12 Hair Care Tips for Natural Curly Hair
A Woman with Long Curly Hair
Curly hair is defined by little curls and waves that form in non-straight hair. Some people are born with naturally curly hair, especially people of African descent. However, there are ways that one can turn any other type of hair into curls. A majority of people who have curly hair love keeping it short, but it can be grown to full length, maintaining the curls the longer it grows.
One of the many reasons why many people wish to have curly hair is because it adds volume effortlessly, something that straight hair can never seem to achieve. Although it demands more effort and attention, curly hair is hands down the most glamorous type of hair that can go with every look.
Types of Curly Hair
Broadly speaking, there are about four types of curly hair. The classification is based on Andre Walker’s model, a hair stylist who used to work with Oprah Winfrey. The Andre Walker Hair Chart was created in 1990 and has been used as the blueprint for classifying the many types of hairs available. The model differentiates the four types based on the frequency and the length of the curls. The four types include the following:
Type 1 - Straight
Straight Curly Hair
This is a type of straight-like hair that is starting to show signs of curls. They are very subtle and most times it is easy to categorize the hair as straight. However, you can see signs of waves and no matter how many times you may try to turn it straight, it will always revert back to the subtle waves. Type 1 curly hair is the easiest to maintain owing to its straight nature and can grow as long as you may want it to.
The texture of the hair falls between straight and curly, the hair starts straight from the roots then transforms into an S-shape as it approaches the extreme ends of the hair strands. The longer Type 2 grows, the more pronounced and the longer the waves become. This is a common look that is spotted by professional women.
The curls in Type 3 begin right off the bat, from the very roots, becoming more pronounced as you progress towards the ends of the hair strands. This type of hair rarely settles down even when it has grown shoulder length, you will always see it floating in the air as though supported by some invisible force.
Type 4 hair is characterized by a series of small coils that start from the roots and continue on to the ends. This is the hardest type of curly hair to maintain and at the same, it is the most delicate. They need a lot of moisture for them to maintain that glow. Coily curls look good when they are kept short, just above the shoulders.
How to Care for Naturally Curly Hair
A Lady with Curly Hair
Like any other type of hair, curly hair needs attention, whether it is natural or not. However, unlike straight and wavy hair types, it takes more to maintain curly hair. This is down to the many coils that make combing a bit of a hustle. The following are some of the hair care tips that every person possessing curly hair should be aware of.
Use Pre-Shampoo Treatment
A pre-shampoo treatment is a routine you perform on your hair before shampooing it. It softens the hair up, detangling it to make it much easier for shampooing to be carried out. The pretreatment also prevents the damage and roughness that can occur if you dove directly into cleaning it with shampoo.
The pre-treatment process begins by applying a conditioner to dry hair, this is followed by parting the hair into sections to allow the conditioner to seep into the hair evenly and thoroughly. You then let the conditioner sit in for about 20 minutes before washing it off.
Use Lukewarm Water
When it comes to washing the hair, people have the tendency to go for hot or warm hair. The assumption here is that hot or warm water cleans much better than cold hair. Although that may be true to some extent, hot water does more than just clean your scalp, it may weaken your hair roots. It opens up the skin pores making them release the much-needed moisture.
A cold wash may not be ideal or comfortable but it helps lock in the moisture and reduces the frizz.
Comb the Hair Correctly
A Lady Combing Hair
Nailing down the correct way to comb your hair is massive. Many people downplay the damaging power of bad combing as they simply grab any comb they can find and hack away at their head without considering several factors. For a start, you have to know the direction that your hair roots are facing and comb the hair in that direction.
You should also detangle the hair before running the comb through. Forcing the comb to plow through detangled hair will yank it clean off the scalp and with time you will start having bald patches. Patience is key when it comes to combing the hair.
Lay Off the Heat
Thermal Hair Tools
Thermal tools should be avoided if you can; flat irons, blow dryers, curling irons, these may be tools of convenience but their repeated use is not good for your hair. As far as drying your hair is concerned, letting it dry naturally on its own is perfectly okay. It may take time but there is no harm in waiting that extra hour rather than subject your curly hair to extreme heat. If you have to use a blow dryer, for example, keep the heat to a low level and hold it at a safe distance to avoid direct heat acting on your hair roots.
Avoid Scrub Drying Your Hair
People unconsciously use towels to dry hair without knowing how damaging that can be. When you apply pressure on your hair by swirling and scrubbing it dry with a towel, you create friction between the hair and the scalp. This vigorous scrubbing and swirling weakens the hair and makes it vulnerable to fall out and breakages. If you do not have the patient to wait for the hair to dry naturally, then dab the towel against your head slowly until all the moisture is sucked up.
Always Section Your Hair
It is easy to fall into the lazy trap where you simply wash your hair while grabbing it in your hand. The best way to clean your hair using conditioners and shampoos is through partitioning it. One advantage of doing this is that it allows the product you are using to touch every part thoroughly and evenly. Rubbing and swirling your hair into one mass will lead to hair entanglement that will only add more work later on. When using shampoos or conditioners, apply a small amount to each section and work on them one at a time.
Well Moisturized Hair
Dry hair has never looked good and when it comes to curly hair, it becomes much harder to hide it. The many coils and curves look much better when they are glossy, and to achieve that you have to moisturize your hair frequently. You can use a styling cream that is mild, one that is light enough to be barely noticed. The last thing you want is to make your hair much heavier than necessary in the name of moisturizing. Avoid staying in the sun too much as this saps out the moisture from your hair.
Use the Right Products
Different Hair Products
Stay clear of hair products that have traces of alcohol and sulfates. These two are notorious for making the hair dry out much quicker than necessary. Alcohol evaporates too quickly and in the process, it starts sucking away moisture from the hair. Leaving it brittle, dry, and frizzy. Sulfates like SLS and SLES are very harsh and abrasive and should not be applied to the hair. Check the ingredients of every hair product you purchase.
Cleanse the Scalp
Unlike straight hair, the roots of curly hair can be crowded up pretty heavily since the curls for most owners of this type of hair starts from the very base. When cleaning the hair, it is easy to skip the scalp, that should not happen. A clean and healthy scalp reduces the chances of an infection or dandruff setting in. If you fail to cleanse the scalp for too long you will start getting itchy and in some cases, an odor will start emanating from your hair. Create time for dealing with your scalp at least once a week.
Do not Overdo Things
Full Hair Wash
As much as cleaning your hair is paramount, overdoing it will give rise to new problems. You do not have to wash your hair every day, especially if you are longer. Shampoos and conditioners have chemicals in them which may weaken the hair if you use them too frequently. Rubbing and scrubbing your hair every day is also not ideal as it increases hair fallout. You need to strike a balance that ensures your hair can go at least 2 days without needing a deep cleansing.
Full Hair Wash
Nobody likes split ends and curly hair is not immune to this condition. Split ends occur when a strand of hair splits into two in a process medically known as Trichoptilosis. The main cause of split ends is exposing your hair to hot showers, sleeping in tight hairstyles, heavily relying on chemical products, among many others. To ensure your hair looks prime at all times, make it a habit to trim your hair every 6 to 8 weeks to rid yourself of split ends and any damaged hair.
Try Natural Treatments
Homemade Hair Shampoo
Sometimes giving your hair a break from the many chemical products they are subjected to maybe the one thing it needs. Once in a while, go natural and use homemade concoctions to bring life back into your hair. You can make a mask out of olive oil, eggs, vinegar, and apply onto the hair. Other options include avocados which have natural fats and Vitamins B and E which are good for the hair. Switching things up every now and then is the secret to healthy hair.
Things You Should Never Do with Curly Hair
Brown Curly Hair
Curly hair is the most complicated among all the hair types, it is very easy for them to form entanglements, and getting them back to normal can be back-breaking work. Therefore, to save yourself the energy, the following are some of the things you should never do if you have curly hair.
Never go to bed without covering your hair. This is a universal rule that applies to most hairs but especially curly hair. The recommended covering is satin and the reason is simple. The friction between the hair and the bedding will leave your hair dry, brittle, and massively entangled. For better results, sleep on a satin pillow too rather than a cotton one. Avoid oiling your hair too much before bed as it may stain everything.
Do not sleep in tight hairstyles. Going to bed with a very tight hairstyle is not only uncomfortable on your skin but it also puts a lot of unnecessary strain on your hair roots. A simple and loose ponytail before tucking it into the head covering would work perfectly.
Do not use heat on your hair more than twice a month. As we have already stated how bad heat is for your hair if you cannot completely avoid using a blow drier or a curling iron then limit their applications to at most, twice a month. Overusing heat appliances on your curly hair may lead to the curls disappearing altogether.
Avoid expensive products. The common misconception around hair products is that the costlier they are the higher their quality, that is not always the case. Do not spend too much on products that may not work on your curly hair, instead, turn your focus on the ingredients used. Many expensive hair products contain high levels of alcohol and sulfates which are bad for your hair.
Do not Sleep with wet hair. You will have to find a way to dry your hair without involving thermal equipment, but whatever happens, never go to bed with wet hair. Covering wet hair coupled up with the evaporation that happens due to your scalp temperature will create a damp environment which is a breeding ground for dandruff, bad odor, and bacteria.
Never skip the conditioner. When cleaning your hair, start with the conditioner and give it time to settle in. The conditioner helps detangle the hair making the cleaning process much easier once you get down to dealing with shampoo.
Do not rely too much on chemical treatments no matter how effective they are. They can alter your hair permanently. Keratin-based treatments for example tend to create new reactions that make proteins adhere to the surface of the hair strands that stop other p[roducts from effectively working on your hair.
Protect your hair from sunlight, wind, and saltwater when you go to the beach. All these elements can combine to sap out moisture from your hair leaving it dirty with very nasty tangles.
Best Foods for the Best Curly Hair
Eggs and Greens
In the pursuit of the perfect curly hair, no stone is left unturned. Having looked at the physical things you can do to your curly hair to make it look gorgeous, there are certain foods that will increase those chances significantly when you include them in your diet. Some of them include the following.
A Plate of Salmon
Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the scalp, they prevent it from drying out when they are combined with Vitamin B-12 and iron that are also present in salmon. You can mix p the salmon with a side of spinach and flaxseed
Carrots are rich in Vitamin A which is also good for the scalp. Aside from being great antioxidants, carrots the vitamins in carrots will provide your hair with protection against the effects of direct sunlight.
These tasty little snacks are more than just enjoyable treats. They are a great source of an element called selenium which is effective for dealing with dandruff-causing fungus It also regulates the production of thyroid hormones that are good for hair growth. Brazilian nuts are especially known for their higher selenium content.
Eggs are high in proteins, Vitamin B-12, and biotin which are all essential for hair growth. Another thing that makes eggs versatile is that they can also be physically applied to the hair directly on top of being ingested as food. You get to kill two birds with one stone.
Vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in Vitamins A and C that are essential for the synthesis of sebum, an oily substance that is responsible for giving hair that natural look. Sebum also acts as a defensive mechanism for the scalp protecting it against infections and harmful organisms.
Chicken and turkey are lean meats that have high protein content that is vital for maintaining hair color while fortifying the roots making the hair strong. Other poultry types like a duck are also highly recommended.
A Glass of Milk
Milk is a good source of calcium and proteins. Calcium stimulates hair growth and drinking about a glass of milk in a day gives you a boost of about 300g of calcium. For the best results, consume yogurt, cheese, and sour cream. You can either take them directly or use them in cooking other foods.
Having curly hair is something that is coveted by many people around the world. People with straight hair usually use chemicals and varied styling methods to convert their hair into curls. If you are lucky enough to possess natural curly hair, stick to all the recommendations outlined in this piece to ensure that you bet the best out of your hair.