There was one thing that always made my mom laugh during my teen years, and that was the hour-long morning ritual my curly-haired sister and I (totally pin-straight) shared doing our hair. We'd pollute the bathroom with drugstore hairspray and get out our respective tools (a 2-inch curling iron for me and a 1-inch straightener for her). Then I'd painstakingly curl every square centimeter of my head while my sister flattened her ringlets out with the flat iron. Eventually we both grew out of the constant urge to fight our natural hair types. What I’ve since figured out, though, is that there is a way to get some low lift texture into my hair without the whole ordeal. It doesn’t look or feel like I’m fighting anything—in fact, it’s simplified my routine a lot. No curling wand or flat iron or Elnett required. If you also have fine, straight hair—and you just want a little bit of movement in it—here is how to copy me:
Cut out conditioner
Because conditioning every day was the thing keeping my hair from doing what I wanted it to for a long time. It became a lot easier to manage as soon as I cut back. Every head of hair is different, but I find that if I take care of my hair in other ways (i.e. fewer hot tools, no hair dye), I can keep the ends from drying out with just a once-a-week (or even less frequent!) condition. And my hair is a little more obedient as a result.
Use hold products
The best I’ve found is Sam McKnight’s Cool Girl Texture Mist. This product is intended as a dry hair product and works just fine that way, but I use it in damp hair. Just after towel-drying and brushing. Just through the bottom half of my hair. Christophe Robin’s Rosewater Volume Spray has a slightly different effect, but I like it equally as much. The trick here is to be sure you're using enough product to hold the wave as it dries; this can take some trial and error to figure out.
Try a partial blow-dry
This step is primarily in the interest of time. I like to blowdry my bangs on low so that they stay in place, and then I get the rest of my hair to about 40-60% dryness, depending how humid the weather is that day. I’ll quickly brush it out to cool it down.
Put it in a low bun
Using a thick scrunchie. Then I take it out, twist it into place with my fingers, get it situated. And I put it back into the low bun. Sometimes I’ll do this repeatedly until I get to work, but typically leaving it up for the entirety of my commute works best.
I take my hair out of its little bun the second I get off the train and on my one-block walk to work I feel it out with my hands and twist errant strays into submission. My fingers are my best hair tool and now everyone thinks my hair is naturally wavy. Little do they know...
Photographed by Tom Newton on June 21, 2018.