The Mane Objective: Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month
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Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month

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Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month
My curls are starting to look and feel like themselves again.
Up until very recently, I've been in a weird space with my curls.

Like, a really weird space. The kind of space that makes you start weighing the pros and cons of being a "straight natural".

We've all been there before... or is it just me?

Over the course of the past month and a half or so, I've noticed four major problems with my hair:
  • More breakage than usual
  • Some curl loosening (on my normally tighter, unruly front section)
  • Stringy ends
  • Limp, poofy (yet almost straight) crown that was perpetually dry
Pretty much like this:
Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month
You see that front section? Hot mess. Definitely didn't make the cut for the 'gram.
To be honest, it was frustrating as hell. We all know our hair's potential, and when the curls just won't be great, it gets annoying. Then, we result to angles and hair flips for the 'gram - or in my case, half up/half down styles. #justkeepingitreal #weallfrontforthegram

By my book, I was doing everything right. Co-washing and clarifying. Deep treating with a balance of protein and moisture. Handling gently, and sealing. What ever could it possibly be? Turns out, the answer was a LOT simpler than I thought it would be. But before I get ahead of myself to the "aha!" moment, let me walk you through the steps to take if you feel like your curls are in the same boat as mine were.

Keep reading to discover common causes for excess breakage, limp curls, and curl loosening, and how to get your hair back on track:

Problem #1: Limp, Stringy Curls
Yes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Because our hair tends to be on the drier side, we naturalistas have a tendency to go overboard with moisture. Six hour pre-poo sessions. Overnight deep conditioning. Co-washing, conditioning, then deep conditioning (I personally never understood the need to dual condition, except for special treatments). Misting all day with water. Loading up on Magic Potion Hair Lotion no 5 every night.

Hygral fatigue is totally a thing, and it leaves your hair looking limp, stringy, mushy, and gushy. Additionally, buildup between wash days (layin' that product on thick daily) can have a similar effect. Both result in hair that breaks easily, has lost its spring factor, and has difficulty holding on to a style.

The Fix: Clarify!
The first step in remedying this issue is to reach for a clarifying shampoo. But - you gotta be careful. Hair that is experiencing hygral fatigue or weakening due to buildup is very succeptible to breakage. Prior to clarifying, I recommend pre-pooing and detangling with a light oil to prevent further mushiness while protecting your strands from drying out (and exacerbating the situation). My top picks for clarifying curls are Be Kekoa Be Clair Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoo and Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo.

Read More:
Christina's Choice 2015 - The Best Shampoos and Cleansers for Natural Hair
How I Use Be Kekoa Products on Wash Day
Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo Review

Problem #2: Breakage
Because we get so gung-ho for moisture, sometimes protein can be an afterthought. But if you've got hair that has been color treated, or you like to rock the occasional blowout or flat iron, protein needs to be a part of your regimen. Damage to the cuticle of the hair - whether it be from heat or color - causes the structure of the strand to weaken by creating gaps along the hair shaft. Because the cuticle is no longer compacted due to the damage, the curl begins to weaken, loosen, and thin out - especially at the ends of the hair.

The Fix: Patch Those Cuticles Up!
The degree of damage that your hair has sustained will determine the measures that you take. If you're at the stage where you're just now starting to notice loosening and thinning of your curls, investing in a good deep conditioner that contains strengthening proteins and complexes to restore elasticity should suffice - just don't overdo it. My picks in that area: Ouidad Melt Down Extreme Recovery Mask, or ApHogee Curlific Texture Treatment (the budget-friendly alternative). 

Read More:

Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month

For more intense cuticle repair (or if you have a protein sensitivity), an amino acid rich deep treatment like Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner will provide your curls with a hefty dose of amino acids - the building blocks to the proteins that comprise the structure of the hair itself. 

Read More:

Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month

If you're absolutely at your wits end with your hair, and need the heavy artillery, then the ApHogee Keratin 2-Minute Reconstructor is a must-have. This stuff has literally saved my hair on more than one occasion. Three things to note about this treatment: one, it's not that scary 2-step system with the stinky protein pack that makes your hair hard. Two, it definitely contains mineral oil. Three - and most importantly - the results are cumulative. Meaning, you'll see improvement in your hair with each use (just ask @ladyg7884 on Instagram).

Read More:
How ApHogee Keratin 2-Minute Reconstructor Saved My Hair

Problem #3: Thin, Wispy Ends
Chances are, if you're dealing with problems 1 and 2, you've got problem 3 too. And it's hella annoying. Wispy ends are damaged ends - the culmination of damage to the oldest part of your hair. Wispy ends cause styles like twist and braid-outs to taper at the ends - resulting in a style that looks a lot less full. Wispy ends also cause wash and go styles to look weighed down and ramen-noodley (see top picture).

Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month

The Fix: Snip, Snip, Snip!
Absolutely, the fixes above will help your hair to a degree - but nothing, I repeat nothing, takes the place of a good ol' fashioned trim. Snipping off a fraction of the damaged ends can do wonders for your hair. Of course, this is not Christina saying, "Go forth and take scissors upon thy crown!" - this is Christina saying, "If you know how to do it, then do it. If you don't trust yourself with scissors, or you don't own a pair of hair shears to begin with, see a professional."

Read More:
3 Signs You Need a Trim This Season
How and When to Trim Transitioning Hair

Now, are you ready for my "aha!" moment? I did all of the fixes above, and reached 75% satisfaction with my hair. But what I'm about to share next is simple, cheap, and kicked my curls into overdrive. You ready?

Problem #4: Curl Loosening
Now, if you've already tried fixes 1 through 3 and made substantial progress - great! Solving seemingly small problems with simple fixes can often make a world of difference. But sometimes, we can still experience curl loosening, or loss of curl pattern - especially my fellow color treated curlies. Even with the buildup gone, protein in check, and fresh trim. This can be frustrating, because the loosening may not be even throughout all the curls - and can even vary by section or strand. Like I mentioned earlier in the post, my crown and front/center areas were the hardest hit by this phenomenon. Luckily, I solved it quickly, cheaply, and naturally.

The Fix: pH Balancing
I had my first "aha!" with pH balancing while using Obia Naturals products. My curls were curlier - especially when I used Curl Enhancing Custard. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and so did my jar of Curl Enhancing Custard. And because I'm in #usethestash mode, I'm all about finding workarounds to give me the same result. The second "aha!" came when it was time to do the $3 Wash & Go. I employed something I hadn't used in years - the ACV Spritz. The beauty of Apple Cider Vinegar is that it balances the pH of the hair - tightening up the cuticle structure on the strands. The result is curls that are springier (have more shrinkage and body), clumpier, and shinier.

Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month

To make my ACV Spritz, I simply take a 3oz travel-size spray bottle and combine 1 part ACV to 2 parts water. Shake, and spray. Sometimes I put it on before my leave-in, sometimes after. It works beautifully either way - and does not leave behind a smell. And if you're not a fan of the DIY, ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray is a great swap.

Read More:
Apple Cider Vinegar, Revisited
Review: Obia Naturals - Vegan, pH Balanced Natural Hair Care
Review: ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray 

Annnnnnd that's it! In a little less than a month, I was able to completely transform my curls using the products and practices mentioned in this article. Remember that picture up top? Compare it with this:

Lost Your Curl Pattern? How I Repaired My Limp, Stringy Curls in One Month
My hair is happiest when the ends curl. #embracetheshrinkage
Now, If I could only fix that slacker left eyebrow with the perpetual thin spot...

By the way, guys - there's something else you should know too. If you're experiencing extreme changes in your hair, it could be the sign of something internally, too. Seek support and assistance from a trusted medical professional to rule out any potentially harmful health-related challenges.

I hope you guys found this helpful! Let me know in the comments below if you're going to try any of these methods or products!

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