How to Care for Curly and Wavy Hair

Caring for curly and wavy hair starts in the shower, and requires the right products for your hair type. While wavy hair has a natural malleability that makes it one of the easiest hair types to style, many wavy and curly tresses tend to require products that keep the frizz at bay. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Hydration is Key

Styling your hair starts in the shower with a cleansing and hydrating shampoo & conditioner. We recommend using a sulfate-free shampoo for several reasons. Sulfates strip your hair of its natural oils, causing dull and frizzy hair (especially among those with waves and curls). Next, select a conditioner that will lock in moisture and keep your hair hydrated. Follow up with a leave-in hair conditioner with keratin to detangle while providing protection against heat styling after washing. Keratin, a protein found in hair, strengthens the shaft while smoothing the hairs cuticle, reducing frizz, adding shine and improving manageability – perfect for waves and curls.

Define Curls and Lock in Shine

Although wavy and curly hair tends to have more volume than straight hair, it can fall flat. Using a texturizer on damp or dry hair will help define your waves, providing you the texture and volume necessary to get that healthy bounce everyone desires. Use a diffuser after applying your product for more volume. If you are on the curlier end of the spectrum (Types 3 & 4), use a styling cream or mousse to define the curls without overly controlling your texture. If you prefer a softer curl, use a styling cream on wet hair to piece together and elongate your curls. On day two, refresh your curls and simply smooth the lightweight product along the hair shaft to manage frizz.

Leave it Alone

After styling, keep your hands and tools off your hair to prevent messing up the styling effects. Messing with your curly hair will inevitably lead to frizziness, flyaways and tangles.

Common Wavy and Curly Hair Concerns

This hair type has a reputation for being unpredictable, inconsistent and hard to manage. Right from the start, girls with curly hair are at a disadvantage due to the shape of the hair follicle. Even more challenging, not all curls are created equal, so there’s no one size fits all formula. As with all problems, you must get to the root of it to make taming your mane a little bit easier.

How to Combat Dryness

Curly hair has a natural tendency for dryness, much more so than straight hair. This is because the natural oils your scalp produces can travel down the strand of a straight hair much easier than a curly one.

  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates can lift the hair cuticles and strip moisture, achieving the exact opposite effect that girls with curly hair want.
  • Avoid hot tools. Minimize use of hot tools or chemical processes that damage the cuticle layer of your hair. If you must use them, apply heat-protectant styling products before you do.

How to Minimize Frizz

The lack of natural oils delivered throughout a curly hair strand is why curly hair often turns frizzy. Humidity only makes it worse. This is because hair fibers absorb water, which forces the strand to revert to its curly structure.

  • Dry your hair with a t-shirt or with a microfiber fabric. Traditional terrycloth towels absorb too much moisture, creating too much friction and static. After showering, use a technique called “plopping,” where you bend over and twirl the fabric around your head. This is a no-heat way to decrease dry time and enhance your natural waves and curls.
  • Hands off! Once you’re done styling your hair, keep your hands (and brushes) off. Messing with your hair will encourage or worsen frizzy hair.

How to Enhance Shine

Highest levels of shine occur on smooth, even surfaces. This places curly-haired people at a shine disadvantage right from the start. Hair continues to lose its shine the more damage occurs, making it look dull.

  • Rinse with cold water. You might have heard about this method from other curlies, and there is a reason why. Rinsing your hair with cold water causes the cuticle of your hair to lie flat, helping to reflect shine.
  • Stay hydrated. While it may seem obvious, the best way to keep hair hydrated is if your body is hydrated too.
  • Try this at-home remedy: Apply equal parts water and apple cider vinegar to your hair after showering. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse with cold water. Apple cider vinegar restores your hair to its natural pH balance while working as a clarifier to give your locks a healthy shine.

How to Reduce Tangles

The follicle structure of curls is prone to tangles and knots. Here are some tips for reducing tangles:

  • Detangle in the shower. Tackle tangles after applying conditioner with the help of a wide-tooth comb to work through any knots. Keep in mind that hair is weaker when wet, so be gentle!
  • Use your fingers. If you need to work a knot out of dry hair, spray the knot with a leave-in conditioner spray and use your fingertips to smooth out any tangles. The conditioner softens your hair so it’s a pain-free way to detangle.
  • Brush from the bottom up. Starting at the bottom allows you to gently detangle each knot, rather than pushing them on top of one another at the bottom and yanking through, causing breakage.
  • When washing your hair, don’t invite tangles by lathering up your hair into a ball on top of your head. Instead, keep your head upright and concentrate shampoo on your scalp — the main area that needs degreasing.
  • Clip your hair up at night. The friction from your pillowcase to your hair causes knots and tangles to appear while you sleep. Using a silk pillowcase can also help.