Welp...here it is. Phase one of the embracing of my curliness - I've cut my hair into a curly shag. I can't say I ever thought I would voluntarily choose a style that got anywhere near *eek* curly bangs (thats a curly fringe for you UK dwellers), but I've been letting this cut settle in for almost a month now, and it really is absolutely perfect for the amount of time and energy that I normally want to spend on my hair, which essentially as little as possible.
I find that I am wearing my hair down every day now, which for at least the past fifteen years or so has definitely not been my default. I use a loose ponytail with a silky scrunchie on top of my head to sleep, pull it out in the morning, and it's pretty much ready for action. If I need to floof it up a bit to get the waves to pop out more, I spray it with water to reactivate the product in it and scrunch my waves back into some sort of shape (that they themselves determine). Yes, this sometimes creates frizz, but I'm working on adding just the right amount of product to try and mitigate this.
Products however are still very much a work in progress. In my last post about my hair, I had been following the Curly Girl Method. While I have absolutely embraced some aspects of Curly Girl (like sticking to sulfate and silicone-free products), the method was not 100% right for my fine but dense salt and pepper waves - it was simply too much product. If you go online and watch a few videos of wavy and curly YouTubers demonstrating the method, the amount of product that these gals are putting on their heads is downright obscene. And, as it turned out, not at all what my hair wants or needs. When I was following the method by rote using the amount of product that was encouraged by the online multiverse, by day 2 my hair felt dirty and was somehow both frizzy and oily at the same time from all the product. It was also making my scalp itch. There was so much product sitting on my strands, my scalp, and at the bottom of my shower it's a miracle I didn't break my neck slipping on all the slime. Plus, my silver hairs were beginning to display a most unbecoming shade of yellowish green.
Thankfully the hairdresser set me straight when I went for my cut. An old hand at managing textured hair, he essentially told me I did not need to go all the way down the Curly Girl rabbit hole to make this work. And thank the Gods for that. So for any of you who are trying to embrace your natural texture and like me, have fine, dense, wavy hair like mine (which is about a 2B-2C) , here are some things that might help you.
As it turns out, against what everything online will tell you, less can actually be more with the conditioner - use a dab not much bigger than a dime, rub your hands together, and pull it through, concentrating on the ends. Comb it through before rinsing it out. All of it. (I use either a tangle teaser or my wide tooth comb to do this, btw.)
Lose the deep conditioners. Instead, use your preferred everyday one (silicone and sulphate free), and just leave it in longer if you need a shot of moisture.
Avoid products with heavy butters, oils, and waxes. Products designed for curly hair are notoriously filled with heavy shea butter, coconut oil, and other heavy products. Seriously, these days everything is coconut and/or shea butter. I'm getting pretty sick of the smell of coconut, and I love coconut. Yes, these products are natural, but they build up really quickly, and I found that they dulled my hair right down. You'll have to experiment to see what works for you and in what quantity.
Pay attention to product ingredient labels. While you don't need a degree in chemistry (although it would definitely help), familiarize yourself with what all these long, funny chemical words actually are. One great resource is the Is it Curly Girl website, which has a page that lets you plug in ingredients and it tells you whether or not the product is compatible with the Curly Girl Method. Whether or not you follow the method to the letter matters not, because what the page does do is provide a breakdown of what each ingredient is in a product and what it does for your hair, making it easier for you to eventually recognize these ingredients and identify products that work.
Ultimately, what works for me may not work for you, but if your hair is fine, dense, and a mixture of coarse silvers and natural color, here are some of the products that have worked for me thus far:
Innersense Create Volume Hair Volumizing Lotion - a fantastic volumizing lotion that really helps bring out the curl. A teeny bit applied to soaking wet hair is all it takes. this product manages to be both incredibly lightweight and moisturizing, and is completely natural and environmentally friendly as well!
Superdrug Mousse (UK) I stumbled upon this mousse because I was looking to try a bunch of Curly Girl friendly products out without breaking the bank if they didn't work. At £1.99, this mousse certainly does not break the bank. While I don't use this every day, it does provide a nice lightweight hold.
Innersense Create Lift Volumizing Foam - this mousse is incredible. Like the Volumizing lotion, a little goes a long way with this Create Lift foam. This mousse is light enough to use with other products, but equally is effective enough to use on its own, and has amazing hold! Bonus - it smells amazing!
Giovanni 50/50 Balanced Hydrating-Clarifying Shampoo - gently cleans and gets rid of buildup without stripping the living daylights out of your hair. Free of all the bad stuff, sulfates, silicones, parabens, mineral oil....all of it.