I have curly hair. This won’t be a surprise if you’ve ever seen me – but you’d be shocked at the number of visibly straight-haired people who tell me they have curly hair, usually followed by, “It’s not quite as curly as yours…”
I can’t understand why anyone would forgo an extra hour in bed to defy God’s will by pressing their curls out of their hair before work – but aside from my inherent laziness, I like my curly hair! Yes, really (mostly).
It wasn’t always like this – as a nipper, I hated it. Hours spent in front of the fire as my mother brushed out the knots; moments being taunted and teased by children who thought my frizzy little ‘fro was the worst EVER; days spent in the hairdressers’ chair looking for that elusive perfect cut that would basically make me look like a Sassoon model (to no avail).
Ultimately, it was age and wisdom that brought with it the power to love my curls – a power fuelled entirely by products. Yes, you read that right; having good curls is not about cut or face shape. It’s about loading your hair with a shitload of product that’ll make it look fierce rather than frizzy; Here are my top five.
1. An afro comb
I believe in modern, PC terms, these are called 'wide-toothed combs', but whatever way you spin it, you need one. Use it in the shower to comb your conditioner through - then leave your hair ALONE. Do not ever brush curly hair dry. That way lies heartbreak and frizz. €3.89 from Boots
2. Decent conditioner
Which brings me nicely to... a decent conditioner, aka the Curly Grail. I'm not hugely fussy about my conditioners, but placement is key - through the ends only (the bottom third of your hair). Leave it in while you clean your face and body; comb through. At the moment I'm using Ojon's Color Sustain PRO Fade Fighting Conditioner (smells amazing).
Aoibhinn wrote about this for Frillseeker a while back, but for curly hair this is a very real thing. My hair often looks best when it's a little less than squeaky clean, so I only shampoo every third wash or so - I get better grip and my curls maintain a better shape. (Not washing isn't an option; no matter how I sleep I wake up with one side matted to my head like the fur of a feral cat.) Want recommendations for co-washes? We've lots here.
4. Styling cream
This is for day-to-day wear - I like to leave my hair to dry naturally as much as possible (over-processing = frizz) so, once I'm out of the shower, I blot it dry (a fellow curly-haired friend swears by using T-shirts to dry your hair, rather than towels, to reduce frizz) and apply a styling cream to the bottom 75% of my hair (never the roots). Kevin Murphy's Motion Lotion is deadly - you need the tiniest bit (it comes out FAST) and it gives perfectly defined curls. Resist the urge to comb it through - your fingers will do.
I know, so 1980s, right? But how else will you get that Sassoon feel? On the days I feel like size matters, I BARELY dry my hair - it needs to still be wringing wet - and then I apply a golf ball-sized dollop of mousse evenly throughout the hair, twice. It doesn't work to just do one huge ball - I find in order to get an even spread I need to do two shots. Then I diffuse dry it on the highest heat and lowest speed (hot and slow, heh heh) for big, disco-like curls. My current fave? L'Oréal Professionnel's Tecni Art mousses - any of them.