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How To Maintain Curly Hair: A Comprehensive Guide

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Maintaining curly hair can easily get overwhelming. With so many products and routines to choose from, it’s easy to understand why beginners may feel stressed. It takes a lot of trial and error, but with time, you will eventually learn how to keep your curls looking absolutely stunning. Here’s my comprehensive guide to taking care of your curls from someone who has developed a solid routine and feels confident about it.

discovering your hair type

When it comes to taking care of your curls, the first step is very important: finding your hair type. You can’t take care of your hair if you aren’t aware of its properties. Everyone’s hair is different: some curls are tighter, some are more loose. There are many resources online, such as hair type charts, that can help you figure out what your hair type is. After you confirm your hair type, it’s also important to figure out the porosity level of your hair. Hair porosity is, in simple terms, your hair’s ability to hold moisture. An easy way to figure this out is to simply observe your hair when you wash it. If drops of water stay on the surface of your hair, you have a lower porosity. If your hair easily gets soaked, you have a higher porosity. This information allows you to choose products suited for your hair type, resulting in defined curls that last for days.

using the right products

After discovering your hair type, here comes the fun part: figuring out which products work best for your hair. Again, everyone’s hair is different, so everyone has a different routine. I enjoy using the Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk line (pictured above). I purchased the curl cream, gel, and mousse, but after trying them out, I realized the mousse isn’t necessary for my hair: I naturally have a lot of volume. However, I still love the curl cream and gel, and I pair them with Garnier’s leave-in conditioner as well. I’ve learned what works for me, but this step involves a lot of trial and error for beginners. My advice is to try different combinations to figure out what works best. For example, trying to use different amounts of the products, switching up the order, or adding/subtracting products altogether.

Once you figure out a combination that works for you, consistency is key. Using the same type and amount of products will result in perfect curls every time. There are also different techniques for applying products, such as glazing over your hair with your palms, raking the product through with your fingers, and scrunching your curls. I recommend trying all these techniques, especially scrunching. I find that they all work really well on my hair, but again, everyone’s hair is different. After you’ve applied products to your hair, there’s a big debate: to diffuse or air dry your hair? Honestly, it really depends. I prefer to have my hair air dry, but others prefer to use a blow dryer with a diffuser. It’s worth trying both methods to see which one you prefer.

refreshing your curls

Typically, my curls look nice for two days, even with products. By day three, they still hold their shape, but they could use a refresh. That’s why it’s also important to have styling products specifically for refreshing curly hair. I, for example, use the Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk foam. Sometimes I dampen my hair with a spray bottle and then glaze some of the foam into my hair. Other times, when I’m really in a rush, I apply it directly to my dry hair. Either way, this foam definitely keeps my curls looking fresh and ready for a new day. There are a lot of different products you can use to refresh your hair, so I recommend trying a few and seeing what works best. The general guideline is to use something lightweight that won’t weigh your hair down, such as foam as opposed to mousses or gels. If my hair gets really frizzy and hard to manage, I will wet my hair in the shower and do my typical routine with all my regular products. Regardless of whether it’s a hair-wash day or not, I’m still satisfied with the results.

Final thoughts

Overall, discovering your curl pattern and finding the right products and routines is definitely a journey, but one that is worthwhile in the long run. Once you figure it out, the results are so rewarding. I feel much more confident wearing my hair down on a daily basis and embracing my natural hair, which I felt very insecure about beforehand. If you have the ability and the resources to try embracing your natural hair, this is your sign to go for it! Even if you aren’t satisfied with the results, you’ll learn a lot about your hair and how to take care of it, which is always valuable knowledge.

Alexa Malerba is a chapter member at Her Campus at UConn. She enjoys writing about theatre, music, and beauty. Beyond Her Campus, Alexa works part-time as a sales associate at Bob's Stores while in her hometown. She is also a student blogger for BroadwayWorld, a national theatre news website. She is currently a freshman at the University of Connecticut with an undecided major. In her free time, Alexa enjoys sleeping, listening to music, and spending time with friends. She also has a passion for traveling, with her favorite destinations being Disney World and Wildwood, NJ.