To all my curly-haired gals out there: do you find yourself resenting those ringlets? Do you ever struggle to make your curls look bouncy and fresh? Are you tired of straightening your hair every. single. day?
I’m here to tell you that you can learn to love your curls. Just like many other women, it took me years if not decades to learn how to properly style and care for my curls. But, once I nailed down a few tricks, I grew to love my hair and now feel like I’ve really mastered curl maintenance. With tons of practice under my belt, I thought I could share with others who might be struggling as I was to make the most of their curls.
General Practices for Curly Hair
First and foremost, if you take nothing else away from this post, please remember this: never, ever under any circumstance, brush your curly hair while it is dry. Not only will it be much harder to brush out any tangles than when your hair is wet, but your hair will become incredibly wild (and not in a good way). Plus, too much brushing makes the natural curl pattern of your hair go awry.
Now that that’s out of the way… a few other general rules that I abide by with my curly hair are to give it as much moisture as possible. More specifically here, I’m talking about moisture on the ends. This means hair masks, leave-in conditioners, and treatments are all going to be your best friend. In a similar vein, I personally try to avoid heat and very rarely use any heating tools on my hair. But, I know this tip isn’t feasible for everyone because it can take hours for hair to dry naturally. Just avoid heat as much as you can.
How to Wash Curly Hair
Aside from the general guidance above, there are lots of best practices for curly hair while showering.
It’s best to skip some hair-washing days. Your hair might need some training to adjust to this if you’re used to washing your hair every day. Typically, you want to stick with at least one day between washes.
Also, when hair washing day does come around, you don’t always need to use a shampoo. Shocking, right? It’s usually right there on the conditioner bottle directions. “After shampooing…” Live a little; break the rules. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. With curly hair, as previously mentioned, locking in moisture is key. So, to avoid stripping your hair, you can stick to using shampoo every-other-time you wash your hair.
When it comes to the curly girl’s beloved conditioner, a secret trick is to leave just a bit of conditioner in your strands and not fully rinse it out. Of course, you don’t want to have greasy hair with a ton of residue, so just a touch will do here.
After using your products, I recommend brushing your hair while in the shower. Go ahead and keep your brush or comb in the shower so you don’t forget and have to jump out of the warm water (speaking from experience, this is the worst). Brushing while in the shower will allow you to get through those tangles more easily and will cause less damage to your natural curl pattern.
Mastering the Methods to Style your Curls
Once you’ve showered and are ready to style your hair, there are a few more key steps to follow. Practically as soon as you’ve turned off the shower head, you should begin styling. Trust me on this one: it might seem strange, but applying hair product while your hair is still very wet will yield the best results.
You might be wondering what products you should be using. It’s important to find the products that work best for your personal hair and curl pattern; every curly-haired beauty is unique. However, as a general guideline you should add a detangler and/or leave-in conditioner, hair serum, gel or mousse, and curl spray to your arsenal. With each product, use as little as your curls will allow. No one wants crunchy hair.
When you begin applying your products of choice, please, please do not rake the product through your hair. I cringe when I’m at the hair salon and they attempt to style my curls this way. “Raking” the product means rubbing it between your hands and using your fingers to comb it through your hair. Instead, you should apply the product from the tips of your hair upwards. Use a scrunching method and your curls will look less piecemeal and will fall into their natural curl clusters or clumps.
As mentioned previously, it’s ideal to let your hair air-dry at this stage. But, if you need to use a blowdryer then a diffuser will help to reduce frizz. Instead of drying your hair as you’ve seen in the salon, use the “plop method”. This means you drop a pile of curls into the head of the diffuser and let them sit there for a moment before moving to the next section of hair.
Maintaining Curls Between Washes
Since you won’t be washing your hair daily, it’s important to keep up those beautiful spirals on the skip days. Remember not to brush your hair on these days (the golden rule), but you can still touch up misplaced curls. Fill a spray bottle with water and a curl spray of your choice. You can also add a leave-in conditioner here. Spritz over your hair and use your fingers to make necessary adjustments.
One final tip for maintaining those curls is to invest in a silk pillowcase. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will reduce the friction that causes frizz and tangles in your hair. Bonus: your skin will benefit from the silk pillowcase, too!
With a little bit of practice, your curls will start looking more like a hair models’ and less like a frizzy mess. The biggest piece of advice and one you should listen to first and foremost is to learn to embrace those ringlets. You’re beautiful and your hair is part of what makes you that way!
What tips and tricks do you have for making the most of your own curls? Share them in the comments below; let’s help each other learn to love our hair!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica is a digital marketer and content creator. By day, she helps brands reach their desired customers through strategic social media, PR, and content marketing campaigns. Her blog, By Jessica Lillian, was built as a creative outlet for her personal passions of fashion, beauty, and wellness.