If you have curly hair, you know that it can be a challenge to manage and style, we get it! But YAY! you've decided to learn how to look after it. Annnnnnd now you're completely overwhelmed. What's my curl type? What on earth is plopping? What products do I need?!! Let me stop you right there! While these things can be good to know, they can also become completely overwhelming, meaning you don't know where to start. So let's scratch all of that and strip it down to the very basics. I'm going to share 5 SIMPLE changes you can make right now, that will help your curls become their best. No new products needed, no fancy terms or confusing processes - they can wait!
Leave some conditioner in when rinsing.
One of the best and easiest things you can do for your curly hair is to leave some conditioner in when rinsing. This will help to keep your hair moisturised and can prevent frizz. After shampooing, apply a curl conditioner to your hair, splash in some water, work through and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. When you rinse, leave some of the conditioner in your hair. Don't worry, this won't weigh your hair down or make it oily.
Switch your bath towel to a Curly Hair Towel or cotton t shirt towel.
Regular towels can cause frizz and damage to curly hair due to their rough texture, each of those little cotton loops can act like velcro, gripping onto individual hair strands and roughing them up. Using a cotton t shirt towel or curly hair towel will be much gentler on your hair and help to prevent frizz. They also won't absorb as much water from the hair meaning your curls stay more hydrated. After washing your hair and leaving some conditioner in, gently wrap it in the curl towel or t-shirt. Don't rub or squeeze or rough it up, simply leave hair in towel for 10-15 minutes while you get dressed etc. You want to keep your natural curl shape in tact. Note: Microfiber towels are also a popular choice for curly hair however I find a t shirt towel causes even less frizz. If you have a Microfiber towel (such as a turbie twist etc) you can definetely use this to begin with.
Brush your curls only when wet & full of conditioner. Not after washing or when dry.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when brushing curly hair is brushing it dry. This can cause breakage, frizz, and disrupt the natural curl pattern (hello giant head of floof!). Instead, only brush your curls when they're wet and full of conditioner. This is one step where I would suggest purchasing a specific brush for curly hair or a wet detangling brush. A good curl brush is made to gently untangle knots, rather than ripping through them, meaning less damage, breakage and frizz. Alternatively you could use a curl comb with wide, gentle teeth. I find these combs the best combs for curly hair.
Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase or use a satin bonnet to protect your curly hair overnight.
Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase or using a satin / silk sleep bonnet can help to keep your curls intact, as well as preventing damage and frizz. Additionally, silk and satin are less absorbent than cotton, which means they won't absorb the natural oils in your hair, helping to keep your curls moisturised. Investing in a silk sleep cap was the single best thing I did to make my curls last longer. I get so many questions about how to refresh curls and my answer always starts with "First, you need to protect your curly hair overnight!". HOT TIP! - If a bonnet or pillowcase is out of your budget, head to your local op-shop and look for a smooth, shiny scarf that would be big enough to wrap your curls in.
Ask for a layered, blunt cut with no thinning or texturising at your next appointment
When it comes to getting a haircut for curly hair, it's not always possible to find a hairdresser who understands the curly struggle. For many, a curly hairdresser is simply not in the budget either.
My recommendation is to find a stylist who you can trust, one who will take on board what you're asking for and respect your curl journey. Many mainstream salons will offer a free 15 minute consultation, so don't be afraid to take them up on the offer. This will let you get a feel for them and see if they're willing to take your lead. When you do get your cut, ask for a layered, blunt cut with no thinning or texturising to help enhance your natural curl pattern. The layers will help give a flattering round shape (rather than the dreaded triangle) while the blunt ends will ensure your curls appear full and healthy. Avoiding thinning and texturising will help prevent frizz and give your curls more definition. Don't be afraid to politely decline a blowdry and straighten at the end. Some stylists might push for it or say it's included in the price but the stretching and ironing can be really damaging to your curls.
By following these 5 super simple steps, you should notice a difference in your curls straight away. When you're ready to take the next step, I would suggest reading and implementing the more detailed steps in our Beginners Guide