There’s no doubt: curly hair is beautiful. But if you’re a curly-haired gal, you know getting gorgeous, bouncy curls doesn’t come without effort.
Curly hair types are very different from straight and wavy hair types. Natural curls are drier, more fragile, and prone to frizz. So while straight and wavy-haired ladies can hop in the shower and grab the shampoo, washing and caring for curly hair requires a little more strategy and planning.
Healthy, shiny, perfectly-formed curls depend upon the natural oils from your scalp. That’s why the right hair care routine can make all difference between frizzy, poofy, lifeless curls and full, bouncy, beautiful curls. Here’s how to tackle wash day in 5 easy steps.
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5 Tips for Washing Curly Hair
Step 1: Detangle Before Washing Hair
Curly hair is way more prone to knots and snares than other hair types. All those bends and coils can easily wrap around one another to create one tangled mess. To compound the issue, wet curls are much more fragile and prone to breakage than dry locks—so you’ll want to detangle them before you shampoo.
- Deep condition first. Before hopping in the shower, coat your curls in a nourishing conditioner or nourishing oil—like coconut—from root to tip.
- Detangle. Start by gently separating your curls with just your fingers. Then, starting from the ends and working your way up, use a wide-tooth comb to work out any stubborn snarls.
- Let it sink in. Be patient, and let the conditioning oil or product work its magic for at least 20-30 minutes before showering.
Step 2: Shampoo
Choosing the right shampoo is just as important as how and how often you wash your curly hair. Washing just once or twice a week with a frizz-fighting shampoo for curly hair helps smooth and nourish your curls for a more manageable mane.
- Saturate your hair. Before reaching for the shampoo, thoroughly soak your curls with water.
- Start at the roots. Work the shampoo into a good lather and massage into your scalp, focusing on the roots to remove product build-up.
- Rinse with warm water. Rinse thoroughly with warm water to open up the cuticle, and allow each strand to soak in even more moisture from your conditioner.
Step 3: Condition
Yes, you’ve already conditioned before shampooing, but don’t skip this step! No matter how gentle, shampoo strips your hair’s natural oils. It would be best to restore that moisture to keep your curls soft, shiny, and manageable. Choose a frizz-fighting, curl-defining conditioner, and don’t be afraid to use it liberally!
- Squeeze out excess moisture. Wring the water gently out of your hair, allowing your conditioner to coat each strand.
- Avoid your roots. Unlike shampoo, you want to focus on the ends to mid-shaft when applying conditioner.
- Detangle again. Before rinsing, grab that wide-tooth comb again and gently work through any snarls.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner. To moisturize and lightly condition frizzy hair, try a leave-in conditioner. Look for formulas with ingredients like vitamins A, E, and C to help achieve vibrant, healthy-looking hair.
Step 4: Dry Carefully
Remember, curly hair is delicate. Each bend in the coil is a weak spot in the fiber, so rough terry cloth towels are a no-go. Instead, grab a soft cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel to very gently squeeze water out of your curls.
- Don’t rub. Rubbing your curls with a rough towel can damage your strands and disrupt your curl pattern. Instead of rubbing, squeeze out excess water with a soft t-shirt.
- “Plop” your curls. Pile your curls on top of your head and tie a soft cotton t-shirt around them. This will help them stay springy and defined while they air dry.
- Use a diffuser. Air-drying your curls is always the best option. But if you must blow dry, use a diffuser. To style curly hair, spray your locks liberally with a daily styling spray to help fight frizz and help you achieve touchably soft curls.
Step 5: Apply Styling Products to Wet Hair
The sooner you set your curls after washing, the better. So grab your favorite frizz-fighting styling product and fix those curls while they’re still wet from showering. When deciding how to style your curly hair, here are a few different products to choose from:
- Curl-Defining Mousse. Dispense 2-3 pumps of curl-defining mousse into your palms, gently cup your curls, and scrunch upward, working the product into each strand from tip to root. This will help your curls clump together and form natural-looking, frizz-free curls as they dry. To dry your hair, either air dry or use a diffuser to help define your curls.
- Frizz-Fighting Hair Serum. If you have thick or coarse curls, you may need to add a little hair serum to your styling routine to keep your curls smooth, healthy, and frizz-free. After washing your hair, apply hair serum to soaking wet hair to distribute the product throughout your hair evenly.
- Nourishing Cream Oil. Nourish and define your curls with a curl-defining cream oil to deeply quench and define your curls without weighing them down. Curly hair tends to be dry, so this cream oil formula melts into thirsty strands for visibly healthy, bouncy curls. After showering, apply cream oil to your hair and let it air dry.
- Touch-Up Cream. No matter how much TLC you give your curls on wash day, you’ll likely still have a few frizzy stragglers. Smooth them back into place with our Secret Weapon Touch-Up Creme. To help manage frizz on the go, carry touch-up cream with you for a quick fix.