December 3, 2012

The Plight of the Curly-Haired Girl

I'll divulge a little secret to you all: Though I normally wear my hair straight, I naturally have very curly hair that I straighten the life out of on a daily basis. When people learn of this, they often ask why I go to the trouble of straightening it, as curls are so beautiful. But if they could see my natural curl they would understand: I am not one of those people blessed with ringlets curls, or curls that are uniform. Instead, I was born with hair that tends to frizz and the curls are uneven on my head. My curls are typically much tighter on the underside and around my face, but on the top level of my hair the curls are much flatter and tend to even be somewhat straight. Thus, I end up with a gigantic frizzy Brillo-pad of a mess that makes it look like I didn't comb that morning. No amount of combing or product will make this better. So even though I am contradicting nature, it is actually easier for me to straighten this mess than it is to try and tame it.

If I want to wear my hair curly, it sadly is much better looking if I flat-iron it and then use a curling iron to get the kind of curls that I would be willing to be seen in public with. I know my way around a flat iron really well, but I am still working out the kinks with my curling iron - no pun intended - so to curl my hair {and have it look good} is no easy feat. I figured that there must be an easier way to do this, or there would at least be some tips or tricks that would make it a little less time-consuming, and I was right. Here is what I found after consulting the ever-resourceful Pintrest:

Some Like it Dirty, Some Like it Clean:
Each of the various websites/blogs that I consulted had their own take on this rule. Some writers swore by the need to have dirty hair in order for the curls to hold, while others recommended that the hair should be clean. As a personal preference, I don't like going out with day-old dirty hair. So I typically wash my hair on the day of, but leave it to its own devices for a few hours before attempting to curl it.

Always Face South:
I never really considered this before, but the direction of your curling iron will influence the kind of curls that it produces in your hair. It appears that the general consensus of many sites is to hold the curling iron so that it is vertical and facing the floor. This will help to make sure that each strand of your curls looks uniform and that there are no weird angles or pieces sticking out when you're finished.

Start in the Middle of the Strand:
Thanks to Ashley of Little Miss Momma for this tip. Apparently if you start to curl your hair in the middle of the strand, working up toward your scalp and then down towards the roots, this will help hold the curl longer. This is a little tricky to do, but practice makes perfect!

Count Backwards from Ten:
The amount of curl that stays in your hair is dependant on the amount of time that you hold the curling iron in your hair. Though this idea seems rather intuitive, I previously didn't know how long to hold the iron on each strand for the desired effect. According to Rachel at Pink Peonies, holding the iron for a shorter period of time will create a more wavy effect and will be more casual, while holding the iron on for a longer period of time will result in a more defined and formal-looking curl. I would suggest holding the iron for about 5 seconds on your hair in order to produce a wavy look, and try about 10 seconds for a more defined curl. But remember, holding the iron on your hair for too long many cause damage, so make sure you don't hold it there for too long!

Hairspray is Inevitable:
I am not a fan of hairspray, as I feel like no matter the hold level it make my hair feel crunchy and dried-out. However, in order to make your curls stay, this product appears to be required. I am currently a fan of light-hold hairsprays {though not on windy days}. My current favourite is L'Oreal Professional Infinium Lumiere Force 4; I normally but this at my salon but I am sure you can purchase it at the drugstore as well.

To all of my curly-haired readers out there, do you have any other styling tips or tricks to add to this list?

Photo Credit: Chloe Rose Boutique // The Sun is Up

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