Sunday, November 11, 2012

Curly Girl Julia Shea Shares Her Secrets

This is Julia Shea.
A remarkable young yoga teacher who is as good as it gets.  I've practiced yoga with the best, like Max Strom, Gurmukh, Julian Walker, and Mark Blanchard.  Julia's classes are fun, effective and make you feel good all day long.  She also has great hair.  Since living in NYC with crazy weather conditions and lots of running around, I wanted to know how to tame my own curls on the days I don't straighten...  She gave me quite a lot to share with you.  Here's Julia in her own words:

As an explorer of the life adventure called yoga, everything in some way or another always related back to yoga for me, even my curls. Like my yoga practice which shifts and changes from day to day moment to moment, sometimes being very fluid and energetic and sometimes not so much, my curls have a mind of their own and in both scenarios there needs to be a letting go, a surrender to what is instead of forcing what I want.

Like many curly girls, I fought with my curls for a long long time. I didn’t know how to get them to be anything other than frizzy annoyingness on top of my head. I would try every product under the sun that promised beautiful locks to no avail. Where were MY glossy curls??? Where was MY definition??? And then, three years ago, my curl world was blown wide open and my curls and I have never been the same since!

Three years ago I was introduced to Devachan. To each curly girl their own, but the DevaCurl products really work for me and when I walked into the curly girl holy land of Devachan Hair Salon it was heaven. I learned how to make my curls happy and am therefore happy! They have a book too!(not to mention helpful videos on YouTube!) And what is awesome about the book is that it’s not all about their products, how you have to use their stuff, no no no! To each their own and the book offers general guidelines to follow when looking for what products to use or ditch as well as recipes of hair care stuff you can make from ingredients in your kitchen! All good!

And without further ado, this curly girls guide to happy and defined curls...

1. First off, standing under the water, give your scalp a good scrub. Get blood flowing and circulating to the scalp, loosen up dirty and product. Use a paraben and sulfate free shampoo.

Wash your hair once a week! Yes! stop with the shampoo! Curly hair is naturally drier and more porous and over doing it on shampoo dries out the hair more, causing frizz and unhappy hair. (And for those guys out there who have thinning hair and would like that to stop, ditch the shampoo and see what happens! I hear it stops the thinning!)

2. On days you don’t wash your hair and do wet your hair (I can go a good 2 days without necessary hair wetting) you can give the scalp a good scrub with a bit of conditioner to wash the scalp.

3. Use a good goopy palm full of botanical conditioner and massage that into the hair, run your fingers through and get the tangles out. DO NOT RUN YOUR FINGERS THROUGH YOUR HAIR AT ANY OTHER TIME AND THROW AWAY ALL BRUSHES!!!! ONLY run fingers through your hair when in the shower. Coat your curls in conditioner. Again, curls are dry and porous and need the love and moisture of conditioner so they don’t seek moisture out in the environment and frizz. Rinse lightly, leaving the majority of the conditioner in the hair. This will depend on how tight your curls are and you’ll play with leaving more or less conditioner in your hair to get your desired effect. A quick splash of water should do the trick to rinse the conditioner from the scalp but leave a lot in the curls. Curls should feel slippery like seaweed.

4. Shower is done. give the head a nice shake, allowing the curls to fall naturally. Turn your head over and squinch curls toward the scalp removing excess water.

5. Keep the head turned over and apply a bit of gel( I use a nickel size amount). Pick a gel that has no alcohol or silicone. I like to apply gel before any further drying because I think it keeps my curls from getting too much product left in. Again, play with how much gel you use and see what happens and what you like. On more humid days or days where there is more moisture in the air leave more product in the curls so they don’t go looking for moisture out in the environment! Squish curls toward scalp again applying the gel all over the head.

6. Now, use a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt (works just as well!) to dry the hair some more. Head is still flipped, squeeze curls up toward scalp. At no point should you wrap your hair up in the towel, this only breaks the curls and throws them out of whack.

7. At this point curls should be dry enough. Flip your head right side up, give a little shake so curls fall naturally in place, make any final adjustments, and voila! Beautiful curls are on their way! Once you’ve done all this, DON’T TOUCH!! Further fussing while hair is drying will only cause the curls to frizz and lose definition. If you have long hair, you may want to have a towel wrapped around your shoulders while the hair dries a bit more so your shirt doesn’t get all wet.

8. Once the hair is fully dry, flip head upside down once more, give it a shake, tossel with your fingers and squinch again to break the gel cast and bingo bango beautiful curls that aren’t crunchy and are happy and healthy!

Like in yoga, these are merely guidelines. Feel free to play and experiment and see what works best for you! For more info, check out the DevaChan book by Lorraine Massey, Curly Girl: The Handbook, as well as the DevaCurl videos on YouTube.

·      All information is a medley of Curly Girl: The Handbook, word of mouth, DevaCurl YouTube videos, and my own experimentation.*

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