‘How do I get my curls to look like yours?’
I often get that on my Instagram. I do sometimes cringe at this – the whole point of my blog is to get girls with natural hair to embrace their own texture – but many forget, there isn’t just one texture to begin with.
Natural hair can be broadly divided into three categories- Wavy (the focus of this edition of The Curious Column), Curly (what I have) and Kinky/Coily hair. And while the basic rules stay the same, there’s TONS of difference in what products & styling techniques that suit different textures.
I reached out to Alyson, Instagram & Youtube’s resident wavy hair goddess to answer the most common complaints and questions my wavy hair readers ask. I found her through a colleague who suggested her video on 10 Commandments of Wavy Hair which I LOVED! She was so clear with her tips, genuine, honest & FUN! ❤
So, if you want to learn her tips on reducing crown frizz, increase volume at the crown, her favourite products & more for wavy hair, read on below. Let’s get started!
How is Wavy Hair Different from Curly Hair?
A wavy girl’s curl pattern is still textured, just a lot looser of a curl than our type 3 or 4 curly/coily/kinky sisters. I’ve read that curls stem from a hair follicle that’s oval shaped, as opposed to symmetrically round—which produces naturally straight hair.
Wavy hair comes from hair follicles that are only slightly oval-shaped, which can give we wavy girls more variation in our curl pattern as well.
It’s totally normal to have a range of waves from 2A-3A or even 3B all on one head. In my experience, wavy hair also requires fewer moisturising ingredients and, oftentimes, more hold than curly hair.It’s totally normal to have a range of waves from 2a-3a or even 3b all on one head. - Alyson, real life+curly girl| The Curious Column Click To Tweet
Which texture type are you?
The textures on my head range from 2a-2c. My hair is curlier around my face, with looser waves at the back of my head and underneath.
How to reduce crown frizz?
For those new to following the Curly Girl Method, as I do, this takes some time. Those curl/wave clumps are trying to find each other—and moisture really helps. I recommend deep conditioning weekly for 20 minutes each session with a quality deep conditioner, or even just a tbsp of olive oil and honey added to your favorite conditioner. Avoid shea butter-heavy deep conditioners if possible, as they’ll build up and cause frizz.
Which brings me to my next recommendation: Clarifying! This is the number one way to reduce buildup-caused crown frizz, but you have to be careful to not overdo it, or you’ll end up with stripped hair-caused buildup.
THIS is buildup frizz. THIS is how I know that pushing my clarifying/deep conditioning sesh by one more wash day wasn’t a good idea. Imma make this work for two more days, but I’m not excited about it. Don’t y’all just hate a wasted wash day? Oh well, at least it’s clean (…sort of). 🙃 🌀🌀🌀 What are your tell-tale signs its time to clarify? How do you know when you have buildup? And what’s your favorite way to clarify?
Wavies should clarify once every 3-4 weeks with a sulphate shampoo like Suave Daily Clarifying, and always follow up with a good, long deep condition.
My last recommendation is to use a wide tooth comb before applying your styling products, just to align your hairs into their curl clumps and avoid frizz derived just from disorganised hairs.
How to get volume at the crown?
Clip those roots!
There are almost limitless options when it comes to which clips to choose—double prong metal clips (my personal fave, and best for medium/low density, fine hair) or various sizes of claw clips. Some choose to clip their roots up when the hair is soaking wet, others when it’s halfway or mostly dry.
I’m in the latter camp. I love my Deva double-prong clips because they’re heavy duty and won’t fall over when I clip them close to my scalp, to keep my hair standing straight up from the root. I clip halfway through diffusing, so I can get a good idea of where I’m going to need root lift.
Should Wavy girls Co-Wash? Won’t this weigh down your waves?
It really depends on the wavy girl. But it also depends on the cowash.
When I started this journey, I never would have guessed I would/could cowash. I used a sulfate-free shampoo for the first 6 months of my journey, which I think was the best way to ease into a mostly sulfate-free hair routine. After that, I experimented with co-washing, which I actually loved, but found I couldn’t do it often without experiencing buildup. However, its benefits were obvious when I experienced much less frizz and more moisturized hair, even in the heat and humidity of Texas summer.
So I found it really worked to co-wash on two subsequent wash days, then low poo on the third. That pattern made it possible to experience the benefits of co-washing without experiencing the buildup. P.S. – I’ve tried a few, but As I Am Coconut Cowash continues to be my absolute favourite, as it contains a mild surfactant (Cetrimonium Chloride) that makes my hair almost squeaky, but doesn’t strip it.
Recommend Top 3 Gels for Humid Weather?
The face you make when your day 2 refreshed hair is even better than your wash day! 🎉 Even with a dew point of 4 degrees this morning, the @Ouidad ACC Gel did not disappoint. My waves are light, bouncy, with zero static or stringiness. Swipe left for products used. PS – Yes, I’m totally wearing the same shirt I did yesterday. Did you see the temps? Definitely NOT going outside today. 😂 🌀 Can’t discount the overnight use of my humidifier. Get yourself a good one, take care of it, and it will take care of you all winter long. Chapped cheeks, dry noses and staticky hair all averted. 🌀 Raw Curls anti frizz spray (always!) to dampen, and applied a little Ouidad ACC gel with wet hands, dampening and diffusing each section at a time. 🌀 SOTC with a drop of @MopTop Mongongo oil rubbed between my palms. 🌀🌀🌀 Also want to touch on the texture of the Ouidad gel. See how goopy it is in my little Boomerang video? Reminds me of those silicone-based serums I used to love, like Biosilk. And for good reason! The hydrolyzed wheat protein acts as a water soluble sealant on your hair (technically called a film-forming humectant, and sometimes an anti-humectant), similar to the way those good ol’ silicones used to. Feels slimy and slippery on my hands—not nearly as easily/quickly dissolvable as a product like Bounce Curl. Its ability to coat my hair is the magic that will keep my hair hydrated! A perfect ingredient for extreme temps and dews, whether they be high or low. 🌀🌀🌀 Promised you a follow up, friends, so here it is. Gotta say, I’m pretty surprised myself. Gonna shoot for day 3 tomorrow! 🙌
In the hottest heat of summer, I lean heavily on glycerin-free/low glycerin gels, and I actually layer my gels—one to maintain moisture, and one with hard hold to enhance control.
Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel (which also works well in low winter dew points!) seals in moisture and provides some hold. It may be enough for many wavy girls. It’s enough hold for me in winter. But in summer, the weather creates a different story. I layer a glycerine free hard hold gel on top.
What Hair Cuts Flatter Wavy Hair?
I can’t say there’s one hair cut that works for every wavy, but layers are always flattering to every textured hair type. They enhance volume, crown lift, and help us all avoid the dreaded triangle-head look.
I know some wavies feel like their hair isn’t curly enough for them to ‘qualify’ for a curly hair cut, like a Deva cut, but I beg to differ. A curl-by-curl dry cut will enhance waves by ensuring those natural curl clumps stay together (ends need friends, y’all!) instead of being thinned out in a standard cut. And, as we discussed earlier, it’s normal for a wavy girl to have many curl patterns on her head.
In a Deva cut, those straighter areas can be ‘raised’, aka cut shorter, to match the length in curlier sections. In a wet/standard cut, this evening-out doesn’t happen, so if your have some wildly different curl patterns, you may end up with an uneven cut or uneven layers once your style it yourself. And last, a Deva stylist knows to stick with sulfate-and silicone-free products, so you don’t have to worry about bringing your own cleansing and styling products to your appointment.
What are your Holy Grail Products?
There are so many great products out there for wavies, I’m not sure I have a lot of HG products at this point. My only definite HG product at this point is Raw Curls Anti Frizz Spray for refreshing. I just haven’t found anything that beats it for bringing my hair back to life on the days after wash day.
What are you top rules to taking care of wavy hair?
#1. Don’t forget to clarify with a sulfate shampoo! It’s the number one mistake I see wavies making, and the telltale sign is always frizz. You should always follow that clarifying up with a solid deep conditioning session.
You can find the remaining nine rules by watching my My 10 Commandments for Being A Wavy Girl below.
So Many Styling Methods! Which is your Favourite?
Squish to Condish and Smooth and Scrunch are my absolute favourites, and I use them every wash day. No raking (I mean, verrrry occasionally), no praying hands (okay, except maybe sometimes just to coat my ends with product) no brushing with a Denman—although using a wide tooth comb during squish to condish is essential to my wash day routine. I have a video on that, here below.
How do you Protect Your Waves at Night?
Medusa clipping! Created by my friend FitKat Style (look her up on YT), this method makes second-day hair effortless. Watch her video on YouTube, and check out my own version of it as well.
I want to make my waves last till Day 3,4! Help!
I don’t mean to chuckle, but isn’t that the dream for everyone? I honestly believe it takes years for that to become a reality, and I don’t believe it’s possible for everyone.
My hair easily becomes a matted mess past day 3. By that point, I’m totally fine with washing it again. BUT, for those I know who can make it to days 3 and 4 consistently, they’ll tell you that a product-heavy washday routine sets the stage. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t work for me, personally.
How did you discover the Curly Girl Method?
I stumbled upon it when my very favorite—and only!—product of all time was discontinued, KMS Curling Balm. I was searching high and low for replacement products, but really didn’t know what I was looking for. So learning about ingredients and what it was about that specific product my hair liked became really interesting to me. As I read and read online, I came across something about some ‘Curly Girl Method’, and fell down the rabbit hole. The rest is history.
Do you have any tips for children with wavy hair?
This is a tough one, because scalp tenderness, personality, preferences, and hair texture can all vary so widely from kid to kid. So it’s important to take that all into account.
For hair that tangles easily, a pre-poo treatment (oiling hair) helps immensely, followed by gentle cleansing and a conditioner with good slip. We don’t detangle in the tub; instead, I rinse the conditioner out after about 5 minutes or so, squeeze out the water with a microfiber towel, and then apply Kinky Curly Knot Today—the best detangling leave-in conditioner I’ve found.
Very first real haircut EVER for this little nugget. 😭😍Sara Rice @clowntears, she’s been talking about you, your mermaid hair, and her head rub for the last 2 days! Safe to say, she loved it, and I LOVE having exactly zero tangles to comb out. We were overdue, and YOU are a saint! 😇💕👊🙌 🌀🌀🌀 My words of advice to you mamas of curly girls (FWIW), wait until your kiddos are old enough to get a ‘real’ haircut. So worth it for the quality cut, her healthy (and still “long like Rapunzel!”) hair, and the experience of fun rather than torture. If you’re a parent, what has your approach been to cutting and styling your kids’ hair?
I detangle with my fingers, and then comb if needed, from root to tip. But it may be easiest to cut the hair shorter, utilize braids, or scrunch and go with a cream-gel. In any case, little kids’ hair changes constantly, just as they do. So don’t sweat it! They’re meant to have fun, play, and not worry about their hair too much. You don’t have to, either. Here’s a blog post of mine about it: https://reallifecurlygirl.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/how-i-care-for-my-daughters-curly-hair/
I Have Some Parts that Don’t Curl up. What can I do?
Protein will probably be your best friend. Look for small molecule proteins like collagen, keratin, biotin, silk amino acids, and/or hydrolyzed quinoa. And if that’s not enough, try the Smasters Method on just those areas, to whip those wimpy sections into shape. Guess what? I have a video on that one, too.
Whew! Thank you Alyson for answering SO MANY questions with such detail for this edition of The Curious Column!
To the readers who made it till here 😉, I hope these help you out on your natural hair journey. If you have more questions, shoot them at Alyson on her Instagram @reallifecurlygirl & watch all her videos on her channel: real life+curly girl.
Until next time, folks! See you on my Instagram @thecuriousjalebi!