The Straight Dope on Curly Hair

Do you have curly hair? Do you struggle to find the right products and tools with which to tame your mane? Let HBK help unlock the mysteries of curly hair!

Did you know that curly hair typically lacks moisture? The reason for this is due to the different shape of the individual hair strands. Unlike straight hair, with curly hair the moisture and oils that travel from the scalp down the strands of hair don’t have a straight trajectory to the ends. With curly hair the moisture and oils have to loop, following the winding hair shaft to the end. More often than not the oils never make it to the end, leaving the curly ends dry, brittle and frizzy.

Five Reasons Your Curls May Be Frizzy

1. Not Enough Moisture.
Because curly hair is naturally more dry, it tends to frizz. Why? Frizz is your hair’s way of seeking out water. When it’s humid your hair will tend to frizz more because there is more water in the air. A simple way to avoid frizz is to use the correct products. Curls need moisture. If you have curly hair you should be using a hair treatment or mask at least once a week in order to add moisture, along with the correct leave-in spray, lotion or oil. If you have curly hair, ask your hair care professional which products they recommend for you. Unfortunately there is not a cure-all for curly hair. Curly hair is wild and has a mind of its own! It is important to note that no two curls are alike, what may work great for your friends’ hair may not work well for your hair. Patience is the key, finding the perfect products for your curly hair may take time.

2. You’re Brushing Your Curls Too Much.
Believe it or not, curly hair should never be brushed. The best tool for curls, instead of a brush, is a wide tooth comb. A wide tooth comb can sort out the tangles without disturbing the curls. If you have curly hair and absolutely cannot part with your brush and a wide tooth comb is not for you, invest in a wet brush. A wet brush can be used wet and dry, but has bristles especially designed to be incredibly gentle on the hair.

If you have curly hair, the best time to brush or comb your hair is right before you shower. It’s best to rid your hair of all tangles before a shower or while your conditioner is actually still in your hair. As weird as it may sound, this should be the last time you comb or brush your hair until your next shower. De-tangling your hair while your conditioner is in allows for an easy glide through the hair and also allows for the least amount of disturbance of the curls. After the conditioner has been in the hair for five to ten minutes, rinse the hair and don’t comb or brush the hair again until your next shower. Apply product and finger comb if needed.

3. You’re using a towel to dry your hair.
If you’re still using a normal towel to dry your curly hair you need to stop. Hair is like fabric. Just like fabric, hair has different textures. With curly hair you must consider the other fabric that is used on your curls. For curly hair, a great alternative to your typical everyday towel would be to use a microfiber towel. If you don’t have a microfiber towel, a simple cotton t-shirt will do. These two fabrics agree with curls and won’t cause extra frizz.

4. Your pillowcase.
Remember, your pillowcase is a fabric too, and one that touches your hair every night! The best type of pillowcase to use is silk. Silk pillowcases not only work wonders for your skin, but for your hair too, especially for curls! Silk pillowcases help to retain moisture in both the skin and the hair. Additionally, they have a very smooth surface that allows hair to glide and to not stick, causing less friction, damage resulting in less bed-head mornings.

5. Split ends.
Split ends make hair look frizzy and unhealthy. The best way to avoid split ends is by trimming your hair regularly. I recommend every four to twelve weeks to keep the length of your hair strong and healthy.

Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Curly Hair

Using two or more products in unison to create the perfect combo for your curls is highly recommended, remember, there is no one true solution.

Examples of product cocktails suitable for curly hair would be:

  • a serum plus mousse
  • a leave-in spray plus a serum plus gel
  • curl cream plus a mousse
  • a leave-in spray plus curl cream

Avoid heat if possible.
Two different ways to avoid direct heat on the hair would be to plop or diffuse your hair.

How to Plop Your Hair with No Heat

  • Distribute product through freshly washed hair. Whether it’s a leave-in spray, serum, oil, mousse, gel, curl cream or curl lotion, apply and distribute with your fingers in a raking motion.
  • Next lay a microfiber towel or t-shirt on a flat surface. Bend at the waist, piling your curls in the center.
  • Wrap your hair in the towel or t-shirt, making a turban.
  • When your hair is dry, remove the turban.

How to Plop Your Hair with Minimal Heat

  • Complete the same steps as above for applying product
  • Take a small section of hair or curl clumps of hair, twisting them in their natural direction to help encourage the curls
  • Instead of using a t-shirt or microfiber towel plop the hair onto a diffuser. Remember to dry no more than 80% in order to avoid frizz.

Plopping enhances and encourages your curls, all the while decreasing dry time.

The other option for avoiding the heat entirely is to diffuse your curls. Diffusing your curls both avoids contact with direct heat and encourages curls to form. A diffuser is an attachment that can be used on a blowdryer that disperses heat evenly throughout the hair. Choose high heat and low flow in order to avoid extra frizz and only diffuse your curls until they’re no more 80% dry. Letting your hair air dry the last 20% will ensure the least amount of frizz.

Another common problem that people with curly hair often have is a lack of shine in the hair. Shiny hair comes from the reflection of light off of the hair shaft. Straight hair always appears shinier because the hair shaft is smooth and has more surface area for light to reflect off of whereas curly hair has swirls where light tends to get trapped, resulting in a less shiny appearance. In order to make curly hair shiny its important to trim regularly, use the correct product and avoid extra heat that can dull hair.

Wash your hair less.
Instead of shampooing every time you shower, skip the shampoo and head straight to the conditioner. It will give you added moisture and make your locks feel and look smoother.

Touch up curls that have flattened or fallen straight.
Another way to extend your curls between washes is to wear your hair up in a very high loose pony tail at night. This will help to maintain volume for the next day and can keep flat or straight sections from appearing. No worries if you happen to have a few strands that have fallen limp, just take each flat section and wrap it around a curling wand in order to put a little extra life back into your curls.

If you have any questions about maintaining your curly hair, don’t hesitate to give HBK a call!