By Olivia |
LONG, curly hair has its challenges. There are those who have thick, healthy hair that naturally form perfect ringlets, but most curly hair is on the finer side – that is, thin – and what this type forms most naturally are tangles.
And while your tumble of spirals will often win you compliments and even envy, you know the truth: you are engaged in a constant battle against frizz, poor manageability and breakage. If people only knew what you have to go through to get your hair to look halfway decent, they’d probably wonder why on earth you don’t just chop it all off and sport a short, painless style. At times, you probably wonder the same thing yourself.
But you’ve managed to grow your hair long, and you’re not about to part with it after all you’ve been through, so the right care is key.
Dryness is a major concern. Use a deep conditioning treatment on your tresses, focusing on the bottom half of its length, once a week. You can buy a commercial treatment or use coconut oil or jojoba oil. Ideally, leave it in overnight, putting on a shower cap to protect your linens from getting soiled. You can also pile it up into a shower cap and then coil a hot, wet towel on top of it for 10-20 minutes. The heat opens the hair’s cuticle, which helps the conditioner to penetrate.
Avoid washing your hair more than twice a week. If you find it absolutely necessary, consider washing it with just hair conditioner, rubbing it into your scalp to cleanse it of oil and product, and also running the conditioner through to the ends.
Before rinsing, use a high-quality, seamless, wide-tooth comb to untangle your hair. This will save you a lot of grief when you get out of the shower. You may want to use a leave-in conditioner to further protect and moisturize. This is important because in general curly hair is more fragile than other types and therefore it is more prone to split-ends and breakage.
Choose the right styling products for your hair. Look for natural ingredients such as jojoba, coconut, shea butter, olive oil and aloe vera. Products that contain silicone (often listed as dimethicone, cyclomethicone and Trimethylsiloxane, among others) are tempting, but avoid them. Hair coated with the slick substance is easier to comb through, exhibits a high shine and fights frizz. But because silicone blocks moisture, your hair will end up drier. It also tends to build up meaning you’ll need a harsher shampoo to get it out. Silicone is not a curly girl’s friend.
Once you’ve applied a styling product, help your hair out by gently scrunching it up from the bottom. You can try twisting small sections of your hair to create a cascade of spirals. Letting it air dry is best, but blow drying on a low setting with a diffuser is okay. Another option is to braid it or form it into a low bun. Once dry, carefully undo the braid or bun and you’ll have smooth waves. Whatever you decide to do, once it’s styled leave it alone! If you mess with it, the curls will collapse, your ‘do will look fuzzy and you’ll most likely snag it on your fingers, causing strands to snap off or split.
All this bother can scare a curly girl straight. And that’s perfectly OK, so long as you can avoid humidity and basically run between raindrops. Just realize that your hair is delicate and the heat and strain of brushing and flat ironing will cause damage. Period. But there is one great option for those who want to go straight – read about Brazilian keratin hair straightening treatment here.