Learning how to take care of curly hair will not be easy, but it is doable. And This guide will teach you that.
I used to tie my hair like a bun with a lot of gel to ensure that my hair won’t look like the cartoon sun, after lots of attempts to make my hair straight by brushing my curls hardly, using heat tools and chemicals. But humidity didn’t help me keep this fake change because it’s my hair nature, it’s my genes, and I can do nothing but accept this fact.
My hair is curly, so I don’t have to treat it like straight hair. Every curly hair should ask herself, “How to take care of my curly hair” to avoid the damage caused by the wrong treatment or bad habits. After a long struggle, I found some general tips should every curly girl follow to take care of her curls the right way.
Choosing the right products is the key of curly hair caring
The variety of options in curly hair products make it so confusing to choose the suitable one for your hair. Sometimes there is no escaping from trying different products to get the right one, but here are some tips to help you in reducing the open options:
Heavy/ light products: we can tell if the product is heavy or light by its ingredients. Usually, heavy ingredients contain (oils, butter, silicon, waxes, petroleum/mineral oil). These ingredients cover the hair, lock in moisture in the hair, and protect it. Lightweight products contain water-soluble ingredients and less or no sealing ingredients.
Most curly hair products are usually heavy; they work perfectly with thick hair, but thin and fine hair will weigh down your curls and make your hair lose its volume and maybe get oily. So firstly, know your curly hair type and nature to be clear with its needs.
Products contain moisture/ protein ingredients: the first step to get natural curly hair is to balance protein and moisture in your hair. Hair mainly consists of a protein called Keratin, which gives the hair its strength. On the other hand, moisture provides shine and a vital look to the hair.
The balance between these two crucial ingredients is the key to healthy curls. Use products that contain both of them to ensure that your hair gets its needs met. Keep in mind that you can find moisture and protein in different names.
Products contain harsh ingredients: some ingredients are considered harsh because they cause many issues for curly hair, like increasing dryness and hair damage. Here are some harsh ingredients you have to avoid:
- Sulfate: this one is strong cleansing chemicals that remove hair’s dirt and natural hair oil so let your hair dry and frizzy.
- Dry alcohol: this ingredient is usually found in styling products, which means that they lay on hair for a long time, so due to its drying side effect, it should be avoided.
Products contain unsuitable ingredients: sometimes, even if you take care and follow all 3 previous tips in choosing the right product for your curly hair, you may face some issues like an itchy scalp. In this case, you have to make sure that you don’t suffer from any health symptoms like dandruff or eczema or products build-up.
So unsuitable ingredients are the answer here. Some ingredients are not harmful, but they may cause many problems for some people. For example, (Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT), or you may be sensitive to natural ingredients such as coconut or aloe vera.
Choosing the right routine
You may hear a lot of suggestions from social media or one of your friends to start your curly hair journey, but you still don’t get the wanted results. Well, here you should focus on two essential factors before judging the routine.
The first factor is the time; let us take the CGM routine as an example. In some cases, you won’t get the required result after following this routine immediately, which may take one or three months to get the result.
The second factor is that maybe the routine is not suitable for your hair nature and type. For example, co-wash is an excellent method to moisturize dry scalp and curls, but it won’t be ideal for people with an oily scalp.
So be patient and focus on your hair needs. However, regardless of your routine, you can follow those general tips to get better results:
- Avoid daily shampooing: shampooing curly hair every day will cause dryness because it removes natural hair oil; even if your scalp is oily, daily shampooing is not good and won’t help treat greasy hair. On the contrary, that will help instigate the sebaceous gland on the scalp to produce more oil.
- Refresh spray: this will be your magic tool to revive your curls the next day of hair washing. You can mix some water and leave-in with some gel. Avoid spraying the roots to maintain your hair volume. You can keep using this method between showers until your hair starts to smell bad or you don’t get the required results, so then you have to wash your hair.
- Try different styling methods: this simple step can change a lot. That depends on your curls type, so don’t judge the styling method from others’ experiences and keep trying different ones to get what you want.
- Try different styling products: other styling products such as gel and mousses give different results. You can try mousse if you want more volume, gel for better holding. Or you can mix them both. Also, you can try different brands; this will help too.
- Scrunch Out The Crunch: one of the most important steps in styling curly hair that I used to advise any curly girl to do it. After applying styling products, wait until your hair is dehydrated and scrunch the crunch to get a healthy natural look and more volume.
Take care of curly hair while sleeping
Your curls are defined and no-frizzy throughout the wash day, but the disaster starts the next day when you wake up with messy hair. Maybe a spray bottle will help you control this mess, but it won’t give you the same result as when you protect your hair at night.
Sleeping with untied hair without any protection will increase the friction and cause frizzy effects. Above that, some fibers like cotton will cause the same problem because they absorb all the natural hair oils. So here are some tips to protect your hair at night, or you can read our standalone article about taking care of curly hair while sleeping.
- Pineapple your curls: gathering your hair in this way will help in reducing friction while you sleep and flip from side to side.
- Wear satin/ silk bonnet/ scarf: satin and silk are softer than other fabrics, and for the same previous reason -reducing friction- this step is important.
- Sleep on a silk/ satin pillowcase: if covering your head with a bonnet or scarf is uncomfortable for you. You can replace it with a satin/ silk pillowcase, or you can do both steps for extra protection.
Avoid bad habits as possible as you can
Sometimes, despite following all the above tips correctly, your curls are still damaged, dry and undefined, that may be due to repeated bad habits in your curly hair routine. If you make one or more of the following practices, you may have discovered the hurdle of having perfect curls.
- Brushing hair while it dry: one of the worst habits that can cause hair breakage and damage. If you brush your hair while it is dehydrated, you’ll make brushing more complicated, the comb will be stuck with the hair knot, and this will cause horrible breakage and split ends.
The right way to brush your hair is in the shower after applying enough conditioner to make brushing smoother, starting from the ends till you reach the roots. You can use your finger instead of a comb to make it easier.
- Exposing curly hair to heat: regardless of your hair type, heat will destroy your hair and replace its healthy shiny look with messy, frizzy, and dry curls. So you have to avoid hot water in the shower, because basically hot water will remove all curly hair moisturizers and natural hair oils.
As for hair drying, avoid using heat tools, but if you have to use heat, you should protect your hair by using silicone serum before using heat, and don’t forget to condition your hair perfectly at the next shower.
- Not protecting your hair before swimming: going to swim with defined shiny curls and back with messy hair is an expected result if you didn’t think about protecting your hair before swimming.
The salt in the sea or chlorine in the swimming pool will dry your curls surly, so the wiser step is protecting those beautiful shiny curls. Before swimming, wet your hair then apply enough conditioner or hair mask, then put on a swimming cap, and finally you can swim safely.
While this care guide is ideal for any curly hair, please be aware that any specific problem with significant curls’ effects must be resolved and recovered from its damage before following any general care steps. For example, if you keep using heat, your hair won’t get better if you don’t give up that habit even if you follow the rest steps. The same thing is right for scalp diseases like eczema; for example, treat it, then you can start your naturally curly hair journey and get the best results.