Straight Talk About Curly Hair

I think anyone with naturally curly hair would agree that curly hair is a mixed blessing. Sometimes we love our curly hair and other times we wish we could make it smooth and straight. If we could only maintain those smooth defined tendrils that got us so many complements as a child. But alas, as we mature our adorable baby curls often can become an uncontrolable frizzy mess. So how can we control our loopy locks?

First letís examine what makes hair curly in the first place. Whether your hair is straight or curly depends on the shape of the hair shaft, which is determined by the shape of the hair follicle. A cross section view of a straight hair would appear round, while a similar view of a curly hair would appear oval. This shape is determined by a genetic pre-disposition.

Here are a couple of tips for controlling curly hair. To achieve smooth well defined curls on medium to long hair, shampoo your hair and leave it wet. Remove tangles with a wide tooth comb and a good detangling product, we recommend Structural Balance Leave-in Reconstructor. Itís the best. Mist lightly with Aero Body Infusion and let it dry naturally without disturbing it. Sound easy enough?

To style curly hair straight takes a little more effort. First shampoo your hair and remove tangles. Begin styling while the hair is very wet. Divide into one inch sections starting at the nape of the neck and work your way up to the crown of your head. Before drying each section apply a light mist of Aerostraight. This product smoothes and temporarily straightens hair while protecting it from the effects of heat styling. Be careful to keep the air flow from your dryer away from you scalp and towards the ends of your hair. When the hair is completely dry you may finish with a ceramic flat iron. The result will be smooth, shiny and straight hair that will stay that way until your next shampoo.

Special Care For curly Hair

Because curly hair has a tendency to be dryer, more brittle and prone to frizz it requires more careful treatment than straight hair to keep it looking its best. First letís find out what makes hair curly in the first place. There is more than one school of thought on this subject. Some hair scholars believe whether your hair is straight or curly depends on the shape of the hair shaft, which is determined by the shape of the hair follicle. A cross section view of a straight hair would appear round, while a similar view of a curly hair would appear oval. This shape is determined by a genetic pre-disposition. Others believe that hair is curly or straight, depending upon the number of disulfide bonds between hair proteins found in the hair shaft. The idea is that the greater the number of links between sulphur atoms, the curlier the hair, conversely, the fewer the number of links, the straighter the hair. I think both opinions are correct. The shape of the follicle would account for the curl, and the higher number of disulfide bonds also known as sulphur bonds would account for its dry, brittle texture.

Now that we know why our curly locks are dry and brittle and require special treatment what exactly should we do about it? Always use a gentle shampoo, preferably a sulfate-free formulation, and use a daily hydrating conditioner when you wash your hair. Wash your hair every other day instead of everyday, but use just conditioner on the days that you donít shampoo. Apply the conditioner as you would a shampoo and rinse well. Although they do not lather conditioners do have some cleansing ability. I received a letter from a reader who has taken this concept to the extremeÖ

ďI haven't used shampoo in about a year and a half. I exfoliate my scalp twice a week, use conditioners and use moisturizers to "clean" my hair. The theory is curly hair is so dry it can't handle shampoos, even really expensive ones. Anyway, I never knew how curly my hair really was until I started this program, and as I said, its never looked better. Shiny, curly. Anyway, I'm happy with it. Layered, fairly long, but not to a ridiculous extent. I'm too short. I have never been particularly good at "doing" my hair, so this style works for me. On rare occasion, I use a flat iron. But only rarely, and only when I need to look a little less of a free spirit. For example, am going to a black tie affair at the Beverly Wilshire Sat. night, charity thing the Bank has sponsored, anyway, I need to look like a banker for that so will take the iron to my locks.Ē

This is quite a testimonial for not using shampoo but I donít think it would work for all of us. I happen to know this woman has very thick, wavy hair. This regimen might not work well for someone with medium to fine hair that would be more sensitive to product build-up. That is when your hair becomes weighed down, limp and lifeless from too much product left in the hair. This problem is best remedied by using a gentle clarifying shampoo.

A good routine to care for your curly tresses would be to shampoo your hair every other day, condition your hair every day and use an intensive moisturizing treatment once a week. Always use a light weight leave-in conditioning detangler and a wide toothed comb on wet hair to deal with stubborn tangles. Have patience and handle your curls with care. Hair breaks easier when wet and breakage causes frizz and split ends . Let your hair air dry naturally whenever possible and avoid the over use of hair dryers and hot irons. Occasional use of these tools is OK, but every day use can be very drying. The use of ceramic hairdryers and flat irons can be beneficial because they generate negatively charged ions to help control frizz. Pretty high tech but they do work.

The use of hair products designed for use on curly hair can be very helpful in gaining control of your curly mane. In addition to using a gentle sulfate free shampoo and a hydrating conditioner you might experiment with a variety of styling aids for curly hair. The use of a modern, lightweight non-oily gel , cream or serum can instantly add body and transform dull, dry hair, into incredibly smooth and glossy, humidity resistant hair. Use a little at first, you can always use more if needed. The proper use of the right products will help you gain control of your loopy locks.

Perhaps the best advice of all is this, if you see someone with fabulous curls ask her who does her hair. A professional stylist who specializes in curly hair can probably recommend the best products for your hair and Miss curly top will be flattered by your complement. Most importantly you will be on your way to loving your curly hair.


















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