So you have long, curly hair...or you want long, curly hair. While it does take a bit more maintenance (and a lot more conditioner!), it's not impossible to manage. In fact, once you get your routine down, you may find that it's not actually so different from taking care of shorter curls. There are definite benefits to having long, curly hair...and if you're not sure, take a look in the mirror! Or have someone take a photo of the back of your hair. You may be surprised to see what others see. People compliment your natural curls because they're amazing! So let's talk about some reasons it's necessary to take care of long curly hair a bit differently than short ones—and then some tips for taking care of those mile-long tresses!
Why Treat Long, Curly Hair Differently?
The hair on the ends is pretty old.
The average head of hair grows 1/2 inch per month. So think about it: if your hair measures two feet long, that's four years' worth of hair growth! And for someone whose hair is below their waist, for example, it's probably taken several years to reach that length. So that hair has had more time to be potentially washed, dried, combed, brushed, colored, straightened, or tied up more times than the hair closer to your scalp. It's no wonder it gets tangly and scraggly!
There's more hair to expose to the elements.
In addition to the fact that the length of the hair is older, you also have to think about the fact that when hair is long, there is more hair to expose to the elements than when it's short. Consequently, it has more opportunity for damage. And even if you take excellent care of your curls (i.e., using Controlled Chaos to pamper your curls), external environmental damage will still occur once your hair has been out of the follicles for several years. Think sun, water, chemicals in the air, etc. Some things are beyond your control, so don't stress! Just remember that longer, older hair has to be treated with a bit more care—just like anything older and more delicate in this world, honestly.
How Do I Treat Long, Curly Hair Differently?
Make sure to add enough moisture.
If you've read anything else on the Controlled Chaos blog or website, you know that curls crave moisture. They need it like our bodies need to drink water for survival. So that's already a given for curly hair—but when you have long curls, you'll need to 1) buy extra conditioner and 2) use it! And not sparingly. You may find your curls getting tangly, and your best bet is to comb through them with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb while your conditioner is on in the shower. The conditioner protects the curls from stretching and breaking as much as it otherwise would. Be sure to use a conditioner with moisturizing ingredients (Controlled Chaos Moisturizer contains olive oil, aloe vera, and shea butter, for example), that will feed your hair the moisture it craves. Leave a bit of conditioner in when you rinse, and style with Controlled Chaos Curl Crème.
You can wash it less often, but be sure to add moisture.
Washing long hair can be a bit of a chore, especially when you have curls. Once you have it properly washed and styled and it has dried, you probably won't want to go through the whole process again the very next day. (And chances are, your hair doesn't get dirty that fast anyway!) At the very least, you can have second-day hair that still looks amazing, maybe even third-day hair! But your hair will lose moisture each day, so you'll want to add a bit back in at least once—in the form of a few drops of oil, such as avocado or almond, or even a dab of Controlled Chaos Curl Crème or Controlled Chaos Hair Moisturizer diluted with water and scrunched into the ends. That way, your curls will be refreshed and your hair will be less tangly when you do go to wash it the next time!
Treat it like a delicate fiber. And moisturize. (Did we say that already?)
Okay, we can't stress moisture enough. It is supremely essential when curls are long, and it's what will keep it healthy and growing to the length you desire. And it's always a good idea to treat your curls delicately—but it's even more necessary when they're long because long hair gets caught on purse or backpack straps, seat belts, kids' fingers, etc. So in order to keep your long curls in their best condition, be sure to be gentle with it. No ripping a brush through it (please, no brushing at all!), no tying it up with rubber bands that yank hairs out or break them off, no tugging at dry tangles or split ends with your fingers. Pineappling your hair with a fabric scrunchie at night also protects it while you sleep. Pretend your hair is an expensive silk scarf and take care of it accordingly!
There you have it—taking care of long, curly hair is not so difficult. Whether your hair is already long or you crave the length of a cascading mane of curls, these tips will help you achieve and maintain your length. Of course, be sure to get regular trims as it grows out, too! It will grow out healthier and you will have happier long curls.