After Straightening My Hair For Most Of My Life, I Decided To Embrace My Chinos And This Is What I Learned

I spent most my entire life straightening my hair every day. The damage, as you can imagine, was enough to make me cry – until I decided to embrace my curls and go natural. For me, going natural didn’t mean just hopping out of bed and letting my hair do what it wanted. It meant doing a little bit of research to understand how to care for my curls so they live their best life.

I was blown away to learn that not all curl patterns are the same. 

A really good chart 🙂 #hairtype #curltype #curlchart #curls #curlyhair #curlygirl #knowledge #knowyourhair

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I used to assume curly hair was just curly hair, but as this curl chart shows, not all curls are the same. As seen above, 3A is a looser curl, 3B hair is more of a wide spiral/ringlet like the circumference of a sharpie and 3C hair is a smaller spiral like the circumference of a pen. Knowing your pattern will allow you to better select products. Oh and FYI, you CAN have more than one curl pattern. This was also new to me.

I am all three of the 3’s.

My hair strands range from loose curls to tight ringlets.

Before doing my homework, I had no idea what porosity was.

CREDIT: The Voice / NBC

Porosity describes the gaps and holes in the surface of the hair, which can make it more vulnerable to damage. Curly hair is naturally more porous and therefore more thirsty, which is why we frizz up with humidity. Our hair is literally trying to drink water!

Very porous hair absorbs liquid quickly and loses it quickly. High porosity can be the result of damage to the hair from chemical treatments and environmental exposure. The frizz is real!

Tip: To test your porosity drop a strand of clean hair into a glass of water. If it immediately sinks, your hair is of high porosity. If it floats midway, it’s of medium porosity, and if the strand floats towards the top and it takes a while to sink, your strands are of low porosity. You can also be a combination of porosities.

Most commercials train us to think that the more suds you create in your hair, the better, but suds are actually the enemy. ?

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Herbal Essences

Why? Because sulfates! Sulfates are usually listed as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laurel sulfate or abbreviated as SLS. It is a detergent found in dish soap, toothpaste and pretty much anything that lathers.

Essentially you are washing your hair with the same thing you wash your clothes and dishes with. So yeah, hard pass.

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Credit: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo /  TLC

Sulfates strip your hair of it’s natural oils. I haven’t used sulfates in a month and it has completely changed my curl pattern, moisture, and the shine is unreal!

Instead, I learned to condition often.

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Credit: Easy A / Sony Pictures

I use a non-lathering sulfate free conditioning cleanser like DevaCurl “No Poo Shampoo” or Living Proof “Conditioning Cleanser” instead of a lathering shampoo. It’s also a good idea to find a deep conditioner to keep your hair moisturized and to promote growth.

And to rub my hair the right way.

CREDIT: selenaquintanilla/tumblr

Another turning point in my hair journey was when I stopped using a towel to dry my hair. Terry cloth towels can fray the little gaps and holes in the surface of your hair causing frizz. Micro fiber towels don’t rub hair the wrong way, but you don’t have to spend beaucoup bucks on those name brand ones.

Tip: Just use a less abrasive fabric. I use a cotton tee shirt and it works just fine!

I also had to turn down the heat. Way, way down.

The greatest threat to curly hair is heat damage and over processing. If you’re going to blow dry your hair use a diffuser and keep the heat low. If you’re going to dye it I suggest finding someone who knows how to dye curly hair (yes that’s a thing). As someone who used to straighten their hair every day, turning down the heat wasn’t easy, but it has definitely paid off.

Tip: henna is a nourishing dye option if you’re looking to go deep red or jet black.

But getting my curls to a silky state actually started during my sleep routine, specifically with the pillowcase I use.

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Credit: The Little Mermaid / Disney

I started using a silk pillowcase and it was a total game changer for my hair and my skin. Silk and satin don’t absorb your hair’s natural oils and dry it out it also doesn’t allow bacteria to grow like cotton does, so you can imaging how real the glo up was.

Tip: Don’t spend $75-100 online for a freaking pillow case! Go to the fashion or textile district in your city and buy a yard. A mid level silk will cost you around $14. If you’re not a seamstress, you can wrap your pillow around the silk or do a basic cross stitch and voila!

And there are a few other measures I take to protect my rizos while I sleep.

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Credit: Keeping Up With the Kardashians / E! Entertainment Television

If your hair is longer than shoulder length you should put it in a loose braid when you go to bed. This will keep it from getting tangled and protect your ends. I also like to rub a little avocado oil into my ends before bed to keep them moisturized.

But the most important rule for me has been to NEVER dry brush my hair.

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Credit: The Princess Diaries / Disney

This may seem like common sense, but tell that to my mom when I was 12! Dry brushing breaks your hair strands, causes frizz and ruins your curls. DON’T DO IT! To detangle, your hair must be wet. There are plenty of detangling rinses and detangling sprays on the market that will save your life!


READ: These Curly Chicas Taught Me How to Embrace My Natural Hair

Share with your curly girls! And let us know about your own curly hair routines in the comments!