Have you been blessed with springy, bouncy, sometimes rambunctious hair? So have I. After years of being told by father to “brush out my hair because I looked like a mental patient,” and straightening my hair to oblivion, I finally convinced him (and myself) that working with my natural texture was the way to go (it was his curly hair I had inherited after all…).
Here are my top 5 tips to owning curly tresses:
1. Know your curl pattern. It’s important to know what your curl pattern is so you can know the best products to use for your hair. You wouldn’t shop for shampoo or conditioner without keeping your hair type in mine (dry, oily, etc.), and it’s equally important to curlies.
Find out more about your hair type here.
2. Delicate drying. What’s the fastest way to mess up your curly hair before it’s even dry? Using a traditional towel. Substitute a microfiber cloth (I used the kind you can pick up in the automotive section), or a t-shirt for reducing frizz. (Here’s a “science-y” explanation).
I use this method, especially if I showered before bed. It keeps my hair out of my face, and preserves the curls for the next day
3. Keep it conditioned. Curly hair generally needs more moisture. Avoid washing hair too often (try for 2-3 times a week, max) and using shampoos that are too harsh. I use a clarifying shampoo once every 2 or 3 weeks, if I have too much product build-up in my hair or right before a deep conditioner. On regular wash days, I just use a conditioner to wash my hair. You may be thinking CONDITIONER TO WASH HAIR? INSANITY! Fun fact: Conditioners have a low amount of surfactants – the same ingredients found in higher amounts in shampoo to get your hair squeaky clean – so your hair is still getting clean without completely stripping your hair. If you must shampoo, look for something without sulfates. This is also important if you color your hair, as sulfates can fade hair color faster.
Can’t afford the more pricey “cleansing conditioners”? Not to fret, there are several drugstore conditioners that have captured the hearts of myself and other curlies: Aussie Moist, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration or Moroccan My Shine, and Suave Coconut, just to name a few.
4. Hands off! Once you style your hair, DON’T TOUCH IT. The oils from your hands will make your length frizzy and your roots greasy. BLEH. Also avoid using a brush or fine tooth-comb once dried. It’s best to gently comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb while wet. Any handling past the damp-stage will increase the chance of your hair poofing up into a face-eating cloud (you know what I’m talking about).
5. Experiment. Everyone’s hair reacts differently to different ingredients. It’s important to experiment and figure out how your hair handles products. Examples are protein sensitivity and over-conditioning.
Bonus tip! Are you ever in a rush after a shower and want to blow dry your hair but can’t? Traditionally blow drying your hair will disturb your curls. I highly recommend investing in a diffuser attachment. Even if you mostly air dry your hair, a diffuser can help cut drying time. I usually diffuse dry my roots and hair about 50% and let my hair air dry the rest of the way. And of course as with all heat styling, make sure you use a heat protectant.