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I first went natural and stopped getting relaxers 3 years ago.
I fought the natural movement with a vengeance, but ultimately succumbed so that I could have a healthy head of hair and less irritation from chemicals on my scalp.
Initially I had no idea what I was doing and made many mistakes. I watched YouTube videos, took recommendations from friends, but many days were met with frustration when it was time to do my hair.
Both of my daughters have curly hair, and when I look back at old pictures, it was clear that I was a little lost.
Now that I’ve learned a thing or two about different curl patters and what each one needs, I want to share how to avoid some of the mistakes I made.
Buying Every Curly Haired Product on the Market
Every product marketed for curly-haired people isn’t for you! Different textures have varying properties.
For example, wavy curly hair typically doesn’t do well with heavy, oily products. My youngest has wavy hair and we cannot share products.
Knowing your curl type and what it needs is the first step is discovering which product will work for you. Check out the curl chart below to identify your curl type.
Styling Curls Dry
Curly hair needs water and moisture to flourish! Water makes the curls easier to manage and gives you a fresh palate to work with. Styling curly hair with a comb or a brush while dry can be extremely painful.
Do yourself a favor and spritz those locks with water before jumping in to a style.
Leaving Hair Out
The weather can be tough on curls.
One of my favorite ways to protect my curls is by using a protective style. Right now I am wearing faux locs.
My natural hair is braided down and the faux locs were crocheted into my hair, so they are getting a break from the everyday wear and tear.
I rarely leave my girls hair out unless we are headed to a special occasion. They typically wear buns, braids or other styles that keep their ends secured and protected from split ends and exposure to harsh climates.
Gel has gotten a bad rap over the years. When most people think of gel, they think of a brown, thick goopy mess. I’m here to tell you that gel is a staple in my home and we use it on all 3 textures of curls!
It keeps the flyaways at bay, and gives us a sleek, clean look. It is also great for defining our curls.
The gel I use for my 4C hair is thicker than what my daughters use because it would weigh down their curls.
Neglecting a Night Routine
Not only is it important to protect curls during the day, but it is equally as important to protect them at night. In my Multiracial Motherhood Facebook group, one of the mistakes that we discuss frequently is leaving hair free at night.
Curly hair should be secured by a satin scarf or bonnet.
My daughters wear a braid to keep their hair from tangling as they toss and turn during the night.
Another easy way to keep curls protected is to invest in a satin pillowcase. Some people are wild sleepers, so the scarf or bonnet frequently comes off.
Too much heat or product can be damaging to your curls. Overwashing can also strip the hair of the natural oils it needs to remain healthy.
Most curly girls co-wash in lieu of a regular shampoo/conditioner routine. I personally still enjoy using a moisturizing shampoo to cleanse my hair from all the products I’ve used that week. Finding a good shampoo free of sulfates (which leave the hair dry) is the perfect way to eliminate sweat, product buildup and dirt from your hair.
If you are prone to dry scalp, using a combination of a clarifying shampoo & moisturizing shampoo can cleanse your scalp while leaving your hair moisturized. Using products with tea tree, peppermint oil or plain ACV can work wonders for a dry scalp.
It is best to let your hair air dry as much as possible. Using gel can reduce the amount of frizz that can occur from air drying.
Do you need more help understanding your curly hair?
Let me help! My e-book, The Frustration-Free Guide to Curly Hair is available for only $7!