Got naturally curly hair? We’re betting you’re always on the hunt for new products, tips and tricks to lock and rock what Mother Nature gave you. It’s a blessing you’ve got, but we’re betting sometimes you may feel like it’s a curse. Whether you want to blow it straight, create looser curls or maximize those tighter coils, you may feel sometimes like you need some help. We’ll, we’ve got a celebrity stylist here to share some pretty smart tips that will have you loving your curls like never before.
10 HAIR TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR NATURALLY CURLY HAIR LOOK ITS BEST
Curly Hair Tip 1: Realize there’s an oil and moisture war.
The first thing people must understand is that there are opposite things going on with curly hair at the same time. Due to the shape of curly haired strands, the hair tends to be under-moisturized. On the other hand, the curly haired scalp can get very oily. Managing these opposite demands is a struggle for anyone with curly hair so you need balance. The key here is knowing how best to address both.
Curly Hair Tip 2: Wash very, very gently.
Kinky, thick, coiled textures tend to appear “tough” and strong enough to withstand heavy manipulation. These hair types are actually the most delicate, and should be handled with care.
Curly Hair Tip 3: Pick your products wisely.
Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for curly hair as the one-two step process that delivers both deep cleaning plus exceptional nourishment necessary for styling.
Curly Hair Tip 4: Prep for shampoo.
Curl mastery begins with rinsing hair thoroughly with water for a minimum of 30 seconds. This helps to eliminate any water-soluble product buildup, such as hair gel or heat protectant. It also helps you save shampoo! Assuming you’re shampooing in the shower, letting the water run over the hair in a downward motion helps prevent further tangling, and allows the hair shaft to swell and the curl pattern to fully rebound. For those with extremely thick hair, separate hair into 4 sections prior to wetting the hair for increased manageability.
Curly Hair Tip 5: Shampoo with intention.
Once the shampoo is applied, use light manipulation at the scalp, going from the crown of the head to the nape of the neck. “Squishing” the hair up toward the scalp is a no-no. Shampooing this way can cause unforgivable tangling and matting. Finally, repeat the shampooing process at least once.
Curly Hair Tip 6: Condition and comb through like a pro.
If your scalp was properly shampooed, conditioning is easy. This time, you’re focusing on your thirsty ends first, working upward toward the scalp. Gently detangle with a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush (our favorite is Felicia Leatherwood’s “Brush with the Best” detangling brush) before rinsing, starting at the ends, working up toward to the roots. Remember to rinse with cool water which snaps cuticles shut, locks in moisture, makes your hair shinier and reduces frizz.
Curly Hair Tip 7: Don’t fall into the co-wash trap.
When it comes to the popular trend of “co-washing” or “conditioner washing”, that’s like washing your clothes with fabric softener. It causes build-up on the hair, coating the cuticle, impairing the hair’s natural ability to absorb water. Oils, waxes, and product residue harden on the hair shaft, making it more brittle and less porous over time. When the hair can no longer effectively absorb water, the elasticity of the hair is compromised, leaving the hair “crunchy” and stiff, where it is more likely to break. The result is hair that feels dry and brittle, no matter what product you use to moisturize it.
Curly Hair Tip 8: Clean off that residue.
To restore curls, trade in the co-wash for a gentle, pH-balanced moisturizing shampoo, which properly cleanses hair of product residue. Once you have the hair thoroughly clean it “drinks” up the necessary amount of moisture, and returns to its natural softness.
Curly Hair Tip 9: Skip alcohol to lose that crunch.
Styling products high in alcohol give curls a crunchy feel. They suck up every last bit of moisture. Hair spray tends to contain the most alcohol, while gels, mousses and anything that provides hold or lift come in second. Try water-soluble gels that don’t feel sticky on your skin, and aerated mousses or foams that resemble beaten egg whites, to give hair fullness, control, and non-brittle curls.
Curly Hair Tip 10: Blow dry with a diffuser or hooded dryer.
The best choice for curly styles is to air dry. If you don’t have the time to air dry, then dry with a diffuser or hooded dryer on a low heat setting. A regular blow dryer nozzle disrupts the curl pattern and focuses hot air on one small section at a time while a diffuser dries curls evenly for a full, uniform look.
First, apply a heat-protecting product, then flip your head upside down using a diffuser at the roots and mid-length, making sure to dry the area completely to lock in volume. It’s important to leave the ends for last, and leave them only semi-dry. Air drying the ends is your best option.
Maya Smith is an International Celebrity Stylist and Founder of The Doux Salon and The DOUX® haircare product line now available in Target. Maya has dedicated two decades to cracking the code on curl care, maintenance and expert styling.