On Reflection: The Long and Short of It {my hair}

 

Short.

Light.

Dark.

Blonde.

Long black.

 

No, it’s not how I take my coffee. It’s what I’ve done to my hair over my 20 plus year history of fighting and eventually succumbing to embracing its natural form.

Fiery red. Growing up I always had very long, shiny, baby blonde hair, but when I was 11 I got the notion the red hair was the ideal form. I lusted over auburn locks and wanted them so badly for myself. After a year of begging, my mom let me indulge this want with a box of temporary hair color. I was hooked instantly. I loved it, but as many of you probably know, temporary hair color (particularly red) doesn’t fade beautifully and so began a cycle of dying, chopping, and growing out that lasted over a decade.

Dark brown. In high school, I dyed my hair a rich dark brown as an effort to reclaim my natural color and cover up the highlights earned from hours of running in the sun. I adopted the idea that my highlights made me look younger than I was and in an effort to look grown I covered them. Layer after layer of glossy dark brown dye gave me a deep, nearly black hair color that I kept until college.

Short & black. After my first year of college, I chopped off ten inches a wore a short dark bob. It was about as different as my hair had ever been. I think it was part of a desire to distinguish myself from the high school person I used to be. A lot of people’s college experiences are marked with all the places they drew a line in the sand and said “this is who I am”. A lot of my early time at college was spent trying to distance myself from my country roots. I had a list of reasons a mile long for doing so, none of which seem to hold any weight today.

 

Natural. When I started a new relationship in 2014 I stopped running. Stopped running from my roots, from my passions, from who I naturally was. My hair got long and the dye washed out. My natural highlights returned, a little brassier than their natural blonde, and my curl pattern started to form again. I focused less on my appearance than I had in years and I embraced a natural “me”. I washed my hair with baking soda and vinegar, spent my days working at a yoga shop and taking long Ashtanga practice every morning.

 

Blonde. In early 2015 the desire to dye my hair again came back, from a place of play. I wanted to try something new, something I never had before. Going lighter instead of darker. I had always been taught that dying your hair darker is adding color and therefore healthier than bleaching or stripping out color. This is why for so long I was terrified to go blonde, despite wanting to try it out. I took the plunge through a series of full highlight treatments over several months which gave me a very natural blonde (I had a lot of new acquaintances believing I was a natural blonde).

 

Bob. The unexpected haircut. As I grew out my blonde toward the end of 2016 I decided to go for a chop (up to my shoulder) to get off a lot of the length and let my natural hair grow back. When I left the salon she had cut my hair the shortest it ever was, up to my jaw. It was like losing my crown. It made me really evaluate my ego and where I kept it. Even five months after the chop (below) my hair was still much shorter than I was comfortable with, although the color was returning to my natural hue.

 

Natural. Today I’ve fully embraced my natural hair. It’s low maintenance, I cut it myself, I flip my part from the left to the right. I keep it long enough to not need hair ties (I just tied all the length into a knot). I don’t have to worry about fading as I did with my dark & short, I don’t worry about it drying out as I did with my blonde, I don’t worry about it curling up too much as I did with my bob. It feels like me, no mess, no fuss.

 

I think the big thing here is how important hair can be and how much it can change how you express yourself or process aspects of your life. Everyone should be free to embrace their natural hair or not, it’s their choice. No hair is unprofessional, no hair is superior. Everyone’s hair and aesthetic is unique and everyone should have the freedom to experiment and embrace the style they want to.

Fave Products for 2C/3A Curls

I’m deeply invested in my skincare, as well as in my haircare and I’ve found that finding the best line up for your wavy/curly hair can be a lifelong task. Curls change with the season, day to day with the humidity, and they even change as you age. I have a mix of 2C waves and 3A curls that I have always loved, but not always known how to style. Great curls definitely start with a good haircut, specifically for your curls, but after that having a great array of care products can make living with much easier and more fun.

There are a lot of steps below, but read through and you’ll find it’s actually a pretty maintenance routine. I don’t like a lot of steps, 2-3 in the shower, 2-3 things out of, and 2-3 to revamp my curl pattern and that’s all I need.

Not sure what kind of waves/curls you have? You can find your curl pattern type here!

SHOWER

DEVACURL No-Poo Decadence | $44

Care for your curls from the very beginning with how you wash them. You don’t want to strip away any natural oils or moisture that your hair has – this moisture is essential for silky curls! Look for a sulfate, silicone, paraben free shampoo, my favorite is DevaCurl’s No-Poo Decadence. It’s incredibly silky without the artificial added silicones and since I’ve started using it I’ve noticed far less breakage, allowing my hair to grow over 3 inches in 4 months.

DEVACURL One Condition Decadence | $44

The hair follicle for curly hair is actually shaped differently than for straight hair, meaning that it is much more prone to drying out, frizz, and breakage. The best defense is a strong conditioner that’s made to lock in moisture. I like DevaCurl’s One Condition because you don’t need to completely rinse it out. I like to leave a little bit in my length to help keep them hydrated (not all conditioners are formulated to do this and many will leave a sticky or greasy residue).

CHRISTOPHE ROBIN Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt | $53

Great curls start with a clear scalp. Once a week I’ll mix a little of Christophe Robin’s scalp scrub in with my shampoo to help clear out any build up and revitalize my roots. Remember to rinse, rinse, rinse this one! The sea salt emulsifies into a thick lather and the smell of lavender is heavenly. It’s super expensive and a little goes a long way. I’ve linked to the full size above, but definitely suggest starting with their trial size.

POST-SHOWER

SHEAMOISTURE Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie | $14

My first step post-shower usually happening in the shower! With my hair still sopping wet I’ll slather SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie mid-length to tip, ensuring that I coat those ends! Mixing the product in when my hair is still wet ensures that every step of the drying process it has been moisturized. I then hop out and gently squeeze try my hair with a microfiber towel – NO towel drying, NO wrapping hair up. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth you can get them here or use a 100% cotton tee shirt in a pinch.

OUAI Wave Spray | $26

A “wave spray” is usually some mix of salt and water that is sticky, drying, and the last thing you’d want to use on waves/curls. Ouai’s Wave Spray is different! It uses rice protein to help you perfect that wave texture. No sea salt means it’s safe for curly hair, color-treated, and/or keratin-treated hair. After moisturizing my hair I run a comb through it, let it air dry to damp, and spritz tons of this miracle wave spray on my length. After that I’m safe to let it completely air dry before I need to fuss with it again.

STYLING

DRYBAR The Kicker Finishing Spray Wax | $26

This spray wax is perfect to add a little texture to your waves/curls, particularly if you have a similar curl pattern to mine and you like wearing your hair in piecey waves. There are two ways to apply, directly to hair or to your hands. I like to hang my head upside down and spray the wax up from my end toward my roots. This way I don’t have to worry about too much build up at the roots. Then I spray a little in my hands and work different sections to make sure everyone is laying properly!

BUMBLE AND BUMBLE Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil | $40

I only toss this guy into the line up when my hair is feeling dull. Just a few drops in your palms, rub together, and lightly pet through your hair for amazing shine and softness. I also love this as a moisture boost to your ends! (In case you haven’t realize, moisture is the key to curls!)

MASKS & REVIVING

DEVACURL Melt into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask | $36

Every one should be masking their hair at least once a week, especially curly headed women! It’s your foundation for how your hair will look every day! This guy is definitely my favorite, not only does it smell heavenly, but the formula is U N R E A L. After one use your hair feels like silk, two or more uses and day to day you’ll notice a difference, particularly if you have curls. As I have mentioned 101 times at this point, moisture is the key to healthy, happy curls, and this mask will keep you moisturized!

OUAI Dry Shampoo Foam | $28

If I’m using a dry shampoo (which I do often as I try not to wash my hair more than 3x a week) I’m reaching for Ouai’s Dry Shampoo Foam. The reason I love this is because you don’t need to brush it out after or do any of the normal dry shampoo spray tricks! You just gently massage it in and not only does it refreshen your scalp and remove oils, but the little dampness that comes with it helps jump start your curl pattern.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SEPHORA.COM

Tgs: #haircare #hair #masks #curlyhair

My Favorite Products for 2C/3A Curls

I’m deeply invested in my skincare, as well as in my haircare and I’ve found that finding the best line up for your wavy/curly hair can be a lifelong task. Curls change with the season, day to day with the humidity, and they even change as you age. I have a mix of 2C waves and 3A curls that I have always loved, but not always known how to style. Great curls definitely start with a good haircut, specifically for your curls, but after that having a great array of care products can make living with much easier and more fun.

There are a lot of steps below, but read through and you’ll find it’s actually a pretty maintenance routine. I don’t like a lot of steps, 2-3 in the shower, 2-3 things out of, and 2-3 to revamp my curl pattern and that’s all I need.

Not sure what kind of waves/curls you have? You can find your curl pattern type here!

SHOWER

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DEVACURL No-Poo Decadence | $44

Care for your curls from the very beginning with how you wash them. You don’t want to strip away any natural oils or moisture that your hair has – this moisture is essential for silky curls! Look for a sulfate, silicone, paraben free shampoo, my favorite is DevaCurl’s No-Poo Decadence. It’s incredibly silky without the artificial, added silicones and since I’ve started using it I’ve noticed far less breakage, allowing my hair to grow over 3 inches in 4 months.

 

 

 

 

 

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DEVACURL One Condition Decadence | $44

The hair follicle for curly hair is actually shaped differently than for straight hair, meaning that it is much more prone to drying out, frizz, and breakage. The best defense is a strong conditioner that’s made to lock in moisture. I like DevaCurl’s One Condition because you don’t need to completely rinse it out. I like to leave a little bit in my length to help keep them hydrated (not all conditioners are formulated to do this and many will leave a sticky or greasy residue).

 

 

 

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CHRISTOPHE ROBIN Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt | $53

Great curls start with a clear scalp. Once a week I mix a little of this scrub in with my shampoo to help clear out build up and revitalize my roots. Remember to rinse, rinse, rinse this one! The sea salt emulsifies into a thick lather and the smell of lavender is heavenly. It’s super expensive and a little goes a long way.


 

POST-SHOWER

 

SHEAMOISTURE Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie | $14

My first step post-shower usually happening in the shower! With my hair still sopping wet I’ll slather SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie mid-length to tip, ensuring that I coat those ends! Mixing the product in when my hair is still wet ensures that every step of the drying process it has been moisturized. I then hop out and gently squeeze try my hair with a microfiber towel – NO towel drying, NO wrapping hair up. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth you can get them here or use a 100% cotton tee shirt in a pinch.

 

 

 

OUAI Wave Spray | $26

A “wave spray” is usually some mix of salt and water that is sticky, drying, and the last thing you’d want to use on waves/curls. Ouai’s Wave Spray is different! It uses rice protein to help you perfect that wave texture. No sea salt means it’s safe for curly hair, color-treated, and/or keratin-treated hair. After moisturizing my hair I run a comb through it, let it air dry to damp, and spritz tons of this miracle wave spray on my length. After that I’m safe to let it completely air dry before I need to fuss with it again.

 


 

STYLING

 

DRYBAR The Kicker Finishing Spray Wax | $26

This spray wax is perfect to add a little texture to your waves/curls, particularly if you have a similar curl pattern to mine and you like wearing your hair in piecey waves. There are two ways to apply, directly to hair or to your hands. I like to hang my head upside down and spray the wax up from my end toward my roots. This way I don’t have to worry about too much build up at the roots. Then I spray a little in my hands and work different sections to make sure everyone is laying properly!

 

 

 

 

BUMBLE AND BUMBLE Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil | $40

I only toss this guy into the line up when my hair is feeling dull. Just a few drops in your palms, rub together, and lightly pet through your hair for amazing shine and softness. I also love this as a moisture boost to your ends! (In case you haven’t realized, moisture is the key to curls!)


 

MASKS & REVIVING

 

DEVACURL Melt into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask | $36

Everyone should be masking their hair at least once a week, especially curly headed women! It’s your foundation for how your hair will look every day! This guy is definitely my favorite, not only does it smell heavenly, but the formula is U N R E A L. After one use your hair feels like silk, two or more uses and day to day you’ll notice a difference, particularly if you have curls. As I have mentioned 101 times at this point, moisture is the key to healthy, happy curls, and this mask will keep you moisturized!

 

 

 

OUAI Dry Shampoo Foam | $28

If I’m using a dry shampoo (which I do often as I try not to wash my hair more than 3x a week) I’m reaching for Ouai’s Dry Shampoo Foam. The reason I love this is because you don’t need to brush it out after or do any of the normal dry shampoo spray tricks! You just gently massage it in and not only does it refreshen your scalp and remove oils, but the little dampness that comes with it helps jump start your curl pattern.

 

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SEPHORA.COM