Whether you’ve been taught how to care for your curls from childhood or are just starting your curly girl journey, there’s always something you could be doing better for your curl health. With the rise of TikTok and Instagram reels, sharing haircare advice has become easier than ever, but who do you listen to? This article will go over some curly hair tips that EVERY curly girl should know and implement into her routine. Keep reading to learn more!
Why Your Curl Pattern Matters
A curl pattern basically measures how curly, thick, and porous your hair is with letters and numbers. For example, 2A hair is barely wavy, while 4C is extremely coily. But why does this matter? Not all curl types should be treated the same way. Your curl pattern will determine which products to use, how to style your hair, how frequently to moisturize your hair, how to avoid breakage/damage, and what type of haircut best suits you. And yes, wavy IS a type of curl pattern! Visit our blog for more information regarding curl patterns, and try out this quiz to determine your hair type.
The best Curly Hair Tips
Although care specifics vary immensely between 2A and 4C hair, there are some universal curly hair tips you need to know:
1. Detangle While Wet
If you have a looser curl type, chances are you grew up thinking that you were supposed to be brushing your hair dry to avoid breakage and instead ended up with a frizzy mess. The truth is that those with wavy and curly hair should be detangling with wet hair to avoid breakage!
Wet hair is more elastic and less prone to breakage compared to dry hair. The water helps to lubricate the strands, especially when used in harmony with conditioner or hair treatment, making it easier to detangle without causing as much damage.
Ensure that you are using a brush designed for wet hair – not all brushes are created equal.
2. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
If you’re not moisturizing your hair all the time, WYD? Curly hair is more susceptible to frizz when it lacks moisture. Well-moisturized curls are more defined and less likely to appear frizzy, as the hair cuticle is smoother and better able to retain its natural curl pattern, which also reduces shrinkage, improves hair porosity, and reduces split ends caused by dryness.
01 Curlsmith Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash
You should consider using a co-wash if your hair is dehydrated and damaged. Curlsmith’s Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash is a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner that gently removes dirt, debris, and sebum from the scalp and hair shaft without stripping it of its natural oils. A nourishing coconut, avocado, sunflower oil, and shea butter blend will hydrate the curls and prevent the hair from drying out. The formula is also very rich and will provide slip to make it easier to detangle your hair. It’s designed for all curl types and works well for straight hair. It’s suitable for any hair porosity and is best for individuals with medium to coarse hair. Brand: Curlsmith Size: 355ml Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes
02 Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner
If your hair is extremely high porosity, damaged, and needs a lot of protein, Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner is an excellent choice! Organic rice, quinoa, and flaxseed will strengthen the hair strands, while nourishing shea butter, coconut oil, and monoi oil hydrate the hair and impart a beautiful shine.
Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes
03 Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner
Replenish your curl’s moisture after shampooing with this Moisturizing Conditioner! Meadowfoam seed oil, arnica flower, and chamomile will hydrate and plump the hair while wheat protein restores strength!
Size: 250 ml
Curly Girl Method Suitable: Yes
The tighter the curl, the more moisture it needs. Those with fine, wavy hair should use lightweight (but nourishing) oils and conditioners, while ladies with thick, course coils should be using castor oil, shea butter, and other ultra-moisturizing products.
3. Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Sulfates are a type of detergent that help to remove oil from the scalp and hair. However, some sulfates are extremely harsh on curly hair and are one of the most prevalent causes of dryness and breakage.
One of the most important curly hair tips is to use a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo that helps gently remove excess oils from the scalp while providing fatty moisture to the hair cuticles.
01 Bounce Curl Gentle Clarifying Shampoo
If your hair has product build-up and you need a deep cleanse, this gentle clarifying shampoo is perfect! Unlike traditional clarifying shampoos, this is powered by powerful enzymes and active ingredients.
For example, pumpkin, pomegranate enzymes, and lactic acid will gently exfoliate the scalp and effortlessly clear away sebum, dirt, and product build-up. Instead of traditional sulfates such as SLS and SLES, this shampoo uses a gentler alternative called Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate that gives the shampoo its high-lather texture without it being too stripping. This shampoo is suitable for all hair types but is especially beneficial to individuals with oily scalp or fine hair.
Brand: Bounce Curl
Size: 238 ml
Curly Girl Method suitable: Yes
02 Mixed Chicks Clarifying Shampoo
If you need a deep cleanse to remove build-up, the Clarifying Shampoo is the best option. However, you should only use this shampoo once a month or for a deep cleanse. It has a rich lather and is enriched with nourishing oils and moisturizers to balance moisture levels within the hair shaft. It also contains a low percentage of silk amino acids and biotin to strengthen the hair.
It’s perfect for all curly types of porosity.
Brand: Mixed Chicks
Size: 300 ml
Curly Girl Method Suitable: No, contains sulfates
03 Bouclème Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo
The Bouclème Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo is a luxurious haircare treatment designed to rejuvenate and nourish your curls from the roots to the ends. Enriched with the stimulating properties of Spearmint, moisturising qualities of Sweet Orange, and soothing Marjoram, it provides a calming, cooling sensation to stressed hair. This clarifying shampoo gently exfoliates using hydrogenated castor beads, eliminating product build-up and dead skin cells from the scalp. It also effectively purifies by removing unhelpful bacteria and impurities, setting the stage for stronger, healthier, and more vibrant hair. With its spa-like detox effect, it ensures your locks remain bouncy and resilient while sporting a fresh, shiny appearance.
Curly Girl Method suitable: yes
4. Lower Wash Day Frequency
Apart from using a sulfate-free shampoo, washing your hair less will reduce scalp and end dryness and breakage. If you have fine, wavy hair, try lowering your wash days to 1-3 times a week. If you have coily hair, you might be able to get away with it once a week or even just a few times a month.
Protective styles will also keep your hair looking cute while extending the time between wash days (more on this later).
5. Scrunching your curls
Scrunching is a styling technique used to define the natural hair texture of someone with wavy or curly hair. Scrunching helps promote curl formation, adds definition, and reduces excess water and product, preventing the hair from becoming weighed down.
How to do it:
1. Start with damp, just-washed hair.
2. Apply a leave-in conditioner or styling product that works for your hair type, such as a curl cream or gel.
3. Lean forward or to the side, allowing your hair to fall naturally over your head.
4. Gently cup sections of your hair in your hands and squeeze them upward toward your scalp in a scrunching motion.
5. Continue scrunching until you’ve scrunched your entire head.
6. Move onto plopping, let your hair air dry, or use a diffuser on a low heat setting.
6. Plopping Method
Plopping is a method of drying curly hair using a T-shirt, microfiber towel, or a specialized hair-plopping towel. Plopping helps hair absorb excess water, enhances curl formation, reduces frizz, and creates a more defined curl pattern. The Plopping Method is an important step in the Curly Girl Method (keep reading to learn more) that help define the natural curl and body of one’s hair. There is a common misconception that these are ways to curl naturally straight hair, but the truth is that the waves/curls will quickly fall out if the user does not have textured hair.
How to do it:
1. Lay a T-shirt or a microfiber towel flat on a surface. Avoid doing this with a traditional bath towel, as they are usually not soft enough.
2. After applying styling products, flip your hair forward, allowing it to fall into the center of the towel or T-shirt.
3. Lift the towel up towards your scalp, keeping the ends/mids of your hair in the towel. Wrap the ends of the towel or shirt around your head, securing it in place.
4. Leave your hair wrapped for a certain amount of time (usually 10-15 minutes) to allow it to dry and set.
5. Unwrap your hair and let it air-dry, or use a diffuser on a low heat setting.
7. Use a Silk Bonnet
This is a cruical curly hair tip! Many are surprised to learn how much damage one of the most natural things we can do is to our hair: sleeping! There is a lot of friction between hair follicles and cuticles and the pillow you rest your head on, especially if you are an active sleeper. A silk bonnet and/or pillowcase while sleeping reduces the amount of friction between your head and the pillow. We recommend using both a bonnet and pillowcase, as a silk pillowcase will prevent facial wrinkles and dry skin, too!
A common misconception is that only women with very curly hair benefit from using a bonnet, but the truth is that EVERYONE should be sleeping with one.
01 Silke London Silk Bonnet
Silke London has gained popularity for its commitment to hair care and luxury. Their Silk Bonnet is endorsed by users who have experienced positive changes in their hair’s texture and health. It’s a convenient and effective solution for those looking to protect their hair while they sleep.
In conclusion, the Silke London Silk Bonnet offers an effective way to care for your hair during your sleep. Its pure silk material, hair protection benefits, and stylish design make it a valuable addition to your hair care routine.
8. Get a Curly Cut
Unfortunately, most hairstylists do not have adequate training in cutting and styling curly hair. As such, it’s important to find an expert who can make your hair look its best! Looking for a salon to get a curly cut near you? Check out our blog for more information.
9. Try the Curly Girl Method
The Curly Girl Method is currently the most popular way of treating and styling wavy and curly hair types. It involves using gentle products and processes to empower women to feel more comfortable in their natural hair texture.
1. Shampoo with a clarifying shampoo. Remember how we talked about avoiding products with sulfates? Make sure that they are silicone-free, too, to reduce product build-up and damage.
2. Condition your hair with a deeply moisturizing conditioner designed for your curl type and hair concerns.
3. Scrunch and plop with a curl cream and/or lightweight gel.
4. Air dry or blow dry on the lowest heat setting with a heat protectant and a diffuser.
5. Refresh your curls as needed with water or other curly girl-approved products.
These steps will vary depending on your hair’s texture, so read our Guide to the Curly Girl Method for information and specifics.
Tips especially for Coily Hair
Women and men with coily hair have to be especially careful with the products and processes that they use because tighter coils are susceptible to shrinkage, dryness, and breakage.
1. Take Time While Detangling
If you have 4C hair, it can be difficult and frustrating to detangle your hair, especially if it has been a while between wash days. Just remember that caring for your curls is self-care, and you deserve to have the hair of your dreams!
Use a wide-toothed comb and a detangler on damp hair to slowly comb through your hair in sections, starting with the ends and working your way up.
2. Try Protective Braids
Box braids and cornrows may provide some structure and protection for coily hair types – as long as they are done correctly. It may be tempting to pick the cheapest stylist you can find, but you should always work with a licensed professional who has experience working with your hair type to reduce the chances of traction alopecia or poorly done braids.
Caring for curls may seem daunting, but once you have learned these basic curly hair tips, it becomes second nature! We hope that you’ve learned more about your beautiful curls and how to take care of them. Leave us a comment if you’ve learned something new or were surprised by one of our curly hair tips!
I've been a curly girl since I was little. 💝 But it wasn't until I discovered the right curl care for me that I learned to understand my curls. I'm happy to pass all this on to you - so that you too can learn to love your curls.