The Rules of Engagement w/ JP
John Paul is a longtime follower, curly longhair, and college lacrosse player at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He deals with tight curls on the daily and offered to share a few tips for our curly haired brethren.
The Daily Battle
Having long, curly hair is a blessing and a curse. It’s wild, burly and all natural, but at the same time it can be fiercely unpredictable and a pain to deal with. The enemy is frizz, and the war on frizz is real.
For most curly hairs this constitutes a daily battle, and the day you let your guard down is the day frizz wins, shutting down your operation in a Texas tornado of tendrils.
To avoid that unpleasant scenario, there are a few simple rules to follow that will help you keep that bounce in your curl, feeling fresh and frizz-free.
SO DO THESE!
Rule #1: Wash Less
One of the biggest early mistakes I made as a curly longhair was shampooing my hair every day, often multiple times, because I thought it was healthy for my hair. WRONG! If you have curly hair you should NOT be washing every day.
Shampooing strips your hair and scalp of natural oils which help to strengthen and moisturize your curls. These essential oils are your front line defense against frizz. Every time you wash your hair you strip these oils away, drying out your hair and leaving your flank exposed to the enemy.
Aim to wash your hair 2-3 times per week at most, preserving the oils your hair needs to stay strong, hydrated, shiny and frizz-free.
Rule #2: Wrap It Up!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with curly hair is rubbing it dry with a towel. This leads to split ends, knots and tons of frizz. Instead of rubbing your hair, wrap it up in a towel or better yet a soft t-shirt.
Personally I just use a regular towel. I simply bend over, drape my hair down towards the floor, place a towel on the back of my skull and drape it over my head towards the ground. Then I twist the towel around my hanging hair and tuck the “wrapped” locks behind my head.
Using this drying method helps you in a couple ways. First, you want to avoid the friction and static buildup caused by rubbing it dry, that’s a virtual frizz machine. Also, when you leave it to air dry, the moisture evaporates leaving your hair dried out. Using a towel or t-shirt wicks the excess moisture from your hair without exposing it to air.
Rule #3: Use a Leave-in Cream or Pomade
After 5-10 minutes with your hair wrapped up, gently unfold your towel and let your hair down. With your hair still slightly damp, apply your leave-in cream, starting with the tips of your locks (which are most prone to dryness and messy frizz) and then throughout the full lengths, including your scalp. Let the cream dry in your hair.
Life rule: never put product on your hair when it is completely dry. Trust me on this.
Don’t have leave-in cream? Styling pomades, water-based gels or creams can also work, but try to stay away from hard gelly-based gels. Hard gelly gels can tear your hair when you try to comb it and make your locks too stiff. Make sure your gels are WATER based. I recommend using products with argan and/or macadamia oil in particular. Natural is always better.
All of these products tend to be a little pricey at the register, but they go a long way. You only need a couple drops of your product when you apply it to your hair, so you won’t go through a whole bottle in 2 weeks (most of these last me 2-3 months).
Also, these products should give you good results with curly hair, when I used them they did not act up on me, cause knots, or frizzing, so in the long run you will save money from not having to buy multiple different products that don’t work.
Here are some products I’ve had success with:
American Crew Forming Cream
Biolage Matrix Gelee (all purpose) Styling Gel
Macadamia Natural Oil: Healing Treatment
Rule #4: Let Your Hair Down
This is super important. After you apply your leave-in cream, let your hair down for a bit and let your locks hang loose. Putting your hair in a knot or tail immediately after putting the cream in will cause frizz and make your hair look like Bob Ross after a steam bath. Make sure you let your hair down and let it dry before tying it up.
Carry The Fight On
There ya have it boys, rules to live by.
It’s true, curly hair takes a lot more maintenance than straight hair. But we should embrace it and be proud of the little genetic variation that gifted each of us with a luscious waterfall of ringlets.
So stay vigilant, and never let your guard down. Follow these rules and you’ll come out on top in the war on frizz.
Got any of your own tips for curly hair? Share in the comments, amigo.