Jonathan Torch takes on the challenges of chemo curls, the quandry of going short and how to prevent pouffy hair
Q: For over a year, I’ve been straightening my hair every time I came out of the shower, and I think I’ve damaged my hair greatly. I never let my hair have a rest. I didn’t use any products to protect my hair, but I did use a ceramic straightener. I don’t know if that really matters or not, but it’s only been recently that I’ve been accepting my curly hair. I’ve noticed it’s not really as curly as it used to be. Any tips about how to get it back in shape, and how to get my curls back?
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Jonathan: As you can imagine, if you happen to touch any flat iron with your skin for even a split second, you would receive a severe burn that would blister. So you can imagine what damage can be caused as a result of constant, unprotected flat ironing. There are two methods to treat curly hair — moisturizing and strengthening. In your case, you need to strengthen your hair to improve the elasticity, which will rejuvenate the “S” formation of your curls and return the bounce back into your hair. Our Curly Hair Solutions Treatment Shampoo has generous amounts of magnesium, which is a key ingredient responsible for rebuilding 35 percent of the hair’s external strength. Magnesium will not replenish lost moisture but will contribute to stronger, healthier hair. Some severely damaged strands may require repeated applications of Treatment Shampoo to notice change. It is very important with any shampoo to rinse your hair thoroughly. Who would have thought a shampoo could do so much for curly hair? Our Treatment Shampoo has healed so many broken curly heads over the past 10 years.
Q: My hair looks healthy and has no buildup, but it has a lot less volume than it used to. I got a trim over a week ago and it didn’t help. Also, I used to have nice spirals on the back of my head and they’re gone. What is wrong with my hair?
Jonathan: Cutting your hair to improve the curl is probably the biggest mistake made, especially during the dry winter months when there is not enough humidity to encourage bounce and form. To create curls, the hair has to at least be long enough for a curl to form. A ringlet needs to be long enough for each curl to rotate at least 2.5 times. Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper is the perfect product for you, as you require a product to support each curl and control all frizz and flyaway hair without ever having product in your hair. You will notice that your hair is always in control while your hair is wet and goes into chaos when dried — Curl Keeper will duplicate the same control you had while it was wet. Learning how to apply Curl Keeper and how to manipulate your curls while wet with several scrunching and clipping techniques will result in perfect, controlled curls that will look great every time. As no two curls are the same, no two techniques are the same, so it may take practice to master your bouncy, curly hair style.
Q: I have naturally curly hair — maybe 2c. I wash my hair often, and I always condition afterward. But as soon as my hair dries, it gets puffy. What can I do to prevent this?
Jonathan: There are so many people who share your problem that they completely avoid using shampoo altogether. They allow their natural oils to build up to control that puffy style. In the perfect world, this might work. However, curly hair is like a magnet for smoke, dust and almost everything else floating in the air. The truth is that not all shampoo has to be a harsh cleanser. Formulating the perfect shampoo for curls requires different ingredients and more importantly, the proper low pH balance. Curly Hair Solutions has two shampoos that both have the perfect pH balance levels of 4.5 to 5.5. This will give you the perfect strength to cleanse your curls without stripping away precious oils that protect your hair and scalp, even when used daily. Be careful of silicones because they may be the cause of your styling puff.
When you condition your hair with products that contain silicone ingredients, you have a cosmetic coating that may give you soft, shiny tangle free hair but eventually results in unmanageable styling, flyaways and flat hair. The coating on each hair makes it very difficult for hairs to group together, which is necessary to form a curl. The more hair that groups together, the looser your curls. But you can always manipulate your style the way you want. With a silicone coating, you will continue to have soft, flat, flyaway hair that makes life frustrating. To test if you have buildup in your hair, slide your fingers up and down the strands. If there is no resistance when you slide your fingers up towards the scalp, you have buildup.
Q: My hair is really growing fast for some reason, and it’s getting a bit annoying. I don’t like how it bunches up behind my back when I’m trying to bundle up in winter clothes. It gets flattened really easily and is hard to manage in the winter. I was thinking of going shorter. Note: I don’t want short hair, just shorter than it is now. When wet, it’s down toward the middle of my back. If I got several inches cut off, would it still curl like it does now? I’m scared, but I want hair that’s a bit easier to dry in this cold, cold, cold Canadian winter.
Jonathan: I empathize with you as we live in an indoor heating society. When all humidity is sucked out of the air, everyone with looser curls experience flat, flyaway lifeless curls. Over-moisturizing the hair results in even flatter, straighter days. So going shorter makes so much sense. But understanding your curls will determine how to go about this huge step. Remember that your curls will shrink, so don’t go too short. You also want to avoid cutting your hair short enough that it will disrupt the formation of your curls. You should also make sure you can still put your hair up in a ponytail, even a small one, for those “plan B” days.
To be in control, I advise you to style your hair the best you can before arriving for a consultation. This way your hair stylist will know what your curls really look like, and how you like to wear your hair. Remember, it is easier to cut off more later than it would be to grow your hair outuntil the style works. Sometimes, sleeping with a humidifier in your room will make a huge difference to your hair and skin during the cold winter season.
Q: I can’t take it anymore! Before I had chemotherapy, I had wavy hair. Now I have what looks like a sheep’s butt planted on my head. When I lost all my hair, I swore that I would never complain about a bad hair day again. My hair grew in grey, but not really grey. It wasn’t really a color. I fixed that with a bottle of hair dye. I just don’t know what to do with this hair. It is growing out, not down. It is thick and soft and super curly. Please let me know what products I should use on my hair.
Jonathan: It is quite common for hair to become totally unruly and a different texture after chemotherapy. Learning to control and style it takes patience and practice. Curl Keeper is the easiest way to control all frizz and out of control hair, as it duplicates exactly what water does to control your hair. You will notice that when your hair is wet you have all of the control you need. Your hair is never frizzy and does whatever you want it to do. With enough Curl Keeper applied to wet hair, allow your hair to dry with as little movement as possible. It may take practice to manage your curls and control the frizz. Growing your hair will help to flatten your style. If the ends feel rough or dry, try a product like our Silk Leave-In Conditioner. With Curly Hair Solutions, you will not have the look or feel of product in your hair, once it has totally dried, so have the confidence to use generous amounts to control unwanted frizz.
Q: No matter what I do, my curls don’t have any definition and they frizz up like crazy. I have short 3b/3c hair. I’m having lots of bad hair days. Help! I’m hesitating about using gel as a frizz-free haven because I don’t think it will work, and I’m afraid it will be sticky. My hair is still a bit too short to really do much. Tips and advice would be nice.
Jonathan: One sure difference between straight hair and curly hair is that with curly hair, you have to rely on a product to help you control your hair. You need to control your frizz from roots to ends. So the perfect product means that you can use as much as needed, soaking your hair if necessary, without having it look and feel of sticky or greasy. Curl Keeper was specifically developed for such control. A few tiny drops won’t do it. Lots of product for lots of frizz. Curl definition can be easily manipulated while the hair is wet. Towel drying before styling is the biggest mistake for curly hair, though it is great for straightening. Defining ringlets means learning to group your hair in curls. The more hair grouped to form each curl, the looser the curl. This may be difficult for you at this time as your hair is short and needs to grow some length. Each curl needs to rotate 2.5 times to form a defined ringlet, but keep practicing using Curl Keeper and soon every day will be a great hair day. There are no silicones in Curl Keeper, allowing the product to easily reactivate with water. This means that humidity in the air will work with the products in your hair.
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