In order to maintain the healthy and hydrated curls we all love, there is one area I consider most important. What’s so crucial is that it’s not only necessary I tell you how to do this, but that I want to change your habits! When we start to think of things in a new way we will begin to do them in a new way; it’s time to re learn! You can’t believe any longer that conditioner alone moisturizes your hair. It is the water/ conditioner mix that gives your hair moisture. Just like if you have dry legs and put lotion on them, you have dry, oily legs. We all know to take a bath or shower to fill up the skin with water and then apply the lotion to hold it in. We want to fill the hair with water with just enough conditioner left to seal it all in. What happens now is that we need to apply these philosophies to the hair.
So often, I am asked “How much conditioner should I leave in my hair?” Or “I did what you said and still have frizz!” All of us curlies know that we are DEHYDRATED! Water alone does not moisturize, oil alone does not moisturize, but the combo of the two is magic! What I have found after talking and working with hundreds of curlies is that we don’t know how to incorporate the water. We stick our head under the faucet for 10 seconds then have at it with tons of product. It’s no wonder that we feel that conditioner weighs down our hair and makes it feel greasy. We are always in such a hurry in the morning, so I ask you to slow down, soak it up for a bit, and relax. I once timed myself; taking a shower in a rush, it took 11 minutes, then taking my time and thoroughly paying attention to what I was doing, it took fifteen. Really? I've decided that I’m going to take the worthwhile 4 more minutes. My hair and my attitude reward me for the rest of the day.
So here is where I break it down, starting with tangles: Add enough conditioner to really wet hair, enough to slip through the tangles, if any. There is a reason why we only finger comb; hair has a cuticle on the outside and a reservoir on the inside that can absorb. When the hair is dehydrated, the inside is shrunk leaving those cuticles lifted where they can become like velcro that can grab and stick to the others, therefore creating tangles. Instead of ripping through them with combs or brushes when our hair is most fragile (you say you're gentle and you know you’re not), try this method instead: Add conditioner to that area, add water and squish. When you push that water conditioner mixture into the hair, the inside plumps up with water and seals with conditioner. It’s the process of plumping and sealing the cuticle that makes the cuticle itself tighter and smoother, releasing the velcro effect and allowing your fingers to slide through like butter.
Now, when your hair is soaking wet with water, you need to add enough conditioner to feel slippery, like seaweed. We then begin to squish this water conditioner mixture into the hair. Curly girls often experience water rolling off the hair; we want to push it in. Your curls should start clumping together and feeling firmer.
Lean to the left, squish, lean to the right, squish, and upside down, and squish. I like to call it curly yoga! Get those curls off that head. This is my favorite way to encourage my curls to go where they want to, where they live naturally. They always go there anyway, so why not start them off right. My hair is most beautiful when I allow my curls to do their own thing.
We do not totally rinse out the conditioner. It starts by trickling some water onto the hair to help it get even wetter, and start squishing it in again. I do this by standing away from the shower head, catching water in my cupped hands and throwing it into my curls section by section. Your curls should be incredibly wet, slippery and frizz free now. As we are doing this, the hair is drinking up the water and you can see the excess conditioner being pushed out. We are replacing and diluting the conditioner with water, and you can actually feel it happening. This is our new way to rinse. Flip your head over and look. You will notice that your hair is extremely wet, but not dripping. This is good! The water and conditioner is in your hair and not rolling off the outside, it has spread evenly throughout each and every curl. You have finally created your own perfect mixture.
If you see or feel any frizz or clumps that have not come together, add more water and conditioner. How your hair looks wet is how it will look dry.
“How many pumps should I use?” “How much water, and how many times?” These curlies are my overachievers. My perfect answer to this would be Quanto Basta. Quanto Basta is an Italian cooking term. Have you ever asked an Italian for a recipe? There isn't one. They will say Quanto Basta - use enough. The same goes with hair - use enough. It will, and can change with outside conditions and seasons. We all know that we are human barometers, and again it all depends on how much water is in the air and our hair. In humid conditions we need less water and conditioner, in dry conditions more. Use enough to get the feel and look you want. Quanto Basta - Learn your hair. If the crown area still feels frizzy, use more. Is the underside prone to tangles? Use more.
When it comes to gel, remember that your gel should live in the shower. Smooth and scrunch the gel into the curls. Catch them at that perfectly moisturized clumpy state. All curlies have wished that their hair looked the same dry as it did wet. Catch it there!
Now we move on to using our flour sack towels. We have just spent all that effort to push in the water, we don’t want a super absorbent towel to now pull it all out. Some people think that we are using the towel to dry the hair; I say it’s another opportunity to push more moisture in. You've already noticed that your hair is not dripping, so why remove moisture? On the first scrunch with the towel, it’s going to get wet. Do not move the towel to a dry place, use the wet part and scrunch more in. You’re still going to hear the squishing sounds you did in the shower. You can choose to do this before or after you put in your gel, whichever gets and keeps those curls together. If they ever start coming apart, you’ve taken out too much. We only need to dry the outer surface. We do not want to dry or dehydrate the inner moisture.
Thinking about what you're doing and why you’re doing it, will change the way you hydrate your hair and you will be rewarded. It is a simple change in technique that can make a huge difference.
Have a happy frizz free day @:)