Embracing your natural curls is different.
Part of what makes the Consciously Curly Method of styling curly hair so unique is that it is organic in every way. The method is all about seeing what your hair can do in its most natural and healthy state.
My biggest revelation with my hair is when I realized that wearing curls requires a completely different mindset. A completely different styling strategy then what is taught conventionally. Everything that we know is designed for the straight hair world. Once we become conscious of that, and of the ingredients that are being used in conventional products, styling curly hair becomes quite simple.
When you leave that conventional cycle of hair care and to embrace your natural hair and total hair health, you start to recognize that in the great scheme of things, your hair moves on a sliding scale of dehydration of two major forms and it is your role to keep it in center.
Frizz is the first symptom of hair damage, and ALL hair is damaged to some degree. Whether from heat, chemical treatments, the sun, hot water, or products…
The fact is that hair can never get healthier as it grows further from the scalp.
When hair becomes damaged, what is happening is the cuticle, which grows like the scales of a fish or shingles of a roof, begins to lift from the hair shaft and increases the hair’s porosity.
When the cuticle is lifted in this way, hydration can more easily penetrate the hair shaft, which is great. Problem is that it makes it difficult for the hair shaft to retain that hydration. And that’s a real problem because in the curly hair world hydration is everything.
Without hydration, frizz is inevitable.
Nothing about consistently washing, frying, drying, and dying your hair that is good for it and it really got me thinking. IT ALL CAUSES DAMAGE. It’ all causes dehydration. It all causes frizz.
I really had to sit down, take a look at it and ask myself why that is what all of the people and companies promising great hair were telling us to do.
Let me take a step back and walk you through a day in the life of conventional hair care. I’m sure you are all familiar with it. Chances are you have all been doing something similar for essentially your entire life:
- Wash the hair daily
- Coat the hair with layers of product.
- Use a brush, blow dryer or flat iron to smooth the product.
There are two main issues with this strategy when it comes to natural curls:
1) The first is that it causes a sickening amount of damage:
Most women, using most products, are caught in this catch-22, of sorts.
Conventional products that contain plasticizers like silicones are the best option to control frizz caused by damage from conventional strategies: chemical treatments, heat tools and sulfates, but they have to be literally melted into the hair shaft in order to work, creating more damage. More Frizz.
The plastics cause over oiling of the scalp and the hair to become heavy, and after several days, in order to continue working, the hair must be stripped down to its shell. Problem is that they are also exceedingly difficult to remove.
Some of the harshest cleaning agents in the world, called sulfates are required to remove them, and you better believe they wreak havoc on the health of your hair, especially the outer cuticle layer that causes permanent damage and effects hair porosity. They are highly alkaline, and strip open the hair shaft and remove not just the product but minerals, vitamins, natural oils and all that is good and holy about natural hair and the scalp’s natural balance.
That is the process most of us are stuck in.
The reason that this process doesn’t work for us curly girls is simple: We can’t physically flat iron or brush the silicones smooth with direct heat and maintain our curls at the same time.
It’s a physical impossibility.
Because we lack the ability to properly melt the silicones into a smooth surface, the sulfate silicone cycle will never work for us. The conventional cycle is broken. And that’s okay, because we are conscious of it.
What I’m trying to say is that the same process that transforms frizzy, damaged hair into the smooth locks of your dreams is exactly what is causing the damage and frizz in the first place.
It’s great for symptom management, but it’s not really solving any problems for you, in the long term. The truth is that if you ever wanted genuinely long, beautiful, and healthy hair without product, it would be impossible under these conditions.
That’s because the reality of the situation is that coating and melting products into the hair is not healthy for it. It’s smothering. It’s frying. It’s lifting the cuticle and causing damage in more ways than one.
And so it goes, round and round. Products make your hair look and feel great while damaging it and making the need for product become more and more necessary the longer it goes.
It’s empowering, to understand how the products that you are using work, isn’t it?
Hair that is damaged or higher porosity struggles to hold on to hydration. That means that you count the time between flawless and frizzy in hours, not days. I will feel bulky and frizzy and become kind of lifeless and dull in no time and can be incredibly delicate and brittle.
But when you stop using sulfates.
You stop using silicones.
You stop constantly brushing, flat ironing and blow drying.
THERE IS SO MUCH LESS DAMAGE.
As soon and the heat tools, excessive brushing, and conventional products are removed, there isn’t much left to make conventional products work, which is why us curly girls have to find another way. A way to create smooth, hydrated and healthy hair without coating it in plastic.
Your hair starts healing.
Hair that is healing becomes lower in porosity and can go back to basics. Instead of relying on products to make your hair ‘appear’ healthy and hydrated, you use water to hydrate and heal, and products to help your hair hang on to hydration longer.
Focus on saturating. Understanding that hair that is damaged, that is higher porosity, struggles to hold hydration and that your role is now to support that.
Help your hair hold water in the same way you would help a bucket that had holes, by filling and sealing the leaks.
Wetting, washing and conditioning your hair while it’s upside down to improve access and distribution. Detangling your hair with water and conditioner in the shower. Incorporate scrunching and pulsing your hair while it’s wet and conditioned. Use a curl cream, custard or whatever else your hair loves with this encouraging mindset.
When your hair is healing do all that you can with your two hands to lovingly press and squeeze that hydration into the core of your hair shaft. Use products you love, but keep your focus on hydration.
Your intention is powerful.
Hydrate your hair like you love it. Like it deserves it.
2) The second reason is that it causes build-up that is really difficult to remove:
The pioneers of hair care industry designed the four-step process that I mentioned before, and I have to be honest, it works. I mean, most women use these four steps their entire lives, with no issue and it literally specializes in making even the most damaged, frizzy and unruly hair transform and appear long, strong, sleek and beautiful healthy in just about an hour a day.
It’s genius, really.
It’s intriguing to me that it’s so widely adopted because when you really look at it: The process itself single handedly causes the damage, frizz and unruliness that creates the entire need for the process (and more importantly to the industry, the products).
And then one day it hit me: it’s because we don’t know. We don’t see it.
They hide it.
Have your ever fallen in love with a product? That first time you use it your hair just loves it. The hand feel totally changes and makes your hair seem so easy. In my experience, one year later that very came products is in the cabinet under the sink.
Can I tell you a secret: It’s designed that way. The people making hair products – they know what’s happening.
They know the damage these strategies are causing, and it is their number one goal to help you not see it.
To continue to coat and fill your hair with their products in such a way that you don’t ever have to feel the damage it is causing. The cleansers are harsh and aggressive, but also incredibly targeted and specific. They use formulations that allow for some ingredients to remain in the hair, disgusting it’s true hand feel even while the cleansers are cleansing.
Over time they create a barrier on your hair that gives the appearance of health when reality is, they’re suffocating it. All your hair needs to be naturally healthy and beautiful is water (but they don’t want you to know that, there is no money in that) so instead, they sell you product after product that keeps you in a state of relying on them to have the hair that you can even stand.
Think about that now…Conventional products and strategies that give your hair the appearance of shine and health, in actuality, build-up on your hair over time to make it feel soft, but preventing the one thing that can truly make your hair healthy and beautiful on its own: HYDRATION.
They intentionally use ingredients that do NOT come out, no matter how much shampoo, clarifiers, chelators, masks or ACV rinses you use to mask the true damage being done to your hair. They dry out and crystalize deep into the hair fiber and many of them ultimately have to grow out and be cut off.
That is how far these companies are willing to go to stop you from feeling the damage to your hair.
When you are ready take of the mask, see the truth, and find a new way, the focus is hydration. Where does it fall on the scale?
Hair that has build-up or is lower in porosity struggles to get wet all of the way through. It will feel heavy, oil, greasy, tangled, and itchy, matted into one large lump, or appears wet when it’s dry, which it funny because it also often looks dry when it’s wet (wet frizz – because it is resisting water).
You can count the time it takes to go from fab to drab quite quickly especially when heavier products and curl creams are used, because it’s all just sitting on top of the hair.
But when you stop using products that build-up.
When you start cleaning with consciousness.
When you start noticing what your hair feels like when there is room for hydration
IT CAN FINALLY BREATHE.
As soon as ingredients like silicones, polyquats and petroleum based riff-raff are removed from your routine, you stop new build-up and finally on what is truly important: creating space for water.
It will be able to breath for the very first time. And I am going to be honest, it might not be pretty (would you be after that long holding your breath?). Hair that is breathing means there is a pathway for hydration to finally enter it’s core and start hydrating, start healing.
I want you to think of this build-up, these compounds, those products, as taking up space in the hair shaft. Taking up space that water needs to be to hydrate and heal. We must try to remove them (layer by layer if they’ve build-up over time), to create space, with care and caution.
Each we cleanse we are conscious to damage. It’s striping our hair of it’s natural oils and minerals, and we follow with a loving condition to replace them.
You focus on saturating. Understanding that hair that hair that has build-up or is lower in porosity struggles to get truly wet to it’s core and it is your role to support that.
So you focus on loving and encouraging in a whole new way.
Help your hair get wet all of the way to it’s core, they way you would with an old rag on sponge that water just beads on and won’t soak into.
Allow water to run over your hair and begin to hydrate the outside. Then begin gently pressing and squeezing water to help it penetrate and saturate the inside. Think of Cleansers as space creators. They remove dirt, oil, skin cells, bacteria and product that is build-up in the hair and create space in your hair for health and hydration. Encourage hydration into the hair with scrunching and pulsing as much as you can with just water at first, conditioners and creams may just block it out again.
Create space in your hair shaft for water, and then fill it. Then re-analyze.
Move with love and these two steps and continue to re-analyze and re-center as you go and I promise you this: your hair will thank you.
As always you can find all of my favorite and cleanest products inside of my Product Finder and be sure to watch me do a live build-up removal in today’s video!