As a curly-haired girl, I have often struggled to find common ground with other women when it comes to hair care. In the process, I have tortured my hair with smoothening procedures and often cut it short to minimise maintenance. It’s only after reading the stories of women who overcame similar struggles that I started paying attention to my curls. My hair has never looked or felt better.
But enough about me; one such story that will warm your heart and give you a reason to fall in love with your curls comes from blogger/Youtuber The Curious Jalebi. The woman behind the name, Pallavi Juneja is a Malayali-Punjabi mix and has been ruling the space of curly hair care for a while now. We had a quick chat with her on how to deal with moody curls and keep them looking 10/10! Here’s her story and some of her best curly hair care tips.
- My ‘curl’ story
- My tips for perfectly hydrated hair
- My quick-fix for flat roots
- My trick to achieve clump and definition
- My tip on finding the right curl products
- My tip to deal with dryness
- My guide to detangling curly hair
- My tips to stay frizz-free
- My trick to freshen up day 2 hair
My ‘curl’ story
I grew up hating my hair, like so many other curly girls, because no one had bushy hair like me in school, and I was bullied and teased for it. I internalised that and had severe self-confidence issues. I also got my hair smoothened for my 12th grade farewell and temporarily loved how straight it had gotten, plus people's reactions. I did feel strangely guilty and upset that I never received that kinda goodwill and attention towards my natural hair.
My breakthrough came when I chanced upon a blogger (Girl with Curves) who shot her hair routine and mentioned tips I could have never imagined for girls with curls. Over time, I learned about the CG Method and experimented with different techniques that suited my hair. That first day where my curls didn't look dry or super frizzy or Hagrid-like - that was a turning point.
Now after caring for them this way for many years, I love my hair even when it's crazy or 'untamed' - I know it takes one wash to make them look hydrated, shiny and bouncy. Growing up, I'd complain to god for giving me 'horrible hair' and wished it was straight; I'm glad he didn't!
My tips for perfectly hydrated hair
Deep conditioning. If there was one tip I'd give all newbies in their curly hair journey, it would be this; religiously deep condition with a hair mask. No, you don't need to go to the salon for this. Also, after rinsing out the conditioner, depending on your hair type, use the right stylers. In essence, wavy hair needs watery leave-in conditioners and gels, and curlier hair needs milky leave-in conditioners or thick curl creams and gels. Using stylers after washing ensures my curls remain moisturised longer!
My quick-fix for flat roots
I diffuse my hair on low heat and then cold. This lifts the roots and gives me more volume! When it grows longer, I also take duckbill pins and individual pin-up clumps and dry my hair. This gives them lift and stops them from sticking to the scalp. Lastly, after my curls have dried thoroughly, I SOTC (Scrunch Out The Crunch) the gel cast that would have formed and also take my fingertips to fluff out the roots. I then switch my parting from one side to the other. It is an easy trick to make your hair look more voluminous!
My trick to achieve clump and definition
Firstly, my hair type (3A & 3B) is such that it clumps well when it's moisturised. Also, I use two brushes- Denman and Flexy brush after applying my stylers which help in clumping. Both the stylers and the brush are essential for this. (If you don't have a brush, that's okay. Use a wide-toothed comb followed by a narrow comb after applying your stylers, and you will get similar results.) I also think deep conditioning regularly is vital.
My tip on finding the right curl products
Honestly, it took years of testing. But now there is enough information online, so it won't take you as long to find what suits you. As a general rule, all wavy, curly, kinky and coily hair need gentle shampoos and creamy moisturising conditioners regularly. All of them thrive with some product applied after rinsing out the conditioner. Waves need the lightest leave-in conditioners or watery gels or mousses. Curly hair needs thicker, more creamy products and a gel to define and clump, and kinky hair loves heavy butters and oils. Now because I test and review products for my blog, I tend to rate their performance on how moisturised they make my curls look without leaving them limp or weighed down.
My tip to deal with dryness
A good conditioner, deep conditioner and at least one after wash styler that's left in the hair until my next wash day. Most people ask me what shampoo will solve dryness, but shampoos dry out curly hair. So while we should choose gentler shampoos, the key to hydration is, in fact, conditioner.
If I am commuting to the office or travelling, I usually use a clutch to lightly hold my hair in place. I don't want it to get frizzy while getting tangled with any bag strap. At home, it's usually up in a low bun. If I'm trying to preserve the definition after a wash for some special event, or when I'm sleeping, I usually 'pineapple' my curls and wear a silk or satin cap!
My guide to detangling curly hair
I love dry brushing before I pop into the shower with a detangling brush like the Curl Keeper Flexy Brush. I sometimes smooth on an oil and brush. This reduces breakage inside the shower when I detangle for a second time after applying a creamy, moisturising conditioner. If it's very tangled, I finger detangle first and then move to the brush. If you don't have a brush, a wide-tooth comb works equally well.
My tips to stay frizz-free
Apply a leave-in conditioner or curl cream and gel. I only use products without sulphates and good creamy conditioners. I avoid combing my curly hair dry unless it’s right before taking a shower. And finally, I use a hydrating styler!
My trick to freshen up day 2 hair
I spray some water on and take some water in my palms and smooth it over the frizzy parts. Then I ease on a wet leave-in conditioner or a pinch of cream on those sections. I then upturn my head and fluff my roots with my fingertips! Voila, volume!