How To Abandon Your Flat Iron For Good

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Are you tired of attacking your hair with heat, chemicals, and products? Do you spend hours on Pinterest admiring women with big, natural curls? They seem to have a carefree confidence that must lighten their step and make their hair bounce like feather-light coils. And what about those with curls that sit on their heads like sculptural topiaries, setting them apart from the crowd of cookie-cutter hairstyles? They've got it, too.
If this strikes a chord, girl, you have curl envy. And rightfully so. If you're a faux straight-haired girl who wants to embrace her coils and take the plunge into your curly girl reality, we’re here to help. Ready to drop your heat-styling weapons and embrace your hair texture? We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you phase into curly. Go get it, curlfriend.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Dress Your Hair For The Job You Want, Not The Job You Have
First step: If you're hanging onto your straight-hair routine because you're afraid of looking unprofessional, let me ask you this: Would you really want to work where you'll be judged by your natural hair texture? As women living in an era where we are still fighting for equality between races and sexes, the best thing we can do to help steer the paradigm in a positive direction is to stop apologizing for who we are.

If your Afro or your wild spirals seem to make your boss squeamish at first, just give them time — they’ll get over it, eventually. If they don’t and it becomes a problem, then we humbly suggest you consider finding a job that is willing to accept you in your au naturel state.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Keep Your Curl-spiration Game Strong
Start a pin-board of all the curly, big hair that you love and keep adding to it. Build it into a veritable encyclopedia of great hair. Scroll through it every once in a while and get hyped on the idea of curls. Then, take your favorite hair picture — the one that actually looks like it could possibly be a similar curl pattern to yours — print it out, and tape it to your bathroom mirror. It will help you get excited about your curls every day.

Also, be sure to follow some curly babes on Instagram and you're sure to find yourself inspired by their styling creativity. Use this newfound inspiration as fuel to jump-start your curly journey.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Gather Your Curl Allies
It's time to build your database of curl information. Tap into the online wellspring of curly bloggers and read the stories of their natural hair journeys. Become familiar with your particular curl type and what it needs. Know that you are one of many, many women who have taken this journey and there is SO much support and information out there.

Make a date with your curly friends and pick their brains about their hair routines. Curly haired women generally love to talk about their curls (along with the products they love). They understand your hair in a different way than non-curly girls and are sure to hold some priceless insight, plus a great tip or two. When hair times get frustrating or bewildering, pick up the phone and call on your curlfriends.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Take The Plunge & Get The Cut
You know the one. It's the Solange big chop, the Carrie Bradshaw bob, or the 'do that one cute blogger in that Tampax ad whose name you always forget has.

When you are ready to go curly, this is the perfect time for the big cut you've been totally coveting — whether it's a short one or not. Why? Because years and years of heat and chemical styling have defeated your ends, girl, and they won’t curl. So when you're ready, get that cut you’ve been too scared to get.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Reconsider Your Color Scheme
While we're on the subject of making hair changes, going curly is a good time to reassess your color scheme. Consider the following: Curly hair helps blend the roots, which means that you can go longer in-between coloring because the texture in the hair helps diffuse that line of demarcation.

But know that hair damage is also more obvious on those with curly hair. If you're already a bottle blonde or frequent highlighter, this might be a good time to talk with your stylist about phasing into something more gentle and natural — if healthy hair is what you’re going for.

Colored hair also means drier hair. This is a universal truth and needs to be considered in your curl journey. If you want happy curls, you may need to cut back on coloring or make sure to take extra care to keep your curls hydrated.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Unlearn Your Routine
Here comes the best part: You now get to let go of everything you’ve learned about straight hair care and start treating your hair like it’s curly. First off: With curls, less is more. The less you touch it, mess with it, even think about it, the better it behaves.

Next: Curls need moisture. You want to add hydration instead of removing buildup — whether that moisture comes from allowing your scalp oils to build up and coat your hair or from loading up on conditioner, hydrating creams, oils, and butters.

Finally, shampooing less and conditioning are the key to happy curls. Words like Pre-poo and Co-wash stop being funny and start being real. Simple tricks, like applying your favorite products to your hair when it’s still very wet, and learning how to keep your curls looking great for days in-between washes will help in a major way. These are essential parts of your new naturally curl hair-care routine that you can look forward to learning, because they will ultimately lead to the mastery of your own fabulous curly hair.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Explore Styling Options
Once you get your curly routine down, you can start exploring the wonderful world of curly hairstyling. Curly hair in all forms is super fun and easy, because it's forgiving and gets so big.

Something as simple as a soft, pinned-back twist out; a picked-out Afro; or a curly beehive can take you from workday hair to night-out-on-the-town in a matter of minutes. A twist out will blow your curly girl mind and a pineapple even more so. And these are just a fraction of what's in store for you.

The best part of all of this is that once you take the plunge into curls, you get to throw away your flat iron, your straightening goos and serums, your frizz anxiety, your tired biceps, and that early alarm. You can hit snooze on straight hair and wake up fabulously curly, with your true colors shining through.
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