“My whole life, I have fought with my hair,” says New York City publicist Jenelle Hamilton. “I did quarterly Brazilian straightening treatments, colored my hair, blow-dried weekly, and flat-ironed my hair almost every day.” She was trying to force her 3C curls to be something they just weren’t, which seriously damaging them in the process. After years of trying to straighten and smooth her hair, it began to look over-processed and break.
Commit to a Long-Term Routine
Once you swear off straighteners, you’re not going to wake up to healthy hair instantly. “At the beginning of my hair journey, I would watch YouTubers and look on Instagram and think, ‘Why doesn’t my hair look like that? Why isn’t it growing faster?'” Hamilton recalls. “I was so impatient!” However, once she gave her hair months to heal, the growth eventually followed.
Look Products With Nourishing Ingredients
In addition to giving up heat-styling, Hamilton scaled her routine back to washing weekly. She counted on two products to nourish her dry, brittle hair: The LUS Gentle & Moisturizing Shampoo and TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner by Andre Walker Hair. The shea butter-infused shampoo “cleansed and moisturized” and “a little went a long way, so it was very cost-effective,” she says. Her conditioner, meanwhile, featured strand-strengthening Keratin, a protein that helps fortify and protect damaged hair. “I used it religiously and it helped a lot,” she says. A few other ingredients to look out for: coconut oil, argan oil, aloe vera, and spirulina.
If You Want to Smooth Frizz…
While she was growing up, Delilah Orpi, a beauty blogger in Miami, dreamed of straight hair. “I was picked on for my puffy hair as a kid and struggled to style it,” she says. “I envied the smooth, shiny hair that some of my friends had.” Her mom wouldn’t allow her to flatiron hers, so when she finally got the chance, she went all out, straightening her hair three times a week for 10 years. Cut to recently when she packing for a trip to Thailand. She couldn’t fit her hair-dryer and straightening products in her suitcase—so she decided this was the push she needed to quit. “I was done fussing with my hair,” she says. “I wanted to simplify my routine.”
Avoid Drying Your Hair With a Towel
A game-changer for Orpi has been applying her styling products, such as EVOLVh TotalControl Styling Crème, in the shower. “I apply them to soaking wet hair in the shower by scrunching, and never use a towel or a brush,” she says. The scrunching helps the curls clump, which leads to definition once it dries, and cuts down on frizz. “After lots of scrunching, I either air-dry or diffuse dry,” she says.
Preserve Your Style
Orpi only washes her hair two or three times a week. She stretches out the lifespan of her curls by covering them when she sleeps. “I protect it at night by wearing a scarf over it so that it lasts a few days and doesn’t get frizzy and tangled,” she says.