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How to Care For Your Curly Hair

November 05, 2018

One of the most commonly-asked questions that Dr. Clark and staff receive at Lubricity Labs is from people asking how they can best care for their curly hair.  Some prefer to straighten their curls, while others want the freedom to wear their hair curly.  But whatever style they are seeking, they all want a frizz-free and fabulous final look that will last. 

Unfortunately, most things in life don’t come easy, and taming curly hair is no exception.  So, we at Lubricity Labs have done our research and put together a comprehensive guide to help walk you through how to care for your curly locks! 

Celebrate your hair

We’ve all heard the common hair joke “I don’t even remember my natural color”.  The same can be said for some of us regarding the natural curl pattern of our hair.  Trends in the early 2000’s conditioned us to alter our curly hair in favor of board-straight, non-textured styles. 

After years of using salon straightening treatments, flat irons and paddle brushes, some of us have forgotten what it’s like to wear our hair curly.  Next time you wash, try letting your hair air-dry, and commit to wearing it that way for at least two days. 

If the idea of letting people see your natural, unfiltered curliness horrifies you, try timing this with a weekend when you can lay-low.  Getting reacquainted with your hair in its natural state is the first step towards embracing your curls on a regular basis.

Learn How to Properly Wash Your Hair

This one may sound silly but there’s actually a proper way to wash your hair.  Ever notice every time you leave the salon, your hair always looks its absolute best?  Ever notice how much time your stylist spends at the wash bowl working both the shampoo and conditioner thoroughly throughout your strands, and even all the way down to your scalp?   Not skimping on time is critical to ensuring your hair is properly cleansed and conditioned. When you rush these steps, it shows in lackluster locks. 

Here’s a blog we recently posted on this topic, check it out here.

If you have curly hair, it’s best to not wash it every day.  People with curly hair tend to have coarse, dry hair because it’s difficult for the natural oils from our scalp, called sebum, to make their way down all the bends and turns in the hair strands.  Washing too frequently can strip away too much sebum, causing the scalp to overproduce as it tries to rapidly replace what’s been lost, leaving hair around the scalp oily and lower strands dry and brittle.  It’s a delicate balance, so we recommend you err on the side of caution, washing only 2-3 times each week.   

Use the proper products on your hair

Using high-quality hair products is a MUST with curly hair.  Avoid lower-quality, “drugstore” brands. Even though these products may promise you free-flowing, bouncy curls, they are often created using harsh ingredients that cause long-term damage. Some things to watch out for are in shampoos are harsh sulfates, such as Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS). which are commonly used in lower-quality hair products.  Why should you avoid using products that contain SLS?  Well, that’s because SLS is technically classified as an industrial cleaner.  Yikes!  We recommend avoiding products that contain SLS as well as any other added sulfates.

Lower-quality styling products can also contain large amounts of silicones. While silicones have been given a bad rap by some natural curl advocates, the truth is that silicones are only harmful when they are allowed to build up in the hair.  Over time, silicone buildup on the hair can actually make it more dry and less manageable.  And who wants that?  Silicones can be beneficial in products as they create more slip – or make it easier to style.  However, it’s important to use high-quality products cleansers that contain ingredients such as Centrimonium Chloride to remove buildup of silicones.

Take the time to invest in a high-quality hair regimen, using cleansing, conditioning and styling products that complement one another and provide cumulative, lasting results that continue to improve your hair’s health over time. 

Styling products are a MUST

We often hear “Why should I use styling products on my hair”?  The answer is pretty simple.  Think of your face and your skincare regimen.  Using lower-quality facail products can lead to dry skin, wrinkles and breakouts.  Higher-quality facial care products can help remove blemishes, alleviate redness and wrinkles and leave your skin moisturized and smooth.  But even if you’re using the best products, chances are you’ll still wear makeup to give you a finished, polished look.  

The same concept applies to the use of styling products in your hair.  Lower quality haircare products will cover and coat, but won’t truly treat your hair and help it get stronger and healthier.  But using high-quality haircare products will give you the a healthy-hair canvas that’s perfected when you use a good, high-quality serum, cream or pomade to finish and hold your style. 

Styling products are also the key to protecting your hair from a number of environmental factors, such as UV rays, high humidity, air pollutants, and more. 

Sleep On It

Did you know that cotton sheets and pillow cases absorb moisture as you sleep?  The cotton fibers are very absorbent, soaking up anything from facial creams to body lotions to your hair’s natural sebum.  Not only that, but as you move around in your sleep, your stands can catch on cotton linens, causing you to wake up with tangled, frizzy bed-head.

Linens made from silk, however, do not absorb moisture nor do they cause your hair to snag as you move around during sleep, ensuring that you’ll wake with hair that’s smooth and has retained its natural moisture overnight.  BONUS:  silk pillowcases are gentler on skin as well, and can significantly reduce wrinkles and creases on your face and body. 

For added overnight protection, use a silk nightcap to protect your natural curls, or if you’re a particularly active sleeper, put your hair in a loose braid before you head to bed to reduce potential damage or breakage that can be caused by tossing and turning in the night.

Learning How to Style Curly Hair

You’re probably familiar with the two most popular ways to dry curly hair; diffusing and air-drying.  Did you know you can also sleep with your hair in a loose braid, which can help create a natural, gentle wave in the hair overnight?  If hair is still a bit damp when you wake, you can loosen the braid and finish with a quick defused heat-dry or let your wave air-dry as you prep for your day.

Rough towel-drying is a huge no-no when caring for curly hair.  If you need to towel dry your hair, we recommend gently blotting your hair as to not disrupt the curl pattern or cause breakage.  Using a microfiber towel will help to reduce breakage when your hair is at its most vulnerable, or you can gently wrap your hair in a towel or terry cloth to soak up wetness while minimizing movement.

Using high heat can damage any hair type, but it can be particularly harsh on curly hair.  Heat damage can make your curls fuzzy and out of place, can cause your hair to break, or become dry and brittle.  If you heat style your hair, it is critical that you use a styling product that contains a heat protectant, preferably one that was designed for curly styles.  Using a diffuser is also key to ensuring your strands don’t get blasted with high heat.

If you air-dry your curls, we would still recommend using a high-quality styling product that’s designed to help your curls keep their spring, protect them from outside elements, and give you a lasting finish that’s soft and touchable.  Ideally, look for products that can be applied to wet hair as well as light serums that can be applied to dry hair for a refreshed look throughout your day.

Conquer your Curls – Then the World!

When you’ve finally learned how to conquer your curls,  you’ll be ready to conquer anything!  Using the right techniques and products that help you embrace your natural you is the most powerful thing you do can do to boost your confidence and self-esteem, giving you a positive outlook that shows from head to toe. 

Curly girl, you’ve got this!

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