Having had curly hair my entire life, I know firsthand how hard it can be to "tame the mane." My 3a curls are prone to frizz, breakage, and extreme tangles, problems which have become normal for me. I can recall numerous painful instances of my mom or grandma struggling to get a comb through my hair as I sat on the floor in front of them crying my eyes out. Having textured, wavy, or curly hair can be such a struggle because it never turns out the same and it seems like a bad hair day is always just one step away. I had no idea how to properly style my hair or which products to use until sophomore year of high school, and I'm still learning to this day! My hair journey has been amazing, and even though I've had bad hair days in between, I've grown to love my natural hair and have become obsessed with keeping it a healthy and maintained as I can. In addition to styling my own hair, I also style other people's curly hair and have fun doing it too. Over the past few years I've picked up a few tips and tricks that work for my hair, and I want to share them with you!
1. Detangle in the shower
It's no secret that curly hair can get tangled very easily, and small tangles can easily turn into huge knots. In my experience the curls wrap around each other creating a very unpleasant situation. One tip I have for you is to always detangle your hair while its wet, whether that be in the shower or with a spray bottle. Using a LOT of conditioner is a great way to melt tangles away and get the knots to loosen up so you can pull them apart. I always detangle my hair in the shower while its soaking wet, using as much conditioner as I need to get my hair knot-free.
2. Deep Condition
This second tip is essential to keeping your hair moisturized. More moisture = more shine, less tangles, and a better overall look for your curls! You can get a fairly cheap deep conditioner from your local convenience store or pharmacy. Deep conditioning once a week or once every two weeks (depending on your curl type) can make a world of difference in your curls! If you don't want to buy a deep conditioner, you can make a DIY one at home.
3. Try layering products
Over time I've discovered that my hair does well with more than one product in it! My wash day routine consists of shampooing and conditioning my hair, adding a leave-in conditioner, a styling product, and gel. Everyone's hair is different so using only one product may work for you, but there's no harm in trying out several products at once. Finding out which products work for your hair is a trial and error type of situation, but once you find those products, the work will pay off. One good way to test if your products mix is to take a little bit of each on one hand and mix them together. If the result is a mix with clumps and clots, your products probably don't mix. A smooth mixture means you're good to go!
S.O.T.C. stands for "Scrunch Out The Crunch". I've found that many curly haired people don't realize that there is a way to get rid of the crunchiness that comes form using gels and mousses. This simple method consists of using an upward scrunching motion to break the cast left by a styling product. I like to use a few drops of a lightweight oil such as argan oil while scrunching. Scrunching out the crunch will hopefully leave your hair feeling soft to the touch.
5. Get trims often
I admit that I didn't follow this tip for years, which had a negative impact on my curls. However, when I finally started getting regular trims I saw a big difference in my hair. It's fairly easy to tell when you need a trim; your hair might become weighed down, it might get tangled more easily, and the ends might see a little dry. These signs should point you in the direction of your hair stylist for a quick trim! Getting frequent cuts (every 3-4 months) can make your hair grow faster because you're cutting off split ends; it can also make your hair look thicker and bouncier.
This tip is one of the most important ones. Research is the key factor in finding out what works best for you. I would start with finding your hair density, curl pattern, and hair porosity. All of these pieces of information will only make it easier for you to figure out what to use in your hair routine. YouTube and Instagram are great platforms for finding other people with similar hair types; you can also find a multitude of other information, including tutorials, wash day routines, tips, product reviews, etc. Before trying any product, make sure you read its ingredients and its directions.
7. Use the right products
The products I use are definitely the most important part of my curly hair routine. I stay away from sulfates in my shampoo because they dry out my hair. I also stay away from parabens in my conditioner because they build up and can only be cleansed by sulfates. Using the right products for your hair type is also important. Someone with 4c hair would have a dramatically different hair routine than someone with a 3a pattern.
8. Try using a diffuser for volume
Having thinner curls has been an issue for me for a while now. Achieving volume in addition to definition is one of my main hair goals. I often diffuse my hair using a diffuser attachment to my blowdryer. Diffusing gives me more volume and lifts my hair up, which makes me feel a lot more confident and ready for the day. Another way I get more volume is by pulling apart some of my curls to make my hair look fuller.
9. Stay away from heat!!
Heat is a huge killer in the curly hair community! I have not straightened my hair in about 2 years, something I am very proud of.Heat damage is very hard to recover from and it can ruin your curl pattern. I know it can be tempting but try to stay away from straightening your luscious locks!!
10. Have fun with your hair and don't overthink it too much!
I know that having curly hair can be a struggle because it always has a mind of its own, but please take pride in your hair! No one can rock your hair like you can; the hair on your head was put there for a reason, and that reason is for you to figure out. Nothing looks better than someone who is confident in his/her mane!