personal life

how to work with fine, curly hair.

when i was a little kid, i had straight hair.  like really, really straight hair.  i tried to get a perm one time because curls were really in (it was the early nineties), but unfortunately it fell out right away.

my hair has always been really fine.  my hairstylist says that i actually have quite a bit of hair, but the strands are way too skinny to show it.

at age 11, i started to notice that it was starting to get wavy.  before long (and we’re talking about a matter of weeks), it was curly.  really, really curly.  and i was pissed.

i wished for curly hair for so long and never got it.  then straight hair, ideally the “Rachel”, was in style.  and that is the moment that my tresses decided to turn from board straight to kinky curly.  karma anyone?  haha!

i fought it for years.  i never won.  ever.

because i fought it, my hair was constantly either frizzy or over-styled.  i could never find a balance because i was always seeking straight hair.  and the chlorine from my swimming each morning wrecked it pretty badly.  no matter what i did, it never mattered.  it felt hopeless.

it took me until mid high school to accept it.  my friend robyn had curly hair too.  it didn’t seem so bad after all.

the thing is…it just got curlier and curlier.  by my senior year of high school, it was ringlets.  and there were times that i thought it was beautiful and times that i still cursed it.

and then a few years ago, i just decided to stop fighting it entirely.  i rarely do my hair straight just because it takes forever to get it how i want and doing it curly takes literally five minutes.

you know what’s funny, though?  my curly hair has started to relax again.  maybe one day, it will be straight again.  who knows?!?

i do not, i repeat do not, have a good hair day every day. in reality, i might have 2-4 decent hair days per week. that’s the thing about curly hair – it’s unpredictable. you just have to work with it. if that means it’s up in a messy bun two or three times a week, so be it.

curly hair don't care
the trick is to just go with it. don’t fight it. let it do its thing and work with it.

i am always trying different products and techniques to find the perfect combination.  i only wash my hair a couple of times a week, but i rinse and condition it every day.  on days that i don’t wash it, i lightly scrub my roots with a cap full of apple cider vinegar.  it smells horrible, but it makes it shiny and gently cleans it.  i have yet to find that amazing, “holy grail” combo, but i’m getting closer.  so if there are any fine, curly haired girls out there, here are the products that i’m using right now…

  • T-shirt – just take a soft, old t-shirt and cut it up the middle so that it opens up.  this is much more gentle than a towel and helps reduce frizz.
  • Wide tooth comb – doesn’t break your hair even when you comb through it wet.  i only comb it while in the shower with conditioner in it.  but i use the comb at the end of styling to lightly tease and poof.
  • Hairdryer with diffuser – look for one with different heat settings (example: cool, warm, and hot) and a diffuser included.  never use the hot setting.  the warm will do the job just fine.  hit your hair with the cool setting when it is nearly dry to help seal the cuticle and reduce frizz.
  • Tressumme Expert Selection Perfectly (un)Done Weightless Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner this is the perfect conditioner to me because it is so light.  i need the moisture, but my hair requires something that won’t weigh it down.  the shampoo is gentle and doesn’t strip my hair.  about $6 each
  • Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel – just use a bit.  like a dime size or smaller.  this is a flexible gel so it is good to use to shape your hair and scrunch.  it has a flexible hold and washes out clean.  about $5
  • John Frieda Secret Weapon Finishing Creme – when your hair is dry, use just a teeny bit of this cream to smooth frizz and scrunch out any stiffness.  about $5
  • Tresemme Fresh Start Renewing Dry Shampoo – if you need a little volume at your roots, aim a little dry shampoo and massage into your scalp.  this spray is also helpful when you need a little pick-me-up in the middle of the day.  about $5
  • John Frieda Luxurious Volume All-Day Hold Hairspray – finish with this fine mist.  hold away from your head to make sure that it is not concentrated in any particular spots on your head.  and one thing i’ve learned is – don’t use too much.  you can always add, but you can’t take it off so spray some and then wait. see if you need more before you go for another “coat”.  about $6
  • curling iron – i use a 1″ ceramic curling iron to curl any pieces that straighten out or need to be tamed.  i usually curl the entire top layer if i’m wearing it all the way down.  if i’m just pulling back the top, i’ll curl the side pieces so they’re not too flat.
  • bobby pins are your friends.  remember: wavy side down. and if you spray them with dry shampoo or hairspray, it will give them more staying power. click HERE for instructions on how to make “sticky bobby pins”.  about $2
  • clear elastics don’t break fine hair.  although they do stretch out so you may only be able to use them once or twice.  luckily a package of 100 or so of them is less than $2
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