If you have ever struggled to get your fine hair to burst with volume you will understand there is a particular mix of envy and awe to be felt for those blessed with robust curls.
According to Renee Potgieter, also known as Naturally Renee, the founder of Your Hair – every element of our natural hair is beautiful and we simply need knowledge on how to enhance it properly. This is why she has made it her mission to take tired curls and restore them to the curvaceous crown that all curly-haired girls and guys deserve.
In her 25 years, here is what she has learnt about how to take your depleted locks and turn them into a signature style that will put the spring back in your step.
What is texture?
The first thing to understand with voluptuous curls, in particular, is the makeup of hair. In short, hair is a non-living fibre composed of keratinized protein held in place by bonds that determine the elasticity and strength of hair and your curl habit. The structure of these bonds is uniquely sensitive to heat and water which is why your hair changes texture when it is wet.
Heat styling works by breaking down the bonds that temporarily determine the form of the hair fibre. Using excessive heat, chemicals or neglect to nourish your hair leads to confused structure and frizz. To really get the best from your curls you should reserve any heat styling for special days.
How do you hydrate hair?
Curls love moisture but are more susceptible to being built up from superficial silicon-based products. For curls, you need real hydration from a product that will give you both a feeling of softness and help smooth the hair strands cuticle layer without weighing the hair down.
Excessive heat will also irritate the cuticle layer, which naturally sits closer to the hair shaft, causing frizz once again. It is a terrible cycle that can easily lead you to believe you need more heat and frizz products which will only cause more damage and build up.
Styling aids that are healthy for curls will calm the irritated cuticle layer and moisturize the hair without causing stickiness. Often a simple plant-based conditioner and mask are all curls actually need to rehabilitate.
What products work for different types of curls?
The myriad of products for curly hair is dazzling but the rules are simple. Look for products that are derived from natural sources and avoid those with parabens, silicone and sulphates which are the lather agents in most products. Remember that curls within themselves also vary and the finer the curl, the lighter product needs to be.
With any product remember that curls don’t like being excessively washed or agitated. If you find your hair is oily, your money will be better spent getting the PH level of your scalp back into balance so that you can use fewer washing products.
Styling products like salt sprays and mousse play an important role too. Sea salt spray is great because it fills the gaps in the hair shaft that cause frizz. That is why your hair tends to be so glorious after a dip in the ocean.
How do you brush curls?
The short answer is, you don’t. Curls should only be brushed before you wash your hair. This will help detangle the strands, spread your natural oils and increase blood flow to the scalp. You can also comb them through in the shower while the conditioner takes effect – but after that try not to touch them again.
To properly handle hair post-wash, squeeze the water out of hair top to bottom – being careful not to annoy that cuticle layer by rubbing in the tip to scalp direction. The internet famous ‘T-Shirt tie-up” technique for longer and thicker curls is great and helps keep them contained while they resettle into their natural form.
A satin pillow also helps and feels lovely. Diffuser attachments for hairdryers aid to disperse the heat of the blow dryer more gently when it is too cold or damp for your hair to dry naturally. And a quick spritz of saltwater from a spray bottle in the mornings will help put all those glorious natural bonds back in place after a night of pillow wrestling.
No matter if you have tightly crimped curls or voluptuous barrels, curly hair should be celebrated. Yet, often when you speak to those fortunate to boast full crowns of them – the first thing they say is they would kill to have hair that would cooperate! Practice these simple hands-off techniques, a little bit of patience and a lot of kindness towards yourself and you will have picture-perfect locks – every day.
Contact Renee for advice or a virtual consult at [email protected].