This post was written in collaboration with Lakeshore Dry Goods, who sent me a product to review.
This summer, I’ve set my hair free.
I’ve always had curly hair. For years I would try to tame it with a brush, reducing my hair to frizzy waves. I learned how to get my hair silky and straight, only to have annoying little frizzies pop up in a halo minutes later. My special occasion hair involved blowing my hair straight only to re-curl it using heat and lots of products.
And then I found a community of curly girls. Women who celebrate their natural hair and see the ever-changing curls and waves as a gift. Women who nourish their curls, embrace the unpredictability, and let go of control.
I’m still in the beginning months of my curly journey, but here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. Check the ingredients. A sweet friend started me on this journey when I commented on her beautiful waves. “I use No Poo!” she exclaimed. I discovered that many conventional shampoos use harsh, heavy ingredients that strip moisture out of hair or weigh down curls.
2. Leave the conditioner. I make sure to leave some of that conditioning goodness in my hair instead of rinsing it all away. My hair needs the extra moisture.
3. Add some gel. This was the weirdest step for me. I NEVER used gel, and now I find it’s indispensable for holding my curls.
4. Dry with a t-shirt. Standard terrycloth towels are way too rough for my hair, causing frizz and breakage. Old t-shirts ain’t pretty, but they are much more gentle on curly hair. I recently found Lakeshore Dry Goods t-shirt towels, which are safe for my hair and cute for my bathroom.
5. Say goodbye to heat tools. Okay, okay, I’m not throwing out my straightening iron any time soon, but I haven’t used it in over four months! I love having a style that is truly wash and go.
6. Sleep with silk. Silky pillowcases, y’all. Sleeping on satin or silk pillowcases means my nighttime tossing and turning doesn’t add to my frizz.
7. Find role models. When I have questions about caring for my hair, I go to the ladies at NaturallyCurly.com, the curly hair subreddit, or Instagrammers like Mandie. Routines aren’t one-size-fits all, but finding women with similar hair and much more experience makes the learning process easier and more fun.
What I really love about the curly girl movement is the celebration of hair in all its many forms and states. Sophisticated doesn’t have to mean silky. So whether your hair is curly, kinky, wavy, stick-straight, or non-existent, you are beautiful. Our differences are a gift to the world.