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More Uniform Curls

Q: Hi, I have a question about what I can do to make my curls looks more uniform. My hair is about shoulder length, and I wore it naturally curly for years until I got into high school. Then I've been straightening it since 1996 pretty much all the time. Recently since I've let it grow, I have been trying to wear it straight but for some reason, it won't curl up like it used to. All the hair around my hair line and underneath will curl up in little ringlets and it looks so pretty and but the hair on top isn't curling, it just looks frizzy. My hair is also very thick and I have a hard time keeping it from looking super huge. Please help me and let me know what I can do to make my hair look the same all the way around and how to keep it relatively flat and frizz free. Thank you.
 
girl with curls A: Some of your statements seem to be contradictory: You state of your hair that you have been trying to “wear it straight, but for some reason it won’t curl up like it used to”. Since I can’t be sure what you’re trying to do, I’ll try to address the problem as I see it.
 
      If you’re trying to wear your hair “natural” and make use of the natural curl your hair once had, you may be dealing with hair that has been damaged from the habitual straightening you subjected it to over the years. In some cases, simply replenishing the hair’s moisture balance will be sufficient to restore the hair’s curl. In some cases you simply have to grow out the damaged portion of the hair in order to regain that natural curl.
 
      It is also possible that your hair’s added length is inhibiting the curl. Usually, the reason the hair around the perimeter of the head is curlier is due to it being shorter, and – especially at the back of the hair – more saturated with natural sebaceous oils which protect it and keep it conditioned.
 
      As for the problems of keeping the hair from looking “super huge” you can opt for possibly getting layers added to your style, or perhaps you can simply have your hair thinned using thinning shears. Just be sure to go to a stylist who won’t overdo it.
 
      As a final option to restore the curl, you could consider getting a perm service to curl the hair back to an approximation of its natural wave pattern. Doing so can help to restore the lost curl, but does add stress to hair that may already be damaged from regular straightening. (Please note that if the “straightening” mentioned earlier involved chemical straightening services, having the hair permed may no be an option, so please tell your stylist about any and all chemical services you have had prior to scheduling any new chemical service.)
 
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