Foolproof Guide to Curly Hair
Figuring out how to work with my curly hair took me years. My curl pattern never stayed consistent, I never knew how to part my hair, and eliminating frizz seemed impossible. Through extensive trial and error, research, and product tests, I finally formed a few solid rules that keep my curls healthy and manageable.
I’ve learned to love my curly hair, no matter how challenging it can be sometimes. My hope with this guide is to help those of you who continue to fight your natural curls and are rarely happy with the outcome. Remember that everyone’s hair is different, and not all of these tips will work exactly the way they do with my hair. However, using them as general guidelines will help you embrace what nature gave you without having to sacrifice beautiful hair.
Below are my holy-grail tips and tricks that I could not live without.
Do Not Towel-Dry Hair
Regular bath towels promote frizz because of all the friction they produce. Instead, use a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt when you get out of the shower to squeeze excess water from hair. This is a simple switch in your routine that leads to huge results.
Dry Hair With a Diffuser
I recommend allowing your hair to air-dry, at least most of the way. However, if you need to use a hair dryer, make sure you have a diffuser attachment for curly hair. I cannot stress the importance of a diffuser enough.
When you’re using a diffuser, tip your hair upside down and simply gather sections in the diffuser, holding the dryer stationary for a few seconds before moving onto the next section of hair. This technique will lead to more defined, sleeker curls than moving the dryer more than necessary.
Avoid Touching Hair While it’s Wet
If you want to avoid frizz, you must never touch your hair while it’s wet except for initially when putting product in your hair after washing it. After adjusting hair to your liking with product, do not touch it again until it is completely dry.
Get A Curly Cut
Finding a hairdresser who specializes in working with curly hair is very important. When I found mine, it was like she gave me a completely new head of hair, simply by knowing how to cut and style it to optimize my curl pattern.
More salons are now incorporating curl-specialists, so you will most likely be able to find one in your area. I can’t tell you how crucial it is to have someone knowledgeable cutting your hair. Doing so will make you happier with your hair in between cuts and also help educate you to know what to do at home.
Stop Bleaching Your Locks
I used to highlight my hair, but after a while I noticed how much it was destroying my curls. Lightening hair causes a lot of damage to the strands, which therefore affects your hair’s natural structure, leading to inconsistent and lifeless curls. As soon as I stopped highlighting my hair, not only did my curls spring back to life over time, but I am now able to grow my hair longer than ever without it becoming flat or having tons of split-ends.
Eliminate Sulfate-Based Products
If you use products with sulfates in them, STOP. Using shampoo or conditioner with harsh sulfates in it is basically equivalent to using dish soap to wash your delicate hair. It destroys natural oils your hair needs to stay healthy, increases split ends, frizz, and overall damage. If those aren’t enough reasons, your hair learns to overproduce oil to try and compensate for losing natural oils, leading you to have to wash more frequently with the damaging shampoo.
Thankfully, many companies offer sulfate-free products now. Look for brands that have more natural ingredients. There are plenty of options in the drugstore, including some of my favorites are the Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Coconut & Hibiscus line and the OGX Coconut Milk products. I’ve also heard great things about Not Your Mother’s Way to Grow Shampoo.
Never Brush Your Curls
My last tip is easy and straightforward, do not ever brush your hair while it is curly unless you want it to be a frizzy, puffy, ill-defined mess. If you are caring for your hair properly, you really shouldn’t need to brush it. I get the occasional tough knot after a day of skiing or wearing a hat, but simply finger-combing it out with some conditioner in the shower does the trick. Trust me, if you follow this guide, you will never need to pick up a brush again.