From Limp to Full of Life; How I Brought my Curls Back from the Dead

When I was younger, I absolutely hated my natural hair. Despite my hair type being considered “good hair” by many, and not facing nearly as much discrimination toward my hair pattern as those with 4A-C hair, having my curls straightened for family pictures, my peers telling me they liked my straightened hair better than my natural hair on picture day, and all the other microagressions I received about my hair instilled a deep hatred inside of me. As soon as I learned how to flat iron my hair in the seventh grade, I went at it with full force. Every morning, I’d crank up my flat iron to 450° and smooth my hair down without using any heat protectant. I felt so much more confident with my hair being straight that I never took a second to realize how limp, frail, and unrecognizable my natural curls were becoming. This routine went on for five whole years. After my hair was burnt off and to a crisp, I finally decided to go natural, but I knew I didn’t have any more length I could lose without having a total meltdown. The big chop wasn’t an option for me, so I decided to dive into the internet to find the cheapest and best ways to bring my hair back to life. Here are five life saving tips that I followed to give my curls life and love again without breaking the bank.

Cut the Cord

Put the flat iron down and throw the relaxers away! If you’re anything like I was, the hardest part of going natural is ditching the heat and chemicals. Put your flat iron somewhere you’ll forget about and breathe. If you can’t stop the heat and chemicals cold turkey, I recommend setting small goals for yourself, like “I won’t straighten my hair for a whole month”. Go further and further with that goal, until you’ve stopped all straightening completely!

Hair Masks… And Lots of Them

Good hair masks can cost an arm and a leg, and when you’re doing them frequently it can really hurt your pockets. Although it sounds gross, my favorite and go-to hair mask to use while transitioning was actually made up of eggs, mayonnaise, and olive oil. Hear me out! While it does smell weird, my hair was left soft and smooth afterwards. Eggs have Vitamin D and fatty acids in them, while mayonnaise and olive oil help replenish the oils that your dry hair is lacking. Here’s the recipe I follow:

  1. In a bowl, mix 1 cup mayonnaise, ½ cup olive, and oil 3 egg yolks
  2. Apply that mixture to your dry hair
  3. Put a shower cap or plastic grocery bag around your hair, wait 30-60 minutes, and wash out!

Protect Your Curls Using a Satin Bonnet and Pillowcase

Frizziness is arguably a curly girls’ worst enemy. Especially when you are still transitioning, your hair will more than likely be incredibly thirsty. Dehydrated curls are almost always frizzy, but sleeping with a satin pillowcase can help ease this, while the typical cotton pillowcase absorbs moisture and creates a whole lot of friction when you toss and turn at night. Wearing a satin bonnet on top of this adds another layer of protection to your precious curls. One may think “satin” and their mind goes straight to “expensive”, but that’s not the case! Check out this bonnet and pillowcase. It’s the easiest switch to make.

Cut Your Hair in Small Amounts

When I started on my natural hair journey, my ends were fried and broken off. Even when I’d just go to put my hair into a simple ponytail, my split ends would break off into the palms of my hands. At the time, I was a broke high school student with no regular hairdresser. So, I’d take my trusty eyebrow scissors, and cut off only a centimeter or two off of my ends. I was never completely getting rid of the split ends, and if you have the means to do so, please go see a licensed professional! But, what I did worked for me and ultimately kept me from doing the big chop that so many of us dread. If you do this, just make sure not to get too scissor happy and give yourself a botched haircut. 

Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate Some More.

Get your hair wet every single day. Even if it’s just a quick spritz all over your hair to refresh yesterday’s curls and coils, your hair will soak it up and love you for it. I was never too good at keeping my wash and go’s looking good for more than one day, so I’d completely wet my hair every morning. Do not wash it with shampoo every morning. This will strip your hair of its natural oils! Instead, do the opposite. Put in your favorite conditioner, don’t rinse it out, style, and go!

So, at the end of the day...

No matter what curl pattern, your hair is absolutely amazing. Of course, your hair will thank you for giving it so much external love every day, but don’t forget to really love your hair. Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that your natural hair is gorgeous every single day. Your curls and coils will look GOOD in that dress, at your next interview, and next year’s Christmas card. No matter what, your curls, kinks, coils and waves are yours to be proud of. Embrace them!