10 Curly hair tips from a curly hair stylist
If you've dived down the rabbit hole into the curly girl world and you’re sitting there feeling slightly overwhelmed, curious and a little in awe you’re certainly not alone!
Let’s be honest, our feeds and Instagram's are filled with images of perfected, gloriously bouncy, boing-y curly hair girls (and guys). If you’re wondering how to tame your frizzy locks, and embrace your curly hairs full potential then don't fret! I’m here to help, and give you TEN of my top tips for taking care of your curly hair.
Whether you’re just starting out on your curly hair journey, or if you’ve been making some changes for a while but feel like you need to shake things up a bit to maximise your hair's full potential, here are my go to tips.
Invest in some quality curly hair products
If you haven't already, the first thing I suggest to anyone starting out on their CG journey is invest in a good quality CG approved shampoo and conditioner. Most supermarket shampoos and conditioners are filled with silicones, SLS’s and loads of nasty chemicals. These chemicals are designed to temporarily make your hair look clean, shiny and silky, but what they actually do is damage your hair long term. They’re especially bad for curly hair, making it dry and stripping natural oils (which they need for hydration!).
Silicones whilst adding shine, coat your hair, and basically suffocate the hair shaft. Preventing vital nutrients from absorbing into the hair and long term making your hair dry, brittle and will cause split ends due to the lack of moisture. It’s true, approved curly hair products can be a bit pricier than the supermarket shelf staples, but you’ll find over time, the need to wash your hair will become less because it will stay cleaner and hydrated.
Use the right amount of product
Ones you’ve invested in a quality shampoo and conditioner for curly hair, the next thing you need is your curly hair styling products. Gel for curly hair, Mousse, Curl creams… It can be really overwhelming to choose the right one for your hair, and it might be a bit of trial and error. In my experience, the products that work best for a 2B wavy curl type, can be completely different to what works for a type 4A coily curl.
The amount of product you use will also depend on your hair thickness, length and the amount of hold you are wanting to achieve. We usually recommend a “10c-20c” sized blob is a good amount, and following the old rule of thumb “less is more”. You can always add more products along the way.
If you haven't got yourself a diffuser, stop immediately what you are doing, head to your closest white-goods store and buy yourself a hairdryer with a diffuser.
This is a game changer. I promise you, for your best, voluminous, activated curls, a good diffuser is a must.
A diffuser fits snuggly on the end of your hairdryer and disperses the amount of air that's expelled in a more controlled way.
A diffuser will help to keep your natural curl patterns in tact and reduce frizz while drying your hair.
Regular trims to avoid split ends and promote growth
If you’re trying to grow your hair, the thought of a haircut can seem terrifying! 6 months of growth - cut it?.. Say whaaaat! Yes, the key to consistent growth is in fact, regular trims. This keeps your ends healthy, reducing split ends, which actually make your curly hair dry and brittle and causes your hair to snap further up the shaft.
So, in fact, not cutting your hair regularly, slows down its growth and leaves you with stringy uneven pieces that will require more serious cutting down the track.
Regular trims = healthy hair + more growth long term.
In the same way that you might apply a night crème, or have an evening skincare routine, incorporating a few simple changes into your bedtime routine for your curly hair can be a game changer to your “next day curls”. Why you might ask? Well, it’s about reducing frizz.
Most people toss and turn through the night, creating friction between your hair and your pillow slip, or sheets. For defined next day curls you want to eliminate as much friction as possible. Here’s how.
- Swap the cotton pillow slip for a silk one. This is probably the simplest and easiest way to protect your curls overnight.
- If you’re really wanting extra protection, invest in a cozy or buff. They aren't glamorous, BUT they certainly make a difference when you wake up. Wearing a buff or cozy, helps to retain the natural oils in your curls and they reduce overnight tangles.
- If putting your hair in a buff or scarf isn't for you, then a simple pineapple bun will do the trick. A silk or satin scrunchie is best, and loosely bunch your curls on top of your head.
Excuse me? Yes you heard me. Plop! (or plopping) Is a term us curly girls use when we squeeze out the excess water with a cotton or microfiber towel. (sometimes even an old cotton t-shirt will do!) It’s a great way to hold your curl clumps, while getting rid of excess water. Plopping works well for time poor people, because it cuts down drying time, and it can reduce the amount of product you use too.
Scrunch out the crunch. SOTC!
If you've been in the curly world for 5 minutes you’ve no doubt heard this phrase. But what does it actually mean, and why do we do it?
When you style with a curly hair product, particularly a gel, a cast is formed over the shaft of the hair. Once your hair is completely dried whether naturally or by diffusing, what you’ll be left with is a head of defined curls that feel crisp to touch, crunchy even. Ideally, what you want is bouncy, soft, beautiful curls and that's where the method “scrunching out the crunch” comes in.
Using a high quality oil or slightly wetting your hands with a bit of water and adding a small amount of cream or gel (rub together to emulsify the product). Simply tip your head upside down, and start gently scrunching. You can shake your fingers through the roots and toss your hair around for a more voluminous result, remember every person's hair is different, so results will vary. What you will end up with is juicy, bouncy, soft curls that will last all day.
Clarify for your bounciest curls ever
Every so often your hair needs a good deep cleanse. Product use, over time causes build up on the hair and scalp and a clarifying shampoo will help to strip away excess dirt, oil and any build up that is weighing your hair down. The result is hair that is lighter and much easier to style again.
How to know when you need to clarify? When your hair feels heavy, limp, stringy or flat. There are some good home remedies, but for best results, a quality curly girl approved clarifying shampoo, followed by a conditioner for curly hair is recommended.
Application is KEY
When it comes to styling your curly hair, simply tossing some products in simply won't do.
Curly hair can often have a mind of its own, that's why applying products to your hair correctly can make all the difference to having beautiful defined bouncy curls.
Do’s and don'ts
Do - use a small amount of product. Less is more. You can always add more if needed.
Don't - overload your hair with product or it will be heavy and weighed down.
Do- add product to WET hair. Curls LOVE moisture. The wetter your hair can be when styling, the larger your curl clumps and more defined your curls will be.
Don't - add product to damp hair and expect the same results.
Do - Brush hair when wet. Or alternatively use your fingers to detangle.
Don't - brush your hair when dry. You will immediately activate the frizz.
Do - use prayer hands to distribute the product.
Don't- rub your hair, or try and rub the product in. Just don't.
Do- scrunch gently. Vigorous scrunching will lead to limp curls.
Don't- play with your hair while diffusing and drying. Trust me on this one, wait till your hair is at least 80% to 100% dry before you begin scrunching.
Do - say THANK YOU when you get complimented on your curls- because you will!
Don't - keep secrets, share with your friends what you've been doing. Because us curly girls love to know the tricks and tips for better hair!
Everyone is different.
Curly hair can be testing at times, and the one thing I have learnt is that when you find what works for you, everything changes! Start with small, gradual changes.
It may be changing shampoos and buying a better curly hair product, or you may decide this week, I'm going to start incorporating clarifying into my routine, or perhaps wearing a buff to bed.
All these small changes will, no doubt help your curls become even healthier, more voluminous and over time your curl patterns will become more defined.