I’ve stopped straightening my hair since the beginning of this year, and have been trying to get back to my natural curls, which have never really been seen before now as I always brushed my hair out. It was springy in the mornings, but I was always told to brush it, and then it went flatter.
When I first got ill, I started to go long periods without brushing my hair, and it became wildly out of control during this time.
Letting hair go curly comes with a lot of changes. Not brushing your hair is odd at first, because it feels like you’ve forgotten to do some big thing that makes you presentable.
You also can’t just towel-dry your hair unless you fancy a lot of frizz and breakage. I need Will to help me get dried and dressed, and he still finds it unnatural for him to leave me with totally wet hair.
You need to wash your hair less often, maybe only 3 times a week, and how you look after your hair just after it’s been washed will affect how it appears on the in-between days. Some days result in tighter curls than others, and some days are just a complete flop.
Obviously, my hair is still in progress, most of it is hair that has been previously relaxed/ chemically straightened, and so it is never going to curl entirely properly on its own.
However, there are already some products I’ve fallen in love with, and I’m going to share them here today.
(I usually let my nail varnish flake off entirely before I apply more, so sorry about that.)
Coconut Oil Co-Wash
This stuff is worth buying for the smell alone! The product’s full name is Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula, Coconut Oil Cleansing Conditioner Co-Wash. Not quite as bad as she sells seashells by the seashore but it’s getting there.
Co-washing is something I’ve come to understand as “conditioner-only washing” and it’s something one should apparently do on the majority of wash days if one has curly hair.
Back when I brushed-out my hair, I was often prone to grease, because I was distributing all the oils down my head. This doesn’t happen when you have curly hair, so it can often feel alarmingly straw-like. This is where co-washing for all but one of your wash days comes in, because it can make your hair soft and nourished.
It’s possible to overdo it though, which can make your hair feel very heavy the next day. It took me a while to get it right so that I wasn’t having to shampoo out the effects of this stuff every time I washed my hair.
A lot of odd claims are made about coconut oil, but curly hair really does seem to like it, and I’ve seen some people use the oil itself on their hair, wrap themselves in clingfilm, and sleep with the oil in all night. That sounds like something that could go very wrong for me, so I’ll stick with the Palmer’s stuff.
It really does smell absolutely amazing though and I’d recommend it even if you don’t have curly hair. Check it out here!
Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo
I put off trying this for a while, because it sounds like something that’s meant to go on food. However, it became apparent that I was in need of an actual “clarifying shampoo” to strip everything out of my hair every now and then, which normal shampoo can’t seem to do to completion.
It’s very runny stuff, and it lathers, which is normally a no-no in the curly hair world, but it smells interesting (still haven’t decided if I like it yet) and it feels like it does take all the build up out of my hair.
There are a lot of claims about castor oil out there too, people insist it helps you grow back areas of thinning hair, and it makes hair longer and stronger. I’m not really sure how that would work, all I know is that it cleans my scalp, and that’s something you need to do fairly often with curly hair. Buy it here.
L’Oreal Elvive Curl Nourishment Shampoo
This might be frowned upon as it’s a “normal” shampoo, but I do find that it makes curls on the top of my head a bit tighter and more defined. This is what I use on most shampoo days, occasionally replacing with the castor oil stuff when I need to remove build up.
I really like this stuff but it seems to have vanished from the supermarkets, so I’m now getting it from Amazon.
L’Oreal Elvive Curl Nourishment Cleansing Conditioner
This is pretty much a L’Oreal version of the Palmer’s stuff at the top, but with amla oil instead of coconut oil. The bottle I actually received says “low shampoo” on it instead of “cleansing conditioner” or “co-wash” but it seems to be the same product.
It doesn’t feel quite as intense as the Palmer’s co-wash, but it’s still nice. You can buy it here.
These require a bit of effort to use, but can encourage new growth to spiral down into previously relaxed hair and actually look somewhat ordered. I don’t use them every time I wash my hair because they do take energy, but they can help to tidy the lay of the hair every now and then. You might be able to use these if you have naturally straight hair, but I’m not sure how well they would hold, especially as these are used without heat. You can buy them here.
The appearance of this thing seems to go against the mantra of not using a brush on curly hair, but I heard good things about it and decided to give it a try, as the wide-toothed comb I was using just wasn’t helping much.
I’m not sure how I managed to live without this until now, I’ve never had a knot that it couldn’t get out, my hair dreads itself really easily but the Tangle Teezer has never struggled, it even brushed a bobby pin out of my hair this week, that I somehow hadn’t noticed was still in there.
Tangle Teezers come in a variety of colours, I personally love the 90s vibe of the purple glitter. I only use this when my hair is soaking wet after being washed, but some people probably do use it on dry hair. You can buy it here!
Other things you may find helpful:
- Invisibobbles – These were a bit of a fad a few years ago, but I personally find them very effective for tying up curly hair and not shredding bits out when I need to remove them. You can wear them on your wrist when they need to shrink back to their original shape, and it’s quite fun that they resemble old landline telephone cords.
- A satin sleeping cap – I use this to keep my curl pattern in good shape overnight after I’ve washed my hair. I probably don’t wear it as often as I should!
- A shower/ bath cap – getting water on bits of your hair on non-wash days can actually be a real pain in the arse and lead to a huge bloom of frizz. They seem a bit old-fashioned, but a shower cap can help. There are so many of these around that there’s probably no need to link to an example.