If you have curly hair with extreme frizz, low volume, or both, we may have more in common than you think.
My hair hasn’t always been as healthy as it is, and I can thank a handful of lifestyle changes for the transformation my curls have undergone in the past several years. That being said, what works for me may not be the cure-all for your own curly struggles. I’d still like to share how the health of my hair has improved since adjusting my routine.
Simplify your hair care habits
A simple haircare routine is more easily manageable, so don’t feel bad if you decide to skip out on the expensive serums. Find a conditioner that your hair responds well to and a shampoo that doesn’t leave you with product buildup and you’re good to go!
I used to add light serums after getting out of my daily shower, but my hair seemed to become reliant on them and didn’t look as well on days I went without. After some time, my hair went back to looking consistently good without using additional products.
On days you don’t need to shower but want to refresh your curls, try tipping your head upside down in a cool shower stream and then gently towel dry while standing up.
If you feel your hair isn’t getting nourished from the products you currently use, try investing in a deep conditioner for semi-regular treatments.
Don’t weigh yourself down
One of the first questions I get when asked about my hair is if I use the infamous Curly Girl Method. This concept, made popular by Lorraine Massey of DevaCurl, focuses on nourishing your hair and styling naturally. Sounds like a dream, right? That’s why it gained so much attention and is still loved by many. Even to the extent that people think you need to use this method to bring out the best in your curl pattern.
The truth is, I don’t use the curly girl method. I have in the past, and I thought at the time that it made my hair look healthier by adding volume. Looking back at that time, I wasn’t doing my hair any favors. I prefer how my curls look when I style my hair with my head upright, not upside down, and I have my own opinions of DevaCurl products. I recommend you look into the range of experiences other people have had before jumping on the hair care bandwagon.
Instead of swapping to the latest curly girl trend, invest in what you know has worked for you before. I’ve realized that my hair looks better when I stick to a simple routine with familiar products. Try washing your hair less often by using conditioner during every wash and shampooing only when you feel greasy.
I used my time spent during the 2020 lockdown to reset my wash routine and I went from showering daily before school to now taking a shower every other day or every third, depending on workouts and other factors of course. If you prefer to shower daily or need to because of your lifestyle, I recommend you invest in a shower cap to protect your curls as they can become stripped of their oils when washed too often.
Don’t be afraid to let your hair’s natural oils work their way down the strands as a conditioner of its own. Only when it becomes noticeably oily do you need to use shampoo. If it is not oily to the touch but you need or want to shower, consider using the shower cap or just condition it when you rinse your hair. The warm water will help work the natural oils down your hair strands without feeling greasy when dried.
Handle with care
Combing in the shower with conditioner is a good way to keep your curls from getting stressed and frizzy. Using a wide-tooth comb, work in sections from the bottom up and occasionally soak the hair again before combing a new section.
Use terrycloth for a gentle yet absorbent towel dry and avoid using heat if possible. Only dry until the hair is no longer dripping wet and try to avoid running the towel down the hair as it can create frizz later on. Shake your head gently to loosen the curls and let them fall naturally. Scrunch gently with your hands, not a towel, if preferred, but avoid excessive handling while wet.
When styling, I tend to avoid rubber bands as my thin strands like to tangle in them. Instead, I’ve enjoyed styling with scrunchies as the fabric helps create a wider hold that doesn’t crimp the hair where it is placed.
If your hair is more Afrocentric, it may be more forgiving with the use of rubber bands, but if you correlate using them with having a lot of fallout, consider a style that doesn’t require using them.
If preferred, you can also style your hair in protective styles either for overnight protection or for long-term styling.
Protective styles are not necessary for all hair types, but our curls are prone to damage and need us to take extra care. Whether you are just starting on your journey to finding your natural curl pattern, or you’re simply trying to maintain the health of your curls after a fresh cut, you could benefit from protective styling.
For some this may look like a simple braid–just something to keep your hair from getting knotted while you toss and turn. Depending on your hair type, a long-term protective style can protect your hair from the damage of daily styling and may even push your wash day until after that special event coming up.
Many of my curl friends have recommended bonnets to me with lots of good ratings, though I have yet to invest in one myself. I don’t think everyone needs one, but they sure could make a difference in how much my hair gets tossed around at night. I tend to change sleeping positions often and every time I turn my head, my hair follows. If you toss and turn a lot at night or wake up with too many knots to keep track of, perhaps a bonnet could be of good use to you.
Know when to cut them off
Every so often, your curls will begin to fray at the ends and not curl as well near the bottom. This is a telltale sign that your split ends or dead ends are becoming an issue and need to be trimmed.
If you do not treat split ends by cutting them off, they will continue to split and break off, leaving another split end in its place. Eventually, your hair can split all the way up the strand and the damage can get *almost* irreversible. Of course, you can always go for a bob cut or even shave it off to start new, but not all of us want to make that big of a change if avoidable.
If you’re reading this and feel like your split and dead ends have already gotten you to that point, don’t feel bad. See when you can book an appointment to get it cut and be open with your stylist about how you feel about the big chop and what is realistic for the condition of your hair.
It’s a cycle you don’t want to be stuck in, so cut off your dead and split ends before they get out of hand! Once they’re gone, your hair will feel noticeably lighter and it may add some volume to your curls as they regain some of their bounce. You’ll be left with a defined edge to your ringlets without so much dead weight,
So what are you waiting for? Cut. Them. Off.
If you find that your hair is damaged from past dye jobs, consider taking a break from changing colors. If the damage is extreme, it might be time for a new haircut. Contact your stylist or ask a friend for a referral for their stylist if you are looking to make the best decision for your hair now and in the future.
It’s possible to heal your hair and grow it out healthy with a nourishing routine and gentle care!