As a clueless curly-haired curl, I spent years battling against my hair rather than trying to work with it. I tried to brush it; I over gelled it; I hid it in buns and ponytails; and I straightened it. The result: I often ended up in tears, desperately trying to straighten my hair as I wished away my curls for the millionth time.
Being a curly-haired girl has its challenges. Some days, it feels like your hair has a mind of its own. But we’ve got beautiful hair! And there is hope. Once we nurture our hair, it can be as great to us as we are to it. Here are the basics every curly-haired girl must know in order to end up with a happy head of hair.
Know Your Curls
First, it’s important to know that what works for me may not work for you. All hair types are different, which means they curl differently and react to products differently and frizz differently. So it can be helpful to know the “type” of curly hair you’ve got before you try to enhance it. Thankfully, other curly-haired ladies have gone ahead and created an easy way to made it easy. Once you know that, you can easily Google suggestions for specific hair care and hair products. Take a look at this chart below and try to figure out which hair you have. I’m a 2B.
Follow These Rules
- Don’t over-shampoo: Some curly-haired girls forgo shampooing all together, since it tends to dry hair out. Don’t be afraid to skip a shampoo session or two.
- Condition: While shampooing is optional, conditioning is a must. This is what will help keep your hair hydrated and make it so your hair is less prone to frizz. Use leave-in conditioner when you can for extra hydration. Or, if you prefer, don’t wash all of the conditioner out of your hair before you get out of the shower.
- Air dry: When possible, let your hair air dry. This will allow your curls to form on their own without interference from you, so it will minimize frizz! Since that’s not always possible…
- Use a microfiber towel to dry hair: Avoid regular towels at all costs. These are really harsh on your hair and will break up curls.
- Blot dry: Don’t rub!
- Scrunch: Do as much as you can to try to help your curls along by scrunching your hair, either with your microfiber towel or with your fingers. All “scrunching” is is when you squeeze your hair between your fingers in an upward motion to help create body.
- When blow drying, do so on a cool setting WITH a diffuser: On a cool setting, your hair will dry just as fast. High heat actually has the ability to alter the shape of your curl. If possible, minimize straightening/using a flat iron, too. The heat from these can be just as damaging to your curl’s natural shape.
- Avoid products with alcohol, parabens, or sulfate in them: These can harm your hair. It’s not always possible, though, so don’t stress too much.
- Don’t brush your hair: Ever! If you need to get a tangle out, use a wide-toothed comb and do it while your hair is still wet. If you can, try to detangle your hair in the shower.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase rather than a cotton one: Silk pillowcases cut down on friction.
Use the Right Products
I’ve tried a bunch of products for my hair — some with amazing success, others not so much. Truth be told, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect products, but I do know that some work better than others. If you have nowhere to start, try these affordable options!
Diffuser: Always use a diffuser when blow drying your hair. Diffusers attach to the end of your blow dryer and they help dry sections of your hair while keeping your curls curly.
Microfiber towel: A microfiber towel is much more delicate with your hair than other towels. A T-Shirt will also work.
Coconut oil: If ever your hair needs hydration, lather your strands in coconut oil or coconut milk and leave it in for 45 minutes to an hour, longer or even overnight if your hair is really damaged. After I got ombre ends in my hair (which required bleaching my dark hair), I gave my hair a coconut oil mask and it was like my hair hadn’t even been damaged.
Sectioning clips: Not necessary, but sectioning clips can be useful to make sure curls are uniform as you dry different sections of your hair.
Hydrating shampoo, conditioner, gel, and moisturizer: Hydrating your hair is of utmost importance if you’ve got lots of curls. So do your best to find the right conditioner and hair moisturizer! It will take a lot of trial and error to find good products, but it’s worth the time and effort. Here are some of my favorites:
- DevaCurl No-Poo (DevaCurl is by far my favorite product line — can’t recommend it highly enough!)
- DevaCurl One Condition
- DevaCurl Heaven in Hair Moisture Treatment
- Suave Moroccan Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner (contains sulfate, but works as a less expensive alternative to DevaCurl)
- Herbal Essences Hair Gel (contains alcohol, but works in a pinch)
No crease hair ties: These elastic hair ties are perfect if your hair has already been dried but you need to tie it up. It won’t leave a crease and it’s really gentle on your curls.
What are some of your curly-hair tips?