Curl Up and Dye | Haute Macabre

Curl Up and Dye

This post is specifically for the readers with curls. Sorry to be exclusive, but Samantha will have to write the book on straight hair-care.

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I have curly, curly hair. For much of my life, I dealt with this by either cutting it so short it couldn’t get into trouble, or strapping it down into dreadlocks. I had been traumatized by a youth spent fruitlessly trying to brush it into submission, flat iron it, or pull it back into ponytails. No matter what I did, the frizz would outsmart me and find a way out. Only now have I discovered the truth: it doesn’t have to be that way. And fixing it is relatively easy.

So, for those of you who, like me, were raised by straight-haired mothers or for one reason or another were never taught the Secrets of Curl, here are the basics, based on the “Curly Girl Method”. You can find LOTS more about it online- in fact, the followers are sometimes a bit cultish in their love of and adherence to it.

– If you are still using one, THROW OUT YOUR BRUSH. Just get rid of it. Immediately. No good can come of it. Detangle your hair in the shower, using conditioner and your fingers.

-Terrycloth towels cause frizz. It’s true. Use a microfiber towel, or just an old T-shirt if you must towel dry your hair. Try not to. Plunk instead (see below).

-Switch to a sulfate-free shampoo, and don’t shampoo more than once a week. In between, just rinse well and condition. (My combo: Bed Head Foxy Curls Shampoo and Conditioner)

-When you get out of the shower, don’t towel your hair. Squeeze out the excess water by hand. Then apply your leave-in conditioner to your sopping wet head, along with your choice of product (gel or mousse). Then…

-Plunk (see video). It looks stupid for 20 minutes, but it works:

14 Comment

  1. i loved this post! i have very curly hair, and have been finding more and more ways of embracing my hair.

    Generally i wash my hair with shampoo every other week, and co-wash as needed between shampoos. Each week i deep condition. shea butter works well to lock in moisture, when applied to the scalp and ends. also, i’ve heard jamaican castor oil is excellent for scalp health and hair growth. once a month, i may flat iron my hair, but only as the weather permits; other than that, i keep my hair in protective styles…
    now with all of this, i never suspected my terry cloth towel of trying to sabotage my hair! plunking, with a micro fiber towel, will be the next edition to my routine!


  2. Yay! This is what I had naturally drifted into doing for the last few years via trial and error.

    My hair is **very** curly (I’ve a suspicion there’s something interesting a few generations back in the working class London side of my decidedly English heritage as there’s lots of my dad’s dad’s side with dark and mega curly hair like mine). I also wouldn’t go back to short hair if you paid me, as it results in a hair style that the LOVELY girls at school dubbed the “Jackson 5” / “Christmas Pudding” hair do due to it’s approximately spherical shape! Brushing makes my hair go fluffy and nasty.

    Low brushing, minimal washing with shampoo, no hairdryers, lots of conditioner and leave in product all make my hair a much happier animal! I’ve also, when my hair was really stressed, had good success with the sort of light hair oil that afro hair likes.

    mlg. 🙂

  3. God sent! I’ve always got my eyes peeled for any tips and tricks to deal with curly hair. No one on either side of my family (Italian/Serbian) has curly hair, so every little bit of information helps.
    When I was 12, my mother and I took drastic measures and cut my hair really short – with the reasoning that short crops were in style at the time (mid-2000). I started growing it out three years ago and it’s gotten to about shoulder length at this point. It’s in dire need of a trim though, and it’s terribly dry so I keep jumping from conditioner to conditioner hoping that I will finally find the one that keeps my hair in order. Looks like I might have to take a crack at plunking!

  4. @Seth- There’s a site called that Jessicurl mentioned, it has information on every kind of curly hair. I’m mixed too (white, Puerto Rican), but my mom straightens her (super kinky) hair so I still had to learn on my own. This site is a life-saver. I hope it helps you too.

  5. These tips are great, especially the terry-cloth one… I never knew!
    Now I just have to figure out how to wrap a shirt around my hair without it falling off every few minutes…

  6. I have straight hair, and so this post didn’t do me much good. But I have always really really really wanted curly hair. I made my mom help me get perms when I was in elementary school. I am so jealous of you curly-haired gals!

    So yeah, I just wanted you to know that there were definitely people who would rather have had a beautiful bouncy mane than stick-straight boring locks.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! My hair is super curly and there just isn’t a whole lot of information out there for curly-headed girls. Most magazines and beauty articles assume that all girls who have curly hair either: a) straighten it, b) are not Caucasian, or c) don’t exist because girls with straight hair curl their hair when they want curls. It’s really frustrating. So thank you!

  8. How long does your hair have to get before “plunking” is workable? Mine’s just above shoulder length when dry/curly.

    I currently shower & shampoo (and condition, of course) every other day, but I use Trichomania by Lush which is THE most conditioning shampoo ever, and my hair looks great. It also doesn’t sap my color.

  9. Another suggestion to tame frizz is to sleep on a satin pillow case.

    Also, I have fine-curly hair and I spent years trying to find the right combination of crap to put in my hair so that it didn’t look like a rats nest. Behold: Mixed Chicks, Leave In Conditioner –
    It’s magic in a bottle, and if you have fine curly hair like me it will last you a lifetime because a little bit goes a long way.


  10. These tips definitely work for kinda curly hair or wavy hair. I’ve been doing all this since I was about 10.

  11. Do these techniques (particularly plunking) work on semi-curly hair too? My hair is definitely curly, but it’s not “ringlet” curly.

  12. Hmm, I never knew about terrycloth causing frizz. I have ringlet like curly hair too and it took many years to get into a routine that made me like my hair and not loathe it. I will have to look into the towel substitutes.