If you were to look at my search engine history, you might have a few questions for me… why do I look up so many pictures and articles about curly hair, afros, and coily hair? Why do I know so much about the biggest names in natural hair blogging? Why do I care about porosity and hair type/texture? There are also an awful lot of photos of curly-haired ladies saved to my computer…
The answer is this: I manage the social media accounts of a few brands that are specifically for curly hair/natural hair. If you have seen photos of me or have seen me in real life, you might find this information pretty amusing.
“You’re the whitest girl I know. You’re from Idaho. Not only that, but you have straight hair.”
You make valid points, dear reader, but they do not mean that I am incapable of providing pretty darn awesome social media management and strategy to my clients. Plus, I really like learning new things, and I have learned SO MUCH about naturally curly hair. So I’m going to break it down and tell you what I’ve learned from this whole experience. Here are the 7 things that straight haired gals should know that curly girls know already.
- Stop washing your hair so much
It literally blew my mind when I found out that washing your hair could be bad for it. My brains were on the floor. Clean hair is good hair right? Not necessarily. Turns out that your natural sebum (oils your scalp/hair follicles produce) is much better for your hair than any shampoo or conditioner that you apply. By stripping your hair of it’s natural oils, you’re just making your hair that much dryer, frizzier, and damaged. Straight haired gals can’t just go a week without washing like our coiled haired comrades (Kind of jealous) but we need to stop washing out hair so darn much!
- Cuticles aren’t just on your nails
Turns out that the lady at the nail salon isn’t the only one who knows about cuticles. While you look at me with a raised eyebrow, I will give you a mini hair anatomy breakdown. A single hair is actually composed of little shingle like cells called cuticles, which protect your hair’s shaft. The smoother these cuticles are, the more moisture they retain and the shinier the hair.
- Quit fussing with it
Those hair cuticles I was talking about aren’t just there for looks. Well, maybe they are. You’ll see what I mean. Anyway. Touching, twisting, drying, heat styling, and/or just playing with your hair can rough up your hair’s cuticle. Roughed up cuticles mean that moisture is lost and your hair isn’t as shiny. It also means that your hair is more prone to damage. Simply put, smooth hair cuticle means shiny and moisturized. Rough hair cuticle means dull and dry.
- That turban towel drying method you’ve been doing since you were a kid? Stop.
It alllll comes back to that darn cuticle. I know that if you’re anything like me, you’ve been doing the twisty turban towel dry for your hair since you were old enough to figure out how to do it. The problem is that traditional terry cloth towels are pretty tough on your hair. Drying your hair this way can be very damaging. Like great big ball of frizz kind of damaging. Instead, try drying your hair with an old t-shirt. Sounds crazy but it works great!
- Heat protect your hair
I am pretty sure that most of us are guilty of getting a little carried away with the straight iron or curling iron. But of course, the main gist of this post is how terribly we treat our hair, so I have to tell you to stop. If you’re like Miley Cyrus and can’t stop, then be sure to apply a heat protectant to your hair. A quality heat protectant will allow you to get the same results with whatever iron you’re using at a lower temperature and not cause your hair as much damage.
*Pro Tip: A stylist friend of mine gave me this hint and I think it’s pretty neat. Apply the product you use to half of a piece of receipt paper (the rolled paper used for receipts is heat sensitive). A good product will leave the paper white when you use your iron on it. If it turns black… well, just think of what it’s doing to your hair.
- Moisture is your best friend
Has anyone ever said, “Oh, wow! Her hair looks so dry and healthy!”
No. They have not. Dry hair is not happy with your life choices. Sometimes it can be rejuvenated through deep conditioning and other hair treatments, otherwise, you may be stuck with dull, lackluster hair until you grow it out and chop it off. Truth hurts, straight haired sisters.
Keep your hair healthy and happy by giving it the moisture it needs to shine. Try an at home hair mask. It’s like a facial for your hair… So a haircial. Or something.
- Love your hair
This might sound like a strange addition to this list, but something that I’ve really admired about the natural hair community is that they embrace their hair type and texture regardless of what is popular or mainstream. Choosing to be how you genuinely are, instead of using chemical treatments or other “remedies” (I won’t go into the details I’ve learned about relaxers and weaves and blowouts) is hard but worth encouraging. Commit to who you’re genetics made you to be and, forgive the cliché, love the skin you’re in.
Ok, straight hair girlies. Those are the key points I learned. Hopefully you take these tips to heart and are nicer to your hair.
And if you know a natural, give them a hug and tell them how amazing their hair is. They have to put in a ton of work to get it to look that way. Take it from the straight haired girl who knows.