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Anyone with curly hair knows the dread of wash days. Don’t even get me started on trying to find the perfect products without spending your entire month’s earning. With that being said, curly hair doesn’t have to be such a mission. There are many ways to ensure beautiful flawless curls without tiring yourself – or your bank account.

Don’t wash your hair every day

Curly hair doesn’t need to be shampooed every day. In fact, shampooing curly hair every day stretches out fragile hair and dries it out. Curly hair thrives on oil to be healthy, so daily shampoos will strip its much needed natural oils. Stick to washing once a week or once every two weeks.

On that note, pick your shampoo wisely. By now, you’ve probably seen all the Tik-Tok trends swearing off certain ingredients. Ultimately, sulphate and paraben free shampoo has been dubbed the safest for curly hair, as it doesn’t strip natural moisture from hair and dry it out. With curly hair, however, it’s usually trial and error: what works for one person might not work for you. So, try out different products and listen to what your hair tells you.

Deep condition and hot oil treatments

I can’t stress this enough: deep conditioning and hot oil treatments are your friend! These treatments are a sure-fire way to ensure moisturized and hydrated curls, exactly what you want! Deep conditioning is recommended after shampooing your hair. Typical deep conditioning treatments are kept on for ten minutes under a cap, but can be left on overnight for maximum effect. The same applies to hot oil treatments, which can be applied before a wash day to lock in the nutrients that are already in your hair.

Sections and detangling

Perhaps the most dreaded part of wash days is detangling. I’ve always detested the idea of parting and sectioning my hair. I thought that it would take far more time, but when I actually tried it I realised that sectioning your hair makes detangling go quicker, as there is less hair to comb through at once. It’s easier on the arms too. Detangling should always start at the tips and slowly work its way up to the roots. This, along with sectioning ensures less breakage on wash days.

Biannual trim and hair dye

Split ends are no joke. Split ends actually prevent hair from growing to its fullest potential, especially for those with curls. For curly hair, a trim is recommended every 6 months. Our hair grows about an inch each month, and typically an inch is taken off during a trim. So, while it may feel like you’ve lost a ton of growth after a trim, it won’t be long before your curls are long and healthy again– damn you shrinkage!

If you want to dye your hair, ALWAYS go to a professional. I can’t stress this enough. It may seem simple enough to attempt on your own, but professionals have the knowledge that enables them to dance the line between luscious, dyed curls and completely fried hair. With that being said, choose your professionals wisely. Scope portfolios and read over reviews: your hair will thank you for making a wise and informed choice. Trust me. I hopped on the teal ombré trend after high school and, three years later, I’m still paying the price…

Heat and satin

Everyone with curly hair knows the detrimental effects of heat. If you really can’t avoid it, always use heat protectant, and try not to use heat too frequently. This doesn’t just mean a hairdryer or flat iron; studies have shown that hot water over-saturates curly hair and causes it to go limp. Cold water, on the other hand, locks in the moisture and makes sure that curls stay tight and upright. 

Finally, it is in your best interest to invest in a satin pillow case or cap. Have you ever woken up to find your pillow filled with your hair? Cotton pillow cases encourage breakage and makes curls frailer, whilst satin pillow cases does not. Consider investing either a satin pillow case or a satin cap, and your curls will thank you.

Curly hair can seem hard to manage, but it doesn’t have to be this way. These are the basics of the many ways that you can ensure healthy curls. Once you get these down, you can look into finer details. 

P.S. If you’re scared to do the big chop – just do it.

Just a writer at UCT
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