I began my transitioning process in August 2016, the start of my junior year of undergrad. Since then, I’ve been patient, experimented with dozens of different products, gotten curly cuts and even dyed my hair. Going and staying natural has been one of the best decisions I’ve made because it makes my life so much more convenient. I never worry about sweating my roots out and the rain doesn’t really scare me. Sure, straight hair is beautiful but there’s just something about curly hair that amplifies your identity.
I’ve learned so many things about curly hair and am still doing so today. There was a point where I thought I knew it all but once winter came around or once I noticed a change in my hair, I humbled myself and reminded myself I still had a lot more to learn. There were some methods I was opposed to such as sectioning your hair to apply product because I felt it was a waste of time. Although I’ve had some marvelous hair days by just raking and scrunching, there were always a few areas of my hair that were dry- particularly in the back.
A lot of people have trusted me with hair tips in which most were successful and I am grateful for that. But sometimes even a teacher has to become a student and learn as well. Since my most recent curly cut and styling with Joseph from Curls on 5th, I learned so much about what I wasn’t doing to my hair. Take a look at his new product line, Be My Curl and take a look at his openings for hair appointments here.
Once I took time to self-reflect and realize what my weaknesses were, I was able to put this list together and pinpoint my hair care flaws:
1. Applying product unevenly
I’ve always been a great believer in a short styling process. Wash days are already as stressful as can be so the last thing I want to do is spend 25 minutes and more styling my hair. The good ‘ole raking and scrunching (also known as rake and shake) methods have been my go-tos for a long time which have resulted in good hair days. However, thanks to the winter cold, my hair has been in need of detailed product applications. I started sectioning my hair in five parts (sometimes four, depending on how much time I have) and have been applying product evenly to each section by using the raking method. Since my hair is a little shorter now, I’ve abstained from scrunching too often because I want my hair to weigh down to a certain extent. I make sure to apply a lot of water simultaneously with the styling product to ensure definition and hydration.
2. Touching my hair too much
We all have bad habits and mine is touching my hair too often while it is still drying. Believe it or not, this causes a lot of frizz (which I like, but not on day one). I like to believe my hair is complicated so I constantly feel the need to properly position it so it can dry in that position. However, I could save myself a lot of post-wash stress by letting my curls take their course and styling my hair once it’s fully dry.
3. Getting color crazy
Didn’t think I would be including this one on my list but I’ve been having a great sense of detail lately! I went blonde for the first time in late May and I love the color. I went for a root touch up in mid-November and didn’t notice much difference but it was still enough to be noticeable, if that makes sense. Combine blonde hair and the winter and you get a horrible, dry and undefined mix. I’ve always been one to cater to my color itches but I did make a recent promise to myself that I was going to go and stay black once my blonde grew out. The color is so fun but I am ready to have virgin, curly hair for the long run. It’ll be a while before that happens but I’m patient!
4. Tight buns
Tight buns- my favorite alternative when my hair isn’t cooperating. Sure, this sleek look is simple and perhaps fashionable, but my scalp hates it. Every time I do this hairstyle, I use tons of gel and brush my hair over 100 times. I guess you can call it a protective style but it depends how tight the bun is. My scalp is always tender when I take off my scrunchies (I use three) and my curls don’t seem to be very happy about it, either. The tension can pull your hair at the root, resulting in hair breakage- a big no no.
5. Combing and not enough finger detangling
I recently learned (or was at least convinced) about the positive effects of finger detangling. I was never really a fan of it because I feel fingers can’t really get to your roots as effectively as a wide tooth comb can. However, after noticing that most curly hair stylists use their fingers to detangle and it works, I figured I can give it a shot. Here’s my conclusion: finger detangling works best when conditioner is applied evenly with an even amount of water to help. This method worked on my hair and is something it can get used to.
6. Holding on to unnecessary strands and using them to make my hair appear longer
My most recent curly cut taught me that letting go of dead, useless strands of hair are like breaking up with a toxic boyfriend and I couldn’t agree any more. Most of us refuse to let go of length because we all want our hair to be or at least look longer. I was on the same boat too until my new cut taught me a lot about balance and evenness. Once I washed my hair and saw the new shape for what it was, I knew my hair was now destined to grow evenly. While I must admit it does hurt me to look at my previous photos and see how long my hair was getting, I thought about the strands of hair I had to pull forward to make it look long. I can’t wait until it grows longer!