I used to believe that curly hair care had to be extremely complicated. For one curls tends to be on the dry side, and two we often approach our curls with the idea that they are very difficult to take care of. I believe if we eliminate hair dryness and focus on hair care technique, we’ll discover that our curls are more fun than a burden. Here are 4 curly hair tips which might change the game for you completely. At least they did for me.
1. Water Your Curls Like A Plant
It took me awhile to realize that my hair loves water more than anything else. I either saturate my hair completely with water in the shower every day, or I at least spritz my hair thoroughly. It helps to know whether your curls are more like tropical plants or succulents.
Some curls need more water than others. Understanding how much water your hair needs can improve curl definition, make your hair stronger, and minimize the amount of products you need to use. Depending upon how much water you hair can retain will determine the need to seal in that moisture with an oil/butter or not at all.
2. Deal With Tangles Intelligently
If your hair stays moisturized, you will definitely experience fewer tangles. Tangling will still be apart of the equation though since that is the nature of curly hair. There are a few different ways to approach detangling your hair, and it’s a good to know which method works best for you.
Some curls thrive with pre-wash detangling sessions. By detangling your hair outside of the shower, the washing process is easier, you avoid unnecessary breakage, and you save water. Now it is determining whether to dry detangle using an oil, or to saturate your hair with water first then use a water based product/oil.
Others love just jumping into the shower and detangling there. Regardless I feel which ever method puts less stress on your hair the better. Pre-wash detangling works best for me, but since I can
often sometimes be lazy, twisting my hair in sections prior to a wash stretches my curls some to help the process.
Lastly with detangling is knowing whether to use a wide tooth comb, brush, or just your fingers. Finger detangling is the most gentle method in my opinion, but it does take practice and patience. Finger detangling also helps to create curl definition for some curl types versus breaking up the curl pattern with a comb or brush.
One thing I always do is enter my detangling session with my hair shears close by. Ripping out a knot only does more damage to your hair cuticle. It is better to untangle a knot as best as you can first, then cut the small stubborn portion with sharp hair shears.
3. Don’t Over Cleanse Or You’ll Need More Products
There is often talk about one product not stripping your hair of its natural oils, but I have found that actually most products do. The products just contain oils and conditioning ingredients so that your hair doesn’t feel stripped. There is no doubt in my mind that the oils that your scalp produces conditions your hair better than any product on the market.
If your hair is on the dry side, it is literally impossible to experience these oils at all unless you stop using commercial products for two weeks to a month after a good clarifying treatment. That was the beginning of my water only hair washing experiment. If your scalp produces an excessive amount of these natural oils, you can balance the production by not over cleansing your hair as well.
From that experiment I learned that over cleansing your hair will create the necessity to use more conditioning, deep conditioning, leave-in, and moisture sealing products. I’ve also noticed that the more leave-in products that I used, even if I made them myself, the more often I needed to wash my hair. The gentler your hair cleanser the less you will need to overcompensate afterwards. Also the less you put in your hair after washing, the longer you can go inbetween washes if you’d like as well.
4. Focus On Technique, Not Products Alone
By focusing on detangling and best styling methods, you will gain the perspective that products alone are not the end all say all for curly hair. Discover if washing your hair in sections, braids, or twists makes a dramatic difference. Or notice if you do better washing all of your hair as one. Know if your hair thrives in wash and gos, or prefers stretched styles such as twist or braid outs. Do protective styles such as buns or two strand twists make life easier?
I’ve actually learned to do without most products and still have defined moisturized curls. I explain it more in my almost zero waste hair regimen. That regimen isn’t perfect since I am discovering new ways to tweak it here and there, yet my hair is still very healthy. Focusing on healthy hair care techniques can truly help your hair thrive where products alone will not.
What simple curly hair care tips changed the game for you?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)