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The following is a guest post from my sister, Jessica Burke.
We have some curls around my house. A lot of crazy hair going on around here!
When I was a child, my hair was a coarse texture with some body but as a teenager it became very curly. As a child of the 80s and early 90s my hair was brushed out. I also had the obligatory bangs of that decade. It was pretty bad. If I wasn’t so vain I’d show a picture, but I’ve thrown most of them away. Seriously, it was bad.
Starting in my junior year of high school I straightened my hair for the next 2-3 years. If you don’t know anything about curly hair, I mean really curly hair, you wouldn’t understand how long that process takes. I’d spend 2-3 hours several times a week blowing drying it out to get rid of the kinks and then flat ironing it to make it smooth. It looked good unless it was humid or rainy.
When I was about 19 years I discovered one of the best inventions ever- mousse. I learned how to manage my curly hair and began to love it. I also appreciated that I had anywhere from 4-9 extra hours a week because doing my curly hair only took a few minutes compared to the hours I had been spending on straightening it. (It didn’t hurt that my high school sweetheart told me I should never straighten my hair again because he loved my curls so much. I kept him around and he loves our children’s curls too!)
When I found out I was pregnant with our first daughter, I told my husband I was making a few solemn promises to her. He expected something deep, philosophical, and ideological. He obviously doesn’t understand the significance of a mother saving her daughter from years of therapy over her bad hair.
My first promise was that I would never brush out her hair. We haven’t owned a brush in I don’t know how long.
My second promise was that I wouldn’t allow her to have bangs until she was old enough to understand the consequences of them.
Those are weighty promises! 🙂
For those of you struggling with your little girls’ curls, I’d like to share a few tips that we use around here on my girls’ beautiful hair.
Curly Hair Tip 1
First of all, don’t brush out their hair! After I shampoo it, I put a lot of conditioner in it (mostly at the ends) and while the conditioner is in their hair, I detangle it with my fingers or a comb if necessary. If you run your fingers, a comb, or a brush through it after the conditioner is out of their hair, you’re separating the curls and creating frizz. The worst thing you could do is run a brush through it when it’s dry. Think really big hair circa 1990.
Curly Hair Tip 2
If your daughter has fine curly hair like my girls do, conditioner is probably enough. If her hair is coarser, you may need to find a good product to help hold the curl. Because my girls have thin, fine hair, they don’t need any product. For my hair, I use some of the products from Deva Curl and Kinky Curly so they may be a good place to start if you need product. Kinky Curly has a children’s line (Tiny Twirls) that I’d try out if my girls needed it but I’ve only used their regular products on my own hair. Every curly girl I’ve spoken to uses a different product so I think the best product varies greatly based on the hair. You may have to try a few before finding one that works. Note- I think it usually takes more product than you’d expect for curly hair so you might have to experiment with the amount also.
Curly Hair Tip 3
Find a hair stylist that knows curly hair. I only go to a stylist that has been through the Deva Curl training. I pay a little more for it too, but since I go about every 4-6 months when my ends start looking a little dry, it isn’t too bad. Right now I cut all of my children’s hair (our son gets a hair cut probably every 3 months and the girls 2-3 times a year when their ends are dry). I know there will be a day when I have to take the kids to someone and (gasp) pay them for a haircut. When I do, I’ll have to cough up the money for a Deva Curl stylist for the girls as well.
I would hate to leave out a note about my son’s hair. He has a great head of moppy curls that we all love (including him!). I cut it when it starts hanging over his eyes. I have no idea how to properly cut hair so I just slowly eyeball it. We haven’t had a disaster haircut in a while. He washes it with shampoo and does nothing else to it. Sometimes it is really crazy but it is always cute. If he still has the curl when he’s older, I’ll help him out with some product to hold the curls a little tighter (and more predictably) but for now at age 8, he doesn’t really want any extra steps.
Those are my main tips for doing your daughter’s curly hair. What other questions do you have? Have you found any great products for curly hair? Did you ever have a hair disaster?
Jessica Burke is married to her high school sweetheart and a homeschool mom to 4. After 3 years of living in Eastern Europe, her family settled in NC where her husband works in full-time ministry. She loves reading, being outside with her family, and traveling.