I have curly hair and have fought it for most of my life, dreaming of blissfully stick-straight tresses. Every morning my routine is determined by the shape of my curls: Matted-down and cockeyed locks require a full sudsing and styling; deflated curls demand refluffing with an arsenal of tools and salves; the day after a professional blow-drying, I avoid humidity at all costs.
About two years ago, my life changed when I met Ouidad, owner of her namesake Manhattan salon and unofficial “Queen of Curl.” Not only has she won me over with her unique “carving and slicing” method to unburden my curls, but I’ve come to enjoy the very ringlets and waves I’d previously fought. So it was an easy decision to contact my very own patron saint of curly hair to explain the ins and outs of this challenging condition.
“The easiest way to deal with curly hair is to understand it,” states Ouidad. “Most people assume it’s very coarse when in reality, curly hair is delicate, fine and typically dry. Just like your body, your hair needs to be nourished from the inside out. Protein-based styling products and deep treatments are essential to keeping curly hair healthy and under control.”
Choosing the right products for curls can be confusing. People often make the mistake of weighing down ringlets with heavy styling products and conditioners containing silicones, oils and waxes. These simply coat the hair without strengthening or feeding the cuticle. Ouidad recommends protein-rich ingredients such as wheat germ and soy protein that “fill” the hair follicles, creating internal weight and preventing the frizz reflex.
As for washing and conditioning curly coifs, Ouidad advises lightweight and moisturizing products. “Shampoos for color-treated hair are also good and gentle, but beware of conditioners designed for colored locks — they may contain heavy silicones. Also steer clear of all deep-cleaning formulas — these contain high levels of harsh surfactants which will dry out the hair and cause frizz,” warns Ouidad. Other no-no’s are volumizing products (the last thing anyone with curly hair wants is to increase the critical mass) and mousses, known for their pump-up powers, which usually contain alcohol which dehydrates hair and adds to the frizz factor.
“For curly hair, the less you do, the better,” remarks Ouidad, who suggests finger combing damp locks and then resisting the urge to touch them until dry. If tendrils feel slightly “crunchy” (often a side-effect of protein-based products), just hold 1/3 of your hair in a ponytail position and slide your hand down it’s length, with fingers closed. This is all that’s needed to eliminate the crunch without interfering with flawless curls. Most importantly, avoid combing or brushing! The teeth and bristles destroy and expand curls, creating massive frizz.
If you’re interested in coloring your curls at home, take note of Ouidad’s prep tips:
- Deep condition hair three days before coloring to fill in the molecular layer and insure even color absorption.
- Cut down the strength of the activating ingredients (peroxide and crystals) by one-half with water — full strength colorants are too harsh for fragile curly hair.
- Never, ever use permanent hair color — these chemicals are too damaging for curly hair.
- Stay within your hair-color family and choose deeper tones to make curls look richer and less frizzy.
- Protect hair from the sun by combing through sunscreen or leave-in conditioner to wet or dry hair before a day outside.
For those of you with enviably smooth, wrinkle-free hair, Ouidad offers the following advice for creating waves. For long-term curls and texture, Ouidad recommends gentle body waves and spiral perms with low levels of pH. “Just make sure your hair is in excellent condition before a chemical service!” she urges. For day-to-day curl tips, Ouidad suggests loose pin curls on hair that’s three-quarters dry for a mane-friendly option.
Another easy method for soft, sexy waves is to braid wet hair, let it dry and then finger-comb through the plaits. Although curling irons and various kinds of rollers are other possibilities, Ouidad only stands behind nondamaging wave-makers.
- Ouidad Clear Shampoo
- Terax Latte Shampoo
- Deep and Leave-In Conditioners
- Ouidad Deep Treatment
- Redken All Soft Hair Masque
- Pantene Pro-V Essentials Instant Hair Quencher
- Ouidad Tress F/X
- Ouidad Climate Control
- Physique Curl Defining Spiral Spray
- Physique Curl Defining Spiral Creme
|Sponsored Links ::|