Curly hair: How to Care for the Curls


Curly hair can be a beautiful asset but it takes many of us years to figure out just what kinds of products, styles, and services work best for us. Some curly hair tends to be more frizzy than most, some curls are bigger and softer, both requiring different techniques.
 Shampoo

There are certain shampoos and conditioners specifically designed for curly hair. These might be great options for you and are a good place to start if you have curly hair and if you are dissatisfied with your current shampoo. Find shampoo designed for curly hair at a local hair salon. The Bumble and Bumble line of products offers good options.

Do plan to clarify your hair at least twice each month. A clarifying shampoo will remove build-up from your hair caused by conditioner, other hair products, or even hard water. You may find your own shampoo has not been working well for you. Remove the build-up and you will begin to love your shampoo again.

After clarifying your hair, be sure to condition it well. The clarifying shampoo strips out all of your previous conditioners. Conditioner will add moisture back to your hair. Curly hair tends to be dry hair and this moisture is critical. You will find your hair cleaner and shinier after clarifying it. The curl will spring back up and provide a nice bounce.

Curl defining cream

Before styling your hair, try a curl defining cream that will help give your curls a soft look, not that "crispy" look that bothers most people. Ask at your local salon for their recommended curl defining cream and give it a try. It may work well for you.

Blow dry or drip dry

Depedning on your hair and your circumstances, you may choose to blow dry your hair or you may let it dry on its own. If your hair tends to get "frizzy," you may not want to blow dry it at all, but you certainly do not want to blow dry it entirely.

If you do blow dry your hair, use a blow dryer with a diffuser. A diffuser is a flat attachment to the blow dryer that makes the hot air come out over a larger service area. A traditional blow drier focuses the heat on a two-inch area of your hair whereas a diffuser may expand that area to six or more inches, with less targeting of heat on any one part. A diffuser reduces the pressure in the blow dryer so that it does not blow the curl out. In fact, a regular hair dryer is a tool people use to straighten their hair, not to complement their curl.

Cuts and color

In getting your curly hair cut, a little goes a long way. Be conservative about cutting the length of your hair. If you ask your stylist to remove a lot of length, you may be surprised to find that when that curl springs back up, your hair is a lot shorter than you bargained for. You should also consider layers -- they are usually the answer in springing your curl back.

Of course, depending on length and texture of hair, be cautious about heavy layers around your face -- you can end up with "dog ears" that take a while to grow out. This is a common mistake of stylists who are not used to cutting curly hair.

Even with color, you will run into problems if the stylist has not worked with curly hair (or if you are attempting to color your own hair). Small to medium-sized highlights work well in defining the curl, but if highlights are too chunky, your hair will look clumpy. You will not be satisfied with your look.

Consult an expert

There is no specific blueprint for curly hair. Curly hair presents with a lot of variations. If you find yourself frustrated with your own curly hair, find a stylist who specializes in curly hair, particularly one with curly hair herself. You will cut through a lot of the trial and error process and end up with a system that works for you.

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