Curly hair can be amazingly glorious, but it does take some time and practice to get it perfect. I’ve worked with a lot of stylists, done tons of hair demos and practice these tips myself. So, if you’re a bit perplexed about your natural hair, or looking for a good read on how to maintain those curly locks, then you have come to the right place.
Below are 15 hair tips that bust myths, are common sense and aim to demystify curly hair.
- Always start any hairstyle on clean, freshly washed and conditioned hair. You’ve probably heard stories about how dirty hair is easier to style, well not the case with curly hair. Most of us tend to use more products than our straight-haired counterparts and are more prone to product build-up. When this happens, our hair doesn’t always behave and can even look more dry than fresh. If you want your style to last, then be sure to thoroughly cleanse and conditioner your hair first.
- Moisture is key to healthy hair. Our hair is made up of 10%-13% water. Water equals moisture and when those levels are too low, our curly hair can become dry and brittle. All of those single-strand, fairy knots that we hate, that’s because of dry hair that’s breaking. Avoid breakage and knots by keeping your hair moisturized by adding a good cream that has some natural oils and butters to your natural hair while it’s still damp to keep your hair hydrated.
- Skip the second shampoo. You probably know this already, but just in case you’re new here, one good shampoo is all you need to effectively remove any dirt and excess oil from your hair. That second shampoo is just a way to get you to use more shampoo and isn’t necessary.
- Use a moisturizer before a styler. Natural hair is very unique and takes a level of skill to master. One of those skills is to know when to apply a moisturizer and when to apply your styler (gels, mousse). Because stylers don’t normally have any oils or butters to seal in the moisture, you want to first seal in moisture (see #2) into your strands and then apply your favorite styler to style your hair.
- Blot dry hair, never rub your hair. You’ll be told not to use a terry cloth towel, use a tee shirt etc. What you use to dry your hair isn’t nearly as important as how you dry your hair. To remove excess water from your tresses, you should just use the cloth and your hands to squeeze it out being careful not to rub your hair. This is how your outer layer or cuticle, can get frayed.
- Sleep with your hair up, in a satin bonnet or a satin pillowcase. Unruly curls can look great, but not after it’s been tossing around all night on the pillow. The cotton from a pillowcase can wick away moisture from our hair, and the friction from hair rubbing on the pillow can cause tangles and breakage. It’s best to wear your hair up, or sleep with a bonnet, scarf or if none of those work for you, then using a satin pillowcase will keep your curls from looking frazzled.
- Look for products with natural oils or butters to keep hair hydrated. I keep coming back to hydration, because it is that important. While oils and butters don’t moisturize your hair, creams that blend a liquid such as water or aloe vera with an oil or butter will seal the moisture into your hair.
- Water (liquid) is moisture. I have come across some advice about using oils to ‘moisturize’ your hair. Only a product that has a liquid, or a liquid itself, can actually moisturize your hair. Spritzing your hair with water or using a steamer will put moisture back into your natural hair.
- Your spray bottle is your best friend. As mentioned above, using a spray bottle on dry hair is a great way to target the dry parts of your hair. Whether you’re styling or refreshing your curls, this bottle should be a mainstay in your bathroom.
- Always detangle your hair from the bottom, then up. Ideally, you want your curly hair to be wet with conditioner (conditioners ad slip) to help with detangling. You want to section your hair and then work your from the ends, removing tangles along the way as you move up with your comb or brush.
- Get trims to remove split ends and single-strand knots. While we curlies can get away with not trimming our hair as often as our straight-haired sisters, we still need to remove dead ends. If you ever notice how your hair isn’t curling right or you need to use more products than usual, then that’s your cue it’s time for a trim.
- Don’t disturb the curl. You might have ‘hand-in-hair’ syndrome, most of us do. But, it’s paramount that as your curls are drying that you do not touch your hair. This can cause the curls to break up which could lead to frizzing. And no one wants frizzy hair.
- Dry your hair with a hooded hair dryer or a diffuser. Contrary to popular belief, air-drying is not the best way to dry your hair. We recommend using a hooded hair dryer or a diffuser to help with they drying process as either of these tools will give your hair a gentle heat that will help form your curls as well as dry your hair faster.
- Rinse hair thoroughly before applying your styling products. Some blogs will tell you to keep some conditioner in your hair. If you’ve applied a rinse out conditioner, and it hasn’t been removed completely, this can react with your hair gels and create those little unsightly white balls that no one likes. Rinse out conditioners should be rinsed out completely and then followed up with a leave-in or cream moisturizer.
- Don’t let anyone touch your curly hair! People who don’t have curly hair are mesmerized by our curls and coils and often ask to touch our hair. Just as ‘hand-in-hair’ syndrome can break up the curls and cause frizzing, so is having other people touching your hair. And never ever try to run your fingers through your natural hair. Your hands might get stuck in there!