Those with naturally textured hair know all too well the pain and torture that comes with living with curls.
The Frizz, the boof, the wiry rough texture, and the unruly bed hair in the morning. Don’t even contemplate brushing it to get the knots out or you could end up looking like you have just been thought the spin cycle. The problem is that at some point, no one had ever told you the best way to look after your wavy hair instead treating it like normal straight hair.
So if you find yourself to be one of those unlucky with curls kinda girl, whether it be natural or permed; here are some crucial tips on how to manage and control your hair.
Cleanse your hair don’t strip it
Washing your hair too often and with the wrong shampoos can remove more than just dirt and grime. Frequent shampooing can dry out the hair by stripping it of its natural oils your hair thrives on.
Shampoo only once or twice a week and only with a sulphate free shampoo; sulphate is a corrosive ingredient found in many non professional shampoos that not only tend to strip the hair of it’s natural oils but also wear away the cuticle layer, damaging it in the process leaving your hair rough and coarse.
It is also what create all that foam you love to see and believe that it is cleansing your hair, but it is just an illusion. Sulphate free shampoo’s won’t foam up on the first wash, don’t fret! all you you have to do is lather, rinse and repeat! You will find that the it will become foamier the more you repeat the shampoo process, and sometimes for a really good clean you may have to repeat more than twice.
Don’t skip the conditioner
Curly hair naturally looks dry, dull and frizzy this is because it craves moisture and lacks hydration. This is because of the structure of the cuticle layer.
The cuticle on curly hair as opposed to its counterpart, is usually a lot more rough and raised, which allows moisture to escape. It is important to give your curls the extra moisture it requires to give you the shiny and defined curls you want, but to also replenish the lost hydration.
Using a terry cloth towel
Don’t use a traditional terrycloth towel, they tend to fluff up the hairs cuticle and absorb too much water leaving your hair fluffy and matted.
Try using a microfiber towel, one that can be used as a turban is best, it will take the moisture out without roughing up your hair.
Blow drying the wrong way
Avoid drying your hair with excessive heat too often, it can dry out and damage the hair strands and turn your crowning glory into a big fluffy frizz.
The best way to create a well defined frizz free curl is to let it dry naturally or use a diffuser if you are time poor.
Overdoing it with the heat
Word on the street is that too much straightening with your irons will permanently alter your curl pattern. 30 years in the industry and 40 odd years living with curly hair, I can tell you that is total crap!
However, constant application of any heated tool can damage the hair strand, as a result it can deteriorate the elasticity in your hair, which is what in fact creates the curls. If it’s damaged or weakened it can loosen your curl (think deteriorated elastic in your jocks).
So avoid too much heat of any kind on your hair, and if you really must then make sure to use a heat protectant to minimise the damage.
Using the wrong type of styling products
This can be a tricky one, because as I say to my clients, “cutting is only half of the look, the rest comes down to styling and the products you use”.
But if you use the wrong products, they can actually damage your hair causing your curls to look totally wrong.
Avoid products that contain harmful silicones. they coat the hair and don’t provide any health benifits. They are only designed to give the illusion of shine.
There are times when silicone in products is simply unavoidable, but there are some water soluble silicones on the markets and they are preferable over the others.
Treating Hair with Chemical processes
Any type of chemical service will alter the bonds in your hair, as well as weaken the elasticity of the curl. The more chemical services you put in your hair the more you lose your curl.
Even temporary chemical treatments can still have a permanent effect on your hair over time, so be gentle and be wise about how much and what you do to your hair.
Detangling with the wrong type of hair tools
One of the biggest ‘No No’s’ is using the wrong tools to detangle your hair. The best way to remove knots is with your fingers or a wide tooth comb. Do no use a fine tooth comb or a brush, any type of brush, even the popular detangling brush.
Wet hair is already quite weak, and using a brush stretches the hair strands to its breaking point causing the strand to snap, creating split ends and damaging the cuticle layer, allowing the frizz to flourish in its wake.
Hair brushing on curly hair should be used at a minimum if not at all, even brushing your curls when dry can break up the defined curls making it look like frizzy fluff ball.
Don’t skip the trim
Regular trims whether you have straight or curly hair is always important, but if you avoid cutting your hair on a regular basis with curly hair, then you are only inviting more fluff and frizz to come and play. Trims keep split ends at bay, if you don’t then those ends can become monumentally huge and fray up the hair.
Because curly hair texture is already quite rough, adding to it by way of split ends, will only increase the coarseness throughout the hair allowing it to become extremely frizzy and uncontrollable.
Going unprotected in the sun and surf
Just like when you are using the wrong products or tools and applying way too much heat on your curls, you are damageing the hair when you are out at the beach or sun.
The combination of sun, salt water, sand and wind can be very drying and distressing on you hair. Make sure you apply a leave in conditioner to protect your strands from the unfriendly elements and then follow up with a deep moisturising mask to replenish what it has lost.
Replenish and Hydrate
Lastly, it is important to give back once a month by having a deep moisturising and replenishing treatment. Curly hair is naturally dry and lacks what straight hair has, so you need to top up it’s moisture level even if you think you are doing all the right things.
Home air conditioning and winter heaters dry out the atmosphere around you, you can see this when your skin is feeling dry, it is the same for your hair no matter how little you do to it.
If you have chemically treated hair or tend to style it a little more regularly than you should, once a week moisturising and rebuilding treatments are recommended. If you take good care of your hair and do very little, then top it up with a mask once a month.