Curly hair can be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether you have it or not! If you have curls, you’ll know all too well they can be a little unpredictable. Changes in weather, using the wrong hair products and over-styling can all wreak havoc on curls, and turn what should be a cloud of shiny ringlets into a frizzy mess. Here are some things to consider when it comes to caring for naturally curly hair.
If you’re wondering how to wash curly hair to maintain beautiful curls, then opt for a 100% sulfate-free shampoo. The key ingredient in many traditional shampoos is sodium laureth sulfate that is both a detergent and a salt. Although an effective cleanser, it’s unfortunately far too harsh for most curls. Because shampoos with sulfate don’t often contain enough conditioning agents, they can also leave hair frizzy and dry.
Try ‘co-washing’ your hair instead. This involves choosing products that are essentially ‘cleansing conditioners’, and those with fine hair should shampoo every other day. Those with thicker hair can normally go three or more days without shampooing, which will help you achieve glossier, bouncier curls.
Conditioning is a curly haired girl’s best friend, because the curlier your hair is, the longer it takes for natural oils to travel from your scalp to the ends. This often means the lower half of your hair ends up dry and frizzy. Start by moisturizing in the shower with an uber-thick product, then protect and hydrate your hair with a leave-in conditioner.
In terms of how to take care of curly hair, you need to work out what formula is right for your hair. Basically, you need one that delivers moisture without weighing your hair down. Sprays are ideal for soft curls, medium to big curls can be treated with thicker gels, and denser creams suit uber-tight curls.
The more you handle curly hair, the more you ruffle your hair’s cuticles, which creates frizz, so the key is to minimise friction. Prevent that sticky feeling by applying hair products before you step out of the shower, use your fingers to rake products from the roots to the ends, and then squeeze and scrunch upward towards your scalp.
If you must dry your hair first, gently blot your hair with a microfibre towel rather than roughing it up. When caring for naturally curly hair, your fingers are your best tool when it comes to detangling. The more patient and gentler you are the better, and you should start the process from the ends upwards – it’s faster and not as stressful on your hair.
When choosing hair products for curly hair, look for ones that contain the least amount of alcohol. Alcohol tends to give curls a ‘crunchy’ texture and suck up every last bit of moisture, which is a definite no-no for curls. Hair spray tends to contain the most amount of alcohol, while mousses and gels come in second. Water-soluble products and those that are foamy or aerated will give your hair control, fullness and a non-brittle boost.
Apply product to your hands, then run your fingers through your curls ensuring an even distribution that coats all your hair strands.
In term of how to style curly hair, the first tip is to ditch the brush. Brush bristles disturb curl formation, fray hair and basically create a cloud of frizz. If you’re happy to ‘air dry’ your hair, use your fingers to tousle your curls, and refresh tired ones with a spritz of curl reactivator. Mist it all over your head, scrunch gently and then use a wide-tooth comb to unsnag any tangles.
If you must use a hairdryer, use one with a diffuser. Regular nozzles disrupt the curl pattern whereas diffusers dry curls evenly. Simply apply a heat-protective product, turn your head upside down and diffuse on a medium (not high) setting at the roots and mid-length. Keep the diffuser at a 45-degree angle to allow the diffused section to ‘breathe’. Alternate between sections holding the diffuser on each for a maximum of 50 seconds. Do your ends last and leave them to semi-dry, which will limit any heat damage. Excess heat alters the proteins that give curls their spiral shape, so you should also try to limit blow-drying to only a few times a week.
There are heaps of treatment products for curly hair out there, but beautifully natural remedies can also be made from ingredients you’ll most likely have in your pantry (and they’ll be cheaper!)
For a super-build-up remover, try rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar – its acidity will help tame the frizz and add a wonderful shine to your hair strands.
An olive oil and avocado mask can also assist with smoothing your hair as oil has hydrating benefits and avo has natural fatty acids. Simply mash up a ripe avo, add a splash of olive oil, and then cover your hair with the mixture after shampooing. Let it sit for half an hour and then rinse it out.
Aloe vera’s also a wonder-conditioner for frizzy hair as it forms a protective layer over your hair cuticles to minimise moisture loss. Combine a quarter of a cup of aloe vera gel with the same amount of olive oil and massage it into your scalp. Leave for 30 minutes and then shampoo and condition as normal.
A raw egg can also be combined with olive oil to strengthen hair – eggs are rich in fat and protein and can act as a natural moisturizer. Whisk up an egg, add a tablespoon of oil, and follow the same process!
Other natural treatments include using honey (combine with warm water, apply and then rinse out), or a banana/honey/coconut oil mix. Bananas are a great source of moisture for frizzed-out hair as they contain potassium which can strengthen hair. Just mash up a banana, add two teaspoons of honey and a third of a cup of coconut oil and mix well. Apply to your hair and scalp, leave for 30 minutes and then wash and condition as normal. Your hair will smell good enough to eat!
Curly wet hair and curly dry hair are two completely different things. Curls retract when they’re dry and some will normally coil tightly while others will hang a bit looser. That’s why it’s important to get a ‘dry cut’ when you’re at your next appointment. A dry cut will allow your hairdresser to determine exactly how every strand will fall, minimising any surprises at the end of the process!
Need a cut that makes the most of your beautiful curls? Contact us now on (07) 3844 4766 or book your appointment online!