In recent years, in Egypt, we have seen a resurgence of curly hair. This is odd considering that most of the female population is born with naturally curly hair. But just visit any hair salon and you will see the extent to which women will pull, straighten, chemically treat and twist their natural curls into a more submissive, tamer texture. A decidedly unnatural and unhealthier one at that. But curly hair is slowly making a comeback. With the popularity of Lorraine Massey’s book, “The curly girl method” more and more young women are embracing their Go-given natural texture. The process might be laborious and certain terms like “sulphate-free”, “no-poo method” (washing hair with a gentler alternative to conventional shampoo) and “co-washing” (washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo) will make their way into your daily vocabulary, but the results, as evidenced by many girls who jumped on the curly hair bandwagon, are worth it. Many girls even feel that they’ve embraced or regained a part of their ethnicity and culture with the transition to their natural hair and despite the extensive maintenance routine involved, they feel liberated by their curly hair. Everyone’s journey is deeply personal. You have to do your own research and come up with your own routine, but in the end, you won’t regret it. The Facebook group ‘The Hair Addict’ became a hub where many women share their own personal experiences on how they regained their natural hair back. Nancy and Nariman grabbed the attention on the Facebook group with their drastic hair transformation. Here are three young women who started on their journey to reclaim their curl pattern:
I’ve struggled my whole life with my hair and for the past few years even more so, having had to suffer the bad hair days that are part of the transition period.
About 4 years ago, I came across the curly girl method and was immediately hooked, joining forums and following curly girls on social media. I started no-poo and co-washing but always fell off the wagon when it came to using no heat. Around the same time, I started studying nutrition; eating more vegetables, healthy fats and iron rich foods, which my diet was lacking. This greatly impacted the quality and strength of my hair, but still there was no major transformation of the curl pattern.
Two years ago, after my wedding, I decided to give the no heat method a fighting chance. After all, there wasn’t going to be a bigger event than my wedding that I had to sacrifice my hair for.
Here is what I did to transition my hair:
Once a week I wash with a no poo shampoo, try to deep condition, use a natural leave in and a natural curling custard, in this order. I then scrunch my hair upwards with a micro fibre towel to get rid of excess water and let it air dry. If I’m in a rush (and in winter time), I continue to use the hair dryer with the diffuser attachment.
On other occasions, I do finger coiling, braiding, two-strand twists to create curls. They’re usually time consuming but worth it.
At night, I put my hair up in a pineapple and cover with a satin bonnet at night to prevent breakage and drying.
I put my hair in protective hair styles almost every other week (braids, buns etc.) At night, I would sometimes spray with water, moisturize with a very little amount of coconut oil and re-braid.
I got regular hair cuts with a curly hair professional.
I have an extensive routine on the rare occasions that I do decide to straighten my hair.
All I can say is hang in there ladies and ride out the transition period. It’s a daily struggle but completely worth it.”
Nariman Al Sadr:
I have curly hair (3b type) which suffered years and years of dyes, highlights, heat (at least twice per week), 2 keratin treatments, 1 Botox and needless to mention all the chemicals in the shampoos, conditioners, leave in and styling products. This, as you can see in the before photos, resulted in dull, frizzy, and brittle hair..
Almost 6 months ago, I decided to end all this in an attempt to get my curls back. I experimented with a lot of products, hair routines and vitamins until I finally found the magic combination. Bare with me, the process is long, and you will need to have a great deal of patience to see results.
Hair products that worked for me:
1- Curlz pack from Secrets of nature, the hot oil treatment (once a week) shampoo and conditioner
2- Bounce curl light creme gel with Aloe and Nigella sativa as a leave in from US, price ranges from 24$ – 30$ excluding shipment fees
On eBay the price is almost 60$
Or from a group called Diamonds’ Land for 920 EGP
3- Overnight oil treatment:- 2 parts castor oil (Imtenan) , 2 parts coconut oil (Imtenan but get the one for cooking not the one sold as hair product), 2 vitamin E oil capsules, 1 part pure Argan oil and Shea butter mask (from a group called Joviality). In a pan, I melt all the ingredients together (don’t overheat though) and I apply them to my scalp and ends, wrap my hair in a wet hot towel for 30 minutes. I then take off the towel, put a shower cap and leave overnight. I do this at least 2 times a week.
Link for Argan oil and Shea & Argan hair mask: https://www.facebook.com/Joviality.Egypt/
4- Sugarbearhair vitamins which I order from their Instagram page
5- Micro fiber towel (stopped using the normal one completely)
6- Silk hair bonnet and pillow cases from a group called Sleep in Beauty
7- A wide-tooth comb
I have 2 routines depending on whether I have a treatment left overnight or not.
1- Without overnight oil treatment: I wash my hair 3 hours before bed, comb it when it’s extremely wet (remove excess water by scrunching with the micro fiber towel and apply my leave in. I let it air dry and do not touch it until completely dry. Before bedtime, I put it up in a pineapple, and cover with my silk hair bonnet. Next morning I simply massage the roots to split the curls, and voila, I hit the road!!
2- With overnight treatment: I apply Secrets of Nature hot oil treatment on damp hair (not wet) , or the oil mix, following the same procedure mentioned above. Next morning, I wash with the shampoo, conditioner (leave that for 15 minutes in a shower cap then rinse with cold water). Then I scrunch with the microfiber towel to remove excess water (but leave it wet), apply my leave in and air dry.
I know this might be a long process but it worked out pretty well for me, so I hope this was beneficial ( here are my before and after photos in addition to the routine)
“Straighten your hair. Why don’t you brush your hair? You can’t go to work with your hair looking like that.” Words curly girls know all too well.
As an Egyptian, you’d think that having curly hair shouldn’t come as a surprise or disappointment to anyone, since about 95% of our population has naturally curly hair. So, what is our problem with curls?
Let me start at the beginning. Like many other curly girls out there, I’ve never known how to tame my mane. From pictures and memory, as a child, my hair spent most of its days happily tied up in a high ponytail, bun or pigtails. But those days flew by and middle school came all too quickly. I became an awkward self-conscious teenager and my hair became my worst nemesis. We fought and tore at each other, but on all occasions, it won. What was my obvious answer to looking presentable and pretty? Dragging my mother to as many salons as possible to find a treatment strong enough to straighten my hair.
My famous ponytail I wore most of my childhood.
Keep in mind that I was born into a family where everyone either had straight hair or religiously straightened it ever since I could remember. So, to them, the media and pretty much everyone around me I was an odd creature with odd hair. Ding, ding, ding… solution? Get a perm. I did and I was thrilled! I lost my curls and I finally, fit in, I belonged, I was loved and accepted, by others, not by me.
Still, I was told I was so much prettier with straight hair and I believed it. I think a small part of me still believes it until this day, but here’s what I’ve done about it. I fought back.
I started obsessively reading up on how to maintain curly hair and followed as many curly bloggers as possible. I started with four main steps to recovery.
1- Firstly, I began using mainly sulphate, silicone and paraben-free products. Since the market is a little tight, in Egypt, I usually buy whatever is available, such as the OGX line (sulphate and paraben free), which is my favorite, TRESemme Naturals (the shampoo is a low sulfate and silicone line. The conditioner, on the other hand, has no sulfates or silicones), and finally, L’Oreal Sulphate free line.
2- Even with these healthier products, my second step to recovering my curls was only shampooing my hair once a week and doing an Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse the other time. Believe it, or not, washing your hair too many times a week, especially with shampoo, strips your hair of its natural oils and nutrients.
3- My third step, in my healthy hair journey, was deep conditioning my hair, at least once a week. I do this with my favorite combination of Vatika and Castor oil. I found that this mixture strengthens, moisturized and repairs my hair. I’ve seen such a huge difference with this concoction that I can’t go a week without doing it.
4- So now you’re probably wondering where I am on my hair journey? Well more than a year ago, I had the BIG CHOP (I cut off all my heat damaged hair) and finally, only nine months ago, I made the decision to say no to heat and go all natural. This was the most difficult decision for me to make, with so many weddings to attend. I can say its been totally worth it though. My hair is looking healthier, shinier and my curls are coming in beautifully at the roots.
What’s next? Well, I’m continuing my journey because I want my curls to shine, to be as wild as a lioness’s mane, as spectacular as the night sky and to speak for me… before I ever have to. And I think I’m on the right path. My curls are close to being back to their natural state and are as soft as ever.
Why this article then? Because I’d like to encourage every curly girl out there to try this out. Go natural. Be yourself. You are beautiful. And as much as I love straight hair, as much as I decided curly is for me… no… curly IS me… Weddings, work and all.