The first month of my curly hair journey was filled with optimism, ambition and openness to just about everything. Without knowing what success could really look like (literally), I did begin to feel slightly discouraged between months one and two because I didn’t see drastic changes in my hair. As for any journey, it turns out that patience is key. There are some critical things that happened during the end of month two, all of which propelled the success I began seeing during month three (check out my favorite progress photo so far).
MY PLOT TWIST
It started with finally getting a much needed haircut by a curl expert (see photos above). I specifically got a “curly cut” meant to enhance my curls. I have a full blog post and video exploring exactly what I learned during that particular hair appointment, but what’s specifically important for today’s blog post: right after the cut, I immediately purchased new products including SheaMoisture ‘Fruit Fusion Coconut Water’ Weightless Styling Mousse, Kinky Curly ‘Come Clean’ Shampoo and Miss Jessie’s ‘Jelly Soft Curls’ Gel. I also switched from using a microfiber towel to 100% cotton t-shirts to dry my hair with.
TIP: to avoid running into a plot twist like I did, try having your curls cut by a curl expert be the number one priority when beginning your journey.
Product used: SheaMoisture ‘Fruit Fusion Coconut Water’ Weightless Styling Mousse applied through various methods including “praying hands” and “scrunching” techniques.
Product used: Kinky Curly ‘Spiral Spritz’ Serum
I noticed that taking photos of my hair became increasingly frustrating as I would see my hair being curly with my own eyes, but the same hair strands wouldn’t look as defined or visible in my photos. While it may be in part due to the quality of the cameras I’m using (a point and shoot as well as my iPhone 6), it’s also because of my hair type which are mostly fine spirals that are incredibly soft to the touch. I realized that my best photos were taken right outside of my office in front of a black lacquered door (another example) as well as when I wore black blouses.
TIP: whether you’re documenting progress photos just for yourself or for the public eye, a selfie stick will become your best friend as you capture your hair on a daily basis.
PRESERVING CURLS DURING WORKOUTS
I’m still gathering my conclusions on doing this, but I’ve read several times that experts recommend adding oil to your ends before a workout. I tried this for a while, but then stopped and am curious to go back to the habit to see if it makes a difference in my curls for refreshing and restyling. After the first quarter of my journey, I’m in a place where I’m focusing more on extending my washes throughout the week so this might be a better time to experiment with hair oils again. Another way to preserve curls during workouts would be to put hair into a bun versus a ponytail. I personally love my hair in a ponytail at the gym despite knowing I lose definition in my curls from doing so, it’s definitely a matter of individual preference.
Photos on left are before I “scrunch out the crunch” from using a serum/gel-based item. Product used: Kinky Curly ‘Spiral Spritz’ Serum
Additionally, I learned to apply dry shampoo BEFORE the workout so that the product can absorb the dirt, oils and sweats WHILE you workout. It may still be a good idea to apply it after your workout as well. To restyle hair, wait until it’s completely dry from sweat. Outside of using it for a workout, I use dry shampoo (specifically, the Shea Moisture ‘Fruit Fusion Coconut Water’ Weightless Dry Shampoo) before I go to sleep at night not only so that it “cleanses” my hair from the junk accumulated throughout the day, but also so that it “lifts” and volumizes my hair for next-day curls. Guess all that tossing and turning and sleeping in fetal position is beneficial to my hair after all!
One last thing about dry shampoo: this has been my secret weapon to getting more of the volume I crave for that diffusing and other products can’t give to me. Again, my hair is very fine and soft and I’ve noticed that if I just focus on HOLDING my curls with product when it’s wet with a successful turnout once it dries, then I can turn to the second phase of finishing my hair with a volumizing product after the fact. In this context, I instead use Not Your Mother’s ‘Plump for Joy’ Body Building Dry Shampoo to get stellar results.
The day I realized that my hair loves gel more than mousse (right before I started month three)! Products used: Tigi Bed head Control Freak Frizz Control & Straightener Serum & Not Your Mother’s ‘Plump for Joy’ Body Building Dry Shampoo
A THING CALLED “PRE-POO TREATMENTS”
Talking about oils in my previous point is the perfect segue to a practice called “pre-poo treatments.” Essentially it requires applying a formulated reparative product to the roots and scalp AT LEAST 15 minutes before shampooing (hence the name, “pre-poo”) hair. From what I read, most individuals treat this as an overnight process. Personally, I find the overnight route more convenient than having to wait at minimum 15 minutes before showering. You can also choose between a formulated product or just an oil for this routine.
For now, I’ve been using coconut oil and as mentioned in my previous point, I’m in a better position at this time of my journey to judge the effectiveness of pre-poo treatments and hope to provide more insight in a later post.
READY TO BE 100% COMMITTED TO THE CURL?
I’m just barely getting started and I’d love for you to join me on my journey so that we can learn from each other! Follow along by: subscribing to my Youtube channel or connecting on Facebook and Instagram. View previous curly hair posts.