there’s no going back.
If I’m not sure if a new salon or stylist will cut my hair dry, I always call and ask. It’s that important.
There’s really no need to use shampoo more than a couple of times a week. I know this seems weird, but nobody will know if you skip right to the conditioner.
--If you’re a fellow curly-haired person, what else would you want curly young people (or their parents and loved ones) to know? I’d love to hear from you on Instagram!