Hair Care for Dummies

For years I had no idea how to take proper care of my hair. My mistakes included: using shampoo, brushing my hair, and not using an after shower product. It is important to note at this point that I have very curly hair (3c if you know the curl pattern chart), and if you have straight hair, I do not recommend that you forego shampoo or brushing your hair, but I do still have tips for you.

Straight Hair Tips

Products

First and foremost, check your shampoo bottle. If there are sulfates listed, throw it away. Sulfates dry out your hair and rid your scalp of good natural oils. Ditch your dry shampoo, and go for a hair refresher. Of course, this is best done after you’ve been avoiding sulfates for a while, but if you go for a leave-in conditioner after not washing your hair you’ll see softer, more touchable results almost immediately. Check out Carol’s Daughter products for great nourishing sprays and creams. I forced my friend to buy it, and she won’t stop telling me how soft her hair is and making me feel it. Now you may be thinking, “Why would I want my hair to be more oily?” Well, that brings me to my next point.

Washing

Don’t wash your hair as often! Yes, yes, the first week or so is going to produce some seriously oily results but that is just your scalp overcompensating due to years and years of sulfate shampoos! Once you eliminate them from your routine, your hair will become way less oily and much more healthy.

Using Heat

I have never understood why people with straight hair straighten their hair again. Maybe there’s some sort of secret, but it seems kind of pointless. Regardless, it’s pretty common knowledge that if you use a ton of heat on your hair, over time, it’ll get super damaged (and seriously, if you already have straight hair what’s the point?). I also guarantee that your hair dries much faster than mine (6 hours on a good day), and there is really no harm in leaving the house with wet hair. And if it really bothers you, stick it in a ballerina bun, and it’ll look like an intentional fashion choice.

Coloring

I love colored hair! I think it’s a super fun way to express yourself and doesn’t do any lasting damage IF you do it right. If you do choose to color your hair and you’re making it lighter, please have a professional do it. They’ll be able to properly moisturize your hair and you’ll avoid future damage, but that same guarantee cannot be made if you’re bleaching your hair in the dorm bathroom like I did freshman year. Thankfully nothing happened to my hair but that’s only because I use a TON of product. So really all I can say is use your best judgment and make sure to deep condition!

Fine Hair

With fine hair, it can be a little more difficult to go without washing for multiple days, but it is even more important to be increasing your natural oils. Washing your hair constantly will dry it out and make it more brittle, causing breakage. If you absolutely cannot go without washing your hair, investing in hair strengthening pills or natural oils like argan or castor oil may be a good option. And even more so than any other kind of straight hair, you need to forego using heat on your hair.  

Curly Hair Tips

Frizz

I’m going to start with this one because, in my experience, it is the biggest problem that every curly girl goes through: the secret is… your hair still looks amazing even when it’s frizzy! This is because, technically, it’s part of your curl pattern, and you will still have strangers complimenting your hair even on your worst frizz day. Every other one of these tips will be advice on how to combat it because, even if it’s inevitable, there’s still that small part of us that needs it gone.

Product

Finding the right product for you can be a huge hassle and a waste of money. I can’t tell you how many products I’ve tried that either didn’t work or were a huge money suck. I am all for spending money on hair care, but if there is a cheaper product that works just as well, why not go for it? I personally use some kind of oil-based conditioner; it’s good to switch it up to keep your hair from falling into a routine. Right now I use a Garnier olive oil conditioner which makes me feel like a Greek goddess. I do not use shampoo unless I absolutely have to, and even then, I only apply it to my scalp, never to the ends of my hair. To avoid build-up, try to keep conditioner and extra product away from your scalp as much as possible. After I shower, I use Cantu Curling Cream. It smells like coconut, it’s only $6, and it makes my hair look great, so that’s a win-win-win. I also use Carol’s Daughter hair milk before bed if it looks like my curls are going to need a pick me up in the morning. I used to use products like Ouidad and DevaCurl, but they can get extremely pricey, and for a girl on a budget, I do not recommend them.

Maintaining Your Hair

First and foremost, stop touching it!! Yes, I know it’s fun to play with, but if you want to minimize your frizz, you need to resist the temptation. In addition, I highly recommend investing in either a silk pillowcase or a silk sleeping bonnet to prevent frizz from moving around when you sleep. I look ridiculous in a bonnet, and I know my roommate will make fun of me, so for now, my hair is suffering a little. After a shower, you should also try drying it with a soft t-shirt or something fluffy as opposed to a regular towel as that is too rough on your hair. Curly hair is at its most delicate when it’s wet. That is when you make or break your curl pattern.

Curly cuts are also highly recommended. Curly hair does not need to be cut as often, so when it does get done, make the investment and go somewhere that actually specializes in curly hair. It will be pricier than Great Clips, but your hair will be so much more healthy and in better shape overall. You don’t have straight hair, so stop acting like you do.

Using Heat

I have seen curly-haired influencers praise the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer and yeah, it cuts drying time in half (which means it takes 30 minutes instead of an hour to dry your hair), but I looked it up and it’s $430! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of money to blow. Quite frankly, I don’t recommend using a hair dryer on curly hair at all because, personally, it makes my hair way less moisturized and it doesn’t last as long post-wash, but sometimes you have an event where you can’t show up with wet hair. Honestly, as long as you have a diffuser on your hairdryer, you are good to go. Also never dry your 100% of the way; always leave at least 15% of your hair to air dry. Lastly, don’t straighten your hair. Curly hair is a gift and you shouldn’t hide it.

Detangling

Pro-tip: If your hair is curly enough, almost no one can tell if it’s knotted unless they physically try to separate your hair, which would be nearly impossible anyway. I comb through my hair with a wide tooth comb in the shower and then after that, just let my hair live its life. For the love of all things hair, do NOT brush curly hair. This breaks up the curl pattern and creates a ridiculous amount of frizz.

Get to know your hair. Once you have a more intimate relationship with your hair and take as much care of it as you do your skin or nails, you’ll quickly see improvements not only in softness but also in growth, shine, and overall health.

 

Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2