If you’re curly and you know it, raise your hand — now bring it in for a high five. We aren’t forgetting you guys with the waves or the coils, either. Nor you guys, with the perm — for the next 3 to 6 months, you’re in the curly club. Different hair types obviously lead to different experiences and needs, but we’re all in this thing together.
That’s why we’ll be including a little something for everyone.
Naturally curly hair isn’t the easiest to maintain, but when you find a curly hair routine that works for you, the results are gorgeous. Whether your hair is naturally curly or prettily permed — whether it curls perfectly or tends to fall a bit flat or get big and frizzy — here are some useful tricks that any girls with curly hair should keep in mind.
How to Take Care of Curly Hair
These are the basics of how to get curly hair looking and feeling its best.
If your hair curls naturally, all of this will help enhance your curl pattern. If you have a perm, all of this will extend the life of the treatment and keep it looking good. If you have a natural curl but your hair has been damaged over time (by treatments, or unchecked splitting, or whatever it is), how to make your hair curly again starts here.
Keep Brushing to a Minimum
Brushing isn’t bad, per se, but it certainly isn’t helping you. If you have thick curly hair (as in, dense) or frizzy, curly hair, you’re probably already familiar with the pitfalls of brushing. It stretches out and separates the curl strands and encourages breakage, especially with thin curly hair (as in, fine).
Instead, you want to detangle. You can use a wide-toothed comb or simply your fingers — portion your hair into sections for the best results. If you absolutely feel the need to run a brush through once a week, try a large paddle brush and only on wet hair.
Don’t Shampoo Excessively
Traditional shampoos combat excess oil, as well as clean away dirt and debris. But curly hair needs its oils (and additional hydration, too). It’s more difficult for natural oils to work all the way down from your roots to your ends because of all the twists and waves along the way, and curl patterns are naturally more porous.
Each time you shampoo, you’re stripping away natural oils; it’ll dry out your hair and cause frizz. Curly hair can get away with just one wash a week, but whatever you do, shampoo less often than every other day. If you’re a curly girl with an oily scalp, you’ll need to find a balance or specific product that works for you.
Here’s a neat compromise– instead of cleansing your hair during daily showers, simply condition it. You’ll boost the hydration, smoothness, and shine, and still get the nice feeling of massaging a product in then washing it out. Do this whether you shampoo or not, but definitely try deep conditioning masks for after-shampoo care.
A weekly hair mask works wonders for replenishing lost hydration and structure. You want to know how to get natural curls back after some damage? Adopting an overnight conditioning routine helps.
Protein-based masks help repair (color-safe is great if you’re currently rocking faux-blonde curly hair, for example) while oil formulas moisturize. They’re meant to be rinsed out, but don’t forget a little daily leave-in conditioner in the meantime.
Get Picky with Your Products
As we’ve discussed a bit, always try to find products that cater to your needs. Should you focus on fixing brittleness? Do you need to get frizz under control? Thick hair can handle heavy products being slathered on, but fine hair needs lighter fare, so it isn’t weighed down — and having a full, bushy head of hair, doesn’t necessarily reflect the thickness of individual strands!
- Additionally, try to stay away from drying alcohol-based products and harsher sulfate shampoos.
- Some curly girls prefer specialty “shampoos” over any old sulfate-free version — and then you aren’t beholden to such an infrequent shampooing schedule because you aren’t actually using shampoo. Co-washes, cleansing conditioners, and clarifying shampoo are all options along with traditional curly formulas.
- If you blow dry a bit or like to touch up your hair with a curling iron, look for heat protectant products to help prevent damage.
Be Gentle and Protect
If you want your curls to look their best between washes and for the long term, you’ll need to be proactive.
- Before going to sleep, braid your hair or cover it. Use soft, non-abrasive material to prevent frizz caused by friction.
- Likewise, don’t dry your hair roughly. No tousling with an old scratchy bath towel. Wring or scrunch out excess moisture with your hands, and then you can use cotton or microfiber to blot or wrap your hair afterward.
- Finally, don’t detangle with a vengeance. We know it can be frustrating when the tangles are wild, but tugging and forcing the comb through will only cause breakage and anguish. Take a deep breath, separate out a smaller section, and work your way up from the ends rather than down from the roots.
How to Style Curly Hair
Surprise! This section is much, much smaller! Most of the battle is in the care. Once you have happy, healthy curls, how to style naturally curly hair or permed hair isn’t such a difficult affair. You can style it however you’d like, and it’ll be more inclined to cooperate.
- Many of us get the most out of our daily styling if we incorporate some lightweight products like refreshing sprays, a little curling cream or gel, or oils. You may find your hair is OK with just some conditioner in the shower, and off you go. As a rule, underapplying may be more preferable than going overboard.
- Don’t style freshly permed hair (for about a week) because you can kink it into a strange shape or accidentally break up the curls.
- Natural curls don’t have this concern, but you can still cause frizz and misshape your curls if you fuss with it too much.
- You’ll want to avoid a full (or even a “mostly”) blowdry, which causes a straightening effect. But it’s useful to get some wetness out of your tips or reduce overall dampness, and you can create windswept styles this way. Try using a diffuser and a round brush.
- And as mentioned above, don’t be put off by a heated curling tool. You can create greater definition or a uniform look for hair with different patterns in different places. Just because you already have curls doesn’t mean you can’t add onto them!
From 2A to 4C, red curly hair to blonde and brunette, voluminous afros, big frizzy locks, smooth and shiny waves. Curly hair is some of the most interesting and varied you can have — but also some of the hardest to handle! Hopefully, with these simple tips, you’re ready to take better control of your routine and get the best curls you can.