Those with curly hair know that curls are quite, how should we say this, independent. By that, we mean that one minute they can look exactly how you want them to, and the next, they’re off doing their own thing and no amount of product can make them do what you want.
While it may seem like you’re at the mercy of your curls sometimes, the secret to getting them to consistently serve at your pleasure all comes down to your hair-care routine. According to New York-based dermatologist Dendy Engleman, curly hair types are considered to be more fragile and require a lot of moisture compared to other hair textures. With that in mind, she recommends playing around with how many times you wash your hair each week as frequent washing can strip the curls of their natural oils and dry them out. “Curly hair tends to be a little drier than straight hair, so washing one to three times a week is a good place to start,” she tells Allure. “If you find your hair is getting extra oily or too dry with this routine, you know you need to switch it up. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach; you have to find the best routine for you.”
When wash day does come around, Engleman recommends reaching for products that are as gentle and hydrating as possible to ensure that your curls are getting the moisture and nutrients they crave. “It’s best to avoid harsh surfactants like sulfates, as well as drying ingredients like alcohol,” she adds. “I’d also steer clear of silicones, waxes, and mineral oils, as these can most easily cause buildup.”
To create the perfect routine for curly hair, experts recommend investing in an arsenal of moisturizing styling products that will return the hydration to your coils and keep them healthy while also minimizing breakage and damage. Applying products such as gel, mousse, or styling cream can then add some definition and texture, helping your curls maintain their shape and get that effortless bounce and shine.
“You want to reduce frizz and hydrate, but not weigh down or loosen the curl,” says hairstylist Nunzio Saviano, who also recommends using a scalp exfoliator or detoxifying treatment at least two times a month. “Natural oils such as coconut and macadamia work great to moisturize and add shine to curly hair. Using your fingertips, apply a styling cream to each individual curl strand by twisting it around the finger. This technique with the styling cream will help separate the curls while adding shine and softness.”
Embracing the natural curl pattern of your hair is another essential part of the puzzle. Once you understand how your curls think and follow their lead, styling is a breeze. But, it’s also good to have a backup plan when those not-so-great days do strike. Keep scrolling to explore the curly hair styling tricks that hairstylists swear by and learn how they use them on their clients.