Dear SM (Straight Mom) –
She hears you sighing when you attempt to brush her curls. She hears your comments about her “rats’ nest”. She’s listening. She hears you.
She gets the message.
So let’s change it.
First, since you don’t have curls, there will be a bit of a learning curve. Please check out sites like these: naturallycurly.com (reviews of products in all price ranges and more!) or Deva (product and how-to videos!).
Educate yourself, so you can educate her on how to best take care of her tresses. The Deva site also has sample questions to ask a prospective stylist! Curly hair can (and should) be cut dry. To quote Lorraine Massey, “We don’t wear our hair wet. Why should we cut it that way?” Many stylists will underestimate the shrink factor. The hair dries, and what was thought to be a trim actually chopped off 4 inches!
Then figure out what type of curls she has…curly, kinky, etc. Then based on that – find out what products work best for that specific type of curl. All curly types need hydration. Shampoo is dehydrating. Look for hair cleansers with no sulfates and no parabens. You want something with NO lather. There is no magic in lather. I use DevaCare No Poo, but there are quite a few no/low lather cleansers on the market.
Throw away the brush. Curls should not be brushed out. (Okay, maybe for Halloween, but that’s about it!) No longer are we in the Marsha Brady world of 1000 brush strokes for hair health! I don’t own a brush. Keep a wide-tooth comb that in the shower and ONLY use it with conditioner in those locks.
Condition, condition, condition! Curly hair is thirsty hair! A great conditioner makes all the difference. It will help to keep frizz at bay and help the hair hold styling product much better.
A curl defining product is a must. This can be a gel, creme, or a spray – or a combo of all of the above. On my two-year-old, I’m not going to slather her curls in gel, but I do use Ouidad’s Botanical Boost. It gives a bit of curl definition and helps to detangle out of the shower/bath. I use Deva’s ArcAnGel on my own hair and really like the hold. Not too much crunch, but some definition. On days that are humid, or when I used to live in Hawaii, I liked Tigi’s Curls Rock styling creme.
Above all else, give your curly kid the tools to help her look and feel her best. Don’t add negativity to what she already may be feeling about herself. We may think “it’s just hair”, but it’s not. It does go deeper.
Final deep curly thought:
“I often have the fantasy that curly girls are mermaids who have had to adapt to life on dry land. We come from the sea. The ocean is in our blood. It sings through our heart and lungs, our skin and hair. Our curls require the nourishment only a watery environment can provide. Both ocean waves and curly hair are forces of nature that can’t be tamed. We can only accept and admire their power and beauty.” Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook.
Go forth and be curly!