I have naturally curly hair, and I’ve been battling with it for what seems like my entire life. Natural curls are delicate, and the hair shaft is often fine. The slightest bit of styling with heat or repeated coloring can damage the hair shaft quite easily. As beautiful as natural curls can be, they will never look good when they are dry, damaged and frizzy.
I certainly don’t have all of the answers, nor am I a hair stylist, but I do have some tricks that have helped my hair. You can’t give up styling your hair, and you can’t control the weather, but you take a few precautions to lessen the damage to your curls.
Skip The Blow Dryer
Blow dryers are fast, and get you out the door in the morning. If you have natural curls, you should skip the blow-drying part of your routine. The dry heat blowing through your hair can cause heat damage and encourages frizz.
Wash your hair at night, and let it dry while you sleep. If your hair is long enough, put it up in a ponytail or bun before you go to sleep. The curls will dry naturally, and your hair will still be slightly damp when you wake up.
Take It Easy When Styling
I know more than anyone that curls can get old. Many people say they would kill to have my natural curls. What they don’t realize is that I always have them, and sometimes, a change is needed. Once in a while, straight is fun!
If you must straighten your hair, do it sparingly. Never use steam when using a straightening iron, because this will contribute to frizz. Use a straightening iron that has ceramic plates. These are far less damaging to your hair. If you want to keep it straight on a regular basis, talk to your stylist.
Natural curls crave moisture. They are dry by nature and when you add styling and heat damage, they are even drier. Never skimp on the conditioner. In my case, regular conditioner doesn’t cut it, so I have to buy from my salon. I personally use Bedhead’s Dumb Blond conditioner, but almost any conditioner will help. Ask your stylist what they recommend for your hair type.
Sometimes, you need to do a little more than condition your hair while you are in the shower. Take a day and do a deep conditioning. There are many different ways to do this, but this is what works for me.
I highlight twice a year, and when I do, I end up with very dry hair. I choose a day when I don’t have to go anywhere, and I deep condition. I take conditioner and saturate my hair while it is dry. Don’t skimp. You should really slather it on. Leave it on all day, and sleep with it in your hair overnight.
It’ll feel icky and goopy all day, but when you rinse it out, your hair will be softer and smoother. If you want to speed it up, spend an hour with a hot towel wrapped around your head. This can get annoying though, because the towel will cool quickly, and you’ll have to keep reheating it.
Skip the shampoo every other day. Pin your hair up when you take your shower and don’t wash it. Dry, damaged, natural curls become more damaged with every day washing. Shampoo washes away the natural oils on your scalp and dries out your hair.
How To Find Your Best Curl
I absolutely hated my curls until I figured out how to handle them. All the blow-drying, straightening, and tugging did nothing but leave me frizzy and frustrated.
After you wash your hair, apply leave-in conditioner, your styling product of choice (I use mousse), and let air dry. Your curls will dry naturally and look incredible. Try your best to not touch your hair in anyway. Even running a wide-toothed comb through your hair will separate your curls and can add frizz and bulk.
No matter what a hair product commercial tries to tell you, there is no way to repair your hair. Once it’s damaged, it’s damaged. Frizz serum is great for controlling frizz, but it does not repair. It is only a temporary fix. Products can help soften and lessen future damage, but they cannot fix your hair. The only true fix to get rid of damaged hair is to trim the damage off.
There’s no way around it, natural curls are just different than straight locks. When you are looking for a stylist, ask for someone who has experience with natural curls and knows how to cut and treat them. Anyone can cut your hair, but you need someone who understands your curls.
Don’t fight your natural curls. If you treat them with care, you will soon fall in love with them. There is something about natural curls that a perm just cannot capture. Take some care and dry, damaged curls will be a thing of the past.