Pushing 30 and I just figured out that hair is wavy-to-curly

That probably sounds pretty unbelievable, right? It's cognitive dissonance on a major scale, because the evidence has been there for the last couple of years, in which my following lifestyle changes have taken place: I moved from an extremely hot humid area to a temperate climate; I started using a shampoo/conditioner without sulfates; and most importantly, I started going once or twice a week without brushing or combing my hair after washing because I lose my brushes constantly and no longer live with a female roomie or sister to borrow one from, but rather my short-haired hubby.

And TBH I haven't paid much attention to my hair in years because I resigned myself a long time ago to the fact that it would always look like crap. I haven't done anything but wash, condition, brush, and air dry it in years, unless I had a job interview or something. The only way, historically, I've been able to make it look decent is to curl the crap out of it after it dries, and who has time for that?

Basically I had been treating and (attempting) styling my hair like it was straight my whole life but it's actually not straight at all, at least most of the time. For the past year or two I've looked in the mirror every couple of weeks (after not brushing) and be like, why the heck does my hair look like I braided it when it was wet and then let it down? And furthermore why does it look AWESOME except that it's got a couple of tangles? But I just never put two and two together until now.

And the truly ironic part is that I always wanted wavy hair. I even have one of those little waving irons. So I'm pretty ecstatic, not just because of the desire factor but because now, a couple of weeks before my 29th birthday, I have a vague prayer of decent-looking hair without an hour of daily effort for the first time in my life.

(How did neither my mom, sister, nor any hair stylist I've ever had figure this out? Beats me. Maybe it's because truly wavy hair is very rare in my home region.)

Anyway, I've been reading these threads and the resources here and well... I'm starting at square one (I figure my hair-knowledge age is about 11). I have been doing some reading and figured out that I should comb my hair before rinsing out shampoo/conditioner and not after, use a defrizzing agent, get a satin pillowcase/MF towel, and... that's basically it. I was just wondering if anyone had any pointers? Or even better, like a beginner's guide? Here's my hair stat sheet:

2a/b/c (FIA) - ranges from loose S waves to more distinct, "braid" waves to (very) loose spirals. Varies by day and usually varies throughout hair. Usually closest to 2b. Everything is "loose" but not necessarily indistinct, if that makes sense.

Medium texture, medium thickness, prone to flyaways and tangles. Oily enough at roots that I have to wash every day. Waviness is often not consistent throughout hair, but I'm reading that that's pretty usual. It gets wavier the longer it gets, and hair products tend to just weigh it down (I even condition before I wash for this reason). Again, humidity makes it less wavy and more prone to repelling, so I'm guessing it's porous? I don't ever dye my hair and use heated tools maybe four times a year so it's not from damage. (ETA: I'm really just guessing on the humidity thing. For all I know, getting old enough to not be a grease machine may be the most important factor and the move just a coincidence.)

Most importantly, I'm a low-maintenance gal. I'll put a couple of products in my hair and a clip or two, maybe a weekly special thing like hot oil, but I know myself; I'm not gonna use something that plugs into the wall on any consistent daily basis. I also only buy products that are not tested on animals. And I want to work with my hair, not against it - I don't have any pics of my own, but I looked at some photos of celebs with wavy hair, and the closest I found to my au naturale were the more bohemian looks Kate Hudson and Jessica Biel have sported over the years (are they natural? don't even know) most days or Joss Stone on less wavy days, so I'd like to guide it in that direction. Encourage the waves, but not try to force them into something they're not.

Help... please? SO glad I found this forum; I love the Internet sometimes!

Last edited by WinterShaker; 11-13-2011 at 08:22 AM.
So as I was perusing this board for the first time...I read your post and felt like I was reading my own! I have recently come to terms with the fact that I too am almost 30 and have NO idea what to do with my hair. Well, apart from the ponytail that I wear at least 5 days a week. I think my hair has always had potential for curl, but after having a baby about a year and a half ago, it has really proven itself to be curly. And...I have no idea what to do with it.

I'm REALLY low maintenance too....(see aforementioned pony tail comment) and would LOVE some easy advice in embracing my curls! Advice like, wash/condition it, air dry, and voila, it's amazing!
Cmeadors, I've read a couple of other posts on the forum saying the exact same thing - people that always thought their hair was straight but unmanageable, did weird things when it rained, etc. and finally were told by a kind curly-headed person that they had really wavy hair and were taking care of it improperly.

As I read more of the forum, I think that the factors that made my hair all of a sudden look far wavier and better than it did (still not fantastic, but pretty with potential) were the switch to sulfate-free and silicone-light shampoo and conditioner and the lack of brushing (and blow drying of course, which I never did anyway). The stuff I've been using is L'Oreal EverStrong and EverSleek. Ironically my hair is even curlier with the EverSleek. These just happened to be the only products I could find in the grocery store that were sulfate and (almost) silicone-free and also did not test on animals; I'm sure there are better and less expensive ones out there, but the L'Oreal is easy to find.

I gather that sulfates strip our hair and make it look like crap. I just started using them because I thought sulfates were toxic. Had no idea my hair would look better or curlier. I've also gotten the sense from this forum that people simply wash their hair too vigorously and too often. Even though the CG wouldn't work for me because I am an oil factory, I'm going to attempt adopting some of its principles.

So this is what I'm going to try - first putting a light layer of conditioner everywhere except the scalp, combing, gently putting a little shampoo only at the scalp and around the hairline (where it gets oily), combing again, then rinsing. Spritzing with a silicone-free or silicone-light curl spray or cream, the "plop" method of towel-dry described on this site, then fingerstyling the part and letting it dry naturally. Doing an olive oil deep conditioning once a week followed by a roots-to-ends sulfate-free shampoo. Gradually getting to the point where I'm shampooing every two days. I'm hoping that it works, but I'm a little leery of the conditioner that I don't shampoo out because conditioner just weighs my hair down, always has. So I may have to look for another, ultra-light brand of silicone-free, non-animal tested conditioner soon. Joy.

This is specific to my hair type (not tolerant of any but the lightest products and supa-greasy), but I'll let you know how it goes; I don't need the most beautiful hair evah, but "decent" would be a nice change, lol.

Last edited by WinterShaker; 11-13-2011 at 11:21 AM.
I was in my late 30's when I figured out my hair was curly.

Are you still oily at the roots and dry at the ends? If so then you may still be overwashing your hair. I would try alternating low pooing and water washing and see how that goes. Water washing is just wetting your hair and scrubbing your scalp with the tips of your fingers. Then add just enough conditioner to detangle. Your instincts are right to keep conditioner concentrated at the ends of your hair. I suspect cowashing will not work for you at all.

I think you should start experimenting with protein. Some people have hair that needs lots of protein and very little moisture. I suspect you may belong to this category. Start with small amounts of protein and then add more. Try reading in the protein lovers section for ideas.
This article explains the basics of protein.
The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balancing for Black Hair Care - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com
If you don't have problems with animal products, try IAgirl's gelatin PT.
PT recipe - as promised

You sound like you are off to a good start.
If you haven't seen this link yet, it explains CG well.
The College Curly: Laura Lee's All In One Guide to Going CG: Now Revised and Updated!
Be sure to read the stickies at the top of the newbie section and read on livecurlylivefree.com.

Be sure to try plopping, the ice queen method, the super soaker method and pixie diffusing (if you want to plug something in).
TECHNIQUES LINKS: SuperSoaker,Spritz&Condish,Plopping,Frizz,Clipping IceQueen, etc

Homemade FSG is something that works well for people who's hair tends to get weighed down.
No-fail flax seed gel - I finally did it...TWICE!

Also check out IAgirl's siggi for product suggestions. She has hair that tends to get weighed down and needs little moisture.

Good Luck.
http://pedaheh.blogspot.com/ (a blog to help new wavies, go to the how do I get started page)
2a (nc.com) 2bFi (Fia), very fine, thin, low/normal elasticity, porous, CG, doesn't get weighed down
Cowash: Tresemme naturals
Rinse out/leave in: Renpure Organics (red)
Curl enhancer: FSG
Gel: BRHG, Salon care aloe, Ecostyler Krystal (normal dews)
PT: ION effective care, IAgirl's gelatin PT
Low Poo: renpure (red), Ion swimmers

Last edited by pedaheh; 11-14-2011 at 09:53 AM.
Yes, I always had a stubborn wave or two and I've always worn my hair straight...brushed/blowdried and lightly flat ironed just to get rid of the wave or flip that would make an appearance. After having my children, my hairdresser noticed how much more wavy/curly my hair had become. Now I'm on a journey to make the most of this 'new found' hair of mine. I love it and since cutting out the sulfates & silicones I've notice an increase in curl also. Glad I'm not alone
2b/3a fine/med-hi density/high porosity (I think)/ highlight-no silicones/sulfates
Lo-poo - ABBA Gentle Shampoo/ Shea Moisture Curl & Shine
Conditioner: GVCB (love it!)/ Regis OO
Leave in
: As I Am
Co-Wash: Tresemme or DevaCurl NoPoo
Stylers: As I Am Curling Jelly/GF Pure Clean/ LALCurl gel - all with BRHG added
Style: scrunch/ diffuse, then air dry. I don't Have much frizz at all

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