Meet our latest World of Curls feature, Olivia from Australia.
Hi! My name is Olivia. I’m 19 years old, from Sydney. At the moment I am a student studying degrees in Architecture and Engineering. I spend my spare time designing, sewing, and attempting to tame my large amount of hair.
How long have you worn your curly hair?
I’ve always worn my hair with its natural texture, but it’s only in more recent years I’ve worked out how to make it go from a big, fluffy mess to actual curls. That’s probably about the time I found this website and got a hold of Lorraine Massey’s book, The Curly Girl Method. From there, I worked out the best methods for dealing with my hair.
How would you describe your hair texture?
My hair is about a 3b curl pattern, but my hair is sort of different all over--the underside, for example, is less curly than the top layers. On a good day (and with liberal use of alcohol-free gels), I can get some nice defined curls out of it. I’ve recently cut it up to a bob for extra bouncy curls!
What is your biggest hair issue and how do you get over it?
Apart from combating the dryness that comes with curly hair, is probably the cut and style. I’ve had a lot of hairdressers who struggled with my hair since all the layers curl up differently, and most of whom insisted on thinning it out since there was so much of it, and I’d leave and have to fix it up myself a bit with my own hair scissors. Since embracing my big hair and educating myself on what I can and can’t do with it, I now cut it myself (until, of course, I can hunt around for a good curly hairdresser) and keep the thinning shears away!
I’ve always worn my hair with its natural texture, but it’s only in more recent years I’ve worked out how to make it go from a big, fluffy mess to actual curls.
What have you learned about yourself through wearing your naturally curly hair?
I’ve learned that having something about you that is inherently different to typical ideas of what constitutes ‘pretty’ (which, for hair, is pretty much straight hair, "Victoria’s Secret ‘curls’ and all that) isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s okay to stand out. Fighting against your natural texture and trying to change it will only make your hair harder to deal with (and likely damaged) in the long run, so you might as well embrace it and work with it, and be that uniquely fabulous you!
Do you have a secret to getting defined, beautiful healthy curls?
I do follow the standard Curly Girl Method, which involves avoiding sulfates, silicones, drying alcohols, and hairbrushes. I deep condition every couple of weeks. Most of the time, I only shampoo every second wash (with a sulfate-free shampoo) and co-wash the rest of the time, which keeps it from getting too dry. I use a lot of alcohol-free gel or mousse when it’s sopping wet after I wash it, and I don’t touch my curls after they've started to dry.
The most important thing I have found is to stretch out time between washes while keeping your hair looking a-okay is getting your hair out of the way when you sleep. I just throw my hair into a pineapple ‘do, but wrapping it in a scarf also helps.
What are your favorite products right now?
Right now I absolutely love Palmer’s Sulfate-Free Cocoa Butter Shampoo, and my favourite leave-in is L’Oreal’s EverSleek Finishing Crème, which is silicone free. Since I use so much wash-out conditioner I usually just go with whatever’s there, which is generally VO5 or Tresemme Naturals (both of which are silicone-free). Coconut oil is indispensable for deep conditioning, but don’t use too much of it or you’ll never get it out–just add a bit to your deep conditioner before you stick it in.
You can follow me or contact me on Instagram at @thisisoliviagrace.