Those of us who have been blessed with curly hair know how much of a rollercoaster ride our relationship with our curls can be. One day you love your hair and fully embrace your curls, and the next, they cause you to have a mental breakdown and you consider going full 2007 Britney. No shame, because we’ve all been there.
You’ve probably spent a ton of time, effort, and, above all, money trying to figure out the precise number and order of products that will get your hair to look perfect every time (even though we all know that’s pretty much impossible, because your hair basically has a mind of its own). While the actual routine will vary from person to person, there are some things that we should all steer clear of. So, here are some curly hair don’ts from the experts.
1. Don’t Complicate Your Routine
Jessica Fitzpatrick, texture specialist at Beyond Texture Salon in Brooklyn, New York, wishes you would stop overcomplicating sh*t, and by sh*t, I mean your hair care routine. “I’m finding my clients are striving for this perfection in their routine when they are lacking consistency,” she says. Fitzpatrick says, “We tend to overcomplicate our product choices with all the YouTube tutorials and curl type hype when we haven’t established a status quo first.” Simple and consistent is the key here. I know it’s hard, but give your products some time to work before you abandon them and start anew with the next big thing on Instagram. According to Curls Understood, you may not see immediate results when using a product, and it’s best to give it about three months. If you aren’t in love with it by then, say thank you, next, and try something new.
2. Don’t Use Product With Toxic Ingredients
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We’ve all had to kick toxic people out of our lives, so consider throwing away hair products that contain toxic and harmful ingredients in them. Curl specialist Candace Witherspoon suggests that any product that has sulfates, parabens, silicones, propylene glycol, ethanol alcohol, and added fragrances need to go. Sticking to more natural and clean hair products is the best way to keep your hair healthy.
Dhiran Mistry, stylist at David Mallett Salon in New York City, agrees with Witherspoon and suggests you keep away from products with those ingredients in them. He says that silicones will repel moisture from your hair, sulfates will pull out your hair’s natural oil, and alcohol will cause excess drying. AKA, all things that will make your curls look and feel unhealthy.
3. Don’t Use Chemical Processes
A step in accepting your curls and finding other ways to manage them is to throw away any chemical processes you’ve ever used (keratin treatments, relaxers, etc.). According to Fitzpatrick, chemical processes lead to two terrible events: hair loss and thinning. “Chemical relaxers cause hair loss from the mid-shaft (breakage) and hair loss from the root (thinning),” she tells us, adding that these treatments can also lead to the recession of the hair line. Yes, receding hairlines aren’t just for creepy men on dating apps. Stay away!
4. Don’t Forget To Moisturize
As we approach the cooler months, Fitzpatrick wants you to be sure you’re assessing your moisture needs often, saying, “We tend to be in drier environments during this time of year.” She suggests using a deep conditioner more often and opting towards more cream-based stylers. She also suggests sleeping next to a humidifier, which will help provide extra moisture in your environment. And while we all love our oils and butter products, avoid using them. She tells us that, while they make your hair feel wonderful, they don’t improve the condition of the curls. They create the illusion of healthy hair and moisture, while in reality, they just sit on your curls and provide zero benefit.
5. Don’t Skip Out On Haircuts
I get it—no one likes getting a haircut. You go to get a *trim* and end up leaving with a curly bob. Like, have you ever cried after a haircut, or are you lying? Fitzpatrick suggests that in order to avoid this nightmare, it’s important to find a stylist that you communicate well with. No more sitting there scared sh*tless to speak up when everything is going wrong. She says, “Treat your first appointment with your stylist kind of as a first date.” Don’t hold back; tell them your deal breakers and expectations in this new relationship.
The list of benefits of getting your curls trimmed is long, but some continuously put off getting it done. Pandemic concerns aside, Fitzpatrick wants you to know that getting a trim will help encourage growth and longevity. Knowing this and being patient when it comes to seeing results will prevent future avoidance of getting a haircut in the future.
6. Don’t Sleep On A Cotton Pillow
Your life will change after sleeping on a silk or satin pillow. Not only will it help protect your curls while you toss and turn, it’ll change the appearance of your hair in the morning. No more unwanted frizz and untamable hair—it’s truly a miracle. Naturally Curly says that the friction between your hair and your normal cotton pillow case can leave your hair dry and brittle. Sleeping on a silk or satin pillow, though, will add an extra smooth layer that will allow your hair to maintain its moisture.
7. Don’t Use Heat
IDK who needs to hear this, but heat is damaging to your hair. Having straight hair once in a while can provide a break from taming our curls daily, but doing it frequently is literally killing your curls. Using heat constantly will take away your hair’s natural shape and bounce. “Daily use of any hot iron on curly hair will eventually damage curly hair. Steer clear of them!” Mistry tells us.
Yes, I’m talking to you, the one who never gives their hair a break. Every once in a while is fine, but this isn’t middle school anymore and you shouldn’t be flat-ironing your hair within an inch of its life every single day. Give those curls a break.
Images: Radu Florin / Unsplash; @curlyhair_memes (2) / Instagram
As January drones on and our New Year’s resolutions crumble, we look for other ways to spice up what’s left of our lives. There’s a right and wrong way to do this, and a haircut could go in either of those directions. We’ve all gotten a little too scissor-happy and ended up regretting it for the next year while waiting for our hair to grow back. (I’m convinced your hair grows slower when you actually want it to be longer.) So before you make an appointment with your stylist, maybe ask yourself: do you really want bangs or do you just need a therapist and a weighted blanket? Is your haircut a cute “new year, new me” transformation, or a cry for help? Don’t just take our opinion. We consulted hair stylist-extraordinaire, Dhiran Mistry from Spoke & Weal Soho, to spill the tea on which haircuts are truly the worst.
Good Idea: The power-suit of hairstyles has to be a badass bob or lob (aka a long bob). It’s sharp, means business, and doesn’t text its ex at 3am. While it can be a risky hairstyle to try, chopping off those dead locks and getting a clean look seriously helps you portray the image that you have your sh*t together. Mistry also suggests keeping your bob as simple as possible, no high-low or low-key mullets.
Cry For Help: Where it takes a real f*cking turn is when you get too round and bubbly with it. We do not want any bowl cuts happening here. This tragic look, also known as the mom bob, basically screams “I’m 36, my name is Linda, I comment hearts on Reese Witherspoon’s Instagrams thinking she’ll see it and care, and I’ve started hiding the good wine from the kids.”
Good Idea: This hairstyle is often super stigmatized, according to Mistry. As a stylist originally from London, he says that many Europeans love to rock the pixie look, but since being in America, he’s noticed many women are uncomfortable cutting their hair that short. For one simple reason: men. They ruin f*cking everything. Mistry’s best advice: dump his ass. Don’t let him micromanage your hair and try to craft you into some dumb image he has in his head of what beauty should look like. You’re your own prize, betch.
Cry For Help: I know you might be traumatized from the pixie cuts of Kate Gosselin circa her TLC show or Jamie Lee Curtis à la Freaky Friday, but these are not the inspos you show your hairdresser.
Venture into the stylings of Cara Delevingne, Janelle Monae, or my personal favourite pixie on the planet, Lupita Nyong’o. So relive your study abroad days and go for this classy European cut.
Good Idea: Rocking a bald head is one of the most confident and badass hairstyles you can go for. You ain’t hiding anything behind lushes locks or tight curls, it’s all on display. Mistry says many women can pull off this look, but few find the courage to actually do it. He adds that most people (me) use their hair as a distraction from their face because they’re self-conscious about their appearance. But bald bitches know they look sick AF with or without hair.
Cry For Help: If your mental health is questionable and you’ve been on a two-week bender, you’re at an extremely high risk of going all Britney 2007. This is not just a cry for help, but a f*cking scream. If you go bald, do it right or not at all. Impulse head shaving has never once turned out to be a good thing. I can literally promise you that.
One of the best shaved-head looks has to be iconic South Sudanese model and former VS Angel, Grace Bol:
Good Idea: Most clients that come to Mistry ask for bangs in order to cover something up—forehead, acne, and in a recent case, a scar from a woman’s Christmas tree falling on her. In other cases of bang requests, Mistry has recently been getting a ton for microbangs. When done right, microbangs can look gothic-chic and modern.
Cry For Help: Cutting them yourself. Enough said.
Good Idea: Though you can’t perfect the messy bun, you may be able to rock a modern-day shag hairstyle. This look has a ton of texture, layers, and sex appeal. Flawless beings such as Alexa Chung and Julianne Hough are perfect examples to show your hairdresser, Mistry suggests.
Cry For Help: Please, for the love of all that is good in this world. Do not show them a picture of Lisa Rinna. This is NOT the type of shag you’re going for. We love Rinna, but you don’t have a daily glam squad to maintain such hair on yourself, and before you know it you’ll be collecting cigarette buds and a small family of birds in your nest of hair.
Good Idea: We love a good Balayage, but the absolute key to dying your hair according to Mistry is not to stray too far from your original shade. The further you go from your natural color, the more likely you are to damage your hair, and there ain’t nothing cute about that.
Cry For Help: Don’t trick yourself into thinking blondes have more fun. Bleached out peroxide blonde hair is just about as classy as Lindsay Lohan’s mugshot(s). Dip dying died along with Tumblr in 2012, so don’t try the partial bleaching.
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Would you believe it if I said this was fine hair? @saalesci has a gorgeous head of hair but had been growing it out for her amazing wedding a few months ago. The problems that occur from not cutting your hair for a long time aren’t always so apparent to the naked eye, it’s the internal damage that it does to the structure and density. Typically the ends feel a little dry but the overall head of hair can feel inconsistent and start to feel very “thin” on the ends. Anyways now her hair looks like this and it doesn’t matter about the months of damage that occurred before ????❤️????✂️
For more hair inspiration, follow Dhiran Mistry on Instagram.
Images: Adrian Sava / Unsplash; dhiranmistry_ (2), alexachung, yukamannami, gracebol, caradelevingne / Instagram