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Expert approved 10 tips for taking care of curly hair

women's brown long-sleeved blouse

It can feel difficult to manage curly hair. It can be a frustrating game of trial-and-error where every detail needs to work perfectly in order to achieve defined curls. Even Marilisa Sears (a celebrity hairdresser and artistic director at Marc Anthony), agrees.

“The first rule of curl club is that the rules change…constantly,” she says. What works today might not work tomorrow or again. Curly hair is unique and requires special care.

The spectrum of curly hair can be divided into four categories (type 1 through type 4) as well as three subcategories. Type 1A is straight hair, while type 4C is a tight curl. You can also have multiple curl styles at once, such as loose waves, ringlets or zig-zag curls.

Curly hair needs special attention so we have compiled a list with tips and tricks to help you take care of it. Keep reading to learn about the best styling tips for curly hair.

1. You should wash your curly hair at least once a week

Dre Demry Sands, a professional hairstylist who is also a passionate advocate for natural textures, says that natural-textured hair should be washed at least once a week to maintain healthy hair and scalp. The cleansing is an essential part of any hair-care routine. It provides hair with the best moisture source and creates the perfect environment for styling products to work.

Sears says that it is important to wash your hair completely before you apply shampoos to your scalp. To remove dirt and product buildup, rub your scalp with your fingertips. After shampooing, rinse the shampoo off the hair.

Curly hair can be susceptible to dryness. This is why once per week is usually a good balance to keep the hair’s natural oils intact without causing other hair problems. You may be able wash your hair less often or more often depending on whether you have oily or dry scalp. To avoid excessive oil production or product buildup, it is a good rule to wash your clothes at least once a week.

Sanders explains that sebum is a naturally occurring oil, which is secreted from the hair to provide moisture and protect it. These oils are released down each hair strand but can become trapped at the roots due to the unique textures of naturally textured hair. She explained that the scalp microbiome is also made up of yeast. If the scalp becomes too oily, yeast can feed on the sebum, triggering dandruff and dermatitis. She says, “It is essential to reset your scalp often to prevent these scalp complications.”

2. Brush curly hair before you wash it

It is important to detangle hair before you wash it. Sanders explains that water will lock up tangled hair. While you can use water to detangle your hair, a detangling spray makes it easier and creates more slip.

Sears suggests the Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curls Curl Endy Leave-in Conditioner ($10 at cvs.com), that prevents frizz and breakage.

Running your fingers through the hair to untangle fine hair with loose curls is a gentle method of detangling without breaking. Sanders recommends using a wide tooth comb or a detangling brush for coarser hair textures with tighter curl patterns.

3. Make sure you use the right shampoo for your hair concerns

For curly hair, styling products are essential. Sanders warns that many styling products can build up because they are not water-soluble and heavy. She says, “I recommend clarifying shampoos for people who use styling products often.” For curly hair, the Pattern Beauty Clarifying Shampoo ($20 on sephora.com), is an affordable option. She says that if hair doesn’t sud up after a first wash, it’s a sign of product buildup and further cleaning is required.

However, if you don’t have to do a deep cleanse, a moisturizing shampoo like the Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo ($20 on sephora.com) is a great choice. This shampoo is good for curly hair because it’s more prone to dryness.

4. Steam Your Hair

Moisture is key to healthy curls. Sanders recommends steaming your hair with conditioner. Sanders explains that heat changes the hair’s physical condition. The steam opens the hair cuticle and allows for more access to the deeper hair strands. It also helps to deliver the conditioner’s moisturizing ingredients to the cuticle.

5. The Right Way to Use Conditioner

In the hope of having hair that is softening and smoother, we all make the common mistake of using conditioner on our hair longer than recommended. This could be doing more harm than good. Sanders says that conditioners can do most of the work in 15 minutes. “After that, there is nothing but clogged cuticles.”

It can also make styling more difficult if you don’t rinse your conditioner thoroughly. Sanders explains that while we all love the soft feel of conditioner on our hair, it can make styling more difficult if it isn’t thoroughly rinsed.

Use your conditioner products according to the instructions on the package. This is usually on damp hair, at the mid-lengths and ends. Sanders says that conditioners will feel slimy if they are evenly applied and absorb into the hair cuticle.

6. Depending on your hair type and texture, choose the right styling product

Sanders says that knowing your curl type will help you determine which styling product is best for your particular curl pattern. Your curl type is determined by the shape and tightness your curls have, such as zigzag curls or loose curls.

For tighter curls, hair products like gels and creams that are thicker, such as creams, will be required to control shrinkage. Mielle Organics Pomegranate and. Honey Twisting Souffle ($13 at target.com) shapes curls and conditions them.

Foams and mousses that are lighter in curls like the Ouai Air Dry Foam ($28; sephora.com), can be more beneficial to looser curls.

Hair texture is also important. Hair texture is the measurement of the circumference of a hair strand. Sanders explains that there are three types hair textures: fine, medium, coarse, or thick. It is crucial to determine the hair texture in order to know what type of product you need and how to apply it. Lightweight formulas are needed for fine-to-medium hair textures to prevent greasy hair. Sanders explains that coarser and more dense textures might require greater product amounts.

7. Find out more about your hair porosity

Sanders says, “It is crucial to determine your hair’s porosity before choosing a product. This will ensure that the product can absorb properly.” Hair porosity refers to the hair’s ability absorb water. There are three levels to hair porosity: low, medium, or high. Low porosities have a harder time absorption, as the flaps of hair cuticle lie flat to the hair strand. To help the cuticle absorb the product, it’s best to use mousses or foams.

Sanders explains that higher porosities have a harder time retaining moisture, because the cuticles of the hair remain open. Water can be absorbed but not retained. To retain moisture after it has been absorbed, high porosity hair needs heavier products such as creams and gels.

8. Styling Products should always be used to soak wet hair

To style textured hair, apply the styling product on wet hair. This will help to define curls and reduce frizz.

Use your fingers or a brush to distribute the product evenly through the hair. You can scrunch your curls or use the finger curl technique to improve the look. Sanders says that scrunching activates curls and enhances them, while finger coiling lengthens them.

Sears says that twisting your hair after you have finished brushing it can create a tighter texture. Continue to add water to sections of hair that dry out.

9. Protect your Curls Nightly

You can protect your curls by keeping them in place while you sleep to ensure that all your hard work is not lost. Sanders suggests that you tie your hair up at night for styles that require volume maintenance. Sears suggests the hair buff ($10 on Amazon.com), or the pineapple method with a silk scarf. This is what her clients most often use.

She suggests that you flip your hair and tie it with a scrunchie. This is not about a tight hold. You want the hair loosely secured before wrapping it in silk wrap. This will prevent the roots from moving as much and keep your curls in place.

For extra protection, you can also swap your pillowcase out for a silk or satin pillowcase. Sears says silk pillowcases are great for gliding hair, which causes less friction and frizz. Sears recommends silk pillowcases for curl types with looser curls and silk bonnets for curls with tighter curls.

10. Do not touch your hair

To keep your hair smooth and frizz-free, keep your hands away from your hair. Sanders says that our fingers can attract moisture and product from hair, creating frizz. Do not touch your hair until it is completely dry.

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