How to Survive Curly Hair Part 2: Updated Advice + Tips

It’s been a while since I posted anything about my hair, hasn’t it? Well, in case you forgot, it’s still there. Still curly. Still a lovely pain in the butt. But the way I’ve been handling it has a changed a little since my last posts. All the tips and tricks I listed on Part 1 still apply, but I’ve learned a little more about my hair now, and how to better deal with it.

(Disclaimer: all opinions are my own.)

Again: to have good hair, you need to have a good haircut.

You can have the most bomb-ass hair possible, but it still won’t be as great as it could be unless you have a hairstylist who can deal with your hair. Take it from someone who spent a good deal of her life having her hair cut like it’s straight hair: unless you want the dreaded triangle hair (see below), you need shaping. And unless your hairdresser knows how to cut curly hair, it’s not going to look good.

Cut out heat styling as much as possible.

Look, I get it. It’s convenient! It cuts three or four hours of air-drying down to about fifteen! Hairdryers are magical. But unless you’re protecting your hair, you could be damaging it.

If you have to use a hairdryer, use a diffuser with it to help get rid of some of the frizz, and try a hair oil or heat protectant. Same goes for straighteners: protect your hair first, and go natural/air dry whenever possible.

Some things just aren’t going to work for you.

There are a lot of ways to manage curly hair, but not all of them are going to work for you. I’ve tried a lot of methods: braiding, twist-outs, bantu knots, etc. Bantu knots make my hair kinky (kinky as in it sticks out straight from my head), and ruin my curls. Twist-outs look limp on me. Braids aren’t bad, but they take forever to dry and my scalp is so sensitive a single knot can bother me. Admittedly, I don’t have ‘black’ hair—I’m mixed, Latina and Italian on my mother’s side and white on my father’s—and that might be why protective styling methods designed for coarser, tighter curls don’t work well on me.

It’s a good idea to these techniques out, but just know that they’re not guaranteed to work on you.

Always look at the ingredients.

I’m used to looking at ingredient labels because I have a pretty bad gluten intolerance, but it’s a good idea to look at them even if you don’t. No matter the price tag or the hype around a product, in the end, it’s what’s inside it that matters. Certain ingredients are known for certain properties. Oils (such as coconut oil, argan oil, meadowfoam seed oil, castor oil, almond oil and monoi oil) as well as shea butter are great for moisturizing. Vitamin B5 can, as far as I know, help strengthen your hair. You should also try to avoid sulfates such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (look for shampoos marked as sulfate-free), silicones (anything that ends in -cone, though some people say that dimethicones are okay), and alcohol in your products.

Learn to love your hair.

At the end of the day, you’re stuck with your hair. There’s nothing you can do to change it. You can straighten it, relax it, whatever—but it’s still going to be curly, and it’s still going to be your hair. You’ll have good hair days and bad hair days, but you’ve gotta learn how to love your hair. At the end of the day, it’s a part of you, and it’s beautiful.

how to survive having curly hair pt 2 - tips and tricks
I’m weird, I know.

Part 3 can be found here. But for now, what advice and tips do you have for people with curly hair?

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