By The Damn Salon

We frequently meet women who find themselves frustrated with the arsenal of products they’ve collected on their quest for curls. As with most things, The Damn Salon has an opinion about this and It is a simple one…

Curls do not come in a jar.

Kinky hair is in and of itself curly. If you have ever examined a “nap” closely then you may have already arrived at this conclusion. So, why are black women spending millions of dollars annually on puddings, creams, gels, sprays, and other concoctions that promise what they already have? It is absolutely possible to find products that will tame frizz, or define YOUR natural EXISTING curl pattern. But you will not find springy spirals in a jar, if you never had them to begin with, my dear.

Don’t fight nature, embrace it. Haute hair, begins with healthy hair. So, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Trim every 3 months. Choose protective styles whenever possible. Avoid heat like the plague. Once you have mastered these principles, explore styling options that work with your natural curl pattern. If your hair is very kinky, roll with it…literally. Styles like finger twists and comb twists will produce awesome lasting texture with ease. These styles also tend to look better as they age. Gently separate the twist after a few days for greater volume and variety.

If you have a looser curl pattern the tried and true two strand twist will elongate and unify your curls. The springy corkscrews can be worn for up to two weeks, depending on their size. Larger twists will show their age a little faster. Use a light oil, like The Damn Salon’s Peppermint and Tea Tree Hair Oil, when doing your twist out. You should enjoy natural spirals that age beautifully. If you have wavy hair, try Bantu knots. The knots alone are Avante Garde and exotic. When twisted out they will provide you with big bold waves. Think old Hollywood Glam.

I really love the message of this piece! Ladies, what do you think?

Find The Damn Salon on Facebook here.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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148 Comments on "Curls Don’t Come in a Jar…"

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yes,this post definitely has a good message. Embracing your natural coils is the most important process of natural hair care maintenance. Once you do that and learn how to care for your hair, there are so many possibilities. And it is so true that curls do not come in a bottle or jar.

I been over (so over it!) definition but I understand the obsession. I have the advantage of being ahead of the curve because I began my natural journey in 1996 when the only product even close to our needs was Sebastian no.9 (terribly drying.) After discovering Kinky Curly a few years ago which turned my fuzz into something amazing I yea.. wore it out! Jars of the stuff. Now, I’m over it– now looking for intimidatingly big hair definition or not. Not a 70’s picked out fro-we did that already. I’m into modern, textured hair. Not kinky hair disguised as… Read more »
Another long term natural. It was around 1993 when i decided the frying was no good for my hair and reverted to natural. Even before my jerry curl stage i experimented with braids and twist outs without all the products that are on the market today. I known for a long time what look or texture i’m able to achieve with my hair from pure experimentation and not something i’ve seen someone else doing cause there wasn’t anyone around me who was doing what i was doing. I’ve also had a good relationship with my natural hair, i guess i… Read more »
+1 Yes!!! I totally get what you are saying. I have been completely natural since 2000 and I , too , went through an evolving process- inc. the Sebastian phase. Lol! This ‘going natural’ phenomen is new to a ton of people all at the same time. Therefore, the product ‘madness’ is compounded by all the financiers who see an opportunity to make their fortune while the iron is hot. . . no pun intended! I can;t even imagine if I had all that’s available now when I went through the process back in 2000. BTW, your hair is fierce,… Read more »

+1 =)

THX! Ya’ll! I have to say I achieved more definition after moisturizing more. And products really are key. This debate has gone way beyond what I imagined as I’m sure you ^^ didn’t either all those years ago. For me versatility is key! Always has been! I love visiting the Dominican salon going bone straight for ‘holiday hair’ once a year, twist out, braid out, knot out, too-lazy-to-braid-it-at-night out! lol I have done it all. I love that my blonde (white) bestie envies my endless options. She even bought a crimping iron to diversify her straight hair! Seriously, don’t women… Read more »
The author says “avoid heat like the plague” and the picture is of a lady with a blow out. 😉 I have 3c-4b hair and have never purchased products to try to “enhance” my curl pattern. Primarily because I don’t do wash and goes, and keep my hair in twists or a twist out all the time. Keeping my hair stretched keeps it tangle free and therefore less prone to damage and single strand knots. I also have begun to tension blow dry my hair on a low setting once a week when I wash. At first I was team… Read more »
okay, check this website ya’ll>> Landry is both correct & incorrect when it comes to the damaging effects of heat on hair, whether natural, permed or naturally straight.. basically when we wet our hair the physical side bonds in the hair are loosened (thats why it hangs longer when wet) and when its dried w/ heat *(unless w/ a diffuser blowdryer or under a dryer)the point is to keep those physical side bonds from reforming into the natural curl (aka the tightness being restored). but unless it is chemically treated it is not permanent – based on my research.… Read more »
I think you have to take the context of the article into consideration. Perhaps the woman in the picture doesn’t have a blow out, but natural hair without a curl pattern (thus the topic of the article). Also, if a person is already lamenting about having a lack of curls, then blow-drying or putting heat on their hair would kill whatever little curl they had, and so therefore in this instance, heat should be avoided “like the plague.” I don’t think the author of the piece was suggesting extremes. And if some naturals want to be “no heat” naturals, that’s… Read more »

@Candice…Yes, that is a blow out, she has a facebook page with her natural sisters!


Thanks. I still don’t think the photo makes the advice any less true based on the context of the article.


You are right the photo has nothing to do with the story a picture of Maghony Curls, Naptural85 or CurlyNikki would have been more relevant to the story since they are the Natural icons, for most not all!

I think a picture of a ‘hair icon’ (whatever that is) would only serve as a disservice to this article. First off, not everyone is in agreement or has reached a concensus about who reps them in re: hair issues. Secondly, even if such concensus was reached, the point of the article is to accept what you have, not strive to emulate someone else or look up to someone because of their hair type, style or views about hair. I realize that there are ‘sheep’ amongst us, but instead of encouraging a herd mentality, the article seeks to encourage individality… Read more »

Yesterday’s photo was of a natural icon, someone who is famous for their natural hair!


BGLH may not have the authority to post pictures of those specific women though. Copyright doesn’t disappear just because it’s the Internet.


The photo with this story has been changed, interesting..

The lady in the pic, India, actually has a hair blog along with her sisters that I follow, and I’ve seen her blow dry her hair and flat iron it. Also, she does have natural curls that are quite beautiful, as well as her sisters. And again blow-drying does not “kill” curls, excessive blow drying with improper technique does. I too don’t think that the author was suggesting extremes, but in MY opinion many naturals DO go to extremes when it comes to natural vs. commercial products, heat vs. no heat, etc. Of course every natural is entitled do do… Read more »
“I too don’t think that the author was suggesting extremes, but in MY opinion many naturals DO go to extremes when it comes to natural vs. commercial products, heat vs. no heat, etc.” I agree, and this explains why I’m beginning to get sick of the “natural hair movement” and wishing that our hair was just hair. With that said, bcuz it’s not just hair, some of us forget that most women use products for their hair. Doesn’t matter the texture, I’ve know too many women with hair that is the opposite of mine (3c-4a) and they dye, perm, blowdry,… Read more »

I totally agree tiredofthebs! Who are was to point the finger at someone for “altering” their hair, when in all reality the only way to NOT alter your hair is to NOT touch it at all.


Well said Landry, we are all entitled to our opinions!

How do you not see the correlation. To some veganism is an extreme diet choice. But it is someone’s personal choice. There doesn’t need to be balance. Just as if someone want to never use heat (much like an vegan never eating animal or animal byproduct) or only finger detangle, that is also a personal choice. You were suggesting that everyone should “balance” what they do or what they advise. I don’t agree. If someone chooses an all or nothing approach, that’s their own business. I thought that was utterly self explanatory. I guess nuance is difficult for some people… Read more »

Well said.

from the moment I decided to go natural I already knew I would not have loose springy curls but that did not deter me and I vowed not to try and “create curls”. I for one embrace my kinky frizzy hair.I just try to stretch it out a bit to avoid tangles on the ends but other than that I let it be.The older the style,the bigger,the better. I don’t know why, the idea of searching for curl defintition always made me a bit uneasy :/ (I don’t judge people for doing it…I just wouldn’t do it myself) This piece… Read more »

I understand the purpose of the post…to encourage natural hair women to embrace what was “naturally” given to them. That’s what it’s all about. But, Damn Salon, curls do come in a bottle. A “Synergi Thermal Mousse” bottle. TRY IT.


I’m sure this mousse, like any others, defines curls. I haven’t tried it yet, but i doubt that if someone with naturally straight hair, for example, used it, they would have curls.

“Naturally straight”? I don’t know?? But I do know, it works for woman that do not have a relaxer. I have been wearing my hair natural for more than 20 years. I am a medium maintenance woman and don’t find it “fun” to have to sit and twist my hair the night before to get it to look the way I want it. The less work the better. I have spent thousands of dollars on many many products for natural hair never being satisfied. Then, Synergi Mousse came along. I can use it when I decide to press my hair… Read more »

This smells of sales pitch from someone who works with the company, trying to sell people more products that won’t change their natural hair texture. Might be wrong, but this response goes exactly against what this article is about. We only have what we’re born with unless we process it. Curls do not come in a bottle, products can only tame or mildly enhance what we already have that is the point.

Annie L.

+1 Kaily on ‘sales pitch’


+1 on the ‘sales pitch’…UGH! TACKY.


I agree with this article 100% I stopped trying to find that perfect cream or pudding. I use what I have and embrace my hair, frizziness and all and I love it!


Same here, Alexandra!


+1… I’ve grown quite fond of the frizzes too…lol. =)


Great article. This is why I love seeing a natural with hair that isn’t too manipulated. I wonder if the search for the perfect curl is going to become the new “creamy crack”.


@ladyluo I think you might be right. This curl business has turned into a multi million dollar quest for black women. Even though many more of us are natural, we are still letting the media and western ideals of beauty rule over good reasoning. The desire for mixed girl hair has replaced the desire for straight hair. I guess its a step in the right direction but Black women need to just love themselves as they are. Period.


What is ‘mixed girl’ hair?

I keep saying it, those that claim there is a problem are the problem.


@Jane, are you seriously trying to pretend that the natural community does not promote loose curls instead of kinks? Are you seriously trying to tell me that we are lying when we say that society is still stuck on the ‘only some people should go natural?

@Dava, you are absolutely correct, why do you think the miss jessie motto is to transform the curls you have to the curls you want?……theirs?


Have you seen the models that advertise mixed chicks?

+1 And I think the ‘curl chase’ whether it’s over-doing it w/ henna (for often professed ‘conditioning benefits’- yes that’s fine, but 3-4x week- REALLY?? We all know what’s up with that-Anywhoo…) or supposed “curl-inducing” products, and the need for some to constantly manipulate the hair to form curls is the new ‘creamy crack’. Not personally against any of these methods or tools, but one will save money, stave off frustration, and add time to one’s schedule just by accepting and properly loving (moisturizing, etc) what’s growing out of one’s scalp- That’s true freedom and true acceptance of self. But,… Read more »

+1000 I think the hustle on ‘curl cream’ is just sickening. And folks who buy it in hopes of making curls pop is just misguided. water will make your curls pop — so if water is free, why are you paying X amount of $$ for some durn cream? Slap some oil and gel on that and call it a day!

And I’m gonna have to co-sign you to infinity, girl. I didn’t go natural to stress over products and spend 30 dollars a pop for a little jar or bottle of curl cream. Sooooooo happy I never hopped on those bandwagons. I rock the cheapie gels (one full of glycerine for moisture, and the other that gives hold) and my crinkly curly coils pop just as well as the folks’ who use the other expensive creams. Also, I’m not trying to go above and beyond with a “wash and go.” I wash my hair, apply my product in no more… Read more »

I’m afraid it already is…why do you think some many oooh and aaah’s over Naptural85 & CurlyNikki? One word: CURLS!!


I think the exact things about those 2 sites. Though I love them. It makes me so sad when my friends say they can’t go natural if they don’t have X hair type. It sucks.


Exactly Tiff, its sad, relax chick want length and naturals want curls and length ie GOOD HAIR! Whether they will admit it or not its the truth…it all goes back to having the so called GOOD HAIR!

I totally agree! When I went natural and discovered Youtube and hair blogs, I was personally shocked at what to me seemed to be a mimicking or emulating of mixed or biracial girls’ 3b/3c hair! I thought I was alone in thinking, “These Black women are trying to look mixed instead of looking like themselves!” If you have to do all that to get curls then your hair is not truly “perfectly” curly. There are naturals using all kinds of puddings, shingling, cremes – etc. And the prices – whoa! Who has that kind of money to spend or all… Read more »
B, I want long hair just to my shoulders, why, not because it is good hair but so that I can put my hair in a ponytail and leave the house if I need to. Having shoulder length hair means for me that I can do curly styles (bantu knot outs, twist outs) and the length of my hair will weigh down the hair so the curls relax a little and look better. Although I admire Kimmay and Haircrush their length I’d hate to have hair that long. I rarely use Kinky Custard to define my curls as I’m happy… Read more »

Agreed. I am convinced that that is why Tracee Ellis Ross and Corinne Bailey are the most famous natural hair icons. Neither are type 4/kinky/nappy haired women. Yet when black women think natural, they think those two.


If memory serves me right, both Tracee & Corrine are both biracial. What about Macy Gray, Erykah Badu, or pre-relaxer Jill Scott? Neither of them are biracial.


Just because someone is biracial does not automatically mean that their hair cannot be classified as a Type 4. I know plenty of biracial men and women that have kinky, not curly hair! On the other hand, there are plenty of Black women who have wavy and curly hair. So…what’s your point?

If memory serves me correct, Naptural and Corinne both have type 4 kinky hair! Corinne manipulates her curl pattern by wearing braid-outs/twist-outs/roller sets. Naptural is a Type 4a (her hair is coily/curly). Neither are in the Type 3 range. Do you guys know what a Type 4 truly look like? Not all Type 4’s are rocking an afro, but that does not mean they are not a Type 4. I would love to see the day when naturals learn to love their own unique hair texture and stop focusing on other people’s curl pattern. It’s time for Black women to… Read more »

Ah no, Sera2455 exudes self esteem but I have yet to see her face plastered anywhere. Like someone else said, black women have gone from coveting the straight hair of other race women to the curly hair of biracial women (generally speaking of course). It’s not about confidence, it’s about still wanting what people identify as ‘good hair’.


@EG exactly!!!!


Absolutely and dont forget Naptural85!


Wait what?! Naptural85 is type 4. Her hair is healthy, thick, and beautiful that is why people oh and ah over it.

Ironically, you doing exactly what you are accusing others of doing.


+1 Beautiful hair comes in all textures and types. I admire both type 3 and 4 categories alike.


@Jane, what would that be? I dont classy hair so maybe that hair type ish is for someone else. I was referring to folks who are famous for natural hair and/or someone who have a large following ’cause of their hair!

Here is the comment you were agreeing with: ‘Agreed. I am convinced that that is why Tracee Ellis Ross and Corinne Bailey are the most famous natural hair icons. Neither are type 4/kinky/nappy haired women. Yet when black women think natural, they think those two.’ So for someone that doesn’t do all that type ish you certainly seemed hyped to agree with it and reclassify someone. Her hair is beautiful and admired, and beautiful and admired hair is and can be type 4. Stop putting your issues on other people. I am type 4 and love my coils, but also… Read more »
I have to agree with Jane “beautiful and admired hair is and can be type 4.”–there are many naturals with type 4 hair, iknowlee and xgolden to name a few, who have type 4 hair and have a large following on youtube. Both offer many hairstyles, educational information, and tutorials that have been very helpful to me and many others. Also I think it is an incorrect assumption to say that most naturals prefer and/or desire looser textured hair or “good hair” as “B” referred to it. I’ve been natural for about 8 months since big chopping and rarely has… Read more »
This is true…it’s kind of like the unspoken secret that many women with type 4 kinky hair won’t admit. It upsets me when I see women give the glazed over look when they see a head full of curls. And then it also saddens me when I see the owners of these curls relish in the admiration — some are gleeful in the fact that they have “that type of hair”… knowing that many envy them. Sigh. Hey — I’m thrilled with my hair. Seriously! Now, do I love it all the time? 24/7 — 365 … absolutely not. And… Read more »

I feel this is going to get ugly. Just a feeling.

I think if you do have curls, power to you if you want to define them, but, if you don’t have them, don’t beat yourself up trying to find a product that will miraculously give you curls. Some people believe that they have to have every individual curl defined, and that can be a real downer to those that just don’t have hair like that. Find something that works for your hair type and just work with it.

/steps off soapbox




I really like this article because “we” as women with naturally curly hair were always taught to get rid of it damaging our hair in the process and if we embraced our roots the whole time…..we all would have flowing curly hair….thanks for the encouraging words; I think I will start to embrace my curls more and more and not heat it away..