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Naturally curly hair versus Healthista editor Anna Magee

Naturally curly hair can have a thoughts of its personal. For years, Healthista’s editor, Anna Magee, refused to embrace her pure curls. However due to the rising Curly Lady motion, issues have modified

There’s a scene within the film Seashores (should you’re beneath 40, ask your mum), the place the Bette Midler character is mentioning her buddy’s constructive traits, performed by Barbara Hershey:  ‘You’re sensible…you’re stunning…you could have hair that strikes’.

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I used to be 17 and went to see it with my greatest buddy Virginia. She had hair that moved. Lengthy, auburn, thick, straight hair. I beloved it.

Then there was my hair.  It hadn’t moved because it was a wispy bush atop my chubby new child head.

I had thick, jet black hair that grew up, not out, ruined faculty pictures as a result of it made me seem like I used to be sporting bike helmet and annoyed my mum a lot she resorted to army cuts that had me continuously mistaken for a boy. Coarse and curly, it most positively didn’t transfer.

Weeks after I realised I had a buddy in Bette, I went to the hairdresser for my standard trim. However as a substitute of her standard hour of wrestling my mane utilizing sticky 80s gels and mousses, she stated, ‘Can I strive one thing?’  She blow dried my hair straight with a paddle brush which had simply been invented.

The creature staring again at me within the mirror was like no different. Her hair was lengthy, black and shiny. It didn’t simply transfer, it swished. She regarded so fairly. That creature was me.

That second modified my life. I obtained a scorching boyfriend eight years my senior, was elected VP of the coed council in a recognition vote, and began going out extra –  in my remaining yr faculty photograph the nuns didn’t even thoughts me being in it this time.

Satisfied my social success was all right down to my new hair, I spent the subsequent 30 years utilizing paddle brushes, straighteners, and each method of frizz-controlling potion I may get my palms on.

‘You’re going to burn your hair,’ my dad would scream as he walked previous my bed room throughout my blow-dries, the odor of burning keratin infusing the air.

Thanks Rachel x

I wasn’t alone. Regardless of the massive hair of the 80s made cool by Bananarama, as soon as the 90s hit – together with the invention of the GHD – myself and my curly haired sisters went into lockdown to see who may have the flattest, most poker-straight hair. Thanks, Rachel from Pals.

I grew to become satisfied that each job and success that ensued was enhanced by my shiny, lengthy, straight black hair and all through my 20s and 30s I wouldn’t even enterprise out of the home with something lower than the proper blow dry.

Spending 45 minutes each morning battling my curls was exhausting – and infrequently short-lived as a result of the humidity meant it could develop into a frizz ball the minute I went outdoors.

On days the place I dare depart it to dry naturally folks would remark, ‘Is that your hair? It’s beautiful,’ I by no means believed them.

Then I met Cheryl. She was working in my workplace a few days per week.  On the time my hair  was so getting ready to burnout that my hairdresser had given me an ultimatum: ‘Cease straightening at the least a couple of days per week or we’re over’.  So I began going to work with an air dry.

Cheryl alternatively, had coily black hair that was curlier than mine, shiny and outlined. And honest from combating it, she was pleased with it.

Discovering my Pure Hair sisters

‘Have you ever ever heard of the Pure Hair Motion?’ Cheryl requested.  ‘YouTube it.’ She defined the way it had originated within the African American world, and had develop into a political assertion to put on your hair ‘pure’ reasonably than chemically relaxed, in a weave, or every other fashion during which it was made to resemble white ladies’s hair.

Pure hair grew to become my new mid-life hair campaign.  I found a world of on-line YouTubers, bloggers and Instagrammers populated by ladies identical to me, who had spent their lives battling their pure hair, straightening it, utilizing damaging warmth and processing strategies and shopping for one-size-fits-all hair merchandise, to be able to obtain our homogenised, acceptable look of lengthy, shiny hair.

I regarded round and the look was actually in every single place. The place had my uniqueness gone?

These ladies had had sufficient and have been utilizing one another’s experiences to create the this Pure Hair or Curly Lady motion; the strongest on-line motion I had by no means heard of.  It was like coming house.

My new curl guru

The web is plagued by compelling curly woman tales. Take Lorraine Massey, who grew up in Birmingham being bullied due to her ringlets. ‘My nickname was Crystal Tipps and never in a great way,’ she remembers. ‘I used to be known as ‘Bozo the clown,’ and nobody wished to take a seat behind me as a result of they couldn’t see the board!’

In an effort to attempt to perceive her personal hair higher, Massey grew to become a hairdresser, solely to come across extra hairism.  ‘I keep in mind my first job and the salon proprietor screaming, ‘Get her hair blow-dried, she will’t be on the ground like that,’ I walked out in tears, feeling like a caged animal. I by no means went again there.’

Even after Massey moved to LA, salon homeowners continued to attempt to bully her into blow-drying her large, curly hair flat.  In what she now calls her ‘Revenge of the Curly Lady,’ Massey moved to New York and developed the curl-by-curl chopping technique during which curly hair is reduce dry. ‘Hairdressers are skilled to flatten every thing down,’ she says. ‘However if you take a look at curly hair, it springs again up and so needed to be reduce dry, otherwise you lose an excessive amount of size’.

‘Blow dries are like giving your hair a Rufy,’ says Massey. ‘The curls come again ultimately however they’re drugged.’

In 2002, Massey wrote The Curly Lady Handbook, which has slowly develop into the bible within the Pure Hair motion, propelling Massey into icon standing within the pure hair world (ironic as sher is white). The ‘Curly Lady Technique’ it espoused went in opposition to every thing we’d been taught about methods to look after and magnificence our hair.

Straight blow dries or ‘blow-fries’ have been forbidden beneath the CG Technique, ‘It’s like giving your hair a Rufy,’ says Massey. ‘The curls come again ultimately however they’re drugged.’

The Curly Lady guidelines

Conventional shampoos have been out due to they contained sulphates, harsh detergents that stripped curly hair of its pure oils. ‘Shampoo is a salt-laden chemical that ought to by no means been launched to human hair,’ says Massey.

As for all these so-called anti-frizz serums and silky smoothing conditioners we thought have been our hair’s salvation?  Additionally out. The silicones they comprise give the hair nice ‘slip’ (meaning they made the hair really feel momentarily silky) however they suck moisture from the environment, inflicting frizz. And since silicones coat the hair in what is basically a chemical sealant, they’re unimaginable to scrub out with out a heavy sulfate-based shampoo, inflicting a vicious, frizzy cycle for curly ladies.

Massey’s CG technique additionally spawned a wholly new language of curl patterns, humidity factors and even nuanced methods of making use of product – Google Squish to Condish, The Laura Technique, praying palms, scrunch-out-the-crunch to call a couple of and also you’ll discover hours of YT footage of individuals of their bedrooms and showers sharing their strategies. There may be even somebody utilizing a strainer on her curly hair as a styling software (it doesn’t work, I attempted it).

Instantly large hair is large information.  The phrases Curly Lady, get round 10 million searches a month on Google and increasingly celebs like Halle Barry and Mila Kunis are popping out of their Curly Lady closets, Ariana Grande swapped her signature shiny pony tailed for pure curly locks  and extra fashions like Jourdana Phillips have been rocking their pure hair on the catwalk of the Victoria Secrets and techniques present (recognized for its fashions’ regulation flat center half seaside waves).

Curly haired princesses and their pop star mums

‘Mummy, why don’t any of the princesses have curly hair like me?’ When former Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes’s 5 yr previous daughter Alaia-Mai requested her mummy this in December 2017, Humes at first ignored it.

‘She would come house from faculty complaining about not having hair like her greatest buddy, ‘It’s not princess hair mummy,’ she’d say,’ remembers Humes. ‘However she saved saying it, so I stated, ‘Mummy’s obtained curly hair and daddy’s obtained curly hair.’  On the time I had been blow-drying and straightening my hair since I used to be 16, so the subsequent time I washed my hair, I let it dry naturally so she may see my curls.’

Since then, Humes hasn’t blow-dried or straightened her hair and has been on a private mission to encourage ladies to put on their hair naturally.

In January this yr, Humes used the hashtag #curlslikeus to attempt to crowdsource data from the online on what to do together with her personal hair. ‘I used to be searching for everybody else’s ideas and product suggestions, and I requested that individuals tag me. However the response was large’.

The hashtag now has round 20,000 entries at a given time, its personal weblog ( and Humes’ hairdresser Jo Leigh – who’s skilled by Lorraine Massey – has now opened her personal curls-only hair salon Curl Speak, in Brick Lane, London.

As Hume introduced ITV’s This Morning whereas Holly Willoughby was doing I’m a Movie star, her curly hair was an arresting sight in opposition to the tide of historically blow-dried TV presenters.

‘There’s a conception on the market that curly hair is much less groomed and fewer skilled,’ says Humes. ‘Folks all the time touch upon it as a result of it’s completely different, and to put on it you must be actually assured as a result of it will get consideration. I feel folks revert to straightening to mix in.’

This isn’t solely about hair

There may be extra to this motion than simply hair although, says Kadian Pow, a instructing fellow in sociology at Birmingham Metropolis College, whose mom first relaxed her hair when she was simply seven.

Certainly, black hair discrimination is now recognised by the US Equal Employment Alternatives Fee and has been the topic of quite a few lawsuits by black ladies in America.

‘Black ladies particularly are very a lot conscious that hair is about race and id and so they’re turning into extra snug in saying so,’ Pow asserts.  ‘You may look again all through historical past and see how the feel and styling of our hair has been used to oppress us and keep inflexible requirements of magnificence – chemical straightening and stress-free, weaves – I don’t suppose it’s an overstatement to say that the pure hair motion is a brand new liberation motion.’

Pow needs to vary the language we use to explain our pure hair. ‘I keep in mind in my 20s this white man telling me I regarded like Medusa due to the patterns my curls have been making, and I used to be dumbfounded. However I’ve since internalised these messages and now for work I’ll pull it again and purposely not fluff it out as a result of I don’t need anybody to disparage me or my id like that once more.’

Loopy. Wild. Exhausting to handle. Coarse. After I take into consideration the best way I describe my very own pure hair, it’s virtually all the time disparaging. ‘Our hair will not be one thing to be tamed or demanding, except you consider straight hair as being the head,’ says Pow.

‘We have to liberate ourselves from these colonial concepts which have been in Western cultures for many years; these phrases create hierarchies; they suggest there’s something flawed with us, that we in some way want taming, or to shrink ourselves into the background. Why can’t we put on our hair as large and as pure as we like?

My ethnicity is Greek and Egyptian and I ponder if flattening all of it these years was about attempting to mix in with all of the predominantly straight-haired white youngsters I grew up with in Eighties Australia and in some way deny my very own historical past; to tone myself down in some way.

What I do know, is that whereas I nonetheless do the occasional straight blow dry, having found my curly hair and discovered new methods to look after it, and seeing how large and curly and voluptuous it could actually actually get, my curly journey has certainly been about rather more than hair.

It’s been about being extra snug in myself in a method I’ve by no means been earlier than; not freaking out about my hair when it rains or once I go swimming and in some way celebrating reasonably than hiding my distinction from the gang.  Letting all my hair run free and massive and wild has helped me launch the free, large and wild me in methods I’ve by no means executed earlier than (however that’s one other story).

Who would have thought hair can imply a lot (effectively, me truly..). I’ve even found that with the suitable care and situation (see under) it generally even strikes.

look after naturally curly hair – the knowledgeable information

Jo Leigh is a specialist curly hairdresser who’s chargeable for Rochelle Humes’ now well-known new curly woman look – these are her golden guidelines for caring for curls.

Observe Jo Leigh @Curl.Speak on Instagram (they’ve very humorous memes).

1. Silk pillowcases and scrunchies are your buddy

Cotton pillowcases are harsh on delicate curls and tight elastics can break the hair on the tying level so you find yourself with damaged bits. Go for silk for sleeping on and ideally silk or velvet scrunchies for a similar cause – roll on the 80s.


2. Apply merchandise to soaking moist hair

Water stepping into your hair is essential and over time will assist the general situation. Hair is sort of a plant, it wants moisture. I really like the approach known as Squish to Condish the place you apply merchandise within the bathe and squish them in with water.

3. Throw out your common towel

Or at the least relegate it to drying your physique solely. As a substitute, after you could have utilized merchandise use a microfibre towel or previous t-shirt to softly squeeze out extra water after which dry the hair with a diffuser on the bottom warmth you may. And neglect about wrapping your hair turban-style as it could actually break the hair.  And pat and squeeze the hair dry solely, don’t rub it.


4. Attempt plopping

For another approach to wrap curly hair when it’s moist, strive ‘Plopping,’ during which you wrap the moist hair in a T-shirt after making use of merchandise. Google it.

5. Keep away from silicones

Something with -one on the tip is often unhealthy information as a result of they coat the hair and that creates a barrier to getting water into the hair. Over time, your hair turns into dehydrated as a result of water can’t get into the hair strand. Sulphates, parabens and alcohols must also be prevented you probably have curly hair as they will dry it out.

9 manufacturers that may rework naturally curly hair

Learn the elements before you purchase as even super-expensive merchandise aimed toward naturally curly hair can comprise heavy silicones, alcohols, parabens and sulphates.

Shea Moisture

With all merchandise silicone, sulphate, alcohol and paragon free, this vary is a curly woman favorite. They reworked my hair from fried mess to outlined delicate curls in about three weeks. Star merchandise embody Day by day Hydration 100% Coconut Oil Shampoo, Conditioner and Depart-in Conditioner, Frizz Protection Shampoo and Conditioner and Curl and Shine Milk. They usually’re all accessible at Boots.

Maui Moisture

Their Revive and Hydrate and Curl Quench and Coconut Oil strains are freed from sulfates, silicones, alcohols and parabens and odor lush. Nourish and Moisture Coconut Oil Weightless Oil Mist is superb for reviving dry curls.

naturally curly hair maui product


A UK made line of curl solely merchandise. ‘If I needed to choose one desert island product for my curly hair, it could be Boucleme Curl Cream,’ says Jo Leigh. ‘I exploit a little bit after conditioning. Much less is extra with styling merchandise.’


‘One other UK-made favorite of mine,’ says Jo Leigh. ‘The entire vary is to die for and utterly pure.’ Star merchandise embody Coconut Almond Smoothing Conditioner and Babassu Quench Depart In Curl Primer.

naturally curly trepadora product


This line, initially created by Lorraine Massey, has an intensive line of merchandise for each curly haired want – however they’re not low-cost and might be onerous to search out (Amazon shares them). Star merchandise embody Be Depart-In Conditioner and Supercream Coconut Curl Styler.


Conditioning washes aka Co-Washes are large information on the Curly Lady Scene. The AsIAm Coconut Conditioning Wash now has one thing of a cult standing – anybody with hair on the dry facet will see why after one use.


Now accessible in Boots, Cantu is well-priced and their merchandise actually do the job with out nasty elements. Jo Leigh, together with nearly each Curl Lady blogger on the planet loves the Moisturising Curl Activator Cream.



Their towels are must-haves for curly ladies.  They are saying, ‘cotton has harsh loops that trigger frizz.  Aquis makes use of workout-like cloth to zap water out of hair gently.’ I am keen on their Lisse Luxe Hair Towel; like a chamois you’d use in your automotive, however for hair, it shortens drying time by half with out frizz.

Flora & Curl

flora and curl leave in detangler 2

Flora is the Latin phrase for flowers. Flora & Curl are captivated with making really pure, plant powered haircare to nourish, hydrate, soothe and defend all curly hair varieties.

Their ‘Hydrate Me’ vary is my explicit favorite. I now can’t dwell with out their Natural Rose and Honey Depart-In Detangler, plus it serves as a leave-in moisturiser with a mix of scrumptious smelling coconut and calendula oils, which helps to revive your hair’s moisture steadiness.

Associated Healthista Content material:

Naturally curly hair – the newbie’s information

17 greatest merchandise for curly hair – from two Instagram pure hair superstars

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