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    the everything guide to curly hair

    a crash course.

    by busra erkara August 18, 2015

    Illustrated by Liz Riccardi

    I spent all my tween and teen years battling my hair, only to slowly give in to the fact that it was utterly unmanageable. Over time, I learned how to get better haircuts, but the managing part remained mysterious—and strangely dependent on many factors, like humidity, heat, moon cycles, and whether the wheat crops were facing northeast that harvest season. That, until I met with Spoke & Weal founder Jon Reyman this summer. As I sat in a black boyfriend tee (it's the salon's version of a smock) and chatted with Reyman at Spoke & Weal’s SoHo location, all the secrets of curly hair came undone. Here is Curly Hair 101.

    <h3>Washing It</h3>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">If you are an adult with thick curls, by now, you&rsquo;ve probably learned to not wash your hair on the day of your graduation, a job interview, someone&rsquo;s wedding, or other important public appointments of sorts, unless you&rsquo;re going for a <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/14531705@N00/6208841644" target="_blank"><span class="s2">Granny Addams</span></a> look. Turns out for once, you&rsquo;re on the right side of the curve (literally), but there are also other options. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s fine curly hair and coarse curly hair, and fine curly hair has different needs than coarse curly hair,&rdquo; says Reyman. &ldquo;If you have coarse curly hair, when you shampoo your hair it makes your hair coarser, fuller, and bigger&mdash;but, fuller and bigger is your enemy. If you want your hair smaller, you should be shampooing less, and conditioning more. You should use a light shampoo&mdash;you could even use those new co-washes.&rdquo; I took Reyman&rsquo;s advice, and used DevaCurl&rsquo;s No-Poo along with <a href="http://us.davines.com/award-winning-love-smoothing-conditioner-/d/1046"><span class="s2">Davines&rsquo;s Love Conditioner</span></a>&nbsp;for about a month&mdash;and can vouch that it works like magic. My hair stayed smaller, even on the most humid New York days. (Since this type of wash doesn&rsquo;t lather, at first, you may feel that your hair isn&rsquo;t as clean as it should be, but that feeling goes away with time.)&nbsp;</span></p>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">"People with coarse curly hair should only shampoo their hair when it</span><span class="s3">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">s dirty,&rdquo; he elaborates. &ldquo;Now, to me, dirty means greasy on the scalp or itchy. Otherwise, you can just rinse the products out with water. There are even some people, where I say shampoo it once a week or once every two weeks. I have some clients who shampoo it once a month, and they condition it every chance they get.&rdquo;</span></p>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">If you have fine curls, however, you should follow a different regimen: &ldquo;For somebody with fine curly hair, the more they shampoo it the fuller it gets,&rdquo; Reyman asserts. "So, we</span><span class="s3">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">d like them to shampoo more and condition less&mdash;and they should use a strong shampoo.&rdquo; One of Reyman&rsquo;s personal favorites is <a href="http://www.aveda.com/product/5245/16934/Collections/Pure-AbundanceTM/Pure-Abundance-Volumizing-Shampoo/index.tmpl"><span class="s2">Aveda&rsquo;s Pure Abundance</span></a>. &ldquo;It gets rid of all of the oils and makes that hair shaft swell up, that</span><span class="s3">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">s what we</span><span class="s3">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">re hoping for.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p>
<p class="p1">In fact, he says that people with fine hair can shampoo every day. "Usually, they want their hair big but not frizzy. Frizziness is a different story, you have to manage that with products, but the shampoo helps to prepare your hair to have products,&rdquo; Reyman says. As for the conditioner? Use just a little on the regular and feel free to skip every once in a while.&nbsp;</p>

    Washing It

    If you are an adult with thick curls, by now, you’ve probably learned to not wash your hair on the day of your graduation, a job interview, someone’s wedding, or other important public appointments of sorts, unless you’re going for a Granny Addams look. Turns out for once, you’re on the right side of the curve (literally), but there are also other options. “There’s fine curly hair and coarse curly hair, and fine curly hair has different needs than coarse curly hair,” says Reyman. “If you have coarse curly hair, when you shampoo your hair it makes your hair coarser, fuller, and bigger—but, fuller and bigger is your enemy. If you want your hair smaller, you should be shampooing less, and conditioning more. You should use a light shampoo—you could even use those new co-washes.” I took Reyman’s advice, and used DevaCurl’s No-Poo along with Davines’s Love Conditioner for about a month—and can vouch that it works like magic. My hair stayed smaller, even on the most humid New York days. (Since this type of wash doesn’t lather, at first, you may feel that your hair isn’t as clean as it should be, but that feeling goes away with time.) 

    "People with coarse curly hair should only shampoo their hair when its dirty,” he elaborates. “Now, to me, dirty means greasy on the scalp or itchy. Otherwise, you can just rinse the products out with water. There are even some people, where I say shampoo it once a week or once every two weeks. I have some clients who shampoo it once a month, and they condition it every chance they get.”

    If you have fine curls, however, you should follow a different regimen: “For somebody with fine curly hair, the more they shampoo it the fuller it gets,” Reyman asserts. "So, wed like them to shampoo more and condition less—and they should use a strong shampoo.” One of Reyman’s personal favorites is Aveda’s Pure Abundance. “It gets rid of all of the oils and makes that hair shaft swell up, thats what were hoping for.”   

    In fact, he says that people with fine hair can shampoo every day. "Usually, they want their hair big but not frizzy. Frizziness is a different story, you have to manage that with products, but the shampoo helps to prepare your hair to have products,” Reyman says. As for the conditioner? Use just a little on the regular and feel free to skip every once in a while. 

    <h3>Brushing</h3>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">If you have curls that would make Medusa jealous on any given day, you probably also said goodbye to hairbrushes a long time ago. But what about combs? &ldquo;If you comb a curl even when it</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">s wet, you break the curl up,&rdquo; says Reyman, pointing at a couple of strands are going in different directions on my head. &ldquo;The curl wants to come together, so if you want your curl to ringlet and be controlled together, leave it alone. The more you leave it alone the better. I understand it gets dreaded, but with coarser curly hair, if you don</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">t shampoo it so much and condition it more, you should be able to get your fingers through it. So make sure to get enough of the right products there, use your fingers to comb your hair, don</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">t use combs.&rdquo; In this case, same rule goes for fine curly hair: Try to avoid combing if you can, and comb as seldom as possible if you have to. &nbsp;</span></p>

    Brushing

    If you have curls that would make Medusa jealous on any given day, you probably also said goodbye to hairbrushes a long time ago. But what about combs? “If you comb a curl even when its wet, you break the curl up,” says Reyman, pointing at a couple of strands are going in different directions on my head. “The curl wants to come together, so if you want your curl to ringlet and be controlled together, leave it alone. The more you leave it alone the better. I understand it gets dreaded, but with coarser curly hair, if you dont shampoo it so much and condition it more, you should be able to get your fingers through it. So make sure to get enough of the right products there, use your fingers to comb your hair, dont use combs.” In this case, same rule goes for fine curly hair: Try to avoid combing if you can, and comb as seldom as possible if you have to.  

    <h3>Product</h3>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">Throughout our conversation, Reyman repeatedly told me that when someone has curly hair, the products they use are&nbsp;all that matter. When asked to expand on that,&nbsp;he said, "Coarser curly hair needs a combination of hold products and oil products. A lot of brands come up with curly-solutions series and I think they are not for everyone.&nbsp;W</span><span class="s1">hat makes things successful is when we start to customize and start to understand what our needs are,&rdquo; he responds. &ldquo;So for coarser curly hair, a light oil is going to shrink the hair down a little bit, and a light hold (like a light gel) is going to help set it. The nice thing is every product you put in changes your curl pull, so if you put in a light oil, another oil, and a hold, you</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">ll get one curly result, if you add in a different product, then you</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">ll get a different curl result. Which is why I say your curl pattern is based on the products you put in.&rdquo;</span></p>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">To get the best out of your fine curls, feel free to skip heavier oils like argan or coconut. &ldquo;For fine curls, it should be very minimal oil if any. They live in a light-hold world, because oils just make their hair oily and creams make their hair flatter,&rdquo; Reyman says. &ldquo;We just want to set it and hold it, not making it stiff. So, when you</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">re trying to manage frizz, it&nbsp;is always controlled by either hold and oil, or just hold&mdash;and people with fine hair should always stick with hold.&rdquo;</span></p>

    Product

    Throughout our conversation, Reyman repeatedly told me that when someone has curly hair, the products they use are all that matter. When asked to expand on that, he said, "Coarser curly hair needs a combination of hold products and oil products. A lot of brands come up with curly-solutions series and I think they are not for everyone. What makes things successful is when we start to customize and start to understand what our needs are,” he responds. “So for coarser curly hair, a light oil is going to shrink the hair down a little bit, and a light hold (like a light gel) is going to help set it. The nice thing is every product you put in changes your curl pull, so if you put in a light oil, another oil, and a hold, youll get one curly result, if you add in a different product, then youll get a different curl result. Which is why I say your curl pattern is based on the products you put in.”

    To get the best out of your fine curls, feel free to skip heavier oils like argan or coconut. “For fine curls, it should be very minimal oil if any. They live in a light-hold world, because oils just make their hair oily and creams make their hair flatter,” Reyman says. “We just want to set it and hold it, not making it stiff. So, when youre trying to manage frizz, it is always controlled by either hold and oil, or just hold—and people with fine hair should always stick with hold.”

    <h3>Cutting It</h3>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">We&rsquo;ve all left various hairstylists' chairs knowing things will never be the same again. If it&rsquo;s any consolation, it&rsquo;s easier to disguise a hideous haircut when you have curly hair (because, let&rsquo;s be honest, it&rsquo;s like every, single jungle creature from <em>Jumanji</em> has walked over your head as soon as you start to dry up.) But&nbsp;in the long run it can get really ugly, so it&rsquo;s important to know what to expect from a good haircut. &ldquo;All hair is three things: length, density and texture,&rdquo; says Reyman. &ldquo;A lot of hairdressers don</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">t know how to manage density. I think finding a hairdresser that understands length and density as two separate subjects is the first step. And also texture&mdash;I can give you a great haircut, but if you don</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">t manage your texture, you</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">ll have a big, fuzzy mess. Texture is always managed by tools and techniques. Have the right tool, the right technique, and you can get the right result.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p>
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">So you think you&rsquo;ve got the right haircut? That is, until your hair grows into an even bigger blob in less than two weeks&mdash;which mine has, so. many. times. &ldquo;A good haircut grows from the inside out. If I just cut the outside, then the outside grows, and that grow out takes five to six weeks,&rdquo; informs Reyman. &ldquo;If we just cut the outside, then you have a big clump that</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">s hard to manage, that</span><span class="s2">&rsquo;</span><span class="s1">s why you need a haircut on the inside and the outside. The outside is length, the inside is density.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p>
<p class="p2"><span class="s1"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p>

    Cutting It

    We’ve all left various hairstylists' chairs knowing things will never be the same again. If it’s any consolation, it’s easier to disguise a hideous haircut when you have curly hair (because, let’s be honest, it’s like every, single jungle creature from Jumanji has walked over your head as soon as you start to dry up.) But in the long run it can get really ugly, so it’s important to know what to expect from a good haircut. “All hair is three things: length, density and texture,” says Reyman. “A lot of hairdressers dont know how to manage density. I think finding a hairdresser that understands length and density as two separate subjects is the first step. And also texture—I can give you a great haircut, but if you dont manage your texture, youll have a big, fuzzy mess. Texture is always managed by tools and techniques. Have the right tool, the right technique, and you can get the right result.” 

    So you think you’ve got the right haircut? That is, until your hair grows into an even bigger blob in less than two weeks—which mine has, so. many. times. “A good haircut grows from the inside out. If I just cut the outside, then the outside grows, and that grow out takes five to six weeks,” informs Reyman. “If we just cut the outside, then you have a big clump thats hard to manage, thats why you need a haircut on the inside and the outside. The outside is length, the inside is density.” 

     

    Tags: beauty, hair
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