Posts Categorized: reader requests

Reader Request: Care and Feeding of Curly Hair

curly hair advice

Reader Portia had this request:

How to style and care for curly hair. Your post about curly hair made me happy, and while I would love to embrace my curls, they are extremely unmanageable.

Steel youselves for the disclaimer to end all disclaimers: Curly hair comes in more varieties than can possibly be classified, and each head of curls will behave and react differently. So while I’m happy to share what’s worked for me, I would never, EVER say that my own preferences are guaranteed to work for everyone else. Or really, for anyone else! But I’ll offer up my favorite practices and products, and we can continue the discussion in the comments. Sound good? Right on.

To recap, the photo above left is what my hair looks like super long … although to get it to look that way, I had to wash it, apply product, and wait about three hours for it to air dry. While sitting perfectly still. Inside the house where there was zero breeze. My curls are natural and lovely, but SO FUSSY. Which is why I ended up going for the look on the right, which is short and curly/messy. Easy to style and maintain, suits my texture, everyone is happy.

Now, of course, I’ve got this going on:


Yet another iteration of short and curly that I’m enjoying.

Since my hair is naturally wavy/curly, I was using curly hair products on it even when I was flat-ironing it. For starters, I do love the Deva Curl line of products for washing and conditioning. They leave absolutely zero buildup, and keep my hair happy and resilient. I’ve used the Deva styling products in the past on my shorter hairstyle, and they were among the only products I found that didn’t leave flaky white residue in my hair. (Not dandruff or scalp-related, believe me. I asked my dermatologist.) Right now I’m sad to report that I’m using the Oribe line, which is amazing but wildly expensive. My stylist used one of the products on me after a cut, created the softest waves my hair has ever had, and I was sold. I use the Supershine leave-in conditioner and the Curl-shaping Mousse. I’ve used and loved Oribe products in the past, too. (I occasionally nab them on eBay for cheaper.)

When it was shorter, I washed every other day. Now I try for three or four days between shampooings. My stylist has told me that letting the natural sebum penetrate for as long as possible will allow the strands to curl more easily. As I continue to grow the front out, I have notices that it keeps its curl better and longer if I leave it alone.

At age 38, I have finally purchased a diffuser … but I haven’t really needed it yet. I dry the back of my hair fully and the front about half. Allowing my curls/waves to air dry – at least partially – seems to work better for me. In my 20s, I would wash my hair each morning and go to work with it completely wet and full of product, allowing it to air dry over the course of the morning. Great for my hair, but in retrospect not the most professional move on my part. Half dry tends to look mostly dry to observers, though, so I let it go. Once the front is longer, I may end up using the diffuser more.

I never use brushes or combs. Ever. My hair is short enough to style without them, and I’ve read that brushes in particular can cause flyaways and frizz in curly hair.

I have tried many different products and techniques over time, and will continue to experiment, I’m quite sure. I know many women who are far more hardcore about the Deva Curl system than I, using the Deva diffuser and special supersoft towels for drying. If my curls were longer, I might try that out myself, but for now my system works well.

Portia, if your curls are unmanageable – I know I felt mine were – here are a few things I’d suggest:

  • Touch your hair as little as you can. Mine always looks better if I don’t futz with it too much.
  • Try mousse if you haven’t yet. It won’t weigh your hair down, but has decent hold and tends to create shapely curls.
  • Ask your stylist to thin your hair if part of the problem is weight or thickness. But request a thinning technique other than thinning shears, which will create bulk when your hair begins to grow out again.
  • Investigate flyaway solutions. People swear by dryer sheets for this purpose, but I’d be more inclined to try this John Freida touch-up cream myself.
  • Make sure you’re using moisture-rich products designed for curls. And heat protectant if you blow dry or heat style.
  • Read Hair Romance, especially this post and all of her curly hair posts. Christina knows far more about hair and curls than I ever will!

And that’s all I’ve got. What other tips would you all share for the care and feeding of curly hair? What are your go-to products? Do you blow dry or air dry? Help us out by sharing your input!

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Reader Request: Comfortable Belts

comfortable belts

Reader Brenna had this request:

I love the look of a belt adding a waist to a shapeless outfit, but I hate the feeling of a belt squeezing me. I can’t stand the feeling of spanx or pantyhose either! What kind of belts would you suggest?

Totally understand, Brenna. Nothing like a squeezy belt to cramp your style. No pun intended. (I think that was a pun. And if it was, I definitely didn’t intend it.)

Squeezing can come in many forms, but if part of the issue is that your belts are thick or stiff, try out a few wrap belts. Wide, obi-style wrap belts like the one above from Elizabeth Kelly can work, but do take up quite a bit of torso real-estate. So if you’re worried about shortening your torso, you’re better served to find narrower wraps. Look for something made from soft, supple leather or faux leather – this one from Anthropologie looks promising.

For an even softer option, consider sashes. You can use long scarves as belts, but there are also pre-made cloth sashes to be found. or made. Or if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can make one yourself.

My guess is this is not the direction Brenna would like to head, but since my own squeezy discomfort is most noticeable when I’m sitting and my midsection expands somewhat, elastic belts could be another solution. They will be snug at all times, of course, but they move with you and flex when you flex. You can look for woven elastics like this one, flat elastics, or styles with elastic panels like these guys.

Finally, if you want waist definition without a belt, here are some other ways to achieve it!

Image courtesy Elizabeth Kelly London.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Reader Request: What to Wear When Your Weight Is in Flux

clothes for weight loss

Reader Dona had this question:

I’m curious about how to shop/what to shop for when you are trying to lose weight. I know people, sometimes, say to wait until you get closer to your goal weight, but I’m not patient. I wonder what are some good garments that you can wear when your weight is fluctuating, whether up or down.

A great question, and relevant to many, I’m sure. No matter what your weight is doing, you’ve still gotta get dressed! If you’re gaining weight unexpectedly, you may want to wait to create stylish looks until that weight has come off … but sometimes it doesn’t come off, and dressing your new body stylishly may feel challenging but is important to maintaining a positive relationship with yourself. If you’re losing weight unexpectedly, you might try to make do with clothes that no longer fit your frame … but experimenting with new sizes and styles is a good way to make your new body feel more familiar. If you’re gaining or losing on purpose, it may be tempting to wait until you level out before shopping, and that’s not a bad plan. Unless the changes are gradual and you’re swimming in or squeezing into what’s currently in your closet.

So! Here are my shopping tips for anyone whose weight is in flux:


It’s true that you still need to wear clothing even when your weight is fluctuating, but if you haven’t reached a resting place yet spending big on clothes that might only get worn for a few months is a bad use of your moolah. Thrift and consignment stores are incredibly useful during this transitional time, and allow you to spend less, get more, and do so without hitting the fast fashion shops. It’s best to thrift in person during these times since you might feel unsure of what will fit you, but if you’re lacking decent secondhand options in your area, try online outlets like Twice, thredUP, and Tradesy. If you’re in the size 10 -32 range, you could also give rental service Gwynnie Bee a try.

Play with prints

Big blocks of solid color show far more of your body’s nooks and crannies than prints and patterns do. Printed dresses, blouses, skirts, even pants can be fabulous for making slight fit issues less obvious. Irregular organics like the print on the wrap dress above are especially great since regular geometrics like polka dots and stripes can sometimes be almost as revealing as solids.

Embrace scarves

You may be more likely to go this route in cool weather, but the volume and flow of scarves can downplay both weight loss and gain. Pick printed and patterned scarves to add more motion and color to your outfits, especially if wearing bold colors all-over feels uncomfortable for the time being.

Try draped detailing

Wrap dresses are fantastic for people whose weight is going up or down, since true wraps can be let out or cinched in without a single alteration. Wrap blouses and tops can be great options, too, but really anything with draping, ruching, or asymmetric design elements can benefit a body in transition.

Swap in some skirts

Pants are considerably less forgiving than skirts in most cases. Once they become too big or small, there’s only so much that belting tight or covering with loose tops will do to conceal their ill fit. Skirts – especially non-pencil styles with flat elastic waistbands like this one – can generally expand or contract along with you. If you dig the look of drapey pants, those styles may be more flexible but jeans and dress pants will be tough to fit when your weight is changing.

Do long over lean

If your workplace and/or lifestyle can accommodate a slightly more casual bent, consider a few tunics-and-leggings looks. Long over lean is a formula that can work regardless of which way your weight is swinging since the tops are generally loose and forgiving, and the bottoms balance with slimness. If you’re gaining or losing in your legs and are self-conscious, this might not be the best route, but if weight is shifting within your upper body it’s worth a go.

Shifting weight can be thrilling, aggravating, scary or confusing. But if you find yourself in a place where your body is changing shape or size, remember that dressing it with care and love can be a wonderful way to remain connected and grounded.

Images courtesy Nordstrom left | right

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