It's taken me a long time to embrace my curly hair. In high school, I did everything short of actually straightening my hair to make it straighter. I brushed it out constantly, I slept with it in a ponytail - the only reason I didn't turn to an actual straightener was pure laziness.
It wasn't until university that I decided to fully embrace my curls. I was transformed. It's now been about four years that I've been working with, not against, my hair's natural texture. Here are some tips for anyone looking to embrace their curls and doesn't want to jump in unarmed.
Know your texture
It's important to know what kind of curls you have. Not all curls are created equal. My hair is slightly closer to wavy than to curly. It lies flat on top and then turns into waves and eventually ringlets.
It's helpful to look up the curl texture system, but even that isn't perfect because hair isn't always consistent. Either way, know what does and doesn't work for you, and adapt this advice to your own curls.
If you're a guy or someone with shorter hair, the rules can be different. For instance, you'll probably benefit from using wax or other products in your hair to keep your curls tamed, although that's a matter of personal preference.
I have friends who use product, but my younger brother doesn't. If you decide to grow your hair out, make sure to start from an even haircut, or else everything will look uneven.
An important tip for working with curly hair is to only comb it when it's wet. I comb it through after I've used shampoo, and then again when I've put in conditioner. The first is to detangle my hair; the second is to spread the conditioner. After that, I don't touch it.
Speaking of shampoo, you shouldn't wash your hair daily. And when you do, don't use a shampoo with sulfates. People are divided on whether or not sulfates are really damaging to your hair. But I notice a change in my curl texture when I use sulfate-free shampoos, and my hair feels healthier.
Scrunch it out When you get out of the shower, towel-dry your hair, scrunching it upwards to get the water out. I use a soft microfiber towel from Deva, but anything will do as long as it's thin and soft. I then grab my hair by the ends and shake it out so that the roots get a little more volume and the curls don't clump.
I use a blow dryer because I have bangs and they don't air dry well, but I don't heat style aside from that. If you do choose to heat style, put a diffuser on your blow dryer so that it won't be as damaging to your hair.
Pick your salon wisely Get your hair cut by someone who knows what they're doing. This is the most important advice I can possibly impart for anyone looking to embrace their natural curl texture. If you go somewhere just because it's cheap, you risk the stylist screwing up your hair.
This is because someone who doesn't work with curly hair will treat your hair exactly the same way they would straight hair - and your cut will look completely different the next time you shower. Have your hair cut dry, not wet, and your cut will be consistent.