My five-step survival guide to transitioning and most importanly loving your natural hair
Coming out of the curl closet is a daunting task. I should know. To reclaim my curls meant doing a complete one eighty on my hair routine. It was hard at first. My curls just wouldn’t play ball. One day they would look amazing, then the day after, the frizz took hold and I looked like I’d had a few thousand volts sent through me! Put together with the constant jibes I got from fellow Sri Lankans (heavens forbid an Asian girl having curls!) – I had to stomach a lot of ‘straight’ talk!
But I remained steadfast. It wasn’t always easy and I had many disastrous moments. But in truth what hair type doesn’t have an off- day? Five years on and I am confidently curly! Don’t get me wrong I don’t have the fail-proof key and I still struggle at times. But every time a girl compliments my hair it’s all worth it. If you are one of those girls wishing to embrace your twisted tresses, here are 5 rules to keep you on track:
Golden rule in my book is that you have to want to go curly 100%. There will be times where you want to give up, but be strong and remember the reason you wanted to go au naturel, – to feel more you, to restore your hair’s health or try something new. To keep your morale, research curl styles, blogs, and methods. If that doesn’t help enlist in some extra support! Join curly hair groups such as Curlvolution.co.uk. They organise regular events for curly girls to share tips and experiences. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone!
Get a good base haircut
Chances are that if you’ve been straightening your hair religiously, your natural curl texture won’t surface for a while. Be patient as you transition. Ensure you get a good base cut from a good hair dresser- preferably one that specialises in curly, kinky coily hair. Afro Caribbean salons or my salon Unruly Curls will see to your start. Otherwise get a consultation before you go ahead. Question them at every turn – only you know what is right for your hair!
Right products and tools!
A complete must. Everything from using the right shampoo and conditioner, to investing in oils (coconut oil, argan oil, almond oil are popular), a wide-tooth comb micro-fibre towels and satin pillows (to preserve your curls at night) guarantees curl upkeep. Also a little creative alchemy goes a long way. Many curly girls have experimented with the simplest cooking ingredients (olive oil, avocados) to discover the ultimate elixir to textured perfection!
Bit zen here, but you really must let go of the old hair care routines that have lead you to think they are the only way to hair heaven. With curls you need to re-learn everything. If you get that urge to brush your hair- because your curls are too frizzy and messy- then stop! Such routines are curl catastrophes. Apply a light curl activator cream or oil. Now breathe….
Don’t predict the unpredictable!
We’re all control freaks with our hair, but you know no matter what hair type you are, all textures are subject to change. Curly is no different! One year, product-line A is a hit, the next year a complete miss. Also remember we go through all kind of stages that affect our hair, periods, pregnancy and menopause. Your curls have a lot to endure so pay attention and be open to roll with it! Most of all don’t get angry, you are your curls’ best friend!