Is your curly hair lacking bounce and vibrancy? Is frizz your constant hair issue? It might be time to change a few things in your hair care routine.
Curls look gorgeous when they are well maintained. But constant styling, harsh cleansers and wrong methods of brushing can all cause severe damage. This is why Ayurveda recommends a haircare routine inclusive of ‘Keshya’ herbs and oils that nourish and strengthen your roots to bring back your hair’s lost health.
Scroll down to know the best ways to care for your curly hair and practices you should avoid to prevent hair damage.
How Can You Take Care Of Your Naturally Curly Hair?
1. Know Your Curl Type
Curly hair is often used as an umbrella term to identify hair patterns that curl or coil. Generally, such hair patterns fall under the 2 broad categories of curly and coily hair. However, there are several subtypes.
In fact, a person can have over 2 natural hair patterns arising from different places on their scalp. Your haircare will thus depend upon your curl type. More the twist, more the maintenance. Mentioned below is a brief guide to various types of curly hair.
A. Curly Hair
Curly hair is often referred to as Type 3 hair with Type 1 being straight and Type 2 being wavy hair.
1. Loose Bouncy Curls (3A type)
People with this pattern have big, loose curls. The hair has a smooth, shiny texture and is often easier to maintain than other more defined curl patterns.
2. Springy Ring-Like Curls (3B type)
This kind of curly hair is more defined in shape and has a bouncy nature. They tend to get dry easily and need to be moisturized frequently.
3. Corkscrew Curls (3C type)
Corkscrew curls, as the name suggests, are tight, defined ringlets that have a spring-like bounce. This type of curly hair is voluminous and tends to get frizzy quite easily.
B. Coily Hair
Coily hair is more common amongst people of Afro origin. It is also referred to as Type 4 or Afro-textured hair. Hair is generally densely packed but quite fragile in nature.
1. S Patterned Coils (4A type)
This type of hair tends to be fine textured and super voluminous with tiny coils. However, these densely packed coils are often prone to dryness and frizz.
2. Zigzag Patterned Coils (4B type)
Zigzag patterned coily hair does not have a defined curl pattern. It can have a cotton like soft texture or be wiry and coarse and stand out in sharp angles.
3. Dense Coils (4C type)
The 4C type of coily hair is very much like the previous 4B type in texture and density. However, it can shrink even more.
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, the 3 Doshas or life energies that govern your body functions also play a part in determining your body and hair structure. As per the vedic texts, people with dense curly hair have a Kapha dominant Prakriti (body constitution) whereas those with loose curls are likely to have a Vata Dosha dominance.
2. Use Essential Oils For Curly Hair
Oiling is an essential part of taking care of your curly hair. It not only helps maintain shine but also keeps your gorgeous curls moisturized. Frequent ‘Abhyanga’ or head massage improves blood circulation on your scalp, pacifies your doshas and enhances your overall hair health. Add the below mentioned essential oils to a carrier oil of your choice, preferably jojoba, almond or argan oil for best results.
A. Tea Tree Oil
An amazing dry scalp treatment, tea tree oil for curly hair keeps dandruff and foul smell away. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties ensure you have a clean, healthy scalp.
B. Geranium Oil
Geranium oil keeps your curls shiny and strong. It regulates oil production and maintains your scalp's pH balance. It is also known to boost hair growth.
C. Ylang Ylang Oil
Since dryness is a constant issue with curly hair, regular usage of ylang ylang essential oil can keep your curls healthy and nourished.
D. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary is one of the most recommended oils for curly hair. It prevents hair fall, strengthens your strands, promotes growth and keeps your scalp's natural sebum balance.
E. Rosehip Oil
Rosehip oil is loaded with essential fatty acids and vitamins. Regular application helps keep frizz and dryness away. It is also a splendid choice if you want long, curly hair.
F. Lemongrass Oil
With amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties , lemongrass essential oil keeps your scalp free from infections. It boosts healthy hair growth. Lemongrass oil also prevents excess sebum production and keeps your hair smelling great all day.
G. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil strengthens your follicles and prevents your curly hair from breaking. Its light texture and amazing scent keep your scalp feeling fresh for a long time.
3. Choose Your Shampoo For Curly Hair Wisely
While choosing a shampoo for curly hair, stay away from sulfates, parabens, silicones and artificial fragrances and colours. Sulfates give your shampoo that rich, creamy, lather which often gives you the impression that it cleans better. But such harsh surfactants strip your curly hair of its natural oils leaving it more vulnerable to environmental damage.
Parabens are chemical preservatives that prolong a product’s shelf life. Silicone gives a shiny effect to your shampoo. When a product mentions artificial colours and fragrances, they don’t have to always list down the vast number of harmful chemicals that can come under it.
Thus it is always better to select a herbal shampoo for your curly hair. These contain natural herbal ingredients like Reetha (soapnut), Shikakai (soap pod), Methi (fenugreek) which gently cleanse away the dirt without overdrying your hair. You can also check for additional ‘keshya’ (hair benefitting) herbs such as hibiscus, bhringraj and triphala in your herbal shampoo.
If your curly hair has a coarse texture, dilute your shampoo with water and apply. This will cleanse your hair without damaging your curls.
Co-washing is a popular technique for cleaning curly hair. Instead of a shampoo for your curly hair, a cleansing conditioner is used to achieve similar results. Most cleansing conditioners have mild surfactants along with hydrating agents. These effectively remove dirt from your hair and scalp without drying them out. You can do a thorough shampoo once a month to remove product build-ups.
4. Pre-Shampoo Treatment For Curly Hair
Curly hair care routines need to include extra moisturization as curls and coils are prone to frizz. This happens because your natural oils are unable to travel to the end of your strands due to the curl pattern. Hence, the ends of curly hair are easily dried out, tangled or experience frequent split ends.
To avoid such mishaps, hair experts recommend the pre-shampoo or pre-poo treatment for curly hair.
A. What Is Used?
1. Hydrating Hair Masks Or Deep Conditioners
These are specially formulated to penetrate the hair shaft and give your locks some much-needed moisturization.
2. Nourishing Oils For Curly Hair
Low porosity curly hair will benefit from oils like olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, bhringraj oil, jojoba oil, argan oil and grapeseed oil.
3. Homemade Conditioners For Curly Hair
Make your DIY pre-shampoo treatment for curly hair with ingredients like banana, avocado, shea butter, honey, aloe vera, amla, brahmi, and bhringraj. “Adding sour yogurt to hair masks is a great idea to keep the curls soft and hydrated”, shares Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
B. How Does It Work?
- Forms a protective layer over your tresses.
- Prevents tangles, breakage, split ends and frizz.
- Prevents stripping your curly hair of natural oils during a wash. Adds shine after a wash.
- Makes it easier to wash your hair.
- Keeps your scalp moisturized.
C. How To Pre-Poo?
- Part your hair into small sections.
- Heat your oil slightly for better absorption into your strands. Massage onto your scalp and through the length of your hair. For hair masks, avoid applying too close to the roots to prevent product build-up. Apply a generous amount focusing more on the ends.
- Start your pre-shampoo treatment at least 30 minutes before your hair wash. Conditioning oils can be left overnight.
- Wear a shower cap or wrap your hair with a towel to allow the product to penetrate your curls.
- Wash with a gentle shampoo.
5. Choose Your Conditioner For Curly Hair
Conditioning after a wash is mandatory for curly hair. Conditioners for curly hair are specially formulated to keep your hair tangle-free, shiny and hydrated. Choose your conditioner based on the texture of your hair. For loose curls, if you feel a wash-out conditioner makes your hair weigh down, go for a water-based, lightweight, leave-in conditioner.
6. Use A T-Shirt For Drying Curly Hair
This method is called plopping and is the most recommended drying technique for curly hair. Rubbing wet curly hair with a towel can cause unwanted tangles, frizz and breakage. Even twisting it into a turban over your head is discouraged, as it can ruin your natural curl pattern or unnecessarily stretch your wet hair.
A. How To Plop Curly Hair?
1. Take a soft cotton t-shirt with long sleeves.
2. Place it upside down.
3. Flip your wet curls into the centre of the t-shirt.
4. Now take the bottom edges of the t-shirt and pull it over your curly hair.
5. Tie this up with the sleeves of the t-shirt to keep your curly hair scrunched over your head.
Depending on the porosity of your curly hair and the time it takes to dry, keep your hair plopped anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes.
7. Use A Diffuser On Curly Hair
Drying and styling curly hair can seem like an uphill task. This is why we recommend the diffuser. Diffusers are attached to blow dryers to disperse the flow and heat to dry your curls evenly. This gives your curly hair a more defined, voluminous look.
A. How To Use A Diffuser?
1. Prepare your hair before using the diffuser. If you’ve already gone through the above mentioned stages of washing, conditioning and plopping your hair, it’s time for a heat protectant spray or serum.
2. Divide your hair into small sections. Now flip your curls into the bowl-like structure of the diffuser to dry them. Don’t move the diffuser too much. Gently proceed from one section to the other.
3. Wrap it up with a blast of cool air for sealed cuticles and a shiny appearance.
8. Comb Correctly
Combing curly hair is often the toughest part of the routine. But before we talk about how to comb curly hair, let’s focus on the type of comb that is best suited for it. Choose a comb that has soft bristles to avoid unwanted friction and damage to your curls. A comfortable grip is another feature to look for. Go for a slightly dense comb if you want to smoothen your curls or a wide-toothed one to keep your curls in place.
A. How To Comb Curly Hair?
1. Before you begin, dampen your hair or use a leave-in-conditioner/ serum or a detangler.
2. Part your hair into smaller sections to ease through the task.
3. For long curly hair, gently begin detangling from the ends and work your way up to the roots.
4. Don’t over brush.
9. Get A Curl-Expert Hair Stylist
When it comes to maintaining your curly hair, being picky is valid. Not everybody can cut or style curly hair. Coils and curls can shrink, so going to a regular salon can end up giving you an uneven look. You need a hairstylist who has experience in dealing with curly hair.
Below mentioned are 5 points to check for while getting your curly hair trimmed or styled:
1. Have a prior discussion before committing to your stylist. Know his/ her method to see if it suits your curl pattern.
2. Check if your stylist is using a sulfate and paraben free shampoo and conditioner that is specially designed for curly hair.
3. Don’t allow your stylist to use a brush to detangle your dry hair.
4. Choose your cut well to avoid a flat-top look and maintain symmetry while flaunting your ringlets.
10. Get Regular Trims To Avoid Split Ends
Split ends are a common hair problem and even more if you have curly hair. To maintain your curly hair, it is advisable to get a trim every 6 to 8 weeks.
The shape of your hair depends on the shape of your hair follicle . Flat or oval-shaped follicles give rise to curly hair strands while circular follicles are responsible for straight hair.
What Should You Not Do With Curly Hair?
As per Ayurveda, people with low porosity curly hair already have a Vata dominant body constitution. Certain practices such as the ones mentioned below can further aggravate your doshas leading to hair damage.
1. Don't Over-Shampoo
Time and again there has been an emphasis on the right kind of shampoo for curly hair. However, irrespective of how gentle your shampoo is, over-shampooing curly hair can be severely damaging. Due to the curl pattern, most curly hair types are low on essential moisture. Frequent washes further strip the oils, making your strands fragile and lifeless.
2. Avoid Hairsprays And Mousse
Though there are loads of articles on how hairsprays and mousse are an integral part of the curly hair care routine, avoid them. The more you minimize the use of styling products, the more nourished and healthy your curls will look. These products are known to dry out curly hair due to their alcohol content. They also contain harmful chemicals that are not fit for regular use.
Product build-up is another annoying issue. These styling products can clog your follicles leading to scalp problems such as dandruff, smelly scalp and hair fall.
3. Using A Hairbrush To Detangle
Curly hair tends to tangle easily and this may prompt you to detangle them often. However, avoid the urge to brush unless you want to look like a pom pom. Always use a leave-in conditioner, serum or oil and a wide-toothed comb to free the knots.
4. Using Products With Sulfates
Sulfates are harsh surfactants present in most shampoos and conditioners. They are also present in your detergents. Their primary job is to clean your hair, but while doing so they strip off the natural oils which keep your curls moisturized and prevent them from breaking. To take care of your curly hair, choose a mild shampoo that doesn’t lather much and contains natural cleansing compounds such as saponins.
Vedix Tip: To make your curly hair soft and shiny, apply a hibiscus, amla and coconut oil hair pack twice a week.
How Often Should You Wash Curly Hair?
There is no rule about washing your curly hair. This completely depends on your hair texture, curl patterns and exposure to the elements.
- For dense curly and coily hair, experts advise against frequent washes, as these types are prone to dryness and breakage.
- Loose curls, on the other hand, can be washed 1 to 2 or even 3 times a week.
- Co-washing once a week with a cleansing conditioner (as mentioned above in detail) is a better option.
- To remove product build-up, people with thick curly hair can do a thorough shampoo 2 to 3 times a month.
How To Sleep With Curly Hair?
While sleeping with curly hair, the focus is on avoiding unwanted friction. So switch to a satin or silk pillowcase to avoid a frizzy look in the morning. Other than this, the below mentioned options can ensure a tangle-free sleep routine for your curly hair.
1. Loose Bun
One of the simplest and effective ways to maintain your curly hair while you sleep is to secure it in a loose bun. Apply a leave-in conditioner for curly hair or a nourishing, lightweight oil before flipping and tying. Tuck in the ends to avoid flattening.
The pineapple is another great way to prevent your curly hair from getting out of shape. This involves tying your hair in a loose ponytail above your head, giving it the appearance of a pineapple. Secure your hair with a scrunchie to keep it in place as you sleep.
3. 2 Strand Braids
This is probably one of the oldest methods followed to keep your curly hair from tangling while you sleep. Simply part your hair from the centre and make two braids on either side. This not only prevents your curls from getting squashed but also gives them a more defined look when you undo them.
Wearing multiple braids to bed can give you a nice, stretched curly look in the morning. Simply divide your hair into multiple sections and braid them up.
While plopping is one of the best ways to dry your curly hair, it can also be used to keep your curls in place at night. Simply grab a long sleeved, soft, cotton t-shirt. Flip all your hair into the centre and pull it over your head like a bag. Now tie it up using the sleeves.
6. French Plait
This might need a little practice but french plaits can give your hair a nice stretched curl pattern in the morning. It is most suitable for long curly hair.
What Is The Best Haircut For Curly Hair?
There are loads of styles to choose from when it comes to haircuts for curly hair. Focus on what your objective is before selecting your cut. Damage control, more volume, low maintenance, change of look or shortening the length are a few of the basic goals you may have in mind. Select your haircut accordingly.
Some of the popular haircuts for curly hair are mentioned below:
1. Curly Shoulder Bob
2. The Layered Look
3. Diagonal Angle Cut
4. Fringe And A Bob
5. U Cut
6. Pixie Cut
Consult your hair stylist on which cut is more likely to suit your facial structure and can highlight the best of your features.
Does Straightening Curly Hair Damage It?
Thermal damage is inescapable while hair straightening and curly hair is no exception. In fact, curly hair is more prone to dryness and breakage after a straightening session . Curly hair fibres tend to be fragile at the bends. So when mechanical tension is applied along with chemical products, there is a greater chance of the strands snapping.
After straightening, your hair’s natural growth may also be affected as damaged hair easily breaks off or is prone to split ends. However, if you still feel the need to straighten your curly hair, you can follow the below-mentioned tips to minimize the damage.
- Make sure your hair is moisturized and not dry and damaged before you decide to straighten it.
- Use a heat protectant spray.
- Tone down the temperature of the straightening iron.
The Last Word
Curly hair is a dream for many, but natural curlies know the time and effort one needs to invest in maintaining them. To take care of your hair, opt for herbal, chemical-free products, keep heat styling to a minimum and follow the curly hair care tips we have mentioned in this article for gorgeous natural curls that you can flaunt all day.Know Your Dosha Now
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