6 Reasons You Should Embrace Your Curls
As told by a reformed blowout-addict.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been fighting your natural hair texture since grade school—especially if you were born with curls. From flat-irons to keratin treatments and hundreds of dollars worth of straightening serums, you’ve tried it all and after trial and error, found your customized secret to semi-smooth hair. Years into my beauty editor career, I had my anti-curly hair routine down pat. I’d get a blowout once a week and do everything in my power to make it last, even if that meant dodging workouts and going through dry shampoo faster than water. In fact, most of my coworkers thought I had straight hair. I did it because I thought sleek hair made me look more professional—and, well, prettier. Until one lazy day when I let my curls do their thing, and—wait for it—I got more compliments than I could count. Here, how falling in love with my curls—especially during the summer months—has simplified my routine and boosted my confidence.
Whether you blow-dry, round-brush, and/or flatiron your hair or pay a professional to do the heavy lifting, taking it from curly to straight is a time suck. Cancelling your blowout appointment and spending less time tugging at your hair in front of the mirror frees up precious minutes in your schedule. I have a simple, speedy, DIY plan that starts in the shower. I use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, plus a mask once a week to keep my fine, fussy curls happy, and I only comb my hair when it’s wet. This is a curly hair commandment my friend with gorgeous spirals told me: “Never touch your hair after the shower, except with a paper towel to blot excess moisture.” She explained that the soft texture of the paper towel was less likely to cause frizz than rubbing your hair with a terrycloth towel. I’ve opted for a microfiber towel (environment, you’re welcome), but I follow her lead regarding blotting instead of rubbing. Then I scrunch a sculpting foam—Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam ($12, target.com), which smells like coconut and doesn’t leave hair crunchy—onto sopping wet strands. I air-dry and am on my way. A solid 30-35 minutes has been shaved off of my once 40-minute hair commitment (insert happy dance here).
Put down your hot tools, people (doesn’t that feel good?). Maybe juggling a paddle brush and a blow dryer are in part responsible for those baby biceps, but creating enough tension to take curls into nonexistence is exhausting (sometimes even painful). The worst: Putting in all of that hard work to smooth your hair only to realize you’ve worked up a sweat that’s causing your hairline to fuzz up. Wearing your hair curly and giving your hair tools a break does a body good—trust me.
Your flat iron might work wonders on your hair, but not without paying a price. Heating it consistently fries it and over time, results in dryness and split ends (yes, that’s why your hair hasn’t been growing). Unplugging your blow dryer, flat iron, and curling iron will give your hair a much needed reprieve. Before making the switch to team curls, have your ends and layers "dusted" (a haircutting term that means to take off less length than a trim), so your curls have bounce and shape, but still enough length. If your curls are tight, grow them out with long layers so they’re a bit more relaxed (celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin once shared the secret to good curls are long layers). And instead of globbing on formulas packed with chemicals to fight your hair texture, you can load your curls with treatment/styler hybrids like oils and butters that help control your curls and double as a conditioning treat. Try Carol’s Daughter Marula Curl Therapy Moisturizing Detangling Milk ($18, dermstore.com).
In a sea of straight hair, curls are different, special, and exotic. When growing up, I wanted straight hair like the other girls in my class (in my Girl Scout's troop, on the cheerleading squad, etc.). Now I appreciate that my hair isn’t cookie cutter and that I have the ability to wear two hairstyles instead of being locked to just one. Curls represent personality, youth, and self-confidence (think Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Beyoncé). Just try it. See what happens.
Curly hair is the finishing touch to any outfit. Pair them with a maxi and you’re a bohemian goddess. Wear them with jeans and a white tee and you look effortlessly sexy. The low-maintenance, I almost woke up like this style is having a moment and you should take advantage of it. Another plus: You can skip a few washes. When I was younger, I thought I had to wash everyday in order for my curls to look good. After experimenting by skipping a few shampoos, I’ve learned my curls get better as they get a little dirty (don't be afraid of separating them and tousling them up a bit). I still dip into my dry shampoo to keep my roots fresh and I reboot my curls on days two and three with a beach spray like Sachajuan Ocean Mist ($28, amazon.com), a product I saw over and over again backstage at fashion shows to know that it had to be good.
Once my hair was straight, I would avoid water at all costs, even if this meant leaving the salon with a bonnet on my head or letting my new boyfriend see me in a shower cap way before he should have (oops). And when it did get wet, my head resembled a growing Chia Pet. All of that time, money, and effort had gone to waste. Now, if my curls get wet, it's no big deal. First, washing and styling isn’t a tedious process. And second, damp curls can easily be revived with a little beach spray (above) or whipping them up into a textured topknot.