Oh Curly Hair. It’s Beautiful. It’s Lucious. It’s Beachy & Wild. It’s Untamed. It’s what EVERYONE desires. BUT, it can also be a huge pain in the ass for us curly girls! While curly hair often seems effortless, it can also be frizzy, dry and hard to handle- It never lays or curls the same way twice! Curly hair seems low maintenance to those unblessed, but it’s a job of its own to get those curls bouncy and luxurious.
The first thing I want to mention about curls is that they can change over time. If you have straight hair as a child, it can get curlier as you get older. If you have curly hair your whole life, you can end up getting straight hair from extreme life situations occurring- puberty, menopause, having a baby, medication changes, cancer, stress, chemical services, illness & diet. The cells in your body and your hormones also change every ~7 years, so your hair will change over time. These changes are usually more permanent, but following the tips below will help to get those curls as healthy and consistent as possible!
The amount of curl you have is determined by the shape of your follicle (which will change as your cells change). The more oval shaped your follicle is, the curlier your hair will be, but even people with very curly hair can have frizzy and flat hair if they aren’t properly caring for the s-shaped hydrogen bonds prevalent in curly hair.
Your hair has 3 different types of bonds- hydrogen, salt and disulfide bonds. Hydrogen bonds are your “curly bonds” and are affected by heat, water, and anything that serves to change the moisture/water content in the hair. This is why your hair will shrink and seem more voluminous in humid climates- the water in the air is seeping through your hair cuticle. If you want to straighten your hair, you’re denaturing, or burning, the hydrogen bonds in your curly hair causing it to lay flat. That's also why when you wet it, it will revive the hydrogen bonds and recurl. When you want to have beautiful, natural curly hair, you’ll need to protect the integrity of those hydrogen bonds at all costs!
IN THE SHOWER
Moisture is key for bouncy curls that aren’t frizzy, and it begins in shower. When you shampoo your hair, you want to be SURE that your shampoo is free of sulfates (sodium lauryl sulfate & anything similar), parabens, drying alcohols (any alcohol that doesn’t end in -yl is going to dry your hair or skin) & silicone. All of these ingredients will dry your hair out or weigh down the hair and compromise the integrity of the bonds. You also want to shampoo as infrequently as possible (once every 7-10 days is ideal). You want to follow up with a hydrating conditioner and deep condition every other week. When you put in your conditioner, make sure to thoroughly coat your hair from the ears down and comb through the conditioner with a wide tooth comb or wet brush. Whatever you do DO NOT brush or attempt to detangle it after the shower. If you feel the need to brush, use a wide tooth comb in the shower with conditioner in the hair. In between washes, I will occasionally wet my hair in the shower and run conditioner through the ends of my hair if I sleep on it funny or it looks crazy in the morning!
AFTER THE SHOWER
Once you are finished in the shower, DO NOT towel dry your hair. Don’t even think about touching that looped hair breakage machine to your wet tresses! Instead, try the plop method with an old T-shirt or microfiber towel to air dry your hair. The “Plop Method” is where you put the styling products in your hair with it thoroughly wet, then gently place your hair in a T-shirt or microfiber hair towel to preserve the curl pattern and help control frizz & damage. When putting in the products, you can twist the strands of hair to create tighter curls. Watch below to see this technique in action! The soft cotton T-shirt or the microfiber towel is much gentler on the hair, with no loops to tug and break your stands, and it will dry the hair faster than a terry cloth towel because it increased absorbancy, which helps prevent frizz and damage because the cuticle stays intact. I can’t reiterate this part enough: once you are out of the shower resist the urge to brush or comb your hair other than with your fingers and products, and do NOT use heat other than a diffuser on low heat on mostly dry hair.
Did you know that curly hair is the most fragile? This is due to the oblong follicle and shape of the hair that grows out of the head. This also means that curly hair is usually the easiest to split, dry out, fry, break off, or become damaged quickly when not not taken care of properly. In order to prevent this, and have long, beautiful and healthy curls, you NEED to be getting regular trims every 8-12 weeks with someone who knows how to cut curly hair! If you don’t cut the curls according to the S or C pattern that they lay in, you can risk more damage to the cuticle layer and ruin your curl pattern! Curly hair should be cut WET, curl by curl, and tweaked once dry if needed, This will allow the stylist to properly see the curl patterns in each strand of hair in order to cut your hair for maximum bounce. You can also sleep on a satin pillowcase or wrap your hair in a silk wrap to protect it from snagging, drying out, braking, and getting frizzy or unruly overnight! The satin will protect the hair cuticle and keep it laying down smoothly.
Coloring your curls is a tricky thing, especially if you’re lightening your hair. Lightening is essentially bleach that is removing the color pigment from the hair. During this process, the bonds of your hair are also altered, causing the curl pattern to be weakened and your hair usually won’t curl as strong or hold onto moisture as well. This is why it is absolutely crucial to use bond builders such as B3 or Olaplex in your color and get the regular trims after you color to keep those ends from splitting. If you are going darker with color, you don’t have as much to be concerned about, unless you plan on trying to go lighter again later. Otherwise, just depositing color doesn’t damage the bonds of the hair like lightening, it only rearranges them slightly to add the darker pigment to the hair!
At the end of the day, you have to remember: healthy & happy curls are a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to treat it as so! If you’ve been using products with harsh chemicals or lightening your hair to the high heavens it's going to take some time to restore those curls, often a few months to a year to reach maximum potential. First, your hair will have to go through a detox process to fully rid the cuticle of the junk it’s holding onto, and it will most likely be oiler and maybe even frizzier than before! Then, after 2 weeks to a month, your hair will start to change for the better, leading to amazing, bouncy, more luscious curls than you thought possible! You can’t give up using the new products, because nothing will be a quick-fix, and washing your hair less, I PROMISE it will benefit you more in the long run and give you healthier hair.
Are you a curly girl who’s never found her holy grail routine? Try these tips, schedule a consultation with me, and let’s get those tresses bouncing like you wouldn’t believe!
Hi There! I'm Ashley and welcome to The Sunkissed Hair Co. Blog! Here you'll find the latest tips and tricks to achieve your dream hair! After all, hair is the crown we never take off! Read more about SHCo Here!
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- Dry Shampoo & What's Best for YOU!
- Dry Shampoo Brand Reviews
Tips & Tricks:
- The Ultimate Guide to Healthy CURLS!
- Not Washing Your Hair
- Dehydrated Hair Tips
- Beach Wave Curls Made Easy
- Determine Your Hair Type
- Get the Perfect Blowout