Curls, when done right, are glorious to look at. But as every curly-haired girl knows, getting your hair to look good doesn’t happen by itself. It takes work to transform that frizz into soft, gorgeous ringlets.
Lack of knowledge surrounding the maintenance of curly hair is astonishing, which is why when Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey, a book with detailed instructions on maintaining curls, first came out in the early 2000s, it was an instant best-seller, transforming the way girls with curls looked after and maintained their hair. It also spawned an entire market for silicone-free products and conditioners, and sulphate-free shampoos — a blessing for curly-haired girls everywhere!
Sulphate-based shampoos are harsh and not only do they strip the hair of product build-up, they also strip it of moisture. Silicones in conditioner coat the hair, giving you slip and a fake shine, but not enough moisture to replace what has been stripped by harsh, sulphate-based shampoos. The result? Frizz!
To combat this frizz, we often apply silicone-based serums. But these take care of the problem on the outside, and don’t provide much moisture. Moreover, hair starts looking greasy soon after, causing us to reach for shampoo more frequently, drying it out further. It’s a vicious circle!
How do we break this vicious circle and get great curls?
Switch to sulphate-free &
Natural, silicone-free conditioners don’t build up and can often be removed with just water — so we can use very gentle, sls-free shampoos, or even avoid shampooing at all.
“Curly hair is typically dry, and should not be washed as often as straight hair,” agrees Menaka Bhandary, founder of Blown salon. “In fact, co-washing, or washing hair with a conditioner instead of a shampoo is particularly beneficial to curly hair, which needs more moisture than other hair types.”
Leave the conditioner in
Apply conditioner to wet hair, run your fingers through to detangle, and after three minutes, sprinkle water on your crown. Leave the rest in!
Define your curls
Rub a dollop of silicone-free gel between your palms and gently run hands down the length of wet hair in sections. Lightly scrunch hair when you’re done. Alternatively, Siamte, senior stylist at Bounce, suggests applying serum mixed with curl-cream on towel-dried hair. “Curl cream by itself does encourage hair to curl, but for more definition, always mix cream with serum,” she advises.
“Deep-condition when your hair feels dry or damaged to replenish moisture in curly hair that has dried out,” suggests Menaka. “Regular deep-conditioning treatments make a world of difference to your hair.” You could also apply cold-pressed coconut oil at home, leave it on for an hour, and wash off.
Get rid of your regular towel
Take a micro-fibre towel or an old t-shirt, cupping and scrunching hair as you gently dry it. Don’t use a regular towel, as it will suck out all the moisture from your scalp and cause frizz. Avoid pulling your hair as the pulling will disturb the curl formation.
Never brush dry curly hair as it will open up the curls and lead to frizz. A girl with curls has no use for a hairbrush, unless she plans to straighten her hair.
If you must use a hair dryer, use a low air and high heat setting, and avail of the diffuser attachment. However, if you’re letting your curls air-dry, make sure you don’t touch your hair at all until it is completely dry. If you fidget with your hair when it is drying, it will frizz out.
When your hair dries into the most beautiful curls imaginable, you will wonder how you have lived all this time without knowing how gorgeous your hair really is. It takes work, but one look in the mirror and you will realise it was all worth it!