This blog post is dedicated to Shakira! Just kidding . . . except, not really. Shakira was one of the first (and only?) people to make me feel good about my hair when I was younger. Representation in pop culture can be so powerful.
My curly hair journey began when I was born, obviously, but wasn't something I started to really explore until late in high school. I had Shirley-Temple ringlets as a little girl, and then thick/bushy/course hair as I got older. My mom trimmed my hair at home, until I begged for a big chop at a local salon when I was around 12.
My mom has thinner, rather smooth, wavy hair (comparatively). My Grandma Ruth has hair a lot closer to mine, and I wish she had lived nearby when I was little to teach me any tips and tricks she'd learned through the years. Although, really, everyone's curls are different! So it might not really have made a difference either way.
I absolutely hated my hair when was a pre-teen and teen. I bombarded it with chemicals and heat damage, trying to achieve the silky, straight, smooth hair that I thought was the only definition of beauty. One day, my straightener broke. That's when my curly hair journey really, truly began. I stopped fighting against the natural state of my hair, and focused on learning how to love my curls.
There's a lot to understand about curls, which are naturally much drier (and more needy?) than straight hair.
There's the curl patterns/type (of which, many folks have multiple types on their head):
1 - Straight Hair
2a, 2b, 2c - Wavy Hair (and part of the Curly community)
3a, 3b, 3c -- Curly Hair
4a, 4b, 4c -- Kinky/Coily Hair
There are a million charts out there. From what I can tell, I have mostly types 2c and 3a in my hair. I have few tighter spirals that are more 3b-esque, but I also have a few underneath strands that are the much straighter 2b-type wave. Learning your curl type is helpful, but not the most important thing!
What is? Knowing you porosity: high, medium, or low. I'm still learning mine!
High porosity: the hair shaft is very open (either naturally, or due to chemical/heat damage) and acts like a sponge. Moisture is easy in and easy out -- which can mean it winds up very dry and easily tangled. Protein-rich products can really help High Porosity hair be its best self!
Low porosity: the hair shaft is very closed -- it's hard for moisture to get in there! Which leads to product build up sitting on TOP of the hair shaft, and leaving hair without the moisture it desperately needs inside each shaft of hair. Light-weight products AND products free of protein are going be the most nourishing to your curls.
Medium porosity: I think you can figure that one out :D
Porosity will dictate how product behaves with your hair, and what kind of products and techniques will ensure your hair is properly moisturized and strengthened. Moisture and strength need to be in balance, and how you achieve that will absolutely be informed by your porosity.
Okay, that's enough of the technical crap! While I've experienced a lot of things in the last 15 years of my curly hair journey, I've never really tried the official Curly Girl Method. Lots of curly-haired folks I follow on YouTube and Instagram follow the CGM. They are pretty inspiring.
Some of the things I do naturally fall into the Curly Girl Method, but I've never paid enough attention to actually follow it completely.
I'm going to give it a go for 6-months. Throughout, I'll share what that means, how my curls are feeling, and what sort of things I discover.
To start with, I'm going to avoid:
-Shampoos with sulfates (harsh cleaner that strips moisture-needy hair)
-Conditioners with silicones (coats hair strands and doesn't let moisture gets in. Can only be removed with sulfates)
-Products with non-water soluble waxes
-Dying (lots of CGM-inspired YouTubers choose to go outside the CGM here, but I'll stick strictly to it for now)
- Heat-damaging my hair (aka a straightener or regular blow dryer)
-Drying my hair with a terrycloth tower (HOLY FRIZZ)
I'm going to embrace:
-Products without protein (I think my har has been in protein overload. It's def CGM-approved, but not best for low-porosity curls)
-Shampoos & Conditioners that are CGM-approved (CurlScan and CurlBot make it easy)
-Deep conditioning once a week
-Clarifying with Apple Cider Vinegar (removes any exceptional product build up) once a month or every few weeks
-Plopping (I already do this! I'll do a whole post on it soon)
-Sleeping in a satin bonnet (someday I'm going to buy a silk pillowcase)
-Seeking soft, frizz-free, defined curls through product experimentation and curl refreshing throughout the week
Today, I washed my hair a final time with a sulfate shampoo to remove any waxes and silicones that might be lurking. I deep conditioned, which felt absolutely extravagant. This year is about so much leveling up and self-care: from personal finances to curly hair care. 2020 is about investing in myself, and I couldn't be more happy.
I'm going to watch Shakira and Jennifer Lopez perform today at the half-time show during the Super Bowl. There has only been ONE LATINA to perform in all of half-time show history.
This is also the first time that JLo and Shakira will be performing together! How has this not happened before? My Puerto-Rican self and naturally-curly-haired self and early-2000s-pop-music-loving self is seriously excited about so much good happening on a single Sunday.
What's YOUR hair story? Tell me in the comments below!
A millennial couple grow sage together. I'll share our adventures in growing and selling herbs at our local farmers market, and all the life things we are learning along the way.