For years I hated my curly hair. I know ‘hate’ is a strong word but that was exactly how I felt growing up. I would straighten it, cut it, tie it up and use a ridiculous amount of hair products to control my wild mane, to tame the beast. Obviously nothing worked mainly because no one bothered to explain how curly hair requires very special treatment. And back then (!), finding information on matters such as these was no easy task. Being a first child, followed by five more, my parents (bless them) had very little time for my hair problems and absolutely no means to help, anyway. As if having to deal with school, growing breasts, acne and boys wasn’t bad enough, there I was worrying about my hair. And when I say ‘worry’, I mean tears, tantrums, pleads to God to change my hair and give me smooth, straight, frizz-free tresses.Tragic and sad, I know. But also very common among curly-haired girls and most importantly, totally avoidable.
10 years ago, I found a hairdresser who specialises in curly hair. Christo took one look at me when I walked into his salon and promised me a complete makeover. He rid me of the bronze colour I had, chopped off the majority of my damaged ends and taught me how to style my hair. That moment was a turning point in my life. I finally found the confidence to be who I am, exactly how I am.
With Christo and my ‘new hair’ I took part in hair shows and was lucky enough to experience a professional photo shoot in NEW YORK, Manhattan, which is where Christo is based. I will never forget walking around SoHo where people, mostly women, would pop out of shop doors to say how much they loved my hair. What a boost for my confidence and what a change!
Some time after Georgie was born, Christo closed his shop in Nicosia. While I loved and depended on Curlisto products, I needed to find a way to survive the change. It took me two years to perfect my hair routine and I am finally ready to share my knowledge, tips and advice to living with curly hair.
Here’s a step by step of my hair care method, which I follow twice a week.
1. This is the most important step, a life-changing one. A couple of hours before I’m ready to wash my hair, I melt some coconut oil and drench my hair in it. I have tried this on dry hair and damp hair and I find the latter works better. This is a messy process, I won’t lie but totally worth it.I change my clothes and lay an old towel on the floor before I begin. You can definitely leave the oil on overnight (use a pillowcase you wouldn’t mind staining) and wash it off in the morning but that does not work for me because I like to take my time. I leave the oil on for two to three hours. You can find coconut oil at supermarkets and health food stores.
2. Wash you hair with shampoo and conditioner. If you’re tempted to skip the shampoo after applying the oil, don’t! Your hair will be oily and that’s not a good look. What we’re looking for is shiny and soft. I have heard that many women with dry and curly hair tend to avoid shampoo as it can have a drying effect, which is very true. As a rule of thumb, you should look for a shampoo with water as the first ingredient. Lately I have been using Keratinology’s Sunsilk for dry hair.
3. Never wash your hair with hot water. I love hot water but it is very bad for your hair and scalp so try warm water so you don’t strip your hair of its most-needed moisture.
4. Use a wide-toothed comb, not a brush! NEVER EVER brush your hair with a brush! Use a comb. And NEVER EVER comb when your hair is dry because it will literally break.I always comb my hair in the shower after I have applied conditioner, which I leave on while I wash my body. For the past two years I have been using Kiehl’s Olive conditioner. As much as I absolutely love it, I have ALOT of hair and this 200 ml bottle won’t even last me a month. I would be the happiest person on earth if Kiehl’s ever produced this conditioner in a bigger bottle. It really is amazing and worth the money if you have dry hair.
5. Just before I exit the shower, I always wash my hair with cold water. Yes, this can be torture during the winter months but you really should incorporate it into your hair washing routine. Hot water can cause frizz, dry and brittle hair but a cold rinse will seal the moisture in your hair and make it shine.
6. No to towels. Yes to t-shirts. This is something I learnt about a few months ago and it has changed so much about my hair. Towels can cause friction to your hair which means frizz. You don’t want frizz. You want smooth hair so make sure you wrap your hair in an old t-shirt.
7. Don’t let your hair dry too much before applying styling products.Apply to wet hair. Intercosmo Il Magnifico is a product I purchase from my hairdresser’s (call 99-926613 to order a bottle) and it is truly magnificent. It features 10 benefits including damage repair, frizz control, heat protection, it offers shine and prevents split ends. I spray this on my hair before applying anything else. Then, depending on time, mood and availability, I use John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Unwinding Curls Calming Creme or Serum and I am always faithful to Kiehl’s Heat Protective Silk Straightening Cream. I do not use the latter to protect against heat because I rarely apply heat to my dry hair however, I find it has the right texture to control yet benefit my curls.
8. I will linger a bit more on the styling part because I want to share another awesome tip I picked up from Christo. Section your hair when styling. Don’t just apply products to the top of your hair. Treat the bottom, middle and top part separately and concentrate on the ends which have a tendency to dry out.
9. Now, leave it alone! Don’t touch! Touching causes frizz. If you must blow-dry, try to avoid the ends and do it for as little time as possible. Also if you have tight curls you are not fond of, you can wait for your hair to dry, not completely, and then twirl and tie it or braid it. I do this before I go to bed and my curls loosen up by the morning.
Shampoo and John Frieda products can be found at Alpha Mega supermarkets while a Kiehl’s store can be found in Debenhams and at Larnaca airport.