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Illustration for Untangling Curls

Untangling Curls

Whether you have a 2A or a 4C curl type. A common thread between all women with curls is that learning to embrace and care for your locks is, more often than not, a rocky journey.

The urge to straighten and ‘tame’ curly hair is buried in our society’s colonial standards, which young girls assimilate through the media (someone truly needs to explain to us what was wrong with Mia’s curls in the Princess Diaries). Still, if you have made the decision to embrace what nature gave you but need a little inspiration, four beautiful women told us all about their hair journey, and shared their current favorite products to use. 

Nikytta – 2C/3A

Nikytta showing off her curls

PHOTO: NIKYTTA PATEL @THE MANCUNION

I was unaware that I had curly hair until the age of 18 because neither of my parents have curls. My hair was always very frizzy and unmanageable. 

When I was 17/18 I realised that if I let my hair air-dry I was left with slightly wavy hair, which got me thinking: maybe I actually have curly hair? My hair was so damaged from years of straightening and blow-drying that my curl pattern was fried: I had to spend about a year recovering my heat-damaged hair. 

I discovered coupled hair masks and heatless hair styles, but ended up tying it up most of the time. Eventually, my curl pattern started to come back and this is when I started trialing products, to discover what worked for me. 

I feel like I’ve accepted my curls fully, and I love them! The only downside is that not every day is a good hair day and I can’t wear a hat because it’s so easily damaged I am definitely still learning how to style my curls. Whilst I have found products that work, I’m on an ongoing journey to find the best. 

I follow the advice of the youtubers Leyla, Manes by Mell and AnchalMUA.  

My favourite products to use are: the Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk, Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Creme and the Wella Shockwaves Curl and Waves Mousse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophia – 3B 

Sofia showing off her curls

PHOTO: SOFIA ADAMOPOULOU @THE MANCUNION

I always had curly hair, and ever since I can remember, people have gushed about how nice my hair is or how they wished they had my curls. Still, I started straightening it when I turned 12 so it wouldn’t be as fluffy, turning into a completely different person. But straightening it took 2 hours at the hairdressing salon, and it was too much of a burden.

As I grew older, I started to embrace it and stopped looking like a frizzy-bush, as I started taking care of it more. I only go to the hairdresser to do a balayage or ombre now. 

Although I am a minority in Greece when it comes to my hair type, celebrities like Zendaya, Shakira, and Harry Styles have inspired me to love my hair and learn how to take care of it. I also get a lot of confidence from people stopping me in the streets. 

I don’t really style my curls: I usually like to let them down when they’re freshly washed and wear them in a bun as wash day approaches – my hair being quite susceptible to humidity. I also sleep with silk pillow cases to minimise frizz and wash my hair every 3 days. 

My favourite products are the Kérastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste shampoo, the John Frieda Frizz Ease conditioner and Matrix Amazonian Murumuru oil

 

 

 

 

Ose – 4C 

Ose showing off her curls

PHOTO: OSE PETER-AKHIGBE @THE MANCUNION

As a young girl, my hair was chemically straightened according to social norms. The process badly damaged my hair and I began “transitioning” to natural hair when I was around 13.

I absolutely hated it, as I went from having socially acceptable hair to looking “untidy”. I was fully natural around one year later. By then, the natural hair movement had really picked up and, as people were complimenting my full Afro, I started loving my curls. Yet, according to my school’s rules (in Nigeria!!), my hair had to be cornrowed or “neatly” tied. 

When I left Nigeria at the age 16, I had to learn how to take care of my hair myself, as natural hairdressers were scarce in England. I began resenting my curls because of how hard they were to manage.

Over time, I’ve learned how to take care of them and which products to use. Quarantine gave me the opportunity to further study my hair, since I had more time to wear it out instead of wearing protective styles. I also learned a lot from @aphrolish on Instagram who has had a similar journey to mine.

My favourite product currently is the Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. It really defines my curls and makes them look hydrated and healthy. I use it after I wash my hair as the final step in the LOC method. I’d really recommend it for any hair type. 

 

 

 

Georgina 

2C/3A 

Georgina showcasing her hair

PHOTO: GEORGINA DAVIDSON @THE MANCUNION

My Curl journey has been varied and has had as many twists and turns. I was always aware of my curls – even when pulled into tight plaits, the little spirals and “halo” of frizz gave away that there was more to my hair than being pulled back and lacquered flat to my head. 

Throughout high school and college, I continued to straighten and blow dry away the natural curl. 

It was only when I went to university and began to experiment with my style, that I really began to embrace the natural pattern of my hair. Paired with a love of music festivals, which did nothing for my frizz, I decided it was time to embrace and condition my hair back into a natural style. 

For the last two years, I have avoided using any heat or straightening products on my hair. I recently had my hair cut into a bob, which has revealed a much healthier shape and style and made the curls much shorter and bouncier. 

It’s taken many years to accept my natural hair, but I think my current style brings me closer to accepting the roots of my natural look.

I find inspiration in my auntie who rocked her curls back in 1995. Zendaya also inspires me as her hairstyles really reflects how changeable having curly hair can be. I also love the laid back styles of creator/vintage book store owner Gemma Janes and model Renata Gubaeva

My favourite hair products currently include Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil strengthening mask, Wella Nutricurls Micellar shampoo, Sebastian Twisted curl foam mousse and RedKen All Soft heavy cream

 

Tags: Curly Hair, curly hair products, hair journey, Hair products

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