07 Nov

Revealed: How I Redefine and Breathe New Life Into My Curls

2011 has been a year of discovery. For so long my hair has been a slave to the flat iron. After 6 years of being natural, I still knew little about how to care for my natural curls so I continued to heat style it.

heat styled hair

Heat Styling History

Because I knew so little about how to “tame” my natural hair, I thought my only recourse was to heat style it. I used ceramic tourmaline ionic (a lot of words to do a lot of nothing) flat irons, crimping irons and most recently the InStyler. Oh, and then there was the MaxiGlyde but that lasted less than a year before it malfunctioned.

When I wasn’t up to styling my own hair, I let the Dominicans have a go at it. They’d blow the hair with the hottest dryers on the planet. It’s a wonder I still have skin left on my scalp or any hair at all.

Thank God for The Internet

In April of this year I noticed that the hair at the crown of my head had broken almost down to the root! This was a shocking and alarming wake up call. I had to find a new way to style my hair that didn’t involve heat and I needed to find it fast.

My research began online (you know you can find virtually anything on the internet). I was led to websites like Youtube, CurlyNikki.com, and NaturallyCurly.com. While each of these sites have been helpful at getting me to understand my curly wavy hair, I still felt unfulfilled. I became a product junkie and repeatedly tried methods that resulted in fabulous results for others but just OK for me.

Still Hunting for The Magic Bullet to Revive My Curls

After repeatedly trying twist outs, braid outs, flexi rod sets and other methods to define my curls, I was still left with most straight hair. The closest method to reviving my curls was using Zizyphus. I’ll continue to use it because it makes the hair quite dense. Yet, having curly hair with little effor is what I’ve been in search of.

Fast forward to October of this year and I discovered a book, Curly Like Me: How to Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long, and Strong by Teri LaFlesh.

I’d read many hair books and articles but something in me just had to read this book by Teri. I think it was her long pretty curly hair. After reading the summary of Teri’s hair story, I figured the book would share the “magic bullet” to revive my curls.

Defining Your Curls With Plain ‘Ole Conditioner

Teri’s method of defining your curls is simple. So simple I figured there’s no way it would work for me. She’s half white so admittedly I wasn’t confident that this method would work for my hair. Still, I decided to try. What’s the worst that could happen?

To define your natural curl pattern, Teri recommends the following steps:

  • After cleansing your scalp with a gentle shampoo, rinse your hair with an every day conditioner.
  • Apply a heavy duty conditioner for dry damaged hair that contain a weight ingredient, slip ingredient and emollient ingredient – in that order
  • LEAVE THE CONDITIONER IN YOUR HAIR and comb with a Denman brush section by section followed by smoothing the individual hairs. In the case of looser curls like mine, you can run your fingers through each section to define the curls. It’s a good thing too because it takes forever to define each individual curl.

This was such an epiphany to me. Leave the conditioner in my hair? Mish mosh! Oh but!

My first attempt was an epic fail. It took my hair over 12 hours to dry and my crown was still undefined. Yet, I refused to give up so I changed the conditioner as well as my technique and here are my dry hair results:

revived curls

defining your curls

defined curls

Surprise surprise. My hair is responding. My curl pattern is more wavy than curly so you don’t see big spirally curls. God did it but I’m satisfied :-)  The best part is I didn’t need to do a twist out or braid out to achieve it.

Now I just need to perfect the technique and then let my hair do what it do. Here’s Day 2 hair still in tact (notice it’s getting curlier all by itself…I’m thrilled!):

day 2 curled hair

I smoothed some Jane Carter on my edges for a smoother front

hair defined with conditioner

Henna's peaking through too :)

I will continue to document my progress but I have high hopes for reviving my curls with minimal effort by simply leaving the conditioner in and defining each curl.

Have you tried this metod to define your curls? If not, do you think it’s worth trying?

brown beauty gal

For more informtion on the tightly curly method visit: How to Take Care of Our Hair: The Rules

18 thoughts on “Revealed: How I Redefine and Breathe New Life Into My Curls

  1. I had the same thing before when I constantly iron and change hair colors almost every week. They grow up long but dead and coarse end. I have several treatment on it but it looks as if they isn’t really working. Until one of my friends had advice me to use conditioner and apply herbal oil thrice a week. Ti’l this days I can see that it has revive my hair and make it more beautiful than ever.

    • Hey Elane, thanks for your comment. It’s true. Plain ‘ole conditioner works miracles on dry hair. What’s wonderful is it’s so cheap too.

  2. When I first tried the Denman it ripped my hair out but then again I tried it on dry hair! So I figured I’d try it the way Terri recommends in the book – hair soaking with conditioner. I am SUPER CAREFUL and go very slow and it doesn’t rip my hair. But I can see how it would if I were to rush. What I like is it causes the hair to be very smooth but yes def have to have loads of conditioner. Also, I pre-comb my hair with my fingers so that reduces the tangling so the Denman doesn’t have to do much work at all.

    Also, when using the Denman, you have to work in very small sections.

  3. Do you use the Denman Michelle? I’m afraid of that brush … even modified. I used to leave conditioner in my hair all of the time because it made my curls look nice and stay moisturized. But, I haven’t don’t that in years. Maybe I’ll experiment a little with it to see if my hair will dry curlier. Nice post lady!

  4. I’m about to try the conditioenr only method as a styler instead of my usual hair rules gel. The hair rules works for me but I’d like to try this method. Like you I don’t have a strong curl pattern. I always had s curls and after using henna they’re looser. There’s a technique you might want to try along with using conditioner. This works really well. It’s called the Icequeen method from naturallycurly.com. And it doens’t matter what kind of conditioner you use:I rake a large amt. of OneC through my hair in the shower, then flip over and scrunch it through until it feels like seaweed and squishes which

    gets the clumps going. It sits on my hair through the shower routine. I then rinse upside down in cool water and firmly scrunch in a small amt. of OneC. Get out of the shower, scrunch lightly with a MF towel, spray 2-3 shots of SIF over my hair, smooth over Angell and then scrunch it through. Flip upright, clip and diffuse. This gives me the most clumping of any product line and is how my hair is done at Devachan. You can mix ArcAngell and Angell together. I find ArcAngell gives me more curls and has far more hold but I don’t care for the crunchy feel in the wintertime.
    Like I said you can use any condish you like. The curls pop and clump from the squishing method. another method is the supersoaker method. You can find this on naturallycurly.com or youtube. look for ruddeechick supersoaker. This works well too. After adding the condish you use a lot of water. Water is key to clumping curls and getting good curls when you don’t have a strong curl pattern. Another thing you can do is add some gel and then rinse almost all of it out. then add your condish. the gell will get the curls started and clumped even though you rinse it out. again it’s the water. HTH.

    • Thanks for the tips Jackie. I don’t really want to use a diffuser though. I’m going completely heat free.

      when I define with the condish I find that all I have to do is rake my fingers though. Rinsing the condish out and adding more water will cause my curls to separate. It’s that condish that not only clumps the curls but also keeps them clumped when they dry. If I rinse most of it out then I have nothing to “weigh” my hair done to keep it from swelling. I’m pretty happy with this method and it’s so much simpler. I won’t do it weekly though because I am not always able to stay indoors. If I can’t stay in, I’ll just do a few twists and go. I like to keep it very low maintenance. All the scrunching and gel is too much for me LOL. I don’t like gel anymore either. I use aloe vera gel but it’s nothing like regular gel. I put it on to smooth my edges and then seal it with Jane Carter Nourish and Shine. That keeps my edges laying down when I don’t use conditioner to define.

  5. Thanks Etoile. It’s lasting about 4 days which is more than sufficient for me. I wash my hair about that often.

  6. Good review, you weren’t that bad. LOL!! The only thing about this method is walking around with a wet head. When are you suppose to do your??? I assume in the morning so that it can dry??

    • Oh, I didn’t say it would be bad.

      Well since I go to church on Saturday evenings I do it on Sunday mornings and I don’t leave the house. It’s easy then. If I’m going to need to go out on Sundays then I just revert back to doing a twist out.

  7. Your hair looks great! I have been using this method for a couple of months and it works really well for me. I use the Shikai Henna Gold conditioner to detangle and define my curls and it works awesomely!!! The definition I get using her method is ridiculous! Luvin’ it!!! I’m so glad I read Teri’s book. It has changed my perspective about my hair and I luv my curls!

    • Thanks for sharing that Tani. I’m glad to have read her book also. I’m going to try that Shikai conditioner too because I think the Aussie Moist takes too long to dry. The Shekai Naturals (sp?) is a bit better but I want a stronger hold.

  8. Conditioner is a big life saver when it comes to defining curls! What I do is put in Cantu Shea Butter’s Leave in Conditioner, comb my hair with a wide tooth comb, put in a little bit of Coconut Hairdress to seal and then the Shea Moisture’s Curling souflee which holds the curls in place as it dries. I pinapple at night so it helps stretch the curls out a little bit but still keep them in place and just refresh them with the Shea Moisture Styling Milk (that I finally bought! I love that stuff!)

    • I love that Cantu Shea Butter rinse out conditioner! I haven’t tried it to clump my curls by leaving it in yet. I have to check the ingredients first :-)

      Oh and yes to the SM Styling milk too! It leaves the hair so so soft.

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