Help! My hair pattern is changing… what do I do?

Hello hair community! A dear reader sent me the email below. Two years ago, she endured brain surgery. Thankfully, she has healed, but she has noticed an interesting aftereffect – her hair pattern is changing. While I was able to offer her some suggestions, I thought I’d share with the community to see if anyone else can offer insight. Read on…


I’m having a hair identity crisis and I don’t know where I can get advice, even googling it. It might be a shot in the dark but I didn’t know if you might have any answers to at least some of my questions.

When I was a little girl I had soft curls. By the time I was 5 it had straightened and thickened. Even though it was straight it still had a lot of body. The ends curled up if it was shorter than my shoulder-length , I had lots of cowlicks, & little frizzy things if I pulled my hair back.

Two years ago, I had brain surgery. Part of my hair was shaved but it was underneath at the base of my skull. With my hair down no one would’ve known it was shaved. As my hair has grown back, it has been wavy and started creeping up to the hair above my incision and seems to be creeping more and more as well as getting curlier underneath.  The hair on the back of my head is all wavy/curly except for one smooth layer.

I think it might be starting to creep to the sides too, the underlayers near my ears are getting wavy. Moreso on the right side then the left.

I don’t really know what to do with it. It’s this weird half and half.  Even more weird than that is it’s only curly to like the middle of my neck, then a lot of it straightens.

When my hair is wet, it is probably 75% wavy but some of that is pulled out by the weight of it.

Does hair texture change gradually from the root?

Do you think my hair will continue to change to being all wavy or stay half/half?

Do you have any thoughts on styling or haircuts?

Thank you,


If you have any thoughts or advice, please share below!


Review of NuMe Classic Curling Wand

Nu Me Classic Wand 25MM

Hair styling tools and products company NuMe was kind enough to send me one of their salon-grade curling wands to try. I have only recently gotten into the curling wand game – previously my heated hair tools consisted only of a blow dryer with brush attachment, diffuser, flat iron, and old-school curling iron. I rarely buy new hair tools because I hardly use heat on my hair. (My flat iron is nine years old and still works!) So when I do acquire a new tool, I consider it an investment.

The NuMe Classic Wand 25MM seems to be a fantastic addition to my collection. The packaging promises glossy curls delivered by a tourmaline-infused ceramic coated barrel. (If you are, like I was, wondering what tourmaline is, read here.) Additional features include:

  • Clipless design for crease-free curls
  • Negative ion technology
  • Heats up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit

The iron itself is a vibrant turquoise color with a diamond pattern engraved handle, making it easy to hold, particularly if you’ve just coated your strands with product. It came with a heat-resistant glove that provides FULL hand and wrist coverage. I’m happy to report that I did not suffer one burn.

I was actually in a pinch when I tried the wand for the first time. I had to take an impromptu headshot for work, and my hair was not photo-ready. I had just tried new products the night before, and hadn’t quite figured out the right proportion of leave-in to hair gel. I hadn’t pineappled the night before, just slept on a satin scarf, but my hair was still frizzier than usual. I had no time to rewash and diffuse, so I grabbed the NuMe wand.

I lightly coated my hair with a heat protectant serum, then took fairly large sections – maybe 1.5 inches – and curled away from my face from root to tip. Because I was pressed for time, I only did the hair that was visible – top and sides. The wand was easy to hold, and the hair slipped easily off the barrel. My hair didn’t even smoke – usually a sure sign that some sort of damage is taking place.

Here are the results:


Results of NuMe Curling Wand to loosen natural curls and tame frizz

Not bad, eh? Frizz was virtually eliminated, curls were pretty much uniform, my hair was indeed glossy, and it only took 10 minutes! If you’re looking for a new curling wand, I’d definitely give this one a consideration. If you’re looking soon, NuMe is running some ridiculously good deals before the end of the year. Here they are:

1.)  $28 Any Curling Wand
Promo Code:  HAIRCARE28 – Click here to view
2.)  $26 Silhouette Flat Iron
Promo Code:  STOCKING26 – Click here to view
3.)  55% Off Sitewide (except nails & holiday collection) + Free Shipping
Promo Code:  SNOWMAN55 – Click here to view
4.)  Buy 2 Hair Chalk for $6 (excludes hair chalk pack)
Promo Code:  HAIRCHALK6 – Click here to view
5.) Now until 12/31/15, receive an additional 10% off their Holiday Collection.
Promo Code:  HOLIDAY10 – Click here to view
Order soon and let me know what you think!

Braided Side Bun + White Linen Night

braided side bun on naturally curly hair

Two Saturday evenings ago my husband and I attended the schmoozy event that is New Orleans’ White Linen Night. Art galleries along Julia Street in the Warehouse District throw open their doors to the public to showcase collections and launch exhibits. Restaurants bring food and bars to the street, cars are prohibited, and guests are asked to wear their finest white linen (or whatever they have that’s white-ish).

New Orleans White Linen Night 2014

I’ll jump on any excuse to dress up, so of course I heeded the call to wear le couleur du soir. Being from the South and an island girl at heart, I do happen to own a bit of white linen. I dug in my closet for this dress, which I wore to my bridal shower in May – 9 YEARS AGO. Thankfully, it still fits like a charm.

white linen dress

For its debut in 2005, I wore this dress with a large, wide-brimmed floppy hat that was perfect for a sunny day. But since White Linen Night is well, at night, I skipped the hat and opted for an elegant braided side bun.

Since my hair is now so long and the summer heat creates lots of frizz, I decided to braid my hair wet. I do this with most braided styles – it’s easier, faster and the braids come out much sleeker.

braided side bun on long hair

I actually would have preferred my hair to dry a bit before I left the house so I could pull the braid apart and make the bun even bigger, but as usual, I was rushing, so no such thing occurred.

This was actually a very easy style to achieve. After applying a bit of Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, I created a deep part on one side and combed all my hair straight. I then created one French braid with the top section of hair, and created a second braid in the back, to the same side.

I looped the front French braid around the back one, forming a small bun, and pinned the ends to secure. I then took the back braid, and looped it around the perimeter of the small bun to create an even larger bun, and pinned the ends.

how to create a braided side bun on long hair

The down side to braiding wet hair is that it is very heavy, so I had to stick all kinds of long bobby pins in random places to hold all the hair in place. Generally, I was pleased with the result, though next time I may try it on blown out, straight hair to see just how big of a braided bun I can create.

If you try this style yourself, I’d love to see it! Leave a comment here with a photo, or tag the photo @curlonamission on Instagram. Happy braiding!

DIY Curl Refreshing Spray

I mentioned in a previous post that I love a good curl refreshing spray. However, I don’t like to spend a lot of money of them for two reasons: 1) I go through them like water and 2) half the time they don’t work! So I’ve concocted my own curl refreshing recipe that works like a charm on my 2nd, and even 3rd, day curls.  Here are my ingredients:

Ingredients for DIY Curl Refreshing Spray

Coconut Oil, Leave-In Conditioner, Water

I like to use a light leave-in like Giovanni for this spray because it blends easily with water. The leave-in softens and conditions hair, coconut oil makes it shiny and helps moisturize, and of course water is the ultimate natural curl activator.

Here’s approximately what I use in a 2 oz bottle (I make it in small batches so I can put it in my purse or travel with it).

  • 1/8 leave-in conditioner
  • One squirt (maybe a teaspoon) of coconut oil
  • Fill up the rest of the bottle with water

Shake (the bottle) rigorously until the ingredients are well blended. The goal is to achieve what I call “slippery water,” so you may need to add more water or conditioner until you get just the right formula. You want the mixture to be thin enough to spray through a nozzle, but have enough “slip” to coat your locks.

When I’m ready to use it, I flip over my limp, dry curls and shake them at the root to loosen them up, then I spritz the refresher onto my hair until it’s damp all over. I flip upside down again, and gently scrunch my hair upward. Most of the time I let my hair air dry, but you could also use a diffuser on low heat if you’re in a hurry. Et voila!

Before and after DIY Curl Refreshing Spray

Before and after

Smooth, frizz-free curls. Do you have a favorite curl refreshing spray or make your own?

natural curls

Creating Volume for Fine Curly Hair

Creating Volume for Fine Curly Hair

My hair has a split personality. When the weather is hot and humid, it can swell up to a beautiful size without my having to do much but step outside. However, when the weather turns cool and the humidity drops, it just gets kind of… limp. I could use clips, bobby pins and hair spray to help it defy gravity, but I don’t like using these on a daily basis. My hair is thick, but the actual strands are fine, and when there’s no humidity to lift them up, they lay flat at the root and twirl down, forming curls at the ends. So my hair can get very bottom heavy, resulting in flat locks.

There are ways, however, to give fine curly hair the illusion of volume. Here’s what I do when I want big hair:

Cut hair into layers
If you have medium-length hair or longer, be sure to have it cut into layers throughout, rather than just long layers. For example, if your hair hits mid-back, your first layer may start somewhere between your chin and collarbone, depending on your curl pattern. Be sure to have layers cut in the back of the hair as well. You don’t want lots of volume in the front and a flat back.

Go light on the styling products
Heavy-handed use of products will weigh down your hair, preventing you from getting the lift you’re looking for. Personally, I use a small amount of a very moisturizing leave-in, usually Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and maybe a touch of an alcohol-free gel like L’Oreal EverStyle Curl Defining Gel. Also, I never apply styling products to the root. If your hair is heavy at the root, the rest will invariably follow suite.

Diffuse upside down
When I have time, I love letting my hair air dry. The curls are more defined and I have less frizz than when I diffuse, but when I want volume, I have to put curl definition on the back burner. My favorite way of diffusing is to let my hair air dry about half-way, then use the diffuser on the low heat setting. The key is diffusing your hair upside down, since this dries the roots in the opposite direction of the way they grow. I dry in sections, gathering one at a time in the diffuser cup, bringing it up to the root and holding it there for a few seconds. If I’m diffusing completely wet hair, I use the high setting or else it takes forever to dry. Once  dry, I always blast my hair with the cool setting to help seal the cuticle.

Creating Volume for FIne Curly HairThe photo above is actually second day hair. After sleeping with my hair in a pineapple, I flipped my hair upside down, shook the curls loose from the root, and used Ouidad’s Botanical Boost Refreshing Spray to spruce them up. Another trick I learned recently to create volume is to use a pick. Yep, an afro pick. It works great on fine hair because you can lift the root and separate the curls without causing a lot of frizz. Again, I find I get the most volume if I flip my hair upside down and lift from the root. A pick is also a great tool if you want to achieve the classic Diana Ross look.

If you have any tricks for achieving volume on fine curly hair, please let me know!