When it comes to curly hair there are plenty of myths, advice, and ways of caring for textured hair. One thing that all professionals agree on is that there is no one-size-fits-all method for getting the most out of your hair.
For many of us, learning about our curls resulted in anything from some perm-gone-wrong situations to dripping out of a Soul Glo commercial!
It can be especially challenging if, as an adult, you’re learning the very basics of embracing your curl. If you were not taught as a child the nuances of curl care and felt the need to straighten it because it just seemed easier, we get it. We’ve been there. Our professionals work to educate our clients on the ins and outs of curly hair care. We won’t let you fly out of the nest without proper guidance, hoping you can handle your mane alone. We want to help you soar!
Here are a few simple ways to get started with a variety of texture types, as well as what to look for in a product and in a curly hair specialist!
How many kinds of curly are there?
While there are many ways to classify curly hair, there are generally 3 categories your hair would fall under, wavy, curly, or coily/kinky. It’s also common to have multiple curl types on the same head of hair!
We define wavy hair as anything between a gentle, if seemingly uneven, bend in the hair, to a consistent beachy texture. Wavy hair typically does not curl around itself, creating defined circles or coils. Instead, it flows between soft peaks and valleys and can be smoothed easily. This is an extremely common hair texture, and most professionals will have a good understanding of how to create a cut that accentuates this pattern. Diffusers can do some good work with this texture on a low setting, though they may need some encouragement with clips to keep waves in place, or they may not work at all. Diffusing hair is more art than science and takes some experimentation. Don’t be discouraged if your first (or fifth) try is more flop than fun!
Truly curly hair comes in many forms. You know if you have curly hair by gently pulling on a curl and seeing a definite S pattern when it’s stretched. If you’re seeing more of a Z, then you have Coily or Kinky hair!
Brushes are no-go for curly hair! Wide-tooth combs or finger combing are your best bet for detangling. And unless you’re looking to get some super fluff, never comb while the curls are dry! Diffusers work best on this texture. As we discussed with wavy hair, playing with different heat and air pressure settings is a part of the process. Too much frizz? Try low air, high heat, and holding the diffuser in each section for a couple of minutes at a time. Not enough volume? Try tipping your head upside down and until your roots and ends are completely dry!
Coily or Kinky
In our previous curl power blog, we spoke with one of our texture specialists, Jazmen, about caring for natural and highly textured hair. This range of textures comes with its own unique set of needs. Regular, intensive moisture treatments are vital to maintaining balance and curl definition. Diffusers are perfect if you’re looking for big hair with lots of volume!
What to look for in products:
Products can be a heady downward spiral or can be a cushion of comfort when you’ve found the perfect combination. Big hair is back! We are continuing to fully embrace natural texture, and do it in ways that maintain integrity and health, in addition to creative volume and definition. So if you’re not trying to look like your cool aunt who peaked in 1986, we have a few suggestions on where to start.
One common theme with curly clients is frizz. Everyone wants to get rid of it, but few understand what it is or what causes it. Frizz is a symptom of overly-dry hair and/or an abundance of humidity in the air. It’s caused by hair that lacks proper moisture. If your shampoos are too harsh, conditioners not strong enough, or products filled with silicones, sulfates, and alcohol, you’ll find that you’re chasing your curly tail with combating frizz. They can also be quite flammable as our editor (Hi, Helen!) discovered during an unfortunate encounter with a candle wall sconce. We’ll just say it took some finessing to fix. Anti-frizz serums can only do so much as they often coat the hair, instead of absorbing into the cuticle to hydrate and relax. Curly hair in Columbus can be especially tricky because of the humidity of the summer and dryness of the winter.
Think of conditioning your curly hair like an athlete would do sports conditioning. Athletes practice drills over and over again to strengthen their bodies and get themselves in top shape to perform. Our curls need a regimen of hydration and protein to gain a healthy body to produce perfect curls every day. Without continued care, they will become limp or frizz out.
Wavy hair does well with sulfate and silicone-free shampoos, lightweight moisturizing conditioners, as well as sea salt sprays, leave-in conditioners, and occasional dry shampoo. Light oils can also be useful to combat frizz, but be sure they aren’t secretly filled with silicones or waxes. Check the ingredients labels and ask your stylist what’s really in each product.
Curly hair, overall, does well being washed less often with cleansing conditioners or co-washes in place of shampoo. Lightweight cream-based gels and curl controllers help to keep shape, without letting your curls get a mind of their own. Truly curly hair can be some of the most finicky in terms of product, and no head of hair needs the exact same routine as another. If your hair is finer it may see more frizz or breakage and require protein products to strengthen it. If your hair is coarser and you need it thinned regularly, consider a routine of more deep conditioning and softening products.
Coily or Kinky hair can want anything from being left alone outside of moisture treatments, to protective styles that take hours to create. It is often the most delicate hair texture and is prone to breaking if over-styled or too much tension used. No matter what, moisturizers are a must. We recommend something with a shea butter base or similar consistency.
What you want in a curly hair Specialist:
A curly hair specialist is necessary to ensure the longevity of your haircuts and you can find many such stylists in Columbus, Ohio.
When looking for a stylist you’ll want to ask for someone who is not only confident in their abilities but has the training and skills to back it up. All stylists have different specialties and areas of expertise. Ask at your salon for some who understands the differences between hair types and specializes in things like curl carving, highly textured hair, and has proven product knowledge.
Curl lingo is also important. For instance, volume does not always mean shorter layers. It can mean larger curls or distance hair sits above the scalp. Find someone who can interpret your wants and needs, or you may end up matching your poodle when you leave the salon.
If your stylist isn’t being honest with you about their capabilities and training, rethink your stylist.
Coloring curly hair requires caution and thoughtfulness. When working with naturally textured hair, the texture, type, and density will have a big effect on the hair wants to take color and where the dimension is placed.
Some color processes can change curl pattern, temporarily or permanently in addition to drying out more easily.
Many curly-haired clients have built up layers of product over the years which may be reducing frizz. Color services (especially those that require multiple processes) may remove this layer leaving hair that has not changed in fundamental health or condition yet appears drier or more frizzy.
The Curly Girl Method is a comprehensive guide to curl care. Introduced in 2001 by Lorraine Massey, it focuses on the enhancement of natural curls, instead of disruption or loosening. The method can also be used by anyone; the name “curly girl” reflects the relative importance of hair care to women and girls due to societal expectations. This is a fantastic method to dive into or experiment with and make your own! More information can be found at NaturallyCurly.com.
If you’re looking for more information for your unique hair needs, our Columbus, Ohio salons offer consultations with our curl specialists to address your concerns, discuss products and routines, and offer solutions for future services!