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 »

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, healthy look­ing and all that!


+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 and… 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 what they… 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, or rod… 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 to catch.


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 than… 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 with… 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 admire… 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..