How to Wash Curly Hair
August 22, 2018
What kind of question is that?
You wash curly hair just like you would any other hair type, right?
Well, not quite! Beautiful curls start with good shampooing. Everything you do from the moment you step in the shower —actually, even before you step in the shower— until the moment you dry your hair can be the difference between hay-like frizzy chews or bouncy, glossy locks.
Many people hate their curly hair and talk it down with phrases like "it's a mess", "nothing can fix it", "it takes ages to style" and other expressions of frustration at their natural texture. What they don't know is that proper washing and moisturizing can help relieve those issues in most cases. Forget about fancy solutions and unnecessary hair loss products and curly hair concoctions, good ol' poo and conditioner can give you those luscious curls you want. Sounds too good to be true? Well, there's an art to it! But don't worry, we'll walk you through (:
Curly Hair's Love-hate Relationship with ShampooMany hair experts claim that shampoo is curly hair's number one enemy. Others praise the effects of specialized shampoo formulas for curly hair. The former statement is true only if you use the wrong type of shampoo, and the latter is applicable only if you shampoo the right way. In other words, shampoo is not bad for curly hair, as long as you choose the correct formula and more importantly, follow the correct shampoo routine for curlies.
What's the Right Shampoo for Curly Hair, Anyway?Firstly, you should know that curly hair needs way less cleaning than other types of hair for the simple reason that it is naturally dry, producing less oil and taking longer to become dirty. The right shampoo for curly hair should not have strong detergents (sulfate surfactants, which make shampoo foamy) since these chemicals dry curly hair even more. Make sure your shampoo is free of sulfates and parabens, and enriched with keratin, vitamins, and natural oils.
Some experts also recommend curlies co-washing, a more moisturizing alternative to regular shampoos. It stands for "conditioner washing" and consists on skipping on the shampoo to use only conditioner, which generally contains surfactants that do gentle cleansing while they also smooth out the hair.
Finally, if you cannot get sulfate-free shampoo, choose one that lists sulfates as one of the last ingredients in the formula and dilute it with some water before applying it. Even better, make your own customized shampoo by mixing a small amount of shampoo and a bigger amount of conditioner, oil, aloe vera gel or honey; this will minimize the lather on shampoo to make it more moisturizing while still cleaning your hair.
Despite all of this, using the best shampoo for curly hair won't do much good if you don't apply the right tips for curly washing.
The Best Tips to Wash Curly HairThis is where we start working the magic. If you follow these steps, your curly hair will improve dramatically, and you'll thank us forever.
1. Apply Deep Conditioner or Oil Before Going into the Shower
This step gives your hair extra moisturization. You can enhance the action of the conditioner if you wear a cap. If you feel that too much conditioner weighs your hair down, you can skip this step.
NOTE: contrary to "common sense", it's not a good idea to brush your hair before getting in the shower, even if your intention is to detangle it to make shampooing and conditioning easier. Remember that no brushing or combing is a golden rule for curly hair.
2. Apply Just Enough Shampoo
The whole trick is in the how. If you're using shampoo (curly hair formula or customized), take a small amount and massage gently to work a lather only on your scalp. The lather running down the hair is enough to clean the mids and ends; NEVER rub shampoo on those or you'll really dry them out.
If you are co-washing, take a generous amount of conditioner and rub it gently on your scalp as you would shampoo to remove some dirt. Once you have covered the whole scalp, you can apply more conditioner to detangle mids and lengths in sections while you rub the tresses gently for cleansing action. Allow conditioner to work for a few minutes after you finish applying it, then rinse it thoroughly. Experts have always claimed that too much conditioner on your scalp might weigh hair down and make it look limp and oily, but this most likely won't happen to curly hair, which is overly dry by nature. If you feel that co-washing makes your hair clumpy or oily, choose a lighter conditioner without silicones (as they may cause buildup), use less of it, or increase the frequency of shampoo washing in between co-washings.
3. Condition It Good
A high-quality, nourishing conditioner is not a luxury for curly hair, it's a necessity. Apply conditioner generously on your hair, from roots to tips, part your hair in sections and detangle as needed. If your hair tips are too tangled, start there and work your way up to the mids and roots, until you can run your fingers freely through the whole hair length. Too little conditioner won't moisturize hair and might cause it to break while you attempt to wet-detangle it. To make the conditioner penetrate the hair shaft and get locked in with the water, you can use extra conditioner and squish hair gently from tips to roots; this will also help curls take and keep their form.
Make sure you allow the conditioner to work on your hair for 5-15 minutes before you rinse it out. It is also recommended to leave some conditioner in to extend hydration. Try this and see if it improves your hair or causes it to look dull. If the latter is true, you might want to switch to a lighter conditioner.
4. Master the Drying Hacks
Never wring or towel-dry curly hair! Towels have coarse fibers that just lift the cuticle and provoke frizz. Try squeezing excess water with an old cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel instead.
Once excess water is out, just allow your hair to air-dry. Some curlies feel that air-drying causes frizz. These girls should tie their hair gently with a low ponytail, a high bun ("pineappling") or a twist secured with a clamp and wait overnight or as long as necessary for hair to dry completely. Keeping curls tightly together while wet helps to trap moisture for longer, which means they'll be softer and more defined.
5. Style + Moisturize… Again!
Pretty much all curlies need styling products and need to make sure they are highly moisturizing. Without continuous hydration, curls will look lifeless and shapeless. There is a wide variety of curly styling serums, gels, creams, butters, oils, mousses, and sprays. Any curly texture can find a perfect match among these options. If nothing quite suits you, you can always customize your styling products too! For example, mix gel and cream/leave-in for good fixation power with extra moisture.
The application procedure of any type of styling product shouldn't involve combing or brushing, but scrunching from tips to roots as you apply to avoid straightening or flattening your natural shape. Finish your curly styling with some natural oil or oil-infused drops on hair tips or over the superficial layer of hair for extra shine.
6. Preserve Your Curls Until Next Wash
You don't have to wash your hair again to make sure your curls look bouncy and shapely after just the second day when your hair is not even close to feeling dirty yet. You can try these hacks to keep them looking their best:
- Use loose hair bands or wide-toothed clips that keep hair in place and preserve it from the wind, heat, and movement without making a dent on it.
- Prepare your own curl-refreshing mist with one part leave-in conditioner and one part water. Spray it all over your hair. Leave in-infused water mist will bear the best results because plain water rebuilds the bonds that make hair curly, apart from the fact that it allows you to keep your hands off your hair, which is great because once you separate your dry curls, they won't recover their clump and bounce.
- Apply deep conditioner on the day you plan to wash your hair and leave it to work all day until you shower.
- Use a satin pillowcase or a satin scarf or cap to prevent hair from getting frizzy and shapeless while you sleep.
If you found this article helpful then let us know in the comments section below. Likewise, feel free to share it using the share options below. Want us to cover another topic of your interest pertaining to hair solutions? If so, then like us and follow us on social media, and post to any of our social media profiles the topic you'd like us to discuss: Facebook @TheCosmeticRepublicUSA, Twitter @TheCosmeticrUSA and Instagram @TheCosmeticRepublicUSA