The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
For most of my life, I had no idea how to care for my curly hair. Rather than investing time and love into it, I would straighten it everyday and pull it in tight buns when I couldn’t control it. Years of heat on my hair made my hair dry and unhealthy, so I decided that rather than fighting a unique attribute about myself, I would invest time in my hair and embrace my naturally curly hair. As anyone with curly hair knows, it can be a struggle to find products, a routine, and a method that works for your hair. It took me years to find a method and products that work for me, and my hair has never been stronger or healthier. The best part about embracing your naturally curly hair is that you start to appreciate yourself more, look at yourself in new ways and treat your hair with kindness rather than criticism. Although curly hair can be hard to manage sometimes, I’d like to provide some suggestions and recommendations for how to embrace your naturally curly hair.
Determine your curl type.
There are many different curl types ranging from 1-4 and a-c, which determine the texture, curliness and looseness of hair. While this is a rough guide with broad definitions, it can help when you’re choosing what kind of product to buy or styling your hair. There are many guides and charts describing different curl types, such as the one on Allure.
Find a product that works for you.
Products are an important part of a curly hair routine — probably the most important. I’ve tried every product there is from the most expensive ones to ones from local drugstores. The truth is that the price doesn’t really matter. The most important part of choosing a product is that it makes your hair feel soft, rather than crunchy or stiff, and it makes you happy with how your hair feels. Personally, I tend to go for paraben-free and natural products since I feel that my hair retains a natural and soft feeling when powerful chemicals aren’t involved. Although finding a good product is a bit of an experimentation for everyone, here are some products I had good experiences with (from several different price ranges).
LUS (Love Your Self) “Luv Your Curls 3-Step System” ($58)
This brand is my favourite and I use it every day. It’s a Canadian company based out of Toronto, and was started by a woman with curly hair who also struggled to manage and love her natural hair. While the product is paraben-free and natural, the best part about this product is that on their website you can take a quiz to see what kind of curly hair you have and buy a set of shampoo, conditioner and curl cream specifically designed for your curl type. Since all these products come in one set, the price is not outrageous. I would say it is worth every penny since my curls always come out soft, fluffy, and healthy after I use this product.
Living Proof “Born to Be Curly Starter Kit” ($48)
This brand is also paraben-free and natural, leaving curly hair with soft and moisturized waves. While I personally found that this brand doesn’t contain my curls as much as I would like, it still made my curls soft, defined. and healthy. If you’re looking for a product that doesn’t overwhelm your hair, this is the product for you.
Marc Anthony “Strictly Curls Curl Cream” ($11.99)
This product is the cheapest and although it does come in a set, I found that it is not necessary to use it as a set. This curl cream is best for people looking for frizz control and definition. Although it leaves your hair in a softer condition than regular mousses, it does define your hair more, and tends to control it better throughout the day. If you’re looking for something cheap, easy, and controlling, this is your best bet.
Style your hair the right way.
The best practice for washing, detangling, and styling curly hair is through showering and diffusing. Curly hair should never be brushed while dry — this is the pinnacle of curly hair rules and should never be broken. Brush your hair while you’re in the shower, gently detangling from the bottom up. After you get out of the shower, make a part and apply your cream or mousse, coating it over your curls. Then, scrunch your hair from the bottom-up. I like to bend over and scrunch my hair upside down so it attains a lot of volume. After this, you can either let it air-dry (for less volume) or diffuse it (if you’re looking for more volume and definition). Most importantly, don’t touch it while it’s drying — it tends to make curly hair frizzy and remove all the hard work you’ve done.
make sure your hair stays soft while you sleep.
Additionally, curly hair benefits from proper sleep care. In order to keep my curls defined (and not flattened at the back of my head), I use a soft, silk scrunchie and tie my hair in a loose bun on top of my head. Using this technique I can wake up with soft, non-flattened curls that can last more than one day.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that curly hair often lacks moisture and washing it too often can dry out your hair, leading to more frizz. The best practice for curly hair is to wash it two or three times a week, and make a practice of allowing your hair to be unwashed for at least another day. Although you might find your hair gets greasy, curly hair rarely attains the level of moisture straight hair does and it’s healthier to allow it to last another day, even if you have to apply dry shampoo.
- Remember: Curly hair deserves love and care, just like you.
It’s easy to forget that your hair deserves some love on really bad hair days. Sometimes, we want our hair to look perfect, but curly hair doesn’t always turn out the way we plan. That shouldn’t mean that we have to look down on curly hair, straighten it everyday, or feel unpolished when it is curly. We should appreciate and love our hair even on the bad days. Even if it means throwing your hair in a bun, braiding your hair or even putting a baseball cap on, curly hair deserves love, attention, and care. The results on the best days will overrule the bad days, and most of all, help you remember that just like you, curly hair needs love even on difficult days.