Curly hair is beautiful but can be hard to appreciate when it is a mystery to take care of. As a child, my mother and I unsuccessfully struggled to tame my ringlets, which left me wearing my hair in a defeated ponytail or bun.
At 12, I was given the greatest gift known to all curly girls: A flat iron. I cringe remembering the hissing steam of my scalding wet-to-dry straightener as it went over my wet hair. I cringe even more when I think about how I never owned heat protectant.
By the time I was 15 my hair was destroyed. It’s been four years, but I’ve finally regained my curls. Here are some helpful things I’ve learned along the way:
- Refrain from using heat products as much as possible. Using them from time to time is okay, but heat damage is detrimental to curls.
- Cut out products containing harsh chemicals. Many gels and shampoos contain sulfates, silicones or parabens that strip hair of natural oils needed for curls. CurlMart is a great website for finding and purchasing products that are healthier. It also has reviews!
- Reduce frizz as much as possible. There will always be some degree of frizz, but doing things like sleeping on a satin pillowcase and using t-shirts or microfiber towels to gently scrunch water out of hair is easier on hair.
- Don’t over wash. Curly hair is drier than most types of hair and doesn’t need to be washed everyday. Every other day is a better alternative. To reactivate the products already in your hair, just add water. Keeping a spray bottle filled with a mixture of water and conditioner is a good idea.
- NEVER brush dry hair. Brushing hair breaks up curls. It’s best to do all detangling in the shower or when the hair is still wet. Wide tooth combs are the most gentle. I personally use the Tangle Teezer.
- Do research. All hair is different, so what works for one person’s hair is not guaranteed to work on someone else. NaturallyCurly.com is a great website for researching hair types. They have a Texture Typing method that “will let you create a hair profile to identify the unique properties and needs of your hair.” It’s easy to use and very helpful.
- Have patience. If hair has been through years of abuse, it’s not going to bounce back to normal in a few days, or sometimes even a few months. It’s a process that takes time and effort, but looking back I found that learning to appreciate and bring out natural beauty is worth it.
Written By Danielle Raymond