My name is Gabriella. I have anxiety, depression, and S.A.D. I also have curly hair. I’ve been speaking a lot about mental health on Instagram lately, and the response and support has been overwhelming! I know there are many of you who have the same or similar struggles. So I’ve put together my top tips on how to look after your curls when you’ve got anxiety and depression. Or any kind of mental or physical illness.
Anxiety & Depression
I feel really strongly that mental health is something we need to talk about more. I don’t think it would be right to jump into how to look after your curls when you’ve got anxiety and depression, without first explaining what that’s like. When you suffer from a mental illness, you feel like you’re the only one going through it. It’s only from talking about it, we realise we’re not alone. So many people suffer from anxiety and depression, panic attacks, OCD, PTSD, SAD etc. During these times, everything becomes a struggle. Getting up in the morning, eating, showering, washing my face, brushing my teeth, washing and styling my curly hair.
This too shall pass
Here’s something I learned recently, which has helped my logical perspective when it feels like my anxiety or panic attack is never going to end. Or I’m always going to struggle with my mental health. Think of a time when you were really, really happy. Like laughing so much with your best friends, your stomach hurts and you’ve got tears rolling down your cheeks. In that moment, did you think that feeling was going to last forever? That you were going to be that happy for the rest of your life? No. You knew it would pass. You knew it was only momentary. It’s the same when you feel anxious, depressed or even suicidal. This, too, shall pass.
Anxiety attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. I can often be in a state of anxiety for days. Depression can last for months, years! S.A.D. continues to whoop my ass from October/November through to March/April, every year. So how do you look after your curls so they’re not a matted mess that you’ll have to cut off when you’re feeling like you can face the world again? Here’s my top 6 tips.
If it’s been a while since you’ve washed your hair, use a good moisturising, cleansing or clarifying shampoo to get rid of build up and greasy roots. My favourite is Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo, use CURLYCAILIN10 for 10% discount at checkout. It leaves my scalp and roots feeling lovely and clean. But it’s also gentle and extremely moisturising so won’t strip your hair and dry it out. For more info on clarifying and chelating shampoos, product recommendations and how to work out which ones you need, check out this post. I’ve also got my favourite clarifying and chelating shampoos in my Amazon shop.
2. Deep Condition
Skip the conditioner and use a good deep conditioner instead. Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque is my favourite, and contains protein. I also like to use this DC when I’m doing my modified rice water treatment. For a protein-free deep conditioner, I love Matrix Biolage HydraSource Conditioner (GVP Conditioning Balm in the US), or Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment – use code CURLYCAILIN20 for 20% off the Jessicurl site. Avoid sleeping with deep conditioner in your hair as this can lead to hygral fatigue, itchy scalp and more. All of these products are available in my Amazon Shop.
3. Use Heat
Using a heat cap when you deep condition will make a huge difference. Heat opens up the hair’s cuticle so the products can penetrate deeper into the hair shaft. Which means you get the most out of your deep conditioners and your hair reaps all the benefits. I make and sell heat caps on Etsy. Made with 100% cotton and 100% organic Irish flaxseeds. They’re eco-friendly, microwaveable, reusable, truly reversible, stylish and easy to use. I ship worldwide, and you can see the latest fabric combination collections and purchase them here.
This is where I love to use a good one-and-done styling product. Look for products that will enhance your curl pattern, create a cast and give enough hold to last a few days. My favourites are MopTop Curling Custard, budget-friendly Aussie Instant Freeze Gel or Pantene Defined Curls Mousse No. 5. – which is often half price in supermarkets. All available in my Amazon Shop.
If you can’t face diffusing, then let your hair air dry. Using a curl towel will help get the initial excess water out of your hair, and help speed up the drying process. The DevaCurl towel gets the most excess water our your hair, but I find it can cause my hair to frizz a little. I find this with most microfibre towels tbh. The Trepadora towel is my favourite for scrunching excess water out of my hair. But the Boucleme towel is my favourite for plopping – which you can read more about here.
Protect your curls with a pineapple. I’ve often gone three days with my hair in a pineapple. And when I’ve finally taken it down, my curls have been perfectly acceptable! I think it’s the best, and easiest way to protect and preserve curls in between wash days. Both during the day, and at night. I use a vegan-friendly satin scrunchie from Coorie Curls. I also wear a Buff to protect my curls at night, and often wear it as a headband during the day. Here’s the Buff I bought on Amazon. A silk pillowcase like this one from SilkSkin. A satin scrunchie or Puff Cuff and a pineapple are a great trio for protecting your curls at night, or when you can’t face getting up out of bed for days on end. See this post for how I protect my curls at night, and my favourite silk pillowcase.
This post was harder to write than I thought. It’s hard being vulnerable and opening up about more personal stuff sometimes. Especially in such a public way, and when there’s still so much stigma around mental health. We are more than just our curls, and it’s important to recognise and acknowledge that. Not just for positive things, but for our struggles too.
I hope you found this post helpful in some way. Please subscribe if you haven’t already, I’ve got an exciting giveaway post coming up next! So you don’t want to miss that! You can also follow me on Instagram. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Gabriella xoxo
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