Curly Hair, We Care: @CurlsandSports' Guide to Curly Epicness contributor Erika Fernandez drops by to give some tips and tricks for getting and maintaining your curls. If you need 'em, we've got you. We're diversifying our acts and reaching to the world with this one. So, without any further ado, let's get into it.

You're seeing it all over your news feeds: curly hair. As much as we would want to say that curly hair is an empowerment movement, it isn't too much because it is definitely a trend now. Sure you may be empowered to want your curls back after realizing that your heat damage is a little crazy but many girls want their curls back because it's trendy to wear your curls out now, frizz and all. For those of you, or us rather, who experienced heat damage, I've developed a guideline to help you recover those beautiful curls that you were born with. Why be greedy when you can share and help spread knowledge? 

For starters, it's always important to assess what caused the damage. Was it heat? Was it a dye job? 9 times out of 10, heat damage is the usual suspect to our dismay. How can you correct it? Well, unfortunately there's no time machine. But, I have been fixing my curls for about 7 years now and can let you in on my secret: patience. You must have patience in this curl journey because rest assure, your hair will be fixed. 

I wanted to share this because many people often ask, "OH MY GOD! How did they come back?!" I'm going to let you in on all the tricks and how to's. 

What set off my "curl journey?" One day in the summer of 2009, I wanted to wear my curls out and that's when I was deeply disturbed to find my hair wavy. I was born with tight curls. From that moment on, I began cutting it little by little, not realizing that, "Hey, maybe I should do a big chop." For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, it literally means to chop your hair in the most dramatic of ways. In other words, you cut it really, really short. Much like Coco Chanel said, "A woman who is about to cut her hair is about to change her life." That's is exactly what happened to me. 

So what happened after the first cut in 2010? My hair was shoulder length and I saw some curl patterns develop but not as tight. There's one reason for that: heat. 

I didn't stop using heat, but if I would straighten my hair, I would use a roller set, then blow dry and finish it off with a straightening iron. It wasn't until March of 2013 that I decided to cut off heat completely. Just keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with wearing your hair straight. In fact, all hair is beautiful! I just want you to get those flawless curls back. 

So far, I've dropped heat but the haircuts are extremely crucial to the curl game. It's usually best to get a cut every 2-3 months to maintain curl health. For those of you freaking out, your hair will grow back--trust me. The sooner you start cutting, the sooner the curls will make a comeback. 

If you're with me so far, I've done 2 big chops and haven't looked back since. Dropping heat was the biggest attribute because it changed my hair dramatically. But that's not the only thing that helped me out. I also switched my hair products and began doing DIY deep conditioning with ingredients that are most likely in your fridge. I'll share some of my favorite DIY treatments with you all. I recommend that you shampoo first and then put in your treatments. 
  1.  2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of olive oil and an egg. You can leave this in for about a hour with a shower cap either under a hooded dryer or no hooded dryer. 
  2.  A banana, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise & 2 teaspoons of honey. You can wear this for about 30 minutes with a shower cap, with or without heat. 
  3.  Olive oil and honey. Mix these two in between washes to help those curls get softer. You can wear it for about 20 minutes. 
  4.  Half of an avocado, 2 tablespoons, 2 teaspoons of honey, and an egg. Same thing as the first option; leave it in for about an hour. 

All these DIY's are going to help your hair come back to life and make the hair softer, thus easier to manage. For some store options, Shea Moisture's deep conditioning products are terrific and they're worth a shot as well. I personally love natural products because it makes me feel like it's working and also be I feel like a salad. 

Another tip to keep in mind is to pre-poo. In other words, get your hair ready for the washing process by putting coconut oil into it. Now, I have been told that it doesn't work on everyone. But, don't knock it till you try it. Make sure to purchase organic virgin coconut oil. The brand doesn't really matter and you can find this at your local supermarket, Whole Foods, or Trader Joe's. But, this'll make you feel all tropical and you can pretend that you're on an island for a quick second. 

Now, let's talk products. 

Trial and error plays another huge role in this curl journey. My advice? Save your receipts. Most places let you return and exchange items. Check return policies and the possibilities are endless. Most drug stores will let you return/exchange open products anyway. Tutorials and hair products reviews often don't do it for me. So, instead, I choose to give these products a shot and then make an executive decision from there. Just keep in mind that I'm not endorsing any products because what may work for me may not work for you, and vice versa. 

A few products I would recommend are:
  • Cantu
  • Ogx's Curl Line
  • Shea Moisture
  • DevaCurl
  • Ganier's Curl Line

Let's talk volume. 

Big hair is really in. How can you achieve that volume? Diffusing of course. Curly hair needs to be diffused so the heat can be evenly distributed. When you diffuse, use low temperatures because you won't give yourself heat damage and also, you avoid frizz. Once you're done, you grab a hair pick and pick at your roots without interrupting the curl pattern. 

In recent years, curl types have emerged. If you have a curl that springs up, you are curl type H, H for the healthy. I never understood the whole 3A, 4B. It's a hop and a skip away from being an algebra math problem...and I hate algebra. Also, I think it adds to some sort of inevitable competition that often plagues women. Comparisons will arise and no two curls are created equal. But, for those of who would like to see this chart, here it is:

Which curl type are you or rather, what was your curl type?

How does one with curly hair style their hair to sleep? In a pineapple form of course! You simply put your hair all the way forward and tie it around once with a scrunchie or hair tie. It makes it easier to style in the morning and it keeps things in place. In addition to sleeping with hair in a pineapple, other things you should that I highly suggest, is to buy a satin pillow case. That helps lessen the friction, thus keeps the frizz away. 

Who runs the world? Curls, curls! I hope my quirky how-to helped inspire you to create the change and get those curls back. Just remember, positivity is key here and the sooner you start, the sooner you'll be rocking your curly afro. 

Erika Fernandez

Photo Taken From Contributor's Twitter

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