Mop Top or Cascading Curls?
The difference between the two could be as simple as throwing away your comb and finding a new use for those millions of t-shirts you've collected over the years.
Ever see curls like this on someone and think "I'll bet she just wakes up like that!" Guess what? She didn't . Curls like these take lots of TLC and JUST the right combination of product, applied over JUST the right amount of moisture and diffused for JUST the right amount of time. It's all a delicate dance.
If you battle frizz and uneven wave patterns by beating them to death with your blowdryer and flatiron, read on. You JUST might find if you cultivated those waves with some new habits, you'd reveal a head of bouncy curls that coil up instead of stick out, perhaps because you didn't get it dry enough, or take small enough sections with that iron.
Let's start with washing. How often do you do it? Too often, or not often enough? If you've got dry ends and oily scalp, I'm guessing the answer is too often. If it's just dry from scalp to ends, you may want to consider a good clarifying treatment to remove product and provide a clean slate for a good deep conditioner to penetrate. So often I get asked "how often should I shampoo? Once a week, twice?" The answer isn't the same for all of us. I recommend you "listen" to your hair. Don't wash it because it's Tuesday, wash it because your hair wants you to. If it's oily at the scalp, consider a cowash (also called cleansing conditioner). These remove the excess oil, while leaving behind what your hair needs. Most clients feel their oil production balances out and they don't need to wash as often. But if you do still need to wash daily, find comfort in the gentle cleansing that cowash is doing. I recommend a real shampoo with bubbles a couple of times a month if this is the route that you find suits you best.
Dry hair? Definitely don't overshampoo. A cowash might be the answer to your prayers too. However, dryness can be caused by overuse of silicone laden products that have built up and won't allow moisture to penetrate anymore. Dryness could also be damage. So see your stylist and ask if you would benefit from a clarifying treatment, and a deep conditioning, or if you need something that focuses on repairing damage.
Blot that hair with a towel BEFORE you apply your conditioner. Think about it: a soaking wet sponge can't absorb more water. Neither can your sopping wet hair absorb conditioner.
ONLY comb or detangle that hair IN THE SHOWER with conditioner still in it! If you comb through all of those coils after you've rinsed the conditioner out, you're breaking up all of your curls, creating width instead of length.
Experiment with how wet your hair is when you apply that magical styling potion. Some people find that applying it in the shower while they're still drippy wet works better than after they've blotted dry a bit. Others find if it's too wet, it's too crunchy and takes to long to dry. Find your perfect zone. I will tell you this, regardless of sopping wet or just damp: if you let your hair air dry long enough for the hairs to pull away from one another, no amount of product will glue them back together. Better to apply that styling product while they're all still bound together by water.
Don't use a regular old terry cloth towel to dry your hair! You know all of those little loops on your regular bath towel? They latch onto each one of your little hairs and pull them away from their neighbors. ie, FRIZZ CITY. Instead try an old tshirt or a microfiber towel. Your hair won't attach itself to the towel and get all frizzy. Also be gentle when blotting your hair. No scrubbing with your towel or tshirt. Just squeeze out excess water and/or wrap it up.
Ok gang, let's recap. Don't shampoo because you always do it on (insert day of the week here). Wash because it needs it. Consider a cowash (look it up, there are lots of them. I'm partial to Joico and AG, but there are quite a few!) Blot before you apply conditioner but NOT before you apply stylers (maybe). Do use a tshirt, DON'T use a towel. And for the love of curls don't use a comb or brush on your hair after you've rinsed out conditioner.
I hope this is a great start on your curly journey! You too might just have cascading curls hiding under that frizz. It just needs a little TLC :)