Questions, please!

Hello faithful readers!

Now that I’ve prattled on with colorful anecdotes from my lifelong pursuit to be a happy curly girl, I’d love to hear what you have to say! If you have any experiences to share, positive or negative, or if you’ve found that some of my methods don’t work for you or can be slightly tweaked for the better, please share. You can email me here and I’ll add it to a future post, or you can comment below. Either way, I’d love to hear from you!

Also, I am always in contact with real curly hair experts and love to approach them armed with queries. If you have questions, I’ll do what I can to get answers (as the blog’s title suggests). Please take a moment to take the poll below, as well, to help guide me toward the type of content that would be most helpful to you.

Thank you and be well!

Sleeping Beauty

As we all know, a perfectly coiffed mane straight out of the shower doesn’t usually look as shiny and frizz-free on day two. I’ve already mentioned the wonders of reactivating your styling products by lightly running (or spritzing) some water through your hair in the morning, but still, a lot of factors go into whether this is an acceptable way to revitalize your ‘do from the day (or two) before. Here are the best ways I’ve found to make your hair last a day (or three) without a wash, and still look reasonably presentable.

1) First is managing expectations. Your hair will not be as perfectly corkscrewed and orderly as it was on day one, but that’s ok. We all know by now that if your hair is relatively healthy, it will look great even with a little more bounce and body. Most of us lose body after the first wash, I know I do, so there are ways to fluff it up. On humid days, it will look a bit messier when you wake up. It’s ok, embrace it. You have curly hair!

2) By now you probably know how much gel and conditioner to put into your hair. If you find that it seems extra greasy or oily or just kind of stringy on day two when you awaken, try using less. I find that the less product I use initially, the less perfect my hair will look right after showering. Day two, however, it looks healthy and free, and not as weighed-down by product.

Betcha didn't think you'd be using this guy again, did you?

3) When you go to sleep, take a soft, but tight enough, scrunchy. Turn your head upside down and pile your hair on top of your head, and wrap the scrunchy around once. If your hair is really thin or short, you may need to wrap the scrunchy twice, which is fine. Another option is to cut off the end of a sleeve from a shirt you’re throwing out or don’t care about (and that still has some elasticity left) and use that as a scrunchy. You can wrap that as many times as you want. The point of a soft material is that there is nothing to grab and pull out individual hairs, and the width of the band matches your curl patterns better than a thin, harsh elastic. The idea of piling your hair on your head is that the canopy, or top layer of your hair, ends up being cradled in the middle and it receives less friction. Also, the hair will have more of a north-south, rather than just southerly, direction when you wake up the next morning (read: less droopage).

4) Use silk or satin pillow cases. I can’t stress this one enough. When I sleep on anything other than a silk or satin pillow case, my hair looks twice or three times as bad the next morning. They are sweatier, but that’s the sacrifice we must make. Another option is to try a satin sleeping cap, but if you have a significant other that you sleep with every night and aren’t 80 years old, I wouldn’t recommend it. Either way, still pile your hair up with the scrunchy.

5) When you wake up the next morning your hair may look fabulous as is, or it may be too frizzy and disheveled. If the latter, wet with your fingers, pulling water lightly through your hair in a downward direction. Curl a few sections that have gotten out of whack by just twisting it with your fingers. The less contact the better. Avoid adding more gel or product, every time I’ve done this I’ve regretted it. Usually the rule of thumb is, if you find you need more product, it’s time for a wash and re-set.

6) For longer-haireds, I find it preferable to just lay on the pillow and pull my hair up over my head when I’m going to sleep. I learned this trick when I straightened my hair more in the past, and it does wonders then, too. Using elastics with straight hair causes the dreaded dent, but just piling it up over your head behind the pillow is great. The problem is, every time I toss and turn I have to make sure my hair is staying up! As soon as it comes down to my shoulders it gets completely knotted, sweaty, and ratty. Another option, if you don’t mind a slightly different style the next day, is to braid it. Loose braids aren’t harmful and are very effective at keeping hair relatively neat. You’ll lose your curls, but when you wet your hair the next morning it may take a pretty cool shape. Also, sleeping with a braid feels sort of medieval, and that’s rad.

Note: If your hair is shorter, the elastic may slip off easily. Try gently fastening it in place with those mini claw clips. If you can’t tell, I use these for almost everything, including putting my hair up during the day. Do not use bobby pins. When you use bobby pins, expect that you’ll completely frizz out any hair that crosses their paths when you pull them out. Bobby pins do have their place, don’t get me wrong, but only with a ‘do where you know you’ll be washing your hair the next day.

(Don’t) Whip it!

Well ladies, winter is here. Harsh winds, low temps, and rough fabrics aren’t the only things that affect our precious locks each season… in fact, one of the clearest culprits is the artificial heat streaming through our homes and offices. It’s drying (just notice how you can’t breathe when you wake up each morning due to stuffiness) and abrasive, and it is doing the same thing to your hair that it is doing to your sinuses and skin. I’ve been dealing with a flaky, itchy scalp for months now, and nothing seems to cure it. I have been massaging with conditioner, doing weekly intensive oil treatments, and haven’t straightened it more than once or twice. What’s a girl to do?

Well, Curly Girl suggested that we try massaging our scalps with homemade whipped cream, or for us lazies, Reddi Whip.

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while now, so over the weekend I went out and bought some. My boyfriend cracked it open and used about a quarter of it on his dessert, claiming he thought I bought it for him (sorry, honey), but there was still plenty in there. I carried it into the bathroom and went to work in the shower, massaging it into my scalp as I do with conditioner. Then I used No-Poo to massage it out, and washed and styled my hair as usual.

After getting out of the shower I was cleaning dishes, and thought I smelled something really nasty, like dirty feet or unwashed underwear. I figured it was the garbage, but it wasn’t. Then I went into my bedroom and started folding my clothes to put them away, and smelled it again. I took off everything I was wearing for the sniff test, and it was all clean. I thought it might be the cats, but it wasn’t. In the middle of the night I woke up to a sound, and smelled it again. I figured it must be the laundry, but it wasn’t!

This morning I caught another whiff and put on some perfume to try to drown it out, whatever it was. I was showered, my clothes were clean, I must just be imagining it. When I got to work I turned my head upside down for my usual curl ruffle, and as I put a hand near my face, I smelled it! I knew that I’d found the source! Then… I felt sick. It was coming from my scalp… all of the whipped cream must not have washed out! My scalp and hair smell like spoiled milk.

Unfortunately I don’t have any dry shampoo on me, and I’m headed to an intense cardio and then dance class after work tonight. I’ll scrub my scalp when I get home, but that’s about 11 hours from now. The good news is, my scalp isn’t flaky or itchy anymore! I guess I’d suggest trying this, but only on a weekend, and be sure to use Low-Poo or the Lemon-Aid (lemon juice-conditioner mix) immediately afterward.

The things we do!