Little may you know about my hair, but it’s classified as type 3 curly hair, specifically 3b veering 3c (meaning a tighter S-shape curl pattern); and it’s probably 70% gray. Yes, gray — and I love it. Years ago when I was graying, I used to put color in my hair, but after realizing that it’s growing in evenly, I let my natural hair grow in as my genes intended. So instead of the dark brown that it once was, with the grays mixed it, my hair is more of an ashy brown with a one-way ticket to platinum in about two years, if not sooner. Gray hair, however, on my type of hair is wiry and has a mind of its own. So while my tight S-curls are there and will dry beautifully with the right products, the gray strands in between are making irregular Z’s and W’s that stick up and out. So what do I do? Here’s the process and the exact products that I use to make my IDGAF hair styled like I just came from a beach. Heads up: it’s a process, but a manageable weekly or bi-weekly one.
It all starts with the right haircut.
This may seem standard, but it’s important that you (and your barber or hairstylist) understand the type of hair you have, its density (thick, normal, or thin), and the shape of your face in order to achieve your best hair goals. It may seem like a no brainer for your barber or hairstylist to understand your hair, but I’ve been to a few in the city who cut it like it’s from some sort of stencil and shape it to look like the guy who had an appointment right before me. I tried to save some money on barbers and cheaper hairstylists, but it’s just not worth it if it’s not going to be something you’re comfortable with. When you find someone good, stick with that person. When I’m not in LA, I go to Yann Varin at VARIN Salon in the Upper East Side and I’ve been going to him for at least six years now. Some haircuts will work perfectly, some will take work styling-wise, and some just won’t work (have some Pinterest pins backed up of various haircuts you like). In my case, my hair is tightly curled with unruly grays and it is much thicker in the back than it is in the front (I take Nutrafol to help protect my hairline from thinning). On top of that, my hairline naturally starts a bit further back, so my forehead appears large without some kind of hair dangling on my hairline. Therefore, I fade my sides, have longer hair on top, and even longer hair toward my forehead. Due to density, I thin the majority of my mane, which helps my hair refrain from being too stiff. You’ll see.
I use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner.
Here’s my shameless plug for my family business hair care line, SOTAH (STATE OF THE ART HAIR). You can read all about it here in one of my previous posts, but I swear by it, as do many other people. I wash my hair about once or twice a week with our Conditioning Shampoo and follow up with our Moisture Boost Conditioner since my hair is on the thicker side (you won’t need the Conditioner if your hair is thin otherwise it’ll weigh it down and defeat the whole purpose of this hairstyle). Trust me when I say that using a properly hydrating shampoo and conditioner — ideally our brand — will help wonders when you blow dry. You’ll do so with ease and it’ll give your hair a natural shine. Briefly towel dry and next up, I prep for blow dry.
Protecting my hair from heat is crucial, especially when it’s graying.
Fact: gray hair can start turning a yellowish tone with extreme amounts of heat from hot styling tools like blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons. Defeats the whole silver fox thing, huh? So, my mother recommends this thermal heat protectant that she’s been using most of her professional career. I use it every time I’m about to blow dry. On top of protecting my grays, it also protects my hair from being potentially fried by from the heat. I’d highly recommend adding this to your routine.
I also prep my hair pre-blow dry for shine and softness.
I use our Oil/Crème Therapy for this, but I won’t hold you to it for this purpose (it will also come back later on after I finish blow drying). A little dab goes a long way and it’ll make blow drying way more manageable.
Now, for the blow drying process.
Using a small round brush like this one, blow dry (here’s my blow dryer, but I hear wonders about this one as well, especially with it’s “cool shot” function). There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that I’ll leave for the YouTubers to teach you, but the process is fairly simple. As you blow dry, continue turning the brush so that the hair makes a curl pattern (versus pulling the hair straight out) until dry. One tip: work with the natural direction of your curls, not against them.
Last, but not least, that beachy, IDGAF style.
Once your hair is completely dry, my next tip may feel slightly uncanny because you’re going to rewet it a bit. Not with water, but with a salt spray, and I highly recommend either Sachajuan’s or R+Co’s. If you have curly hair and blow dry it, the only way you’re going to get your curly hair again is to wet it. Your naturally curly hair is actually your ally when you blow dry because it’ll make the blow-dried look you would have at this stage way more natural. Four or five spritzes of the salt spray is all you need. Then, work your hands through your hair to make sure the mist is applied evenly. You should see the curls start to take their natural form, but in open-curl format without relinquishing all the hard-earned blow drying you just did.
Next, to refrain my hair from frizzing up, I’ll use our Oil/Crème Therapy. A little goes a long way (on short hair, a tube will last you 6 months without question), so all you need is a pea-sized amount to rub through your hands and through your hair. This will also give you hair some natural-looking shine.
On the sides, I’ll use this pomade (mainly because it smells really nice, but any pomade will do); and on the top, I’ll use a quarter-sized amount of our Shea Styling Crème and apply it to the ends by lightly twisting my hair into their natural direction. Since we’re sold out of the Shea Styling Crème (it’s that good), I’d recommend just going straight to this flexible hold gel, which will lightly secure everything in place.
Maintenance throughout the week: a few tips.
My hair only gets better the “dirtier” and more riled up it gets. In fact, I tend to shampoo, condition and blow dry my hair right before I go to bed because I like how the pillows and sheets makes my hair look in the morning. Then, when I wake up and get ready for the day, I’ll brush the sides down, slick it with pomade and either use the Shea Styling Crème or the flexible hold gel to get everything loosely into place.
Finally, because I don’t wash my hair for about a week, if my scalp starts to feel itchy or starts smelling a bit “off” (let’s face it: it will), then I’ll use a dry shampoo. A few spritzes throughout your hair will have you feeling fresh for a few more days without sacrificing time’s valuable take on your hair by washing it again. Let the elements and your natural oils give your hair some character. That’s really the secret mojo to a beachy, IDGAF hairstyle.