Do you believe that we do not have curly or wavy people in India? People with Curly hair still accept that their hair is curly but it is not the same with people with wavy hair. They keep on living in denial that they have wavy hair and keep combing their hair to make it behave like straight hair. Today we have Swati sharing her story when did she discovered her true hair, problem she faces to manage wavy hair and her wavy hair routine.
Among so many blogs speaking about curly or near-curly wavy hair care regimen, those with loose waves (2a-2b) feel lost because of how loose curls behave differently in comparison to tighter curls. While there is a major overlap of hair-care methods for curly and wavy hair, there are certain nuances to wavy hair because of its specific texture.
When I found my wavy hair
- In case you have been culturally conditioned to comb the dry hair in order to tame them, it can get very difficult to figure out if the hair is wavy. If you find your hair is neither straight nor wavy but has frizzy bumps across the length, these are waves waiting to be discovered. I spent 26 years of life (OK, 20 or something, before that I wasn’t bothered) thinking my hair is just frizzy and weird. There’s no way I could have guessed I have wavy hair. Only a right conditioner helped me figure out that my hair has potential for some waves as shown in pic below.
The waves would last only as long as I didn’t comb it dry. Now this started me going about how to care for and preserve curls.
Also, if you find that your hair lengthens an inch or more when you flat iron, know that you have textured hair waiting for some TLC.
Problems we face with wavy hair and some solutions
- Wavy hair can have a tendency to lose definition to a point that it’s neither wavy nor straight that looks just unkempt. Coarse wavy hair can stick out in weird angles after being tied up in a ponytail or pineapple.
- Without the right products and techniques, wavies tend to suffer from Drowned Rat Syndrome – top of the head lacks volume inspite of layered hair, hair sticks to the scalp with roots absolutely lying flat. I noticed that using comb to distribute products in wet hair doesn’t spoil my curls but it does lend me that famished drowned rat look when hair is wet – it kills all volume on top (pic below is after the drowned rat was air-dried).
- Braiding works good to preserve tighter curls while you are asleep. For wavies, not so much. Braiding can stretch out the already loose curls. So, if your waves are already amiss enough to not wear it loose (say 2nd, 3rd or 4th day), you can choose to braid or bun it.
- Since loose curls have this tendency to straighten out, you might want to figure out how frequently your hair needs protein to give it the much needed structure and bounciness. I could be biased towards protein because of my porous hair but if you find your hair limp and with little curl definition, protein treatment is worth the shot.
- Diffuser and products providing hold are a wavy girl’s best friends.
– Diffuser provides crown volume when used with head upside-down (no more a drowned rat)
– Improves curl definition (gives tighter waves)
– Gives bouncy curls
– Renders hair shiny and frizz-free
- Diffusing upright gives me volume on sides and flat on crown. Yes, an unflattering rectangle head!
- Get as much layers as possible keeping in mind your length and thickness. Aim for a nice overall shape for your hair. You don’t want any stone un-turned in order for every inch of your hair to curl. Here’s this tricky thing with curls, especially waves. The hair will not necessarily curl better with shorter the length you go. The general curly hair commonsense tells us that longer the hair, there more the hair gets pulled down due to weight. So, if you cut it short, they will curl better. But wavy hair often needs a certain length, specific to an individual, for the waves to start appearing. My hair looked pretty straight(ish) as long as I had them any shorter than 3 inches. Recently, I cut my hair shorter to armpit length in the hope of getting more curls on the top layer. But guess what. My waves all look a bit more loose and I am waiting for it to grow longer and curlier.
- Henna isn’t a protein treatment but it mimics a PT. It strengthens the hair, is a drying (depending on what you add to the henna mix) and provides shine. BUT henna may loosen curls. Loose curls, say wavies, are more susceptible to this curl loosening effect. I was earlier on the curlier side of 2c, now on the wavier side of 2c. I am Ok with the change but if you are worried about the curl loosening effect of henna, try it only on a section of hair to see how it goes.
- Flaxseed when simmered for a minute or two longer will produce thicker gel. I find thicker the snot, the more moisturising it is, also the stronger hold it gives. Oh and adding aloe gel to FSG (flax seed gel) gives the snot a workable consistency. But I also feel that FSG is more of a curl enhancer than a product for hold for many wavies.Also, the more generously I use it, the better FSG does its job.
- For some wavies, pineappling hair can stretch out curls across the back of the head and those close to roots. You DO NOT want it for your waves. (Just google curly mullet). You can give dry plopping or satin bonnet at night a shot.
- If finger coiling, twist outs, etc. don’t work for you, your hair isn’t weird. It just doesn’t work for certain wavies.
- If you can’t go 3rd or 4th day or beyond, again your hair isn’t weird. Generally, curlier the hair, there longer it can go without starting from the scratch i.e., shampoo/co-wash.
- For volume at the roots and overall hair volume, try styling with head upside down, diffuse dry, switch hair part and/or fluff slightly at the roots.
- Finally, there are no Wavy nor Curly Hair Police. Learn your hair. Do whatever works for you.
Hair properties: coarse, high porosity, medium density, 2c curls
High porosity hair care:
- Wet porous hair is most vulnerable to breakage because of its inherent property to absorb water, swell up and lose elasticity. Porous hair can benefit most from dry detangling.
- High porosity has holes in hair shaft that makes it prone to damage and breakage. Protein treatments (PT) can fill those holes, prevent loss of moisture and strengthen the hair. You figure out the frequency of protein treatment your hair needs based on how quick the shine, strength and bounciness provided by the previous PT disappears.
- Acidic hair rinse can benefit porous hair by sealing the cuticles (yes, shiny hair!) by virtue of its low pH. Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, aloe juice/gel can be used for this purpose.
- High porosity hair has highly raised cuticles that prevents the hair from holding on to moisture. It leads to dry hair and frizz. A sealant like Shea butter, jojoba oil, etc. can help seal the moisture in hair.
- Exercise caution when going for chemical treatments such as hair dye, etc. Porous hair is more prone to damage.
I keep experimenting until I find my HG products. There are only fewer products that I have found myself being loyal to yet. Here is what my routine looks like.
- Dry detangling and pre-poo with Bertolli Classico Olive oil. Castor oil+olive oil to the scalp which, irrespective of all the sciencey debates, helps my hair grow faster than usual and helps preserve edges.
- Shampoo my hair with Rustic Art Aloe Shampoo every 4th day.
- No cowash – my scalp, my hair and cowash don’t have a happy meeting point.
- Condition my hair with Enliven Apple Raspberry and Red conditioner. Rinse-out with head upside-down.
- Use no comb at all. My fingers do a great job. Ditching comb helped thicken up my edges significantly.
- Don’t squeeze out excess water for most part of conditioning and styling. Applying my products to dripping wet hair helps moisturise it better.
- All styling after shower done with head upside down.
- A pump of Bblunt High Definition Curl cream mixed with 2 drops of jojoba oil and raked through hair. Yes, with water dripping onto the floor.
- Flaxseed gel+aloe gel scrunched in big globs to sections of hair. Only now the excess water gets scrunched out.
- Plop for atleast 5 minutes.
- Air-dry when feeling lazy or diffuse dry (Remington D-5215 Pro-Air Shine) with head upside down.
- I walk around with crunchy hard stringy curls until I have to go out of my home. (Yes, that crazy looking Medusa woman! Lol) I SOTC right before going out. Might fluff the roots if top is flat.
- I pineapple my hair at night with a banana clip. In this way, I avoid pulling my hair through scrunchies and spoiling the waves. A satin pillow cover also helps.
- Fluff the roots in the morning and I am all ready for my second day. Buns or braids for third day.
- Henna with egg whites, etc 1x a month
- Protein treatments like egg white mask, fenugreek paste, coconut milk 1x-2x a month.
- 2 tbs aloe vera gel mixed to all my DIY preparations.
- Apple Cider Vinegar + water rinse in the ratio 1:2 as and when needed for itchy and flaky scalp.
Thanks Swati for taking out the time to write the post. I hope more people will start understanding their hair and bring out the waviness :).