What’s one of the biggest complaints curlies have about their hair? “It’s hard to control!” Well, first and foremost: if you’re a control-freak type of personality, this is one thing you’re going to have to let go of. Curly hair, by nature, does its own thing—as you probably well know by now if you have it. However, that doesn’t mean that taming curly hair is a pipe dream. There are ways and products to help control curly hair that will make your life easier and keep you from feeling like a lion or a gypsy. Here are five tips for controlling curly hair to get you on the path to loving your curls.
1. Never brush your curls.
Sorry to break it to you, but if you have curly hair, you can’t just be one of those people who runs a brush through her hair on the way out the door. That doesn’t work for curlies, so let that fantasy go. Brushed curly hair, if you’ve ever tried it, just isn’t pretty. In fact, you can’t even really call it curly sometimes. Often, women think that their hair is straight or just slightly wavy, but they’re brushing it out and destroying the curls underneath.
Aside from the way it looks, brushing your curls can be damaging; curls are delicate! Your best bet, if you have tangles, is to (gently) use a wide-tooth comb in the shower with conditioner in your hair. This helps distribute your conditioner evenly and protects the hair from breakage. After that, put the comb down; and if you have a brush, hide it. Avoid brushing curly hair altogether. Don’t even look at the brush! Don’t! We see you looking! It may feel wrong to not brush your hair, but it’s NOT the same as not brushing your teeth. Really.
2. Never use a sulfate shampoo.
Sulfates, salt-based detergents, are just harsh—like harsher than Death Valley in summertime. Yes, they provide lather, but that’s about where the benefits end. Generally, sulfate shampoos are not good products for curly hair, as they strip all your natural oils, and that is one big thing that causes frizzy hair. Your curls are dehydrated, and thus the reason they’re out of control! That’s why conditioner was invented—to replace the moisture that shampoos strip out. Best to stick with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping all your oils out in the first place. This will automatically help you out with curly hair frizz control, making your life easier all around. If you start out with a moisturized foundation, your curls won’t have as far to go to get under control when it comes to frizz!
Conditioner is a curly’s best friend. If it’s not yours, make sure you become BFFs ASAP! Conditioner is the #1 product when it comes to how to control curly hair. Make sure you get a good conditioner, preferably with natural, botanical ingredients that nourish hair from the inside out. Avoid conditioners with too many silicones, as they will build up on your hair and eventually weigh it down, making curls look lifeless and dirty. Natural oils such as olive, jojoba and safflower seed oil and botanicals like rosemary, lavender and chamomile will help moisturize and control curly hair. Leave a small amount of conditioner in your hair when you rinse, and look for ingredients like these in your styling products as well; you’ll be on the road to controlled curls before you know it.
4. Scrunch your curls with a microfiber towel or old cotton t-shirt instead of a regular towel.
Regular terrycloth towels are great for a lot of things, but not for your delicate curls. Gently scrunching the excess water out of your hair with a soft microfiber towel or an old cotton t-shirt (or some curlies use a paper towel) will help you when styling frizzy curly hair also. Besides, microfiber towels absorb more water and help cut down on drying time. (Bonus!)
Treat your curls as though they’re a delicate fabric; squeeze from the ends up to preserve the curl and don’t rough up and separate the curls. (And please don’t comb, as this will undo all your hard work!) This will help them to dry in their natural state and encourage them to behave. Yes, think of them as your curly children. Positive reinforcement!
5. Styling product is your second BFF.
Okay, so maybe there’s a curly once in a blue moon who can get away with using no product and whose curls still look great. That is the exception—not the rule! The majority of curlies need at least some type of product (such as a styling crème) in order to control naturally curly hair. The more moisturizing, the better, of course. Curls love moisture like kids love ice cream. Find a product that works for your curls, and—combined with your sulfate-free shampoo, nourishing conditioner, and t-shirt or microfiber towel—you may be surprised at just how controlled your curls can be!