Rock Your Ringlets! How to Make Curls Work in the Office
Hey, curly girl. You thought I didn’t know? Sure, you’re doing a good job shellacking your style to fit in with the straight-locked ladies around you, but we curlies recognize each other.
It could be the telltale wave in the back of your head that just doesn’t ever want to behave, but it’s more likely the sleep deprivation you try desperately to hide while still making sure you’ve got that extra hour in the morning to slather your hair with straightening creams and iron it into submission.
But I refuse to do that anymore, and you can, too. I know, you’re nervous to step away from the straightener after The Daily Beast article that vilified Rebekah Brooks’ red curls as a “dense tangle of vines” (as if her hair had anything to do with her appearance before Parliament). What if your locks take the freedom and run with it?
They won’t. I promise. You, too, can pull off curls in the office. Here’s how.
Break all the Rules
Because, really, there are none. Each head of bouncing curls is different. For instance, you know you’re only supposed to untangle curls (with a wide-toothed comb, never a brush) when wet, right?
Now, I don’t advocate dry-brushing—or you’ll probably end up with the triangle-shaped pouf I sported in high school—but you don’t need to follow that “rule” to the letter, either. I don’t own a comb: I use my fingers. And my aunt brushes her bouncing spirals—yes, with a brush. There’s not one “right” way, so try different methods and find out what works for you.
Find Like-Minded (and Like-Haired) Stylists
I have lots of hair. Lack of volume has never been my problem. Make that hair curly, and I’ve got quite the styling challenge atop my head. That’s why I’ve found two stylists in town with hair similar to mine. They understand my hair’s particular idiosyncrasies and know how to make them work for my curly style, not despite it—and trusting one of them to do my haircuts is the best way I’ve found to save myself time on a daily basis.
Instead of trying to make your curls do what you think they should do, talk with your stylist about finding a cut that works for you. It’s not straight, it never will be—but that doesn’t need to be a problem.
Experiment (and Practice Patience)
Let’s talk products. I’ve tried a ton, and I’m sure you have too, but playing around with different brands is really the only way to find out what works best with your hair. Give yourself a week with a product before making a judgment—I find it takes a few days for my hair to get used to something new (and same goes for a new haircut).
In college, my curly friends and I became hooked on Herbal Essences Totally Twisted shampoo, conditioner, and mousse, and I haven’t looked back. They smell great and keep my hair soft and frizz-less without that helmet-head hairspray feel. Plus, they’re inexpensive and you can find them just about anywhere, even outside the country. (Only problem: They’re not made in travel size. On occasion I’ve resorted to checking bags just to make sure I can bring my mousse with me.)
Step Away from the Straightener
This goes for the blow dryer too. As someone who likes to be able to control all aspects of life, I know this is a hard one. And I know you’re probably thinking something like “but I just want to make sure it’s drying right, and if I don’t touch up the ends they’ll stick straight out!”
Will they? Choose a day when you don’t have to see anyone immediately and let your hair do its own thing. Once you’ve found the right cut and product, you can probably let it air dry and admire your natural curls. I now do it on a daily basis (though fortunately, my commute time allows it to dry before I get to work).
If you’re in a hurry, you can also partially dry your hair and let it do the rest on its own. Either way, lightening up on the blow dryer will help avoid the heat damage that causes frizz, which is likely what inspires your straightening sessions. Break free of the vicious cycle.
Wear It Well
So now, what to do with your newly happy, healthy head of curls? Wear it up, down, half-up, pinned-up, however you like. You can copy your straight-tressed friends and co-workers’ styles, but they’ll be all your own when your newly freed curls steal the show.
Photo courtesy of d3l.
Want More Advice Like This?
Sign up and follow us on Facebook to get everything you need to succeed in your career from The Muse.