Curly hair is one of the most difficult hair types to care for. If you have tight curls, your hair is likely harder to style, more challenging to keep hydrated and tougher to protect against frizz. However, when cared for correctly, curly hair can look and feel marvelous.
The difference really comes down to daily care. With the right combination of hair care routines, damage control and thoughtful styling, your curls won’t be unruly—they’ll be unreal!
Here are some things to keep in mind to achieve the healthiest possible curls.
Hydration is everything
Curly hair is notorious for being dry. Because the curl twists and turns, it is tougher for the natural oils produced by your scalp to make their way down the strand, leaving the ends, in particular, dry and brittle.
For this reason, hydration is super important in your daily hair care routine. Invest in a high-quality conditioner for use every time you wash your hair (and sometimes even in place of shampoo!).
Unfortunately, routine conditioning in the shower will probably not be enough for your thirsty hair. Thus, hair masks and deep conditioners can make a huge difference. You can buy deep conditioners or masks in a store or create your own at home using hydrating ingredients like banana, coconut oil, yogurt and more.
Make a point to use a hydrating mask every week or so and let it sit on the hair for a few hours to let the formula truly penetrate the hair and lock moisture deep within each strand.
To shampoo or not to shampoo?
You may have been taught that you need to wash your hair every day, but for people with curly hair, this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, shampooing every day can do more damage than good on very curly hair.
This is because shampoo strips the hair of its natural oils. Since curly hair already has a tough time getting hair oils down to the ends and staying hydrated, removing even more oil from the hair can be disastrous, leaving your hair even more dehydrated than before.
By skipping washes, you can retain that moisture your hair needs and let it truly seep into the strands. Everyone’s hair will be different—some people have naturally oiler scalps than others—but try skipping a wash every other or every two days. Experiment with what feels right for your hair and use dry shampoo in between washes if you’re looking a little oily up top.
Doing things that could damage your hair is even more dangerous when you have curly hair, as opposed to straight or wavy hair. As we noted before, curly hair is more likely to be dry, brittle and potentially frizzy already, so adding damaging dyes, heat and styling to the mix could make a bad situation worse. To care for your hair and keep it looking healthy, try to cut back on damaging behaviors.
Avoid brushing your hair harshly with a hair brush—especially when it’s wet. Not only will doing so cause damage to the strands, but it can make your hair poof out and cause an unruly, frizzy mess. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb or finger comb your hair when it’s wet to separate the curls and shape them, using a natural detangler product and curl cream if necessary.
Avoid hot tools as much as you can. If you need to blow dry your hair, use a diffuser and the cool setting to reduce the heat you apply. Additionally, avoid showering with super-hot water, as this can dry out your hair more.
Curly hair is notorious for getting ultra-frizzy, especially during the humid summer months. While hydration can help a little, curly hair might need a little extra attention to truly look frizz-free.
Apply hair oils that can penetrate the strands but won’t weight down your curls. The type you choose will ultimately depends on your hair length, thickness and curl type.
When you go to bed, try wrapping your hair in a silk or satin cloth or use satin pillowcases. The fabric is much healthier for hair than cotton is and can help reduce the frizz and damage your curls endure.
Nourish from the inside-out
Of course, what you put into your body has an effect on your hair. To produce strong strands that can hold a curl and resist frizz, drink plenty of water, get all your nutrients from a balanced diet and take hair-healthy supplements like biotin. These things will keep your hair—and your body—looking and feeling great.