Working as a hairstylist now, I can’t help but reminisce my own curly hair journey. Growing up with curly hair – type 3a for me – is a bitter-sweet experience. I was the envy of my classmates because I have the best pigtail braids – thanks to my natural curls that hold my braids well. But I was also the number one choice for playing the witch of the evil step-sister on school plays because of my “unruly” and “unkempt” hair. During my teenage years, my insecurity started to develop because the definition of pretty was my classmate with long straight hair. I tried using shampoo for straight hair in the hopes that it will make my hair straight. But to my disappointment, it only made my curls flat and limp. My worst attempt at straight hair was when I slathered my hair with my brother’s hair gel. Just imagine how ridiculous my stiff and rigid long hair is. Plus I got scolded by my brother and my mother for wasting his hair gel. Looking back at it now, I can’t help but smile and shake my head for not appreciating my curls when I was younger.
If you are a young girl or a young adult trying to find the best version of your hair, here are some tips to help you understand your hair more. Understanding your hair type can give you more confidence and can give you a better appreciation of your curls.
How to love your hair?
Determine your hair type
As I grow older and I started to love my curls (thanks to The Curly Girl Method Handbook), I finally discovered more about my hair. I have type 3a hair and I must admit, it took a lot of patience and hard work to make them look healthy and happy. Knowing your hair type makes you aware of the hair care routine and products compatible with your hair. This way, you will not waste time and money using the wrong products.
Find products that work for you
Once you have determined your hair type, the search for the most compatible products for your hair narrows down. But be warned that not all products for curly hair or type 3a products will work for you. You need to understand that the effect of the product depends on how your hair reacts to it. Product A might work for other curly hair but does not give the same effect to you and vice versa. It might take some trials and mix and match but you will definitely find your match.
Realize that your curly hair is unique and so are you
My appreciation of my curly hair led me to my passion and career now which is hairdressing. I started researching about my curly hair and as I go, I discovered that our hair is like a canvass. A simple change in haircut or hair colour can give someone a different personality. Your curly hair is unique to you and to your personality. There may be millions of other girls with the same type 3a hair as you. But the discovery to love your hair is unique to you.
Get a haircut that fits you
As I mentioned, hair can give someone a different personality. It can make or break your overall look. Find a haircut that fits you and your personality. It is a good thing our hair grows back, we have a never-ending chance to try a different hairstyle.
Work with your hair and not against it
Based on personal experience, going against my hair did not do me any good. Worst, I became a laughing stock with my rigid and stiff “straight” hair. Once you learn to love your curls, using the best hair care product becomes part of your system. Your hair routine will not be a task anymore but more of pampering and a relaxing me-time.
Daily hair care routine
Wash day hair routine
- Once a week, use a shampoo that contains sulphate. This will give your hair a good reset wash.
- After shampoo, pair it with a good conditioner to replenish moisture in your hair.
- Use a t-shirt or a microfiber towel to pat dry your hair. Remember to scrunch your hair for full-bodied curls.
- Air-dry. I highly recommend air drying your curls instead of using heat. The heat from the blow dryer can dry up your hair so as much as possible, use the natural air to your advantage.
- Co-wash. In between reset wash, use a conditioning cleanser to wash your hair. You can also use dry shampoo to refresh your curls.
- Finger comb your hair or use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your curls.
- Use a t-shirt or a microfiber towel to pat dry your hair.
- On damp hair, apply your moisturizing and hydrating leave-in conditioner for that extra bounce and volume.
- Air dry.
- After washing your hair, apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to your hair.
- Using an old t-shirt or towel, plop your hair. Leave it for an hour or until your hair dries.
- After plopping, remove the t-shirt or towel. Scrunch your hair to keep its natural form.
Most of the time, we take our curls for granted. And sometimes, we even wish that we have straight hair instead. I understand the frustration. But not everyone is blessed with luscious and voluminous curls. Some even spend to perm their hair. So every time you feel like giving up on your curly hair, remember that there is one girl out there who wishes that she has curly hair instead.