If you have curly hair, don’t move to the South. I love the South and it’s deep history and rich traditions (we came up with eating black eyed peas, by the way!), but it is not a friend to curly hair. It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s unbreathable, and it makes you look like a poodle whose fur is trying to strangle them. It’s been a lifelong fight to get my curly red hair to do what I want it to do. And it starts with basic maintenance.
Listen to Mama – Take Your Vitamins!!
How can you expect to have beautiful hair if you don’t take care of your body?! Take your vitamins!! In addition to your regular multivitamin, pick up some biotin or other B-complex vitamin. They do actually make a “hair, skin, and nails” vitamin that works really well (and it’s NOT a prenatal vitamin). I started taking biotin about 3 months ago. I’m not regular on it, just a couple times a week. But my hair has grown from just below my shoulders to past the middle of my back. That’s over 6 inches. I’m not entirely sure if that’s normal, but my hair tends to grow really slow. On top of the growth, it’s also thicker. I’ve yet to see a split end, and I haven’t had my hair trimmed in a year.
There. I said it. Stop using shampoo. You can read up on the “no-poo” method here. Honestly, I can’t do it, but I have friends who swear by it. Here’s the deal, shampoo strips those wonderful oils on your scalp, resulting in super dry hair. Curly hair is already known to be drier than other hair types, so you end up with horrible split ends and breakage. Those oils on your scalp are actually GOOD for your hair. I usually shampoo once a week, but I condition my hair every time I get a shower. I have really noticed a difference in the texture of my hair. It’s actually softer and has more volume than I thought possible. Speaking of shampoos and conditioners…
Switch Your Shampoo and Conditioner
There are a lot of perks to having a tattoo artist as a soulmate. One of those perks is that clients don’t always tip in cash; some tip in trade for a service and some tip with gift certificates. That’s how I landed at a fancy salon. I thought I was doing right with Tresemme, which is supposed to be as close to salon without the price. WRONG!! Most shampoos contain sulfates which dry out your hair. Are you noticing a trend here? It’s no wonder curly hair gets a bad rep for being unmanageable; we’re torturing it by dehydration! She sent me home with small bottles of sulfate free shampoo and conditioner. It worked. My hair was easier to manage within a week, with soft curls that didn’t frizz. Since then I’ve switched both myself and curly-headed Mr. Cozy Cottage to an easier-to-get, less expensive sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner: Aveeno Pure Renewal. It costs about $6 at Kroger, and is my favorite shampoo.
Skip the Mousse
What you put in your hair after it’s washed is just as important as what you wash it with. I had a problem with most products. They were crunchy, greasy, hard to work with, weighed my hair down, and made my scalp icky. Then I found argan oil. It takes just a quarter size amount for ALL of my hair. I put some in after I’ve towel dried my hair, give it a good scrunch, and I’m out the door. It’s weightless and soaks into your hair to moisturize it all day long. This has been a real humidity-buster. My favorite is made by Organix (the funny shaped bottles in the store), and is about $6.
Heat is universally mean and nasty to all hair types. There are few smells I hate worse than the smell of burnt hair. After you’ve put in your hair oil, just let your hair do its thing. Let it be free!! If you do decide to blow dry, straighten, or curl, use a heat protector. There are a ton of them on the market that create a protective barrier around your hair to prevent heat damage. Also, when blow drying, make sure you have a diffuser (a lot of hair dryers come with them now). It distributes the heat so your hair dries more evenly without frying it.