Beauty editors everywhere can’t stop professing about how important it is to invest some serious time and effort into curly hair care. Loving your curls pays back in kind: Not only will a lush, healthy-looking head of curls keep you looking uniquely on-trend year round, it also instills some damn-near-invaluable hygiene habits.
So why, exactly, does curly hair prove a bit of a challenge? Curly hair is drier, more volatile and rather vulnerable to humidity and frizz. These distinctive characteristics can cause wearers a whole ’notha level of frustration, particularly in certain kinds of weather.
Allow us to help with the process and share some fast tricks for getting the most mileage out of your curls, from extending their shape to cutting down on styling (meaning, more time to snooze in the AM). Read on:
Curly Hair Care Hacks
1. Co-wash your hair.
Trade in your weekly shampoo-and-conditioning rinse for a cleansing conditioner. It’s more than just a fancy term for 2-in-1 shampoo: A rich cleansing conditioner used in lieu of regular shampoo helps refresh strands and remove scalp buildup without overstripping already-fragile kinks. Also, nothing beats that silky rinse afterwards, trust us! If you can’t bear to not suds-rinse-and-repeat, pick a wash and care system tailor-made for your hair type, such as Dove Oxygen Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. They help give curly hair the extra shot of moisture and manageability it needs.
2. Use gentle combs.
Don’t even think about getting on the paddle-brush bandwagon if your hair is tightly coiled. Although some boar-bristled brushes do a pretty efficient job of distributing hair oils from root to tip—something super clutch for dry, curly hair—you’re safest sticking with a wide-toothed comb or a detangler brush when ridding your head of tangles. Not only do they minimize breakage, they also help keep your ringlets defined.
3. Try to pre-poo.
Coating curly, kinky or Afro hair with a hair oil or primer (we love Nexxus Color Assure Pre-Wash Primer) before you shampoo helps protect weakened strands by repelling water, which is actually public enemy #1 in the process. It can also lessen friction and give an extra shot of moisture to strands, as well as prolong the vibrancy of existing color.
4. Apply a hair treatment under your shower cap.
Use a deep-conditioning treatment, like Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Intense Moisture Mask, and let hair “set” in a shower cap while you go about the rest of your bath business. Two birds with one stone: You get to scrub the rest of your body while getting a hot oil treatment, and the steam in your shower opens the cuticles and helps saturate strands with more of your treatment’s moisturizing properties.
5. Mix some leave-in conditioner with water.
For those sweaty, just-finished-a-workout, in-between moments, consider making a water-conditioner cocktail. When spritzed onto curls during those days that you just need a 10-second refresh, it does a pretty good job of reinvigorating ringlets, as well as gives scalp a nice, lightweight, on-the-go cleanse.
6. Master the rainy-day top-knot.
Avoid Mother Nature’s wrath by getting your curls out of harm’s way during humid days. A stylish curly hair care hack is to try the pineapple ponytail or cute top-knot—both inject some variety into your look and help keep frizz under wraps, literally. Bonus: Your curls will stay defined for one more day!
7. Shirt the issue.
Several curly hair care experts advocate the use of soft T-shirts instead of towels for drying wet hair. The gentle fabric of that lived-in concert tee can provide less friction on strands versus a terry-cloth towel—always, always key to maintaining the integrity of your locks.