Search Results: Michele Bender

6 Tips for Deep Conditioning Your Hair

Curly hair is thirsty hair.

That’s just the way it was born and the way it will always be. That’s why deep conditioning at least one to two times per week is critical for gorgeous, shiny hair that blows gently in the wind (as opposed to dry, crispy hair that don’t move”>. It was also one the top things I did when I was growing my chemically straightened hair out to go back to my natural hair. I was religious about it and I swear, once I started deep conditioning as much as possible, my hair grew faster than they had before. Here are my top tips for deep conditioning your hair.

1. Choose a rich conditioner

No lightweight will do here. Find one that’s rich and thick. I’m beyond obsessed with Heaven in Hair. It fills the porous areas on the surface of the hair so it stays super hydrated. This is key especially if you color your hair.

2. Lay it on thick

Apply deep conditioner to wet hair and don’t leave one curl uncovered. In fact, I like it when I can barely see my brown strands through the deep layer of conditioner I’ve applied. And don’t skimp on the ends since they’re the driest part of the hair.

3. Cover it up

To keep the conditioner from getting all over you and let it warm up a bit, slip on a shower cap. (I take them from hotel rooms when I travel.”> You can also wrap your hair in plastic wrap or a warm, damp towel. Keep this on for at least 15 minutes.

4. Heat it up

For best results, you need some heat to help open the cuticle of the hair so the conditioner soaks in. Try sitting in a steamy bath or shower or waving a blow dryer over your cap-covered head. My favorite way to deep condition is to sit under my table-top hooded dryer. I use the Gold N Hot Elite 1875 Watt Ionic Full Hood Professional Hair Dryer and I stay as long as I can stand it before getting overheated (about ten minutes”>.

5. Sleep on it

Once in a while, it’s a great idea to snooze with your deep conditioner in your hair. Not only is the conditioner in longer, but it warms up from your body heat as you sleep. This was another of my top tricks when I was growing out my chemically straightened hair. Just use an old pillow case and sleep on it that night. Note: Some curlies love this and others hate it. Exercise caution; if your hair is thin and easily over-moisturized do not attempt.

6. DIY

For a do it yourself recipe try the Wrapunzel from Curly Girl: The Handbook. Put a ripe avocado in the blender along with three to four teaspoons of honey or agave and three to four teaspoons of olive oil. Blend until combined and spread on hair. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel wrapped turban style. After 20 – 30 minutes, rinse thoroughly.

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Curly Beginner’s Guide: Avoiding a Bad Curly Haircut
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images
If you’re a curly girl, chances are that you’ve had at least one experience where in which you leave a salon in tears. This has happened to me more than once — four times to be exact. Once, I looked like a shorn poodle, another time like I had stuck my head in an electric socket, and a third time, I had so many layers, my layers had layers.

But the fourth time was the worst: I had an up-to-my-ears bob that made my head look like a triangle with the width of my hair being three times the height. That was the final straw. I finally decided to find a salon where they knew how to cut curly hair.

So in light of my experience, here are some things to beware of so that bad curly haircuts and post-salon hysterics are a thing of the past for you, too! Here’s what to beware of:

Stylists who cut curls wet

Curly wet hair and curly dry hair are like distant cousins; they may be in the same family, but they act very, very differently.

“Curly hair may be halfway down your back when wet, only to spring up as much as 6 to 10 inches when it’s dry,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook“Plus, we wear our hair dry, not wet, so it should be cut that way.”

Stylists who want to blow your hair straight before the cut

I’ve had stylists do this to me many times, claiming that straightening the hair helps them see the hair cut better. But if you don’t wear your hair straight, why would you have it cut that way? You may get a nice straight hair style and cut, but not one that will make your curls look their best.

Stylists who straighten their own curls

Request a stylist who is an expert in curly hair or, better yet, one who actually has curly hair and wears it that way. Another curly girl or guy will understand the nuances of your hair. Plus, someone who has accepted his or her natural hair texture can help you love yours even more.

Salons that treat curly hair and straight hair the same

Call the salon and ask if they know how to cut curly hair. If there’s any hesitation, find another salon. Better yet, look for a salon that specializes in curls (or has some stylists who do”>. One good way to find one you love: ask any gorgeous curly girls who does their hair. Us curlies love giving out advice. Or, if that fails, hop on over to our Salon Finder and find a curl salon in your area.

Curly Beginner’s Guide: How to Dry Curly Hair

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You already know that curly hair needs to be washed differently than other hair types, but did you know that curls need to be dried differently too? This is important in order to ward off frizz and maintain your curls’ beautiful, au natural shape.

What you’ll need:

The first rule of drying curly hair, is to give up the terry cloth. “A terry cloth towel will absorb too much moisture, which curly hair needs,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook.” “Its harsh fiber will ruffle the hair’s cuticle causing frizz.” So opt for a micro-fiber towel instead! Other great options that have worked to great success for curlies are old t-shirts and paper towels. 

What to do:

Once you’ve blotted your hair dry with your t-shirt or microfiber towel, apply a generous amount of gel or your favorite styling product and then don’t touch curls as they air dry or you’ll disperse them and cause frizz. Air drying is best for curly hair even though it can take a while. 

Don’t turban

A hair turban absorbs too much moisture, opens the cuticle and disturbs the natural shape and pattern of your curls causing frizz. Break your habit of wrapping hair in a towel turban-style when you dry. Instead, dry your hair by cupping it in your hand and gently scrunching upward. Do this around your whole head.

No time to air dry?

If you don’t have time to air dry or the weather is cold, try a hooded dryer, which “creates its own little microclimate for curls so moisture from products locks into hair faster and the cuticle stays closed,” explains Massey. No hooded dryer? Then use a regular hair dryer with a diffuser on a low to medium heat setting. Look for a curly hair diffuser if you can.

Dry while you drive

Use the heater in your car if you commute. “This is what I do,” says Massey. “Because it creates a similar microclimate as the hooded dryer.”

5 CG Ways to Use Olive Oil in the Summer | Type 3

All the things that make summer so appealing – sun, heat, and ocean breezes – can also make life difficult for Type 3 curls. These elements can leave hair dry, rough, and tough to manage. Add humidity to the mix and you’ve got frizz and a few dips in a chlorinated pool and hair gets even more parched (especially the ends”>. But summer CPR is as close as your kitchen. Just open the pantry and pull out the olive oil, an ingredient that is super hydrating and can revive and nourish your strands. Here, five ways to use it courtesy of Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook.

Olive Oil for Summer

YouTube Stars Talk L’Oreal Paris EverCurl

Behind the Scenes with L’Oreal Paris

8 Stocking Stuffers for Curly Girls

It’s better to give than to receive – especially when you’re helping a curly girl have a good hair day. The best part is that you can do all of this for less than $30! Just peruse this gift guide to find the ideal items for all the curly recipients on your list in one place.

Curly Stocking Stuffers

5 Secrets for Gorgeous Winter Curls

When the weather outside is frightful, why can’t your curls be more delightful? “As the weather begins to change and the atmosphere becomes drier, so does our hair,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook. In addition to parched strands, you can also get static and split ends. But a few insider secrets can make any curl-type look gorgeous this season!

Winter Curls

6 Curly Hair Products for the Cause
GGatsby Pink Products for Breast Cancer

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, many beauty products are doing their part to support the cause this October. We’re highlighting hair products that help your curls look gorgeous and also donate some or all of their proceeds to breast cancer organizations and charities. It’s a win-win situation for all!

GG GATSBY Volumizing Hair Care Line

Created by Jerseylicious reality star, Gayle Giacomo, GG GATSBY will give 10% of its sales to the Young Survivor Coalition charity. This collection includes Raise Volume™ Shampoo, Raise Volume™ Conditioner, Over-The-Top™ Root Lift Spray, Ultimate Lift™ Dry Shampoo Powder and Against Gravity™ Hairspray. All products are sulfate-free, which is ideal for curly girls. $14.99-$17.99

MORE: Macadamia Natural Oil Helps Breast Cancer Survivors

Asics Merchandise for Breast Cancer

ASICS Hera 2-pack Headbands

ASICS America will donate $75,000 to $100,000 from the sales of items in a special collection to Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women. This organization helps provide assistance to women who have an increased risk for breast cancer, and you can do your part simply by slipping on one of their Hera Headbands. The pink fabric, which is gentle on your curls, wicks sweat away from hair and skin. It also has a silicone gripper to keep the headband still while you move, and a reflective logo so you can be seen. $16

MORE: Keeping Curls Pretty While You Sweat for the Cause

Streekers temporary hair color

Streekers in Pink

You can show your wild side and your support for a good cause when you give your strands a temporary burst of color. Streekers in Pink will donate 100% of its proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Coalition to help fund research that aims to end breast cancer by the year 2020. This temporary hair color is applied with a sponge-tip applicator to create streaks of crimson and binds to hair until you decide to shampoo it out. or $11.95

MORE: ULTA Beauty Supports Breast Cancer Research

FNS Pink Ribbon Collection from Osmotics for Breast Cancer

Osmotics Cosmeceuticals FNS Pink Ribbon Collection

This special edition set will donate 15% of its proceeds to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a group that provides easy-to-understand information on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and connects women affected by the disease with one another. The Osmotics Cosmeceuticals FNS Pink Ribbon Collection contains a revitalizing shampoo, conditioner and nutrient serum all designed to nourish your hair follicles so hair looks thicker and shinier. $98

MORE: Curls After Chemo Hair Loss

essence milk conditioner

Essence Skin-Saving Hair Volumizing Milk Conditioner

This conditioner is super light to the touch, but also super hydrating which helps halt the frizz and detangle your strands. Even better? You can also use it as a skin-softening, moisturizing body wash. It’s free of fragrances, parabens and preservatives and $1 from the purchase of each bottle will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. $19

MORE: Real Texture Talk: Alisa Kress

Aquage Pink Products for Breast Cancer

Aquage Finishing Hairspray

This humidity resistant spray helps keeps your hair in place and prevents frizz without leaving your curls stiff or rigid to the touch. Its petite size also makes it easy to toss in your purse and tame hair on the go. For the fifth year in a row, Aquage will give a portion of its proceeds to Komen for the Cure and has already given over $489,000 to date! $6 at salons

MORE: Curly Hair Growth Chart

Keeping Curls Pretty While You Sweat for the Cause
lady with curly hair jogging

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and filled with many wonderful events that let you run, walk, swim or bike to raise awareness and money for breast cancer organizations. But just because you’re getting sweaty for a cause doesn’t mean your curls can’t look their best post-workout. No matter how you exercise to help give breast cancer the boot, these tips will make it a good hair day.

Running or walking for the cause?

Keep curls neat while you sweat.

Before you break a sweat, pull your hair away from your face with a fabric-covered ponytail holder, ribbon or scarf. “These are more gentle so they won’t tear hair and won’t disrupt your curl’s natural shape,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook.” For hair framing your face, especially shorter bangs and curls use, a thin headband or twist curls toward the back of your head and secure them to the rest of your hair with a bobby pin. Another option is what Massey calls the Unicorn ponytail where you simply bend forward at the waist, tilt your head forward and gather all your hair at the crown of your head, then secure it with a fabric-covered ponytail holder. For longer hair, as you loop the holder around the second or third time, don’t pull the entire ponytail through so you it resembles a bun on the top of your head.

MORE: Majoring in Curls: Curly Hair Tips for After the Workout

Lady with wavy hair balancing on a bicycle

Bike riding for the cause?

Avoid a serious case of helmet head.

Helmet hair isn’t pretty. But you can fight back and still stay safe. Keep your helmet from flattening the top of your hair by dipping a hair clip in some silicone-free gel. Then, clip small sections of hair at the top of your head by placing the clip at the roots close to the scalp. This helps strands stay lifted despite the weight of your helmet pressing down on them. For shorter curls that frame your face, gently twist them back toward the crown of your head and secure with a bobby pin. Also, note that taking care of your hair daily using sulfate-free cleansers and lots of conditioning keeps hair healthy. As a result, it will rebound better and faster once you take off your helmet than dry, brittle hair will.

MORE: Curly Hair Care for the Gym

lady with coily hair climbing out of a pool

Swimming for the cause?

Prevent chlorine from leaving hair dry and brittle.

Chlorine is a chemical that can leave your hair super dry and stripped of much needed moisture so you’ve got to do a little prep work to avoid the damage. Before diving in, wet hair with tap water, then cover it with a rich conditioner. “The water and conditioner fill the porous holes in the hair so it’s much harder for chlorine to get in,” says Massey. “You can also apply olive oil to your hair instead of conditioner because it’s hydrating and helps repel the chlorinated water.” You can also slip on a bathing cap for added protection. After your swim, make sure to rinse and condition your hair as soon as you can to remove any cholorine that may have seeped in.

MORE: Curly Hair Products for Your Gym Bag

Do you have plans to support breast cancer awareness this month? 

4 Tips for Drying Curly Hair
Lady with curly hair using her hair dryer as a microphone

How you dry your curly hair has a big impact on whether you’ll have a good, great or bad hair day. But like most things curly, the rules are pretty straight-forward and less is more. Here’s how to dry your curls with care.

1. Air dry your curls

If you’ve got the time, letting your hair air dry is your top option. This keeps curls away from a blow dryer’s high heat and allows their natural shape to emerge. Just make sure to apply an alcohol-free gel to hair when you get out of the shower and then don’t touch your strands until they’re completely dry. If your hair is dripping wet, toss a microfiber towel over your shoulders or wear a robe to absorb any water.

2. Hop under a hooded dryer

Hooded dryers are fabulous because they dry hair without creating frizz and do it quickly. Plus, since your hands are free, you can read, surf the web or whatever all while making your hair gorgeous. The hooded dryer I got at for around $50 is a table-top version, but you can also find a few styles on wheels either online or at beauty supply stores.

3. Diffuse correctly

Traditional diffusers have always claimed to help curly hair, but they always leave my hair looking more poodle-like than human. Instead, try a diffuser made for curly hair like the hand-shaped DevaFuser. Its unique design allows for 360 degree diffused air flow. I’m not exactly clear how that makes my curls look so soft and beautifully shaped, but it does!

4. Remember the drying don’ts

Don’t apply the heat of a traditional dryer directly to hair. It’s too hot and harsh for curly hair, which is naturally fragile, and can cause breakage as well as frizz. Don’t use a terry cloth towel on hair because its nubby surface causes fly-aways and frizz and never wrap your hair turban style as this stretches your curls and disturbs their natural shape.

How do you dry your curls?

4 Ways to Moisturize Your Curls

Moisturize Your Curls

4 Tips for Washing Curly Hair
lady enjoying shampooing her hair at the beach

In any of my school photos from kindergarten through my senior year in high school, my clothes change and my face matures. But one thing stays the same: my big, frizzy head of hair. It fills the photo’s whole frame and makes me cringe now the way it did back then. It’s too bad really, because all I needed to love my school pics was to know how to cleanse my curls properly. With the right technique, my hair could have been clean, hydrated and beautiful. But you can learn from my mistakes! Here are some essential tips for washing curly hair.

1. Lose the lather

The biggest rule in washing curly is to ban shampoo from your bathroom and your hair. Why? Because it contains ingredients called sulfates. These detergents give shampoo its rich lather, but they also strip your hair of its natural oils. This is a huge problem for us curly girls since our hair is intrinsically drier than other types. We need to hang onto any and all oils and moisture that we can or we’ll end up with parched-looking hair and frizz, frizz and more frizz. “Companies still use these detergents in shampoos because they’re cheap ingredients and because people are addicted to suds,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook.” “But you don’t need them to clean your curls.” Instead, look for sulfate free cleansers like DevaCurl No-Poo.

2. Cleanse right

Don’t scrub your hair aggressively because harsher hands don’t result in cleaner hair. “Resist the impulse to start scrubbing your head the second you get in the shower because this disturbs the basic shape of your curls,” says Massey. When your curls’ natural shape are disrupted, you also get some frizz. Instead, let the water cascade through your hair when you get into the shower. Then apply your sulfate-free cleanser to your fingertips and gently massage it into your scalp using firm, circular motions. “The friction of your fingertips combined with the cleanser will loosen up any dirt and product buildup, leaving your scalp and hair cleansed and deodorized,” says Massey.

3. Wash less often

Mama may have told you to wash your hair daily, but that’s another myth for us curly girls. Instead, you can get by with wetting your hair and hydrating it daily with conditioner.  I use a cleanser on my hair once or twice a week. The rest of the time I gently massage my scalp with conditioner. Once I rinse that down the drain, I condition my hair some more.

4. Stay poo-free on the road

Shampoo that is. This goes for even those times when you’re desperate. For example, recently I was staying at a really nice hotel that offered bathroom products from a top-notch brand. I had forgotten my sulfate-free cleanser, but still I didn’t dare reach for the hotel’s tiny bottle of shampoo. Instead, I just cleansed my scalp using my conditioner. (I used the top notch brand’s shampoo to hand wash my lingerie and bathing suits instead!”>

Stay tuned this month for a daily dose of tips for happier, healthier curls, coils and waves!

7 Tools for No-Frizz Summer Hair

When I grew out my chemically straightened hair and finally embraced my natural curls, my big fear was managing my hair in the summer. When I shared my concern with the curly gurus at Devachan Salons, they shared some amazing tips for taming hair. I learned that I didn’t have to resort to a season of ponytails and buns. Here are the top tools for enjoying a no-frizz summer.

Frizz-Fighting Tools

  • Lots of conditioner: Conditioner is always key for curly girls. In summer, it’s even more important, and you’ll probably want to use more of it. You can even slather it on before you go swimming in a pool or the ocean to keep the water from drying out your curls.
  • A deep conditioner: I make sure to deep condition my curls at least twice a week. Once a week I also shower before bed, cover my hair in a rich, deep conditioner and sleep with it in my hair. Some mornings it seems to melt into my hair, and my curls look so good that I don’t even need to rinse. Other mornings when that doesn’t happen, I simply rinse and go. My favorite deep conditioner is DevaCurl Heaven in Hair.
  • A hooded drier: This is the best secret weapon for gorgeous, frizz-free summer curls. A hooded drier creates a microclimate so hair dries without any interference and curls maintain their natural shape. Best of all, you can settle in under your dryer and then read or work. These dryers come in all price ranges and sizes, from those that sit on a table, to those on wheels. I personally love the Gold N Hot Elite 1875 Watt Ionic Full Hood Professional Dryer.
  • The right gel: This is another key to keeping frizz and flyways from creating a halo around your head. Just make sure you choose one that’s alcohol- and silicone-free so curls don’t dry out or look crispy.
  • Cloth covered ponytail holders: These were a hair accessory staple in the ‘80’s. To me, they’re a hair accessory staple in summer when you have to pull your hair back and up a lot. Elastic bands tend to rip and tear curly hair which is naturally fragile. Try: Goody Ouchless Gentle Scrunchies.
  • A curly cover up: Sun doesn’t just dry out your skin, it can also dry out your hair. And dry hair equals frizzy hair. For long days in the sun, make sure to cover hair with a hat (protect skin, too, with one that has a two to three inch brim”> or cute scarf.
  • Spray bottle: At the beach or pool, hair can get dry and frizzy from the sun, wind, chlorine and salt water. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts spring water and conditioner. Then toss it in your beach bag, shake it up and spritz it on hair before you jump in the water and after you get out.

How do you keep your hair frizz-free through the summertime heat and humidity?

Get Your Prom Curls Ready in a Cinch
curly hair style

Curly hair can be prom ready in a cinch. In fact, with just a few twists and turns, you can have fresh prom curls for this special day without spending a lot of time, money or effort. Here are some of our favorites from Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook.

The Twist Up

This is an easy, elegant way to give hair a lift – especially perfect for warm spring or summer nights — and it works well with both long or shoulder-length curls.

  1. Pull all your hair together at the back of your neck as if you were going to put it in a low ponytail.
  2. Gently twist your hair, directing it upward toward your crown as you twist.
  3. When you’ve twisted your hair as much as you can, hold it in place with one hand while you using your other hand to slide bobby pins into the crease formed by the twisted hair against your head.


  • If you have shorter hairs that frame your face and want a softer look, take a few of those curls out before beginning The Twist Up.
  • For a fancier look, use bobby pins decorated with gems, rhinestones, pearls or other pretty goodies.
how to style curly hair

The Yin-Yang

This hair style is a fun and funky look that gives you two completely different textures of hair — sleek on top and an explosion of lively curls in the back. As a result, this style allows your curls to be the star of the show.

Before you start:

  • Make sure hair is totally dry so you can get more of the bigness out of the curly part, which is what you want for this look.
  • Fill a spray bottle with ¼ cup of an alcohol-free, silicone-free gel and ¾ cup of spring water.

To get the look:

  1. Spritz the top, front section of hair with the gel/water mixture and then slick hair back by grazing it gently with your hands.
  2. Gather hair at the center back of the head in a medium to high ponytail.
  3. Use a fabric or cloth covered ponytail holder to tie the gathered hair back into a ponytail. Fabric or cloth covered ponytail holders are less damaging than elastic or rubber bands.
  4. Take the curls that are coming out of the ponytail and lightly piece them open with your fingers to create a big explosion of curls coming out of your ponytail.
  5. To cover the ponytail holder, take a piece of hair that’s coming out of the right side of ponytail and lift it out to the side.
  6. Bring that piece of hair underneath your ponytail and out to the left side of your ponytail. Then wrap it around your ponytail holder to hide it.

Read More: Trendy Curly Updos for Weddings & Proms

how to style curly hair

The Top Knot

This easy as 1-2-3 style takes a mere minute, but is an unfussy way to make curls look gorgeous and give them a change from their day to day look.

  1. Take a section of hair that’s at the nape of your neck and underneath the rest of your hair and divide it into two sections. Hold each section out to the side.
  2. Cross the two sections on top of the rest of your hair, which should be down.
  3. Pull one section under the other and pull in a way similar to the first step in tying your shoes.
  4. Secure the tie with a bobby pin. Massey suggests a fun, decorated bobby pin or a simple ribbon.

Read More: Natural Prom Hairstyles for 2011

Curly Beginner’s Guide: Say Goodbye to Hat Hair!

One of the biggest curly hair myths is that curly girls can’t wear hats. (Another is that men don’t like curly hair! Boy is that wrong, but that’s a story for another day.”>  But if you didn’t realize this was a myth, you’re not alone.

None of my curly-haired friends knew this, and neither did I. In fact, during the years that I wore my hair curly, I spent many winters freezing for the sake of a decent hair day. Fear of frizz also kept me from wearing a bike helmet for many years.

When I had kids, I learned to embrace my curly hair and got these great curl-covering tips from the experts at Devachan Salons in NYC and Culver City, CA. Now I’m protected when I wear my bike and stay warm in the winter, and I can even sport a cute spring or summer chapeau without worrying about hat head.

These tips also go for wearing wigs or scarves.

1. Keep your curls healthy

If your hair is hydrated and in good shape to begin with, your curls will bounce back better and more quickly after sitting under the weight of a hat, helmet, wig, etc. This means washing hair with sulfate-free cleansers, moisturizing often with loads of conditioner and deep conditioning at least once a week.

2. Clip hair for lift

It’s usually the top of the hair that gets flattened under a hat, scarf, etc. Give hair a lift by putting a little alcohol-free, silicone-free gel on a hair clip (find them at any drugstore”>. Then take a small section of hair from the top of your head and place the clip at the roots close to your scalp. Do this in a few different spots on top of your head so these strands stay lifted while your hat, scarf, hood or helmet presses down on them.

3. Remove clips with care

When you take the clips out, use one hand to remove the clip and the other to hold the section of hair. This keeps the curl’s natural shape and prevents accidentally tearing or snapping of the hair. Then spritz curls with water or use wet fingers to gently ruffle hair near the roots.

4. Revive wayward curls

If any curls get unfurled while covered, just wet your finger and wrap the section of hair around it. Pin it with a clip or bobby pin for a minute or two, release and the curl formation will be back.

5. Pin them back

If you’ve got shorter curls framing your face, you can gently twist sections of these hairs toward the back of your head and secure with a body pin. This helps them keep their natural shape while covered.

Curly Beginner’s Guide: Perfect Sleeping Routine for Second Day Curls

A good or bad hair day can actually start the night before. Despite its hardy appearance, curly hair is so delicate and fragile that how you wear your hair while you sleep has an impact on how it will look the next day. Here’s how to wake up with curls that are as pretty as they were when you went to sleep.

Second Day Hair in a Cinch

  1. Choose the right pillowcase. If you tend to move around a lot while you snooze, then swap your cotton pillowcase for one that is silk or satin. “Tossing and turning in bed causes a lot of friction and can cause split ends and knots,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook.” These fabrics create less friction keeping hair smooth.
  2. Sleep on your back. If you always sleep on one side, you can cause the hair on that side to break off and get weaker. Try to snooze on your back with a pillow under your neck and another under your knees, which is good for your back and your curls.
  3. Make a top knot. Leaving your hair down and loose can cause it to get tangled, knotty and eventually break. Avoid this by leaning your head forward and then gathering your hair into a ponytail on top of your head. Secure it with a fabric-covered ponytail holder or ribbon. An elastic or rubber band can rip, tear or tangle hair. Sleeping this way also reduces friction with hair rubbing against your pillow case and reduces tangles.
  4. Treat it right in the a.m. Take your hair out of the top knot and shake it out gently. Then spray hair with a lavender spray and gently shuffle hair at the roots. No lavender spray? Do the same with wet fingers or spritz hair with water. Then let hair settle a bit before you take a second look. Apply a dab of leave-in conditioner or cream conditioner to stray curls and gently scrunch. Or you can revive any stretched out curls by wrapping them around your finger and securing them with a clip for a minute or two. Smooth any top-of-the-hair frizz with a bit of alcohol-free, silicone-free gel.
Curly Beginner’s Guide: Kick the Blow Drying Habit

Like most curly girls, I spent years trying to turn my hair into something it was not. This included more than a decade of blow drying and flat ironing followed by six years of submitting my strands to thermal reconditioning. This chemical straightening was a life saver at first, but it wasn’t because my hair looked great. It was actually really flat. It was because it was frizz-free and I could predict exactly how it would look each morning. This was huge because, as curly girls know, our hair has a mind of its own and doesn’t always look the same from one day (or even one hour”> to the next.

But once my hair started breaking off and looking fried, I decided I had to toss the blow dryer, flat iron and round brush, steer clear of the chemicals and embrace my hair’s natural texture. I wasn’t excited about what I thought would be a future of frizz, but I feared I’d have little hair left if I kept torturing it.

Then something amazing happened. When I learned how to properly care for my curls and kept the following things in mind, it was easy to learn to love them! Here’s how you can too!

  1. Work with your natural hair, not against it. This is actually pretty simple no matter what type of curls you have. Stop blow drying and flat ironing, using a brush and washing with detergent-filled shampoos. Slather hair with loads of conditioner and don’t rinse it all out. These things alone will turn your curls into something to love! Also, get rid of the idea that blow drying or flat ironing your hair every once in a while is okay. Even one time can cause damage by drying it out which disturbs your curls’ natural shape and causes frizz.
  2. Going curly means life doesn’t revolve around your hair. Many curly girls who blow dry and flat iron know that life can revolve around your blow-drying/flat ironing schedule. For example, you can’t break a sweat soon after a blow dry or your hair will frizz and all those efforts will be a waste. This means that you usually work out less often, which may be good for your blow out, but is terrible for your waistline. Going natural avoids this and you’ll be able to work out whenever you want, or do whatever you want, when you want to do it.
  3. Lazy beach days are back on the agenda. Fun activities like swimming and beach days are out of the question if you’re straightening your hair, because once you jump into the water or frolic in that beach air, your blow out will be ruined. Going natural means that you can love and embrace your hair’s texture, and the fact that it will only increase in the salty wind.
  4. Embracing your hair’s natural texture saves time and money. You will save all those hours sweating and straightening in the bathroom and the price of professional blowouts, anywhere from $35 to $200 a pop. You also save money on the endless products to smooth hair. And if you chemically straighten, it can cost at least $300 every two to three months. At a good salon, it’s closer to $600 and up. If you chemically straighten, there’s also the price of deep conditioning products and treatments to soothe your parched, fried strands. Say goodbye to the chemicals and hello to the cash in your wallet.
  5. Going natural also saves stress and energy. It sounds crazy, but most of us curly girls know that when you’re trying to straighten your hair into submission, everything from the weather to how long it takes to blow dry can stress you out. You also spend time worrying about other people “finding you out.” For example, a first date or job interview on a humid or rainy day can send your mood plummeting downward fast!
  6. You feel more like yourself when you let your hair be itself. This may sound sort of cheesy and pseudo-spiritual, or at least that’s what I thought when people told me this before I went curly. I’d roll my eyes and think, “Whatever.” But once I let my hair go back to its natural texture, I realized it was true. I was no longer hiding a natural part of myself, no longer masquerading as someone I was not. Once you go with your natural hair, you’ll see the real you emerge.
Curly Beginner’s Guide: Washing Curly Hair

Loving your curls is as easy as saying,“sayonara” to your shampoo, at least to shampoos and cleansers that contain sulfates.

“These detergents strip curly hair of its natural oils leaving it dry, frizzy and dull,” says Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook. “This is bad for all hair types, but for curly girls whose strands are naturally drier than others, this is a disaster! Secondly, these detergents ruffle the cuticle of the hair.

“This outer layer contains overlapping scales.” adds Massey. “When they lie flat, your hair looks shiny and gorgeous. But when they stand up, the result is frizz and dullness.” Luckily, going shampoo-free isn’t hard; you just need to make a few adjustment for washing curly hair.

  1. Change your products: Toss any shampoo that contains sulfates. Now this doesn’t mean you’re not cleansing your hair, it just means you’ll be doing so with cleansers that are 100% sulfate-free. The other option is to use conditioner to cleanse. Yes, conditioner! Just spread it on the fingertips of both hands in the shower and, when hair is wet, use the following technique.
  2. Change your technique: Another thing that disturbs the cuticle and natural shape of your curls is the technique most people use to wash: scrubbing hair roughly with their fingers. In reality, what really cleanses the hair and the scalp – the area that holds lots of dirt and oil – is friction. All you need to do when using your sulfate-free cleanser or conditioner is gently massage the scalp with your fingers to loosen any dirt and oils then rinse. Friction is how many things get clean – just think of a washing machine.
  3. Change your thinking: One reason traditional shampoos contain sulfates is because sulfates cause shampoo to lather. Though the bubbles don’t actually cleanse the hair, we’re all conditioned to think they do and that more suds equals cleaner hair. That’s just not true. Sulfate-free products and conditioners won’t suds up, but they will get your hair clean. At first, it may be hard to get used to little to no lather, but give it time and see how much your curls improve. You won’t regret it.
  4. Change your schedule – but not yet: To start going shampoo-less, use a sulfate-free cleanser or conditioner as often as you’ve been using shampoo. “As you begin to see the health and look of your hair become remarkably different – think more shine, body and less frizz – you may need to cleanse hair less often and can just condition,” says Massey.
  5. Change the world: When you rinse sulfate-filled products from your hair in the shower, they get washed down the drain and into our waterways. This is bad for the environment, so by using sulfate-free products, you are not only saving your curls, but saving the planet too!