We get it, there are thousands of guides, products, and tips to get your hair glowing and radiant. They all expect that hair is created equal, but the curly haired among us will find that to be painfully wrong. If your hair has been gaining a straw-like character, it may be time to evaluate your regular care methods. Beyond that, there is a whole world of advanced curly hair care to explore.
Caring for curly hair means taking a natural and particularly gentle approach. The curls forming locks are sensitive to… just about everything. Heat, friction, humidity, stretching, and most chemicals all affect curly hair negatively. To keep your hair from looking as if each strand is individually attempting to flee from your head, you will need to develop a special care routine.
The basics here are relatively easy, so don’t worry yet. Experimentation will help you find the products and processes that benefit you the most.
Shampoo Is the Enemy
You have probably already seen advice to avoid sulphates, parabens, and alcohols in your hair care products. News flash – unfortunately even those shampoos are often still hazardous to curls.
Yes, shampoo does clean hair, but regardless of if you are buying your product from the dollar store or designer salon, it will take away the natural oils that help hair stay healthy with sealed cuticles.
Why? Well, the suds that shampoo produces are an effective cleanser. Those suds spread throughout the hair strands down to the scalp in search of dirt, oil, and debris. In their search, they also lift up the hair cuticles that keep each strand sealed.
That’s no good.
Less Is More
Instead of shampooing your hair, consider testing out a “co-wash” routine. Co-washing is when you use a conditioner in lieu of shampoo. You may not get that nice lather of suds each morning, but cutting out shampoo is sure to make the greatest difference in your ongoing war against dryness.
Plus it’s cheaper to use one product instead of two 😉
Strategically Fighting Dry Hair
The trouble with caring for curly hair is that you can change just about everything in your life to improve its character. The nice thing about that is that you do not necessarily need to be spending hundreds on fancy products to see tremendous results.
The Curly Hair Care Method
Okay, let’s go through a day in the life of curly hair care.
Well, we know heat hurts hair, so first thing’s first – how hot is your morning shower?
If you have been cooking your hair, it’s time to dial back the tap when you go to dip your tresses. Yes, that does mean suffering through a momentary splash of cool water – that’s right, this is going to strengthen you as a person as much as it is your hair.
Drying Curly Hair
Next step, how do you dry your hair? Have you heard the term “plopping”? It’s not as gross as it sounds.
Dig out an old cotton t-shirt you haven’t worn in a decade and give it new life as a hair towel. The terry-cloth towels you are used to will rip way too much moisture out of your hair, and a cotton t-shirt is going to keep all that moisture in.
Gently squeeze out the excess water from your hair, apply some leave-in conditioner, then lay your hair flat out on the t-shirt. Wrap the t-shirt fully around your hair, fold it up, and “plop” your hair on the top of your head. Tuck the excess t-shirt in so that it holds your hair up.
Let gravity do the rest.
Curly Hair Gels and Styling Products
Let’s go back a step here. For most, applying a leave-in conditioner is the simplest and best way to give your hair the extra juice it needs throughout the day. However, it may be even better to use a specially formulated curly hair gel.
Why, you might ask? Because it can act as an external sealer for your hair cuticles.
So if you get a nice, natural, plant-based product, there’s a good chance that it will give you luscious curls despite having lightly damaged hair.
Try “scrunching” the product into your hair by gently gripping your hair with the product spread across your hand. This will help the product apply itself through your natural curl pattern.
Night Time Hair Care
Even bedtime benefits from good hair care.
Friction is going to damage your hair strands. Your pillow cover is also going to pull moisture out of your curls while you sleep.
Switch to a satin or silk pillowcase to reduce the damage done.
Take Care of Your Hair and It Will Take Care of You
Put those at-home remedies and expensive shampoos in the bin – quality curly hair cannot be bought at the store. Keeping those curls locked and luscious takes time and persistence. Just like in relationships, treat it how you would want to be treated and you’ll both live happily ever after.