23 January 2007

Care & Maintenance of the Curly Coiffure

Over the years I (like many of my curly-haired friends) have been stopped & complimented on my hair. "Yes, it's naturally curly." I always thank them for the compliment and if asked, refer them to Lori, the woman who (I am convinced) is the best hair therapist this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

I certainly cannot take credit for the hair being curly; that was God's doing. When I was being formed in the womb, He spliced genes together in the perfect marriage of DNA between my parents and voila! Kirsten is born with curly locks.

The only thing I can reasonably take credit for is the maintenance of my mane, which is an ongoing experiment in the right combination and balance of products used at the appropriate time (as almost anyone with curly hair will tell you). It is a common occurrence to stop or be stopped by another curly-haired woman in the restroom & to hear the question, “what do you use?” We are always on the quest not only for the perfect products, but the perfect combination of products. A discussion of the four or five indispensable gels, mousses, creams, and sprays & their proper applications can have two curly-haired strangers locked in conversation for considerable amounts of time.

The ironic thing about having naturally curly hair is that the process of making it look like something other than an SOS pad struck by lightning is one that is anything but "natural". Honestly, I am not complaining. I love having curly hair! It's just that those who think they want it cannot know the time one must invest to keep it in good shape. The morning regimen varies from head to head, but the common thread is time & multiple products. Lest anyone be covetous of a curly-haired mop, here is my typical morning hair regimen:

Every 2-3 days:

  1. Shampoo hair (this is done every 2-3 days to prevent the hair from drying out)

Every day:

  1. After hair is wet (& shampoo rinsed out), brush through intensive conditioner.
  2. Rinse.
  3. Once out of the shower, wrap towel around the head in an attractive turban.
  4. After 5-7 minutes (I am putting on makeup during this time), remove the turban.
  5. Apply flexible hold/anti-frizz gel throughout hair.
  6. Flip head upside down and shake out curls with fingers.
  7. Apply curl-enhancing mousse throughout hair.
  8. Flip head right-side up. Don’t touch the curls!
  9. In about 2-4 minutes (after finishing final makeup touchups), blow-dry with a diffuser (this takes about 5-6 minutes).
  10. Apply finishing crème (a light conditioning crème that helps tame frizz created by blow-drying and other environmental stressors).
  11. Finish with flexible-hold hairspray & more finishing crème as needed.

Sadly, following the same routine daily does not guarantee that my hair behaves or looks the same, nor does it mean it won’t turn into a poofball rivaling a lion's mane the instant it comes in contact with the moisture in the air that is ubiquitous to the Pacific Northwest. Nevertheless, in an effort not to look like the offspring of Medusa, I follow & modify the routine & hope for the best.

Can I get an "AMEN" from the curly-haired girls?


  1. AMEN!!

    Yes, I have found that timing and the perfect amount of product is essential to this process.

    I can't believe you put your hair in a towel for 5-7 minutes! I have to start combing through my hair IMMEDIATELY or the frizz head will descend, without fail every time. For instance, it is a high inconvenience for my phone to ring right after I step out of the shower. If it's a call I must catch, it truly is a sacrifice because it means I will walk around with a head full of fuzz for the remainder of my waking hours that whole day.

    Thanks for this post -- very creative idea!

  2. I had to laugh, because i have some natural frizz/curl in my hair, and i have finally found out that using more conditioner (i was always afraid to use too much, but now i lather it on) and a fair amount of moose (sp?) makes everything turn out perfectly. I have to dry it almost all the way without my brush, and just using my fingers, and then turn the hair dryer on low speed, but still high temp, and use my roller brush to finish it off. Then i spray some shine serum on, run my fingers through it, and i'm good to go :)

    Some guys say they are so happy they don't have to deal with being a girl, but i wouldn't change it for a minute - i love being able to have hot hair :)

  3. AMEN!! they didn't have products for naturally curly hair until i was almost in high school. so i spent my early years with various and hideous experiments to try to tame frizz. when i discovered diffusers and loreal "springing curls" spritz, my hair life changed dramatically! :

  4. Ilse: I laughed out loud in a very public place when I read your spelling of "moose," complete with the "(sp?)" question. It, my dear, is spelled "mousse." But I like your way much better. It makes me think of a huge antlered animal planting himself on your head. Now how would you like that? :)

  5. You all make me laugh! I knew I was not alone with my high-maintenance curly hair.

    To answer a query, the turban is indeed on the head for about 5 minutes (give or take a few). This is because when wet, my hair weighs approximately 12 pounds. Whenever I go in for a cut & color, Lori tells me I have enough hair for 3-4 people. I may amend this post with some photos to justify this claim!

    Thanks for your comments, all! :o)

  6. Kirsten, I think of all the curly-haired people I know, I've always loved your coiffure of curls the best. They are just perfect. Sigh.

  7. Thank you, Christianne! And I have always envied the length of your coiffure. I wish I could get mine that long! =)