Everything You Need to Know about Going Back to Natural Curls
by Robin Bickerstaff Glover
My four daughters and I decided to ditch the flat iron this year. Since that time we have worked on getting natural curls that are healthy and vibrant. Learn from our mistakes (and successes) to make your back-to-natural journey a walk in the park.
This year, my four daughters and I decided to quit straightening our hair and go back to our natural curly textures. But even though they’ve never relaxed their hair, it was difficult to get our natural curls to thrive and mirror the many photos we see online. The struggle was real; but we were up to the challenge. And after a lot of research on how to get our curls back, we are starting to really like what we see! Here are some quick tips on how to navigate the first steps in your natural curly hair journey.
Do the necessary research.
I know you wanna be cute, and that’s great, but part of the motivation to go natural is often the pursuit of healthier hair. During the past year, I have watched hundreds of YouTube videos produced by folks with natural curls. A lot of them have really great looking hair and they are working it out successfully without damaging their locks. On the other hand, I have seen some tutorials where the subjects seemed to be ruining her hair. Yikes! My advice? Start with a consultation with a stylist specializing in natural hair. They tend to be a little pricey, but they can give you authoritative information on what your hair needs to get brag-worthy natural curls. We didn’t seek help soon enough and as a result we had a lot of misses when it came to products, styling tips, and so much more.
Form great style habits that will help your tresses adjust.
According to the stylists at Curltopia, an online site and Atlanta-based salon, these four simple tips will save you a lot of time and effort.
- Try to make sure you get a trim every four weeks to promote healthy hair growth.
- Co-wash or shampoo with a good sulfate-free product once or twice weekly.
- Find a good moisturizer (one that penetrates the hair shaft) and use it daily for healthy, soft, and shiny curls.
- Use a clarifying shampoo every 6 to 8 weeks and follow-up with a deep moisturize treatment. This important step will keep your hair from becoming dull and lifeless.
Stay up to date on curly hair how-tos by watching lots of tutorials and product reviews.
Winning at the natural hair game takes more than a little patience. If you have been chemically altering your curl for any time at all, your hair remembers and it needs some time to bounce back. If you are looking at your hair and wondering, “Who hurt you that you can no longer trust?” then get some encouragement online from others going through the process of revitalizing and retraining their curls. Many natural-haired bloggers, like ColouredBeautiful, have helped us find great products, styling tips, and alternative hairstyles while we wait for the natural wave or curl pattern to return.
Know the terms.
Speaking of hairstyles for naturally curly hair, it is good to learn the terms and experiment with the options while you wait for your hair to blossom! Here are a few of the most popular hair training techniques.
This is a good choice for you if you are growing out a perm or relaxer, or if your hair is heat damaged from the flat iron. Your new growth will reveal your natural curl pattern early on; but the twist out will camouflage any hair that dries straight or slightly wavy at the end. You are in, what the curly style experts call, transition.
The braid out is similar to the twist out, but the hair is braided while wet or dry (your preference), then taken down and styled your way.
Shingling is especially helpful to those who opt for the ‘big chop’ option for curly hair. According to Miss Jessie’s website, “Shingling™ is a styling method developed and created at Miss Jessie’s salon to manually “turn kinks to curls.” You can achieve maximum curl definition and elongation if you capture your hair in the wet stage. Apply Miss Jessie’s CURLY PUDDING™ or Miss Jessie’s CURLY MERINGUE™ and use a comb to spread the product from root to end smoothing and stretching hair in a southbound direction. We call it Shingling because it looks like flat shingles in a brick-layered pattern. This styling method is excellent for naturally kinky, curly and wavy textures.”
This popular style is formed by twisting your hair around itself until a knot is formed. The beautiful, sassy result is a flirty hairdo that looks like a corkscrew rope.
Preserving your style is easier when you use a pineapple to maintain it at night. Pin your hair to the top of your head or use a large pony tail holder to place your hair up and forward on your head. Finish up by wrapping a scarf around the sides of your hair or wearing a satin cap. In the morning just shake it out and finger pull it softly into shape for repeat cuteness.
Perm Rod Curls
Permanent wave rods come in various sizes to accommodate all lengths of hair. Use the rods, together with a leave-in conditioner, gel, coconut or other oil, and water to set your natural hair. Natural purists let the style dry naturally, without any heat from a hooded or blow dryer. This sophisticated style will work in colder seasons when you don’t want to leave the house with a wet head!
Wash & Go
The wash-and-go is just as it sounds. Find the products that work best for your hair type and use them to co-wash or shampoo, and then moisturize with a leave-in conditioner or pudding. Allow your hair to dry naturally and you’re all set.
Learning how to get your natural curls to cooperate and show off is a fun experience. Use these helpful tips to navigate your way successfully on the road to beautiful, bouncy, shiny, and healthy curly styles all year long. Also check out our natural hair Q&A for more tips from a beauty industry veteran!