The 10 commandments of Curly Hair!
I love curly haired clients!! No two are the same, and playing in their luscious locks is fun and always a bit of a fun challenge.
I’ve compiled a few tips to help those of you handle your locks between salon visits. I know most of you are pros, and none of this is probably new to you, but we can always take away something new from information!
#1 WASH YOUR HAIR LESS
The best way to wash curly hair is with a 100 percent sulfate-free shampoo. Sodium lauryl sulfate, the key ingredient in most traditional shampoos, is both a salt and a detergent—an effective cleanser that's too harsh for most curls. Without enough conditioning agents, it can lift the hair's cuticles, leaving hair dry and frizzy.
When I say wash less, don't go for weeks!!! Your curls need less washing, but your scalp needs cleansing and stimulation on a regular bases! Piling on products and not cleansing your scalp thoroughly at least once per week can lead to problems you don't want to deal with!
Shampoo the Scalp and Condition the ends!
#2 CONDITION CONDITION & CONDITION
Did I mention condition? The curlier the hair, the longer it takes for natural oils to travel from the scalp to the ends, causing the lower half to appear dry and frazzled. Start adding moisture in the shower then protect and hydrate every inch with a styling product that doubles as a leave-in conditioner. Just be sure to pick the right formula to deliver moisture without weighing hair down. I recommend sprays for fine hair with soft curls, thicker gels for medium to big curls and denser creams for crimpy coils. My current faves are from Oribe' and these products are available online.
#3 STYLE WHILE THE HAIR IS STILL WET
Hands off your bath towel for just one more minute—you can stave off frizz and prevent a stiff, sticky feeling by applying products before you've even stepped out of the shower stall. Use your fingers to rake products through from roots to ends, then scrunch and squeeze upward toward the scalp.
I also like to apply products then brush them through with a Denman* brush.
#4 LIMIT ALCOHOL
Styling products high in alcohol give curls a "crunchy, ramen-noodle" texture—they suck up every last bit of moisture. Hair spray tends to contain the most alcohol, while gels and mousses—really anything that provides hold or lift—come in second. I recommend water-soluble gels that don't feel sticky on your skin, and aerated mousses or foams that resemble beaten egg whites, to give hair fullness, control, and a non~brittle boost.
#5 LEAVE IT ALONE
The more you manhandle curly hair, the more you ruffle the cuticle, creating frizz. The key is to cut down on friction, so stop rubbing damp hair with a terry-cloth towel and instead gently blot it with a microfiber cloth. Also avoid contact with coarse winter scarves, sweaters, and coats, which can contribute to fuzziness as well, and look for satin-lined hats and hoods. Your individual curls are little "families" of hair. Touching the hair, or combing can separate these families and then they will come after you!!
#6 USE A HOOD DRYER or DIFF-USER
A regular nozzle disrupts the curl pattern and focuses hot air on one small section at a time, while a diff-user dries curls evenly for a full, uniform look. After applying a heat-protecting product, flip your head upside down and "diffuse right at the roots and mid-length, making sure to dry the area completely to lock in volume. Do the ends last and leave them only semi-dry. Because the ends tend to be more damaged, let them air-dry more. If you have the time or life style to allow your hair to dry naturally, that is the best. I recommend clipping the top locks for volume.
#7 Brushing should only be done while wet and only with a Denman or De-tangling Wet Brush.
Regular brush Bristles can fray the hair, disturb curl formation, and create a cloud of frizz. Use your fingers to tousle curls, and refresh wilting ones with a spritz of curl reactivator. Choose a brand you like or make your own by combining one part of your regular conditioner with four parts tap water in a spray bottle.) Mist it all over and then gently scrunch. Unsnag tangles with a wide-tooth pick.
#8 TURN DOWN THE HEAT
Excess heat alters the proteins that give curls their spiral shape. Over time, curls become more limp. Limit blow-drying to just twice a week, and if you use a flatiron, never go higher than 380 degrees. I tell my clients to always use hot tools that have an adjustable temp setting. Start at the lowest (325-340) then only increase the heat a little at a time if it’s not getting the desired result. You would be surprised how little heat you need to get a great result if you take smaller sections. If you notice your curls have lost their bounce, abstain from heat-styling entirely and use a conditioning mask in the shower. Once hair is exposed to moisture, new hydrogen bonds begin to form and restore the curl pattern.
#9 SWITCH TO A SILK PILLOW CASE.
Cotton soaks up moisture from your hair, causing frizz. Cotton fibers also tug on hair as you toss and turn, which can lead to breakage. A silk pillowcase cuts down on friction and keeps things smooth. … and it feels so fancy!
#10 FIND A STYLIST THAT KNOWS CURLS
Curly dry hair and curly wet hair are two absolutely different things. Curls retract significantly when dry; some pieces may coil tightly, while others hang a bit looser.
A thorough consultation about how you wear your hair is MUST. Always show up to the salon with curly dry hair so that your stylist can see your true dry curl pattern.
If you have a significant curl pattern I like to start with a dry cut and "prune" your locks like a beautiful shrub. I'll then wet, style and dry and adjust the cut for the best look. These dry cuts are to enhance curl and will not necessarily be an even cut if worn straight.
If you have weak curls or waves, I prefer to start with a wet cut, with very little tension so that I can watch the reaction of the curls. Then, if you like to wear your hair straight on occasion, I will blow it out, straiten it and adjust the cut for shape to make sure it looks good that way as well, but take no more length.
#11 You can "train" your curls
It's up to you how you train your curls. I've seen curly heads go flat over time with constant flat ironing, blowing out with a brush and over processing... I've also seen waves become beautiful curls with gentle treatment, products and curly hair styling products.