Updated: Feb 3, 2021
When I started my curly hair journey, I made a lot of mistakes.
I initially started by simply wearing my hair out with bleek results. This was because I simply didnt know what to do with curly hair. That is when I turned to google.
How to do your curly hair?
How to do naturally curly hair?
How to make your hair naturally curlier?
You will see that my main motivation was to make my curls look better, to curl better and to reduce frizz, but I was not seeing the sites I needed about improving my hairs health and to repair the heat damage the years of using flat irons had caused.
I ended up with a load of products I did not need and hair that was still undefined and dry.
Eventually I started researching hair science, followed some curly hair influencers and some amazing blogs (Such as naturallycurly.com) where I learnt all I needed about hair health and maintenance.
Initially I did feel overwhelmed with the quantity of information out there. There is a whole community of amazing curly girls providing advice and tips on social media, but I found this hard to navigate and struggled to find out where to start.
I started hearing about the curly girl method and learnt about hair porosity, chemistry of hair and the importance of product ingredients and slowly started to see changes. I had finally gotten in tune with my own hair.
It took a good 6 months before I started seeing results. My hair was feeling softer and moisturised, and this also led to better definition and frizz control. It was then another 6 months before I was confident my hair was at its healthiest. Below is some picture examples of my hair journey:
Below are 5 things that I would recommend every beginner to a curly journey learns about knows and becomes an expert on.
One thing that is important to note before continuing, is that we all have completely different hair types, curl patterns, DNA, textures, and resistances. Even if you see a photo of someone who’s natural hair looks like yours that does not mean that what they use will work for you. This is the main thing to keep in mind and the basis for the below:
1. Know your Hair Type
Knowing your ‘Hair Classification’ isn’t the most important aspect of hair knowledge but is always good to know as it can affect the best ways to style and cut your hair.
The most widely used hair classification system was designed by Oprah Winfreys hair stylist, Andre Walker, and ranges from type 1: straight hair, type 2: wavy, type 3: curly and type 4: coily. It will be what you see all curly girls referring to when describing their hair type.
See What is my Hair Type for all the information you need to determine your classification.
2. Determine your Hair Porosity
Knowing your hair type is one thing, but determining your hair porosity is easily the single most important factor when choosing the right products and styling techniques for a successful transition to natural curls.
I did not even know what this was for the first 4 months of my journey and then when I did hear about it, I made an incorrect assumption about my porosity (due to an inaccurate 'test') and ended up spending 2 months doing all the wrong things for my hair... with frustrating results.
I have high porosity hair, and the first time I used the LOC method and suitable products my hair my wash and go was massively improved!
The simple definition of hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb and retain any type of moisture. This affects what products to use and how to layer them when styling as different porosity hair holds onto moisture differently.
'Determine you hair porosity’ and you will have taken a vital first step to incredible curly hair results.
3. Deep Condition
If you were like me as a beginner you may have been using heat on your hair religiously or simply not giving it much love and care and therefore suffering from some hair breakage and heat damage.
Prior to going curly, I deep conditioned my hair once every 6 months. I did not see the need.
However, the key to soft, healthy curls is moisture and one of the best ways to achieve this is through regular deep conditioning.
I personally use a deep conditioner around once a week, but if your hair is particularly damaged and transitioning, there is no harm in using twice a week for the interim.
4. Read and understand product ingredients
Again, I spent a lot of my first months paying little attention to the ingredients listed on the products.
I was oblivious to what any of it meant and honestly did not see the importance of it.
However, it is good practice to always read the ingredients on ANY product you use, from haircare, to skincare to medication etc.
It is 'useful' to know what you are putting in your body. As a tip, it is common that the first 5 ingredients listed are the main items in the product.
The main thing you quickly learn from other curly girls is do not use products with ‘Sulfates or Silicones’.
When I started this journey, I took this and ran with it. i only bought products that said on the packaging ‘No Sulfates’. However, I then read that just because it says that on the package does not mean it does not include ALL sulfates. Naturally Curly states that from time to time "when advertisers label "Sulfate Free" at the very front, they are referring to one of the harshest Sulfates: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.”
This means that if avoiding sulfates is your mission, it is vital to read the ingredients before choosing your product.
I will be writing a post all about product ingredients and what to look for soon. To be kept up to date of when I post follow me on Instagram and subscribe to this blog below.
5. Trial and Error (Patience)
Once you have determined your texture, porosity and needs you are able to start your journey, but you will still make mistakes and try products that simply do not work for you even though everything suggests that it should.
We are all different and our hair has its own mind. It also changes over time as you nurture it and therefore what works can change as well.
I personally love trying new products and different styling techniques to achieve the best results.
How long does a curly hair journey take?
This question is asked by most beginners when starting out as we are naturally inclined to want a deadline to success. However, there is no set answer.
Everyone's curly hair journey is different. We all start at different lengths, levels of health and with different issues to be overcome.
Some people start by stopping the use of any heat and notice results straight away, others will do the same and then 6 months down the line decide to do the 'big chop' to start fresh. Some will start with the big chop.
There are many factors that will affect your process including environment, heat damage, genetics and health.
However I can assure you, as soon as you start to understand your hair, put effort it and nurture it you should notice some changes really quickly.