So a lot of people on Instagram have messaged me about how I got my curls back after using the flat iron for so long. I figured I'd dedicate a blog post on what I did and what worked for me in my curly hair journey! Each curl pattern is different so not everyone will achieve my results so take what you have and own it and enjoy it by embracing it. In my curly hair journey I have found educating myself about my hair to be the best thing I could have done to get my hair back. After many years of using the flat iron, occasionally bleaching my hair and neglecting it, it really did a number on my curl pattern. So here is what I did to STOP the constant damage, first I told myself I rather have healthy short curly hair than ugly half straight half curly heat damaged long hair. So about 2-3 years ago:
I CUT OFF ALL MY HAIR: So about 2-3 years ago I said fuck it all! I was frustrated with damage, I was mad at myself for allowing my hair to get messed up yet again and I just chopped all my hair off! I'm not saying go cut off all your hair, that's just what I did because I was ready to start fresh. I got rid of all my dead ends and had very short hair, I cried in frustration because I wish I had learned my lesson the first 10x. I say if your trying to restore your curls, you don't have to necessarily start from zero, you can cut off a few inches every few months and do it gradually that way.
I STOPPED USING THE FLAT IRON EXCESSIVELY: After cutting off my hair, I decided to only use the flat iron for birthdays and New Years. I wanna say I straightened my hair at least 2-3 times a year which was definitely an improvement from the 15-20 times I was doing before. Even though I was straightening my hair very rarely, it was still causing damage to my curl pattern. You see... I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my curl pattern, hence why I completely stopped straightening my hair, it's been about 6 months of no flat iron. I've noticed a huge improvement in my curls just from quitting straightening cold turkey. You may be able to use the flat iron in moderation and still be okay and I envy you for that, but I just KNOW my hair from the many years of tears, that it's sensitive to heat.
I STOPPED BLEACHING MY HAIR EXCESSIVELY: I'm not going to lie, I did ombre on my hair last year and I rocked it out, but I found bleach made my hair EXTREMELY DRY so I stopped that too. I decided to dye my hair back to brown and leave it alone. I also found the ombre was a little too harsh for my complexion and too contrasty for my liking. I do want to add a little caramel color in my hair here and there in the future to add some warmth, but I'm almost too scared.
I STARTED DOING DEEP CONDITIONING TREATMENTS: THIS IS KEY to recovery!! While you're cutting your dead ends, putting down the flat iron and using bleach less, you can add weekly treatments to give your curls some much needed TLC. I try to change up which deep conditioning treatment I do weekly with different options by buying sample packets. I use a lot of the Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut & Shea Butter Deep Conditioner, Hask Argan Oil Intense Deep Conditioner and ECRU New York Acacia Protein Intensive Hair Masque. I alternate between these products and they really do help with bringing back moisture, taking care of my dry ends and adding shine.
I GOT A GREAT CURLY CUT: After allowing my hair to grow and getting my healthy curls back, I still wouldn't allow my hair to just be! I think I was still scared to release the lion's mane. My whole life I was surrounded by friends and family who only had straight hair or would straighten their curls so I didn't know how to love my hair or know how to fix it for that matter. I'd try to tame it as much as possible to avoid frizz and letting it get big and playful. So after chatting up with one of my hair inspirations @curly.edgy about different products and getting a great curly cut to shape my curls, I finally got my best curly hair cut to date. I like to thank Mona from Muze Salon in NYC for that, she listened to my concerns regarding my hair and really helped me start to appreciate my healthy curls with the perfect haircut. If you are in the area, hit her up and say my name for 10% off your first cut from now till the 19th of March.
I EMBRACED THE FRIZZ & FOUND THE RIGHT PRODUCTS FOR ME: A lot of us feel too scared to ask advice to our fellow curly beauties and I think the best way to get educated about the terminology and which products to use is to research and to ask questions! No shame in asking your favorite curly inspiration for some advice about products and tips on how you can better your hair, especially since they've already got their regimen down and can give you some great advice. I had to ask, research, learn about product ingredients and test over 10 products to get my favorite products down. Once I figured out what porosity my hair was and what curl pattern I had, it made it easy to narrow down products. Everyone's hair is different, so get acquainted with your hair and figure out what your hair needs to strive to its fullest potential. I have 3b/3a and low porosity curls and find that my top choices for my hair are the Devacurl line, No-Poo Decadence Cleanser, One Condition Decadence and the SuperCream Coconut Styler in combination with the Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel. I sometimes switch from the SuperCream Coconut Styler to either the Marc Anthony Kinky Curl Conditioner as a leave in or the Garnier Fructis Leave in with the Bounce Curl gel. The cream moisturizes my hair and hydrates it and the gel defines my curls. I started to add the gel because it plays an important role in how long my curls will last.
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I hope I answered most of your questions and I don't think you should be as extreme as me in your curl recovery, it was just what worked for me. I wanted a fresh start because I was so frustrated with my curls and it took a very long time to genuinely love it! Message me if you have any questions!! Keep your head up, it gets better!