Guest Blog by Zina Nouhas.
To all my curly haired gals out there, you know the real effort it is to tame your mane. From strict hair routines to costly products, it can be very time-consuming and expensive to keep up your desired look. However, once you find what works best for you, allowing your hair to go natural is an absolute GAME CHANGER.
Yes, ladies, you’ve been blessed! It’s now time to understand your curly hair more and allow your beautiful bouncy curls back into your life again!
Here are 15 ways to manage and love your natural curls:
1.Know your hair type/curl pattern
Knowing your curly hair type is the important first step you can take before you can begin your journey into turning into a natural gal. Once you know this, you can then understand what will work best for your hair and get the right products to help define your curls best! Don’t worry if you think your hair doesn’t fall into just one category, I have a mixture of different textures myself, and many other girls will experience this too.
2. Limit washing your hair to once a week
Some people may think washing your hair every day is great. However, for us curlies, washing your hair every day does more damage than good. It will result in hair becoming drier (than it already is) which is a defo no no since what we want is to attain more moisture. If this freaks you out a little, and you are scared that your hair may be too dirty, skip to #4 – there is always other methods to keep hair looking and smelling fresh!
3. Use sulfate-free products
Switching to sulfate-free hair products is definitely an option you should consider and is one I am glad I made. It may be more expensive but it’s really worth it. Sulfates are chemicals which are very common in majority of shampoos – take a look at the ingedients list of the one you are currently using, notice any? Common ones are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). The reason why so many people have made this jump is simple: sulfate-based shampoos may get rid of oil and product build up to an extent but they essentially lead to drying out your hair, which results in a lack of moisture and potentially can increase the chance of hair breakage. This is of course not ideal for anyone who’s hair is prone to drying out i.e. curly haired gals! Therefore, making the switch to sulfate-free shampoos will prevent this and solve this issue. Mixed Chicks have a great range that I highly recommend. UK peeps, you can find their products on Amazon.
4. Try out co-washing (washing your hair with conditioner only)
As I’ve mentioned above, cut down your wash day to just one day a week, in between, you can do what is called “co-washing.” This is simply washing your hair with just conditioner. It’s softer on your hair and won’t strip it of it’s natural oils. This way, you can keep your hair clean and it won’t be as harsh as washing it with shampoo. Some hair products do a specific cleanser for this such as Curly Q’s Curlie Cutie Cleansing Cream, or you can save money and just use the conditioner you have instead.
5. Always use a leave-in conditioner
Adding a leave-in conditioner to your curly hair routine will save your life! This will give your hair added moisture that all curly hair desires. A little trick I also do (when it’s not wash day), is getting an empty spray bottle and half fill it with leave-in and then the other half fill it with water. Every day between wash day I will spray my hair with this, before adding other products, to keep the moisture in. Again, Mixed Chicks do a great one (which I use) but there will be other cheaper alternatives in your local Boots etc.
6. Oil your hair
I recommend oiling your hair at least once a week, and if you can, leave the oil in your hair overnight for ultimate results. I always use coconut oil for this but there are other alternatives which are just as good, such as almond oil. Once you wash out that oil the next day, trust me, your hair will be flawless. #CoconutOilSavesLives!
Not only should you use oil as a deep conditioner, you should also oil your hair after washing it (and applied your leave-in conditioner) too. This will help keep your beautiful curls in perfect condition!
7. Use a good quality styling cream or gel
Once you find what curl pattern your hair is, you can find products suitable to your hair. I have to say, the US get all the best products *sad face* but majority of the time you can find them on Amazon. One of my fav curl creams is the Cantu Curl Activator Cream, which I highly recommend! UK alternatives I use are from the John Frieda curly hair products – their serums in particular are amazing to use in order to banish frizz.
(*5-7 is better known as the LOC method: Leave-in, Oil, and Cream (or gel))
8.Sleep with a silk scarf, turban, or cap on at night to reduce frizz
Ever have perfect curls before bed and then wake up the next day with them looking a mess? Yeah, me too! A way around this is to wear a turban, silk scarf, or satin cap over your hair before you go to sleep. This will prevent your hair from being as frizzy as it usually is. If you don’t want to wear any of them at night, you can invest in a silk pillow case instead – works just as good!
9. Stop using heat appliances on hair and go heat-free instead
One of the best things you can do for your curls is stop using heat on your hair! Yup, that means no straightening your hair, using curling tongs, blow drying your hair (on high heat), and, you get the picture … Of course, at times, you may want to switch up your hair style a bit and try out different looks and that’s OK. However, if you do, make sure you take good precautions to not damage your hair (skip to #13).
10. Use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair in order to reduce frizz
Do you have an old cotton t-shirt in your wardrobe? Don’t chuck it in the bin just yet. You can use this as an alternative to drying your curly hair more quickly than leaving it to dry it’s self naturally. It’s cheap, it’s quicker, and it will keep your curls from becoming frizzy. This method has been referred to as “plopping.” Yes, really … Google it haha!
11. If you allow your hair to dry naturally, DO NOT keep touching it
Once you have combed your hair, applied your leave-in, oil, and curl cream – do NOT touch your hair. Honestly, just leave it be and by the time it’s air-dried, your curls will be flawless and non-frizzy. If you keep on touching your hair, you will only cause frizz to happen, and we don’t want that, do we, ladies? If you want to cut time down, I sometimes dry my roots but leave the ends to dry it-self.
12. Use a diffuser (on low heat) to dry your hair
Buying a hairdryer which had a diffuser attachment was the best thing I’ve ever invested in. TBH, I only diffuse my hair when I’ve got the time, as it can be a long process, but the outcome is defo worth it. Diffusing your hair will allow the air flow to change from a direct stream of air to a more diffused air flow. This will help to reduce frizz, as there will be less hot air directed at any one part of your hair, therefore making it perfect to dry curly hair! Trust me, invest in one too.
13. Use a heat protecting spray if you do decide to use heat on your hair
If you’re going to brave it and use heat on your hair, make sure you take precaution and protect your hair as much as possible. Use heat protecting sprays and creams before straightening and drying your hair (on high heat) and you shouldn’t do damage like you would without it.
14. Don’t brush your hair when it’s dry
Some people have looked at me like I’m crazy when I’ve said I don’t brush my hair (or rarely brush it) Trust me I get it, it sounds weird LOL! But honestly, follow this method of only brushing your hair when wet (and NOT when dry) as it will prevent your hair from breakage. When you do brush it, make sure you brush your hair from ends to roots, not roots to end!
15. Find a protective style – such as braids
Having a protective style is very important for all girls who decide to go natural. Basically, a protective style is when you have your ends tucked away, to prevent further damage from happening. The ends of our hair is the oldest and most fragile part out of our whole hair, which means they are the most likely part to experience damage like breakage and split ends etc. Therefore, by doing a protective style at times, you can help keep your hair in top condition. Protective styles includes braids, twists, updos, and more. I will usually braid my hair or put it in an updo. Try out different techniques and find what works best for you. (FYI, Youtube will be your new bestie as it will give you loads of protective style tutorials, such as this one.)
Convinced enough to go natural yet? My advice: let your naturally curly hair flow free and rock them curls!
Zina (purefandom guest writer)