As a Type 2c wavy myself who’s been on the “should I get bangs” fence for a couple of months, Elaine is exactly the naturally wavy hair inspiration I’ve been looking for. Elaine is a Scottish curly girl who has been wearing her hair curly for over 12 years, and as you’ll soon see her hair has undergone an amazing transformation during that time. Her hair may have started out looking loosely wavy when she first started rocking her natural texture, but now her fine hair is a mix of 2c and 3a waves and curls, and a few tighter 3b ringlets here and there.

Are there any tricks or tips that you’ve figured out along the way that have made a big difference in the way your hair looks?

This answer is easy as they had such a noticeable effect! The trick that has made the biggest difference is protecting my curls overnight with a silk scarf, as my hair has always been too fine for pineappling. Then I hydrate daily by spritzing my hair every morning with a mix of water and leave-in conditioner. Can you believe I actually used to avoid conditioning as I thought it weighed my curls down? But only because I had been using generic cosmetic conditioners that were laden with heavy silicones. Lush curls need hydration!

Another fave is nightly scalp massages. This has massively improved the health of my scalp, my issues with protein sensitive itching, hair growth, achieving 2nd, 3rd and 4th day curls and the benefits go on. I will never not do this now.

What piece of advice would you give to a curly who’s just starting out in their journey?

My advice to those starting their journey, or restarting for the umpteenth time, would be to not get too caught up in others’ routines, products and methods. It is so inspiring to follow other curly girls, and there is no doubt that you will gain valuable support and help from the amazing curl community, but everyone’s curls are so unique and what works for others wont necessarily work for you! There are no wonder products to reverse damage, so take the time to nourish and care for your curls until they are healthy, learn what feels good, and what doesn’t, pay attention to what ingredients feature in your fave products to help determine what to look for in others. Oh and take lots of selfies… any time you’re having a bad hair day, or feeling frustrated, remind yourself just how far you have come, and I guarantee that pic from 3 months ago will help you realize that your curls are improving every day. Even on your worst curl day, there will be another girl 6 months behind you who dreams of getting to where you are now!

My advice to those starting their journey, or restarting for the umpteenth time, would be to not get too caught up in others’ routines

What’s your styling routine?

The routine that gives me the best results is my wash’n’go.

  • Cleanse – I use a sulphate-free shampoo rather than co-washing because which works better for my low porosity curls,
  • Condition – I followed that with a botanical silicone-free conditioner. I usually leave about 50% of my conditioner in my hair rather than rinsing all of it out.
  • Style – I then add a gel to soaking wet hair being careful not to rake the product through, this may sound strange but my curls are delicate and fine, so raking disrupts the pattern and I lose definition. I graze the product over the canopy of my hair and flip my head over and do the same underneath… I then scrunch for my life lol.
  • Scrunch – I scrunch for at least 5 minutes, then scrunch again using the Boucleme curl towel which is very similar to a t-shirt rather than a microfiber towel.
  • Diffuse – Being from Scotland, air drying is not an option so I diffuse my hair dry.
  • Scrunch – When it’s 100% dry I love to scrunch out the crunch and fluff my hair for volume.

What are your Holy Grail products?

For me a Holy Grail product is defined by how often I recommend it to others, and how stressed I get if it’s about to run out. By that rationale they would have to be Giovanni Direct Leave-in, it’s clean, affordable, and works for everyone whether you’re Type 2b or 4c. My next one would be SheaMoisture Frizz Defense Gel/cream with Cupuacu, it is an incredible gel that manages to lock in all your moisture, and give full, bouncy, hydrated curls with zero crunch! My favorite complete line would be Boucleme, a British brand that creates incredible quality products full of amazing natural ingredients with no nasties… I always get great results when using their stuff.

Tell us about your curly hair journey. Have you always worn your hair curly, or did you start embracing it recently? If so, what caused you to start embracing it?

When I was young I had long, thick, wavy hair that flowed down my back, but I hated having it brushed daily by my mum, so when I was 14, I took all my pocket money to the local hairdresser and asked for a pixie cut! This resulted in months of tears, from both me and my mum! As it grew in, it became harder and harder to control. It felt frizzy and dry, and this is when I started to realize it was curly. The next 10 years was filled with trial and error, and there was no blogging, Instagram or YouTube to educate me. I didn’t know a single other curly haired person. I figured out that gel worked better than mousse, I found a diffuser, and I knew not to brush, but that was about the extent of my knowledge. I wore my curly hair as I felt it was part of what made me me, but it was dry, frizzy and lank. Everything changed when  I stumbled across the Curly Girl Handbook and my relationship with my hair changed forever. By following the method and cutting out sulfates, silicones and parabens my hair started to come alive. I then discovered Instagram, and began to learn even more. I learnt I had low porosity hair and that I was protein sensitive, and since then my curls have been improving with every week. There is still a lot for me to learn but I love being on this journey, and the best part is the curl friends I’ve made along the way.

Which curly women do you look to for inspiration or advice?

There are so many curly girls who inspire me. @curl_obsessions because she is just beautiful and was my first curlfriend on Instagram. @dr_vasquez_md is my constant supporter, we share our good days and bad and discuss our uncontrollable product buying addiction. @vmuse919 is the one who educates me, I love how she breaks down the more complicated and confusing subjects surrounding natural hair e.g. porosity, when to use protein and when to use moisture, hydral fatigue etc. @reallifecurlyworld for her funny and down to earth YouTube videos that always inspire me to try something new and @curlsandbeautydiary for being so helpful and understanding what its like not to be able to access US products when you live in another country… but the list is never ending.

What has your biggest hair mistake been? What did you learn from it?

My biggest mistake has been falling for advertising and marketing, and believing that just because a product is labelled for curly hair,  doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good for natural curls. I used the same ‘curl’ brand for over 10 years and I shudder at the thought of using it again now.  Oh and crimpers back in the 80’s!!

You can see more from Elaine by following her on Instagram @curlysue291