How to Embrace Your Natural Curls
Hair is a huge part of our identities, and whatever its appearance, it brings with it a whole heap of assumptions about who you are and what you’re like. Hollywood ideals of sleek, straight hair have enforced the look on women worldwide, suggesting that curly or textured hair just doesn’t have the same glamour or appeal. The result? Millions of women all over the world feeling the pressure to disguise their hair’s natural texture, in a bid to conform to often-unachievable beauty ideals. Around 68% of women worldwide are unhappy with their natural hair, and only 10% of curly-haired women actually like their curls.
I believe it’s time for a change, and always encourage my clients to embrace the natural texture of their hair. Whether you have soft 2a waves, bouncy 3b ringlets or kinky 4c twists, believe in your natural beauty and embrace your hair, just as it is.
It’s about understanding your hair. If all you see is tutorials and videos on styling straight, smooth hair, it can make your own curls and texture seem near-impossible to manage – but it’s simply not true. Instead of comparing your hair to someone else’s, take the time to assess your hair and work out what it really needs, so that you can encourage its natural texture to take centre-stage. Step away from the heat-styling and really think about how your hair can look and feel its best.
This is a movement that’s gaining traction across the world, especially among millennial women who feel more comfortable embracing their natural selves. And celebrities are getting in on the act too, with women including Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Solange Knowles and even Ariana Grande showcasing their natural curls, kinks and waves on Instagram, inspiring millions of young fans at the same time.
Here are my top tips for each hair type, so whatever kind of curls you’re rocking, you can understand how to bring out the best in them.
Type 2 Hair: Wavy
Celeb Type 2s: Arizona Muse, Lorde, Taylor Swift, The Duchess of Cambridge
Type 2 hair is wavy hair that has a little bend to it, and a definitive ‘S’ pattern. This is a beautiful type of hair that is versatile and absolutely doesn’t require heat styling like you think it might – it’s all in the choice of products.
Wavy hair is more prone to frizzing, but with the right care and products, you can easily manage this. I would recommend using anti-humidity products on your Type 2 hair, to encourage those waves and fight frizz, for a beautifully beachy look. Just avoid touching the hair too much as this boosts your chances of frizz developing.
Wash the hair with a lightweight shampoo and conditioner to give your waves some extra vitality, and when hair is damp, apply a small amount of SheaMoisture’s Raw Shea & Cupuacu Frizz Defence Styling Gel-Cream, to encourage those waves and fight off the frizz. Leave hair to air dry for naturally beautiful beachy waves.
Type 3 Hair: Curly
Celeb Type 3s: Zendaya, Alicia Keys, Halle Berry
Type 3 hair is that next step on – it can range from loose loops to springy corkscrew curls, and anything in between. Unlike Type 2 hair, you don’t need to do anything to encourage these curls; for Type 3 hair, it’s just about finding the right way to condition those curls so that they’re manageable.
Type 3 hair is higher maintenance than Type 1 or 2 ladies, but the effort put in pays back – proper care of this kind of hair will result in beautiful, buoyant curls without any need for heat styling!
Curly hair is the most temperamental hair type, so you need to have a little trial-and-error to work out a haircare regime that suits you. I love SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo and Conditioner, which gently cleanses and hydrates the hair, whilst detangling, to give bouncy and healthy curls. If you’re a 3a lady, try a lightweight styling milk as the next step, to reduce frizz but add definition. However, if you have 3b or 3c hair, it’s time to take things up a notch and add some more moisture into this routine. Apply a specialist curl product like SheaMoisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Curl Enhancing Smoothie, a leave-in conditioner that nourishes Type 3 hair whilst reducing frizz and imparting a lovely, healthy shine. Again, leave hair to dry naturally for the best results.
Type 4 Hair: Kinky
Celeb Type 4s: Meghan Markle, Lupita Nyong’o, Janelle Monae, Solange Knowles
Type 4 hair is naturally very dry in texture – it looks strong and coarse, but actually this type of hair is very delicate and needs your love and attention to look its best. Its fine and dry texture means it snaps and breaks off easily, so be gentle at all times.
This kind of hair is also prone to shrinkage, and its delicate nature means that you should treat it in the same way you would a silk dress – cleanse it gently, handle it with care, and avoid harsh chemicals.
The key to properly caring for Type 4 hair is to moisturise at every step of the way. Start with a nourishing shampoo and follow with a rich, hydrating conditioner to cleanse and moisturise locks at the same time. 4as should look into curling creams with a leave-in conditioner element, to add more moisture and prevent breakage in the hair, whilst 4bs should double up on hydration with a refreshing, moisturising mist and an extra-nourishing styling cream, like SheaMoisture’s Raw Shea Butter Moisturising Transitioning Milk, to keep those coils and kinks looking fresh and fabulous. Ladies rocking the 4c hair type will need to take that extra level of care, but the results are well worth it. Shrinkage and dryness affect 4c hair more than any other type, but that’s no reason for it to not be beautiful. Use a liberal amount of leave-in hair moisturiser - I really recommend SheaMoisture’s Red Palm Oil & Cocoa Butter Curl Stretch Pudding, which allows you to gently elongate the kinks and stretch the hair out for both definition and length in your kinks and coils.