Amy R Brooks rocks big curls all the time, but sometimes her hair overwhelms her. She sat down with Baltimore hair stylist, Boris Borovsky, to discuss curly hair tips to get her hard to manage curly hair looking as “glorious” as possible.
Amy: I’m thrilled to pick your brain about my hair. I have so many questions!
Boris: I’m an open book; ask away!
A: Just to set the stage for readers, I have very curly hair that gets dry and frizzy. I’m worried I should be doing something to moisturize it, but I have no idea where to start.
B: How frequently do you wash your hair?
A: Good question. Usually every other day and sometimes every day. Why?
B: Washing your hair every day, and this applies to lots of different hair types, can really deplete your scalp of natural oils. It’s so drying; even if you use conditioner. I recommend washing your hair once a week if you can stand it. If that feels too long, try washing every few days and then extend the time between washes as you get used to it.
A: When I don’t wash my hair for awhile it can feel itchy. Do you know what causes that?
B: The itchiness is probably caused by your hair products and your natural oils building up and clogging up your pores.
A: So I shouldn’t keep loading on the hair product each day?
B: If you’re not actually washing your hair, I predict you can get away with dampening your hair and much of your hair product will still be there. No need to add more product on top of what’s already there. But if you do, don’t use the same amount that you would after washing. I like hair creams instead of mousse or gel for curls.
A: It seems like the most beautiful hair happens when you figure out how to get the right amount of natural oils; too much it looks greasy, too little it looks frizzy or brittle.
B: True, I tell clients to brush hair with a natural bristle brush at night to redistribute the oils that collect at their scalp. It’s very old-fashioned, but it works. Just like in the black and white movies, you can sit in bed and do your 100 strokes with a good brush. It’s very effective in spreading your natural oils so that your hair will be nourished overnight.
A: Even for me? My hair will be huge if I do that!
B: Scalp massage might be a better option for you. Our scalp is a neglected part of our body. I would love to see people pay more attention to their head. It feels great to get a scalp massage and is good for your skin up there.
A: Before we get away from bedtime routines, I’ve always wondered what I should be doing with my curly hair as I sleep. I’ve noticed that leaving it loose is much better for morning styling than when I tie it up in a pony-tail or bun.
B: That makes sense with your hair type. Sleeping with hair ties, especially with wet hair, can pull the hair and cause breakage. It’s also going to create more work for you to regain your curls in the morning. Some of my clients have success putting their hair in a hairnet or a satin scarf. You want your hair to be loose without get crushed if you roll around during the night. Satin pillowcase are good to use if you don’t want to sleep with a head covering.
A: What about sleeping in a shower cap?
B: Hmm. I don’t usually recommend a shower cap unless you’re using a moisturizing treatment for your hair. There are overnight hair masks that deep condition and you’d definitely want to sleep with shower cap if you’re using one of those.
A: I’ve never heard of an overnight hair mask. I might need to try one!
B: There are many brands on the market, so read the labels carefully. Know that different treatments will have a different impacts on your hair type. Don’t feel frustrated if you don’t find the perfect one the first time. I also like home remedies like an avocado hair mask. Sometimes simple and natural are the way to go.
Of course, it also helps to stay away from hot tools (flat iron or curling iron) which can damage your curls over time. It’s okay to dry your hair, just try to use a diffuser. Less heat and more moisture will always lead to healthier hair.
A: I am open to trying new things, especially since my curls and my hair texture seem to change from time to time.
B: That’s true for everyone. Hormones and life changes can really alter the look and feel of your hair.
A: My hair went from curly to wavy then back to curly over the course of having three children. It was so strange!
B: Yes, that happens a lot, actually. Some people go from curly to straight and vice versa when big hormonal shifts happen. Diet and stress will also impact the health of your hair.
B: Absolutely. Sometimes our hair is showing us that we are deficient in some area or we are ill and need nutritional support. I always suggest seeing a doctor or nutritionist if your hair doesn’t seem healthy. There are times when a medical interventions are needed to get your entire body’s health back on track.
A: That makes sense; everything is connected.
B: And we can help by eating in a way that supports our skin and hair. It’s always a good idea to eat plants that have natural fat and oils.
A: I’m learning a lot, Boris! You’ve given me so much to think about when I’m out of the salon, but what should I know when I schedule an appointment with you for a cut?
B: First off, I need to see curly hair dry. That’s when I can really see the nature of the hair, the nature of the curl, and how it will shape. I want to see where and how it’s curling so we can make a decision where we need to cut to release curls that are too tight.
There are courses stylists can take to learn how to cut curly hair, so feel free to ask at your salon for someone who is well-versed in styling your particular hair type. A lot of what I do is instinctual; I can tell what your hair needs just by working with it. I understand that big curls often stick together and I may need to cut into the curl help it blend with the rest of your hair.
A: You are a hair whisperer!
B: Maybe, I just know that you need to understand curly hair if you want to cut it properly. Curly hair acts differently than straight hair when it’s wet. If you don’t understand how the curls look dry, you won’t be able to create a look that is glorious.
A: I want to look glorious!
B: That’s our shared goal! I want to help my clients have healthy hair that reflects their style.
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