People who don’t have curly hair are in awe when they look at natural, beautiful curls on others. However, for those who do have them, curly hair can be a nightmare. This goes especially for those with long curly locks, as managing their attention-grabbing hair is a tedious task. If you are someone who has curly hair, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
Curly hair tends to be frizzy, dry, hard to comb, hard to style, and the list only goes longer. But hey, it is not impossible to manage! With some simple hacks and care, you can retain your curls without having to stress. Read on to know the why, how, and what on managing curly hair.
What is curly hair and what makes it that way?
You certainly are aware of what curly hair looks like, which means you are also aware that not all “curly” hair looks the same. Did you know that hair is classified into 4 wide types according to how much they curl? While the Type 1 range of hair consists of straight hair, type 2 to 4 is classified into wavy, curly, and coily (commonly known as afro-textured or kinky) hair. These different shapes of hair exist because of the nature of hair follicles.
“Hair follicles” refer to little cells deep under your skin surface made up of complex cells that produce hair strands. They exist all over your body excluding areas like your palms and the soles of your feet. Here comes the interesting part: hair follicles come in different shapes. If you have straight hair, your follicles do not have bends that make your hair curl up. However, some people have hair follicles that are “S-shaped”, meaning it has bends. When these follicles produce hair, it grows out full of waves, curves, coils, or kinks. The number of curls you may have (that determine your hair type) varies according to the structure of your hair follicles.
Developing their shape in the embryonic development stage, hair follicles grow back in the same shape throughout life. In other words, it is not possible to change the shape of your natural hair. You can try straightening or curling now and then, but the more practical thing to do is accept the quirks of your beautiful hair, and learn how to tame its wilderness.
How to take care of your curls naturally?
Managing curly hair is an everyday challenge, and there is a fundamental reason behind it: while straight hair gets out grease, sebum, and dirt directly by combing due to its straight texture, sebum does not reach the end of curly hair strands because of their tightly packed and coiled texture. Often, dirt can get trapped in your mane, and oil produced on your scalp has no way to make it to your hair ends.
This makes your curls more prone to frizz and dryness, and easy to break. However, with proper tricks and hacks, you can end up defeating every challenge they pose to you while looking like your elegant and unique self. Here are the best tips on how to take care of your curls naturally:
Figure out your hair type
As previously stated, hair is classified into 4 types according to its shape. The products and procedures that suit one’s hair are influenced by the type of curls one has. Tighter curls and kinks are drier, denser, and more prone to breakage than softer waves. Therefore, the former needs more hydrating and moisturizing while the latter can do with comparatively less. If your hair is on the wavy side of curls, heavy oils or hair serums can wear them down making them greasy. It would be wise to take a look at a guide to hair types and determine which one you fall in. This will make figuring things out much easier for you!
Curls are more likely to grow into rough split ends, making them vulnerable to breakage. Split ends can also make your bouncy hair look frizzy and unclean. Therefore, to get rid of split ends and damaged hair, hair experts recommend that you trim your hair every 6 to 8 weeks. This doesn’t mean getting a full-blown haircut; instead, you are to trim the littlest amount of hair from your hair ends. If you are looking to grow your hair longer, this will enable you to get healthier and more voluminous hair. While 6 to 8 weeks intervals are recommended, it is also okay to extend the time to 3-4 months if it is not always doable to trim your hair that frequently.
Shampoo regularly, but with precautions
Curls have a love-hate relationship with hair washing, wouldn’t you agree? Since they are prone to getting frizzy and dry, most people avoid shampooing their curls to keep them soft and manageable. However, while it is true that you need to limit the frequency of shampooing your hair, it is bad for your scalp to go too long without being cleaned. While you may feel that your hair is softer, it is more prone to damage this way.
Therefore, it is important to understand that shampoo is essential for you. That being said, over-shampooing is still a big no. When shampooing, make sure to use a curl-specific shampoo (which is designed to be sulphate and alcohol-free) to help define and untangle your hair. Occasionally, dry shampoos are also not a bad idea.
Other important precautions to keep in mind while hair washing include:
- Never skip the conditioning step.
- Use leave-in conditioners/hair serums right when your hair is wet so that you prevent it from drying all frizzy.
- Use hydrating hair masks or oils before you shampoo to prevent drying.
Use cold water
It is a well-known fact in haircare and skincare that hot water is not your friend. Yes, hot water showers are relaxing, but they deplete the health of the scalp and hair. The high temperature opens up your hair cuticle (existing on the surface of your hair), leaving your hair unprotected and prone to frizz, breakage, and damage.
Coldwater has the opposite effect on your hair - it closes up your cuticles, thereby making your hair look smoother. If you do end up using warm water during hair wash and conditioning, a good hack to prevent frizz and dryness is to rinse with colder water. It is especially useful if you have used a moisturizing mask as the chilly water locks everything in place. This provides long-lasting moisture.
Comb before shampoo
Curly hair is delicate, wild, and dry - which is why when you comb it, it is likely to break. Therefore, when it comes to combing and detangling, you have to play safe and gentle. Wet after a hair wash, your hair is in its most delicate state. You can’t comb it that way, but if you leave it detangled it is likely to look frizzy later on. To prevent this, comb and detangle your hair before you shampoo it. Here is how you should be combing it: -
- Don’t use a brush on curly hair, as they can make your curls lose their natural texture. Instead, use a wooden wide-toothed comb to prevent friction and harm.
- While combing, use the bottom-up technique, which means combing the lowest ends of your hair first. Once the bottom is done, move upwards. This way, you avoid piling knots and tugging your way through, ultimately breaking lots of hair strands.
- When you condition your hair after shampoo, use your fingers to gently detangle any parts that are left out. Your fingers are gentler than any other equipment you might use, so it is good to get your hands in there. Conditioners allow your fingers to slip through the tangles more easily. However, avoid doing this after rinsing your hair because it does not have the same effect.
Sleep on satin pillowcases
This may sound like peculiar advice to some but it works! Often cotton or synthetic materials on your pillowcase can cause friction in your hair, especially if it is dry. This results in the dreaded bedhead when you wake up. While movies might show them to be hilarious and harmless, our curly hair girls know that it is certainly not. To avoid this from happening, use satin pillowcases. Their smooth texture does not cause friction in your hair and treats them well.
Add volume to your curls
When you use too many products, your curls might weigh down, looking unusual or asymmetrical. Adding volume and texture to your curls while keeping them hydrated is the dream you should be striving for. Here are some simple hacks to retain the bounce in your curls: -
- Turn your hair upside down, then clap your hands swiftly between your curls a few times. This adds an appropriate volume without producing frizz or shaking the curls.
- Scrunch or twist your hair upward while using a leave-in conditioner or styling gel when you are getting it ready. This gives your coils more volume and definition, making them bouncy and attractive.
- Don’t comb your hair too often, as it can make your hair loss its natural volume and bounce. Just detangle knots regularly so it is not prone to breakage.
- Instead of smoothening leave-in conditioners on your hair, clap them on the hair surface so they don’t lose their curly texture.
Before going to sleep, pineapple your hair
“Pineappling” is a common hairstyle that involves loosely collecting one’s hair at the top of their head, just like the leaves on a pineapple crown the fruit. Not only does this preserves your curl pattern, but it also helps you uphold the natural volume of your hair. Since you cannot keep washing and treating your hair every other day, this hairstyle helps you take care of it between wash days. Oh, and keep in mind to use scrunchies made of satin to tie up your hair. Tight rubber bands can cause hair fall and cotton/synthetic scrunchies can cause friction.
Deep condition often
Curly hair types often require much more moisture due to their dry nature. If you have hair that is very coily and tightly packed, regular conditioning after occasional shampooing may not be enough. In addition, weekly or bi-weekly hair masks using natural ingredients like yogurt, hair oil, avocado, honey, aloe vera, and so on can help repair surface dryness. This could be the secret to your frizz-free, shiny, natural curls. Be sure to check out the next section in this blog to find some hair masks you can try today!
Other ways to deep-condition include using leave-in conditioners and serums. Cream-based leave-in conditioners can work great if applied to wet hair.
Natural DIYs for curly hair
As mentioned in the previous section, there are ways in which you can deep condition your hair without having to use expensive store-bought products. For curly hair, natural hair treatments can be essential to maintain shine and health. Here are some easy Do-it-yourself selected carefully for your haircare purposes!
Banana and honey mask
Bananas are high in minerals and a good moisturizing agent, and honey is the beauty world’s favorite humectant (ingredients that hydrate skin/hair). Together with added coconut oil, they make the perfect pre-hair wash mask.
- One Banana
- 2 tablespoons of Honey
- Coconut Oil As Lubricant
- Comb and detangle your hair starting from the bottom.
- Mash a banana in a bowl, and then add honey.
- Add enough coconut oil for a convenient consistency of the paste.
- Apply the paste from root to tip, with special attention on the tips.
- Put your hair in a loose bun and then cover it with a shower cap.
- Let the paste soak into your hair for 30 minutes. Later, rinse with lukewarm water and follow with mild shampoo and lots of conditioners.
Aloe vera DIY hair spray
Aloe vera is a dermatological wonder that works for practically any skin or hair issue you could name. It hydrates, cools, and balances the pH of your hair. Yet, it is not greasy and absorbs into skin and hair. This makes it the perfect key ingredient for a leave-in conditioner.
- A cup of distilled water
- A cup of pure aloe vera juice
- ½ tablespoon of olive oil
- ½ tablespoon of your favorite conditioner
- A spray bottle
- Pour all ingredients into the spray bottle. Shake well.
- Leave it aside in a cool and dry place.
- Apply once a day in the morning if your hair falls under the curly to kinky hair type. If not, it would be wiser to use it after hair wash and then rinsing.
Egg and mayo hair mask
Eggs are very high in protein and are known to improve the elasticity and bounce in your hair. Mayonnaise can help add shine to your locks from root to tip. This hair mask is to be used before shampoo.
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 mashed avocado
- Beat the egg in a bowl until it makes a smooth texture.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.
- Mix well.
- Apply on detangled hair from root to tip.
- Cover with a clean shower cap and leave it on for 1-2 hours.
- Rinse off with warm water first, and then shampoo with cold water.
- Follow with conditioner.