Let us be real - managing one’s mane is quite the task. Especially if you have curly hair. The difference between straight and curly hair is that the former has symmetrical hair follicles and the latter has asymmetrical ones. There are also different types of curly hair, depending on depending on the number of bonds between the keratin in the hair shaft. Due to such a structure, you will also find that your curly hair often struggles with dryness. This is because the natural oils in your scalp are unable to travel evenly through the hair and moisturise them adequately, making the hair dry and fragile. Generally, the more tight the curl, the drier the hair.
These differences make curly hair quite special. Not to worry though. We are here to help! Here is a fuss-free guide to how you should take care of your curly locks.
Understanding Curly Hair Types
Decoding your curl type can be confusing. So here is a simple way to understand how curl types work. Your curl type depends on the shape of the follicle - the flatter or more oval-shaped the follicle, the curlier your hair. The more circular your follicle, the straighter your hair.
Now here’s a simple breakdown of hair types:
- Type 1s - straight
- Type 2s - wavy
- Type 3s - curly
- Type 4s - coily
Within these types, there are sub-classifications, ranging from A to C. These are based on the width or diameter of your wave, curl, or coil pattern. Type As have a wider pattern size, Type Bs are medium sized, Type Cs are the smallest of the bunch.
Let us understand these types in a bit more detail.
Type 2 hair is essentially wavy. It is quite bendable and can be coarse or fine. Type 2 hair tends to stay close to the head and has a definite S pattern.
This type of hair has a fine texture and is very easy to straighten. If you have this hair type, be sure to not go overboard with styling tools as your hair can end up looking limp and lifeless.
Type 2B hair has more defined and visible S-shaped curls, starting from the mid-length. The strands are thicker in diameter than a 2A.
These types of waves are thick and are the most prone to frizziness. The S-bends begin at the roots. Type 2C hair is the perfect candidate for a cowash.
With Type 3 hair, we are entering into proper curly hair territory. This hair type can range from loose curls to tight corkscrews with some sheen.
Type 3A hair is characterised by loose and large curls that tend to be shiny.
This type of hair is quite springy and coily and is prone to dryness and frizziness. Bring out your leave-in creams and hydrating styling gels for your curls!
Type 3C hair is in the form of tight corkscrews. They are densely packed and give a voluminous look to the hair.
Type 4 hair is quite coily. It is also referred to as ‘Afro-textured’ or ‘Kinky’ hair and is quite dry and sponge-like in texture. This hair can be soft or coarse, kinky or wiry.
Type 4A hair is dense and springy, with tightly wound S-pattern coils.
This type of hair is densely packed and can be bent in sharp angles, making it relatively easy to style.
4C and 4B are similar in texture, but 4C has more fragile strands and a very tight pattern. Shrinkage and dryness are major concerns for such hair types.
Here we have a super effective and conscious curly hair routine curated just for you-
1. Pre-Shampoo Treatment/Hair Oil: The Switch Fix Before Bath Hair Oil
Ingredient spotlight: Olive, Sweet Almond, Castor, and Coconut Oil
Benefit: A common problem for curly haired beauties is that their tresses are quite dry. Keeping this in mind, it is important to oil one’s hair regularly and properly. You can read all about the how and why of hair oiling on our blog. What curly hair needs is a dose of nourishing and moisturising plant oils and that is exactly what you are getting the Before Bath Oil. Olive, Sweet Almond, Castor, and Coconut oils are rich in essential fatty acids and plant vitamins that do wonders for your hair and scalp. This oil helps soften your hair and adds a nice healthy shine.
How to use: Apply this deeply nourishing formula from your scalp to your ends. Gently massage your scalp for 5-10 minutes. You can leave this oil on overnight or an hour before you shampoo.
How often to use: 1 to 2 times a week.
Depending on how dry your hair is, you can choose between a regular shampoo and a cowash. Cowashes are much more gentle and hydrating formulations but you do sometimes run the risk of ending up with a lot of scalp build-up so make sure you do use a regular shampoo every once in a while. Pay attention to your hair and how it feels!
a. Regular Shampoo: True Frog Shampoo For Curls
Ingredient spotlight: Polyquaternium-72 and Chia Seed Extract
Benefit: Curly hair needs a shampoo that is effective, hydrating, and retains curls and that is exactly what this True Frog shampoo does. Polyquaternium-72 is a special complex that helps retain the shape of your beautiful curls while hydrating and moisturising ingredients such as Chia Seed and Linseed extracts help smoothen the hair and improve texture. Quinoa protein further strengthens the hair while Coconut Water, Aloe Juice, and Avocado Butter deliver deep nourishment.
How to use: Curly hair is prone to breakage so you have to be careful and be really gentle. Massage the shampoo onto your scalp and roots, keeping your fingers under the top layer of your hair. Remember, too much friction can cause hair breakage. Gently work the lather down your lengths and rinse well afterwards. Don’t shampoo your hair in circular motion. Instead, use a gentle back-and-forth motion. Also, keep in mind to not bunch up your curls.
How often to use: 2 to 3 times a week.
b. Cowash: Fix My Curls Everyday Moisturising Shampoo
Ingredient spotlight: Mango and Shea Butter
Benefit: A cowash is different from a conditioner in the sense that the former is applied to the scalp to cleanse and refresh it while a conditioner is applied to the ends to nourish and hydrate them. With a sugarcane-based foaming agent and natural plant oils and butters, this cowash gives your curls that dose of nourishment and moisture, keeping them healthy and happy.
How to use: Gently massage the shampoo onto your hair and scalp in a back-and-forth motion. Start from the scalp and work the lather down to your lengths.
Curly hair is prone to breakage so you have to be careful and be really gentle. Massage the shampoo onto your scalp, keeping your fingers under the top layer of your hair. Remember, too much friction can cause hair breakage. Gently work the lather down your lengths and rinse well afterwards. Don’t shampoo your hair in circular motion. Instead, use a gentle back-and-forth motion. Also, keep in mind to not bunch up your curls.
How often to use: 2 times a week.
3. Conditioner: Fix My Curls Hydrating Deep Conditioner
Ingredient spotlight: Honey, Mango Butter, Goji berries, and Nigella Sativa Oil
Benefit: Give your curls a boost of hydration with this deeply hydrating conditioner. Enriched with Mango Butter and moisturising plant oils such as those of Sunflower and Nigella Sativa, the Fix My Curls conditioner brings your curls to life. It helps repair damage and further strengthens the hair.
How to use: Apply to soaking wet hair. Section your curls into two or more sections to ensure full coverage. Rake through hair using your fingers, adding more conditioner and water in small doses until hair looks milky and makes a squelching sound when squeezed. Use a heat cap for extra moisture. Rinse with cold water as it helps in closing the cuticles and effectively seals the moisture.
How often to use: Use every time you shampoo your hair.
Ingredient spotlight: Shea Butter, Peptides, Provitamin B5
Benefit: In the mood to pamper yourself? Nothing beats a hair mask! This Flawsome Cake Therapy Mask is rich in ultra-repairing and ultra-nourishing ingredients such as Shea Butter, Jojoba and Sweet Almond oils, and provitamin B5. Aloe Vera, Sugarcane, Green Tea Leaf extracts deliver essential hydration to your tresses. Yeast-derived peptides repair damage.
How to use: This mask can be used both before and after your shampoo.
Before shampoo: Apply liberally to wet hair and scalp and leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
After shampoo: Squeeze out excess water or lightly pat your hair dry with a towel. Apply the mask to your lengths and ends. Leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes. For best results, wrap your hair in a warm towel and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse well.
How often to use: 1 to 2 times a week.
5. Leave-in Conditioner/Cream/Serum: Fix My Curls Leave-in Cream
Ingredient spotlight: Jojoba and Nigella Sativa Seed Oils
Benefit: If you have curly hair, a leave-in treatment is an absolute must. Who doesn’t love shiny, soft, and manageable hair? With nourishing plant oils such as Jojoba and Nigella Sativa Seed Oils your hair will be radiant and non-frizzy. The best part? You can even use this as a hair styling cream and heat protector!
How to use: Apply to lengths and ends of the hair. Use a wide toothed to ensure even distribution of product across the hair.
How often to use: Suitable for everyday use.
6. Hair Gel: Fix My Curls Defining Hair Gel
Ingredient spotlight: Sunflower Oil, Soy Protein, and Vanilla Extract
Benefit: Ever wondered what’s the secret to glossy and defined curls? It’s hair gel. This Fix My Curls hair gel deeply moisturises the hair, cuts down the frizz, and makes your curls a lot more manageable. Soy protein helps improve texture and repairs damage while Vanilla adds a healthy shine.
How to use: Apply to lengths and ends of the hair. Use a wide toothed to ensure even distribution of product across the hair. Style as your like!
How often to use: Suitable for everyday use.
Mistakes to avoid
This is a common problem irrespective of whether your hair is curly, wavy, straight, thin, or thick. Just like with the skin, we are constantly at the risk of overdoing it with our cleansing. If you are someone who washes their hair everyday, now is the time to stop doing so. Try not to go beyond 3 to 4 times a week. While initially your hair may get greasy, your scalp will balance itself in a few weeks and your scalp will thank you for it!
2. Not using conditioner
Who doesn’t get lazy about using a conditioner now-and-then? Well this is something you just cannot do. Curly hair is often rather dry and needs that extra bit of nourishment and moisture. So no matter what you do, never skip out on using a conditioner!
3. Using the wrong brush
First of all, do not brush your hair when it is dry. De-tangle it with a wide-toothed comb after you have applied the conditioner. Your life will be much simpler. Avoid using a fine-toothed comb as you will just disturb your curl pattern and end up with bush-like hair. Also, be sure to comb your hair from the ends first and then slowly make your way to the roots. Most tangling happens along the ends so by combing in this manner, you reduce the chance of hair breakage.
4. Too much heat
Avoid blow-drying and straightening your hair too much. It is not good for your scalp or your precious curls. Air drying is the best solution for curly hair.
5. Applying styling products to dry hair
If you want to apply a hair styling cream or gel, do it while your hair is still damp. If you wait too long, you might make your hair more frizzy and unmanageable.
6. Not paying attention to how you sleep
Pay attention to how you sleep with your curls. Pineappling - piling all your hair on top of your head into a bun - or tying a loose pony tail are your best bets. This helps reduce the friction between your hair and your pillowcase. You can also use a satin pillowcase.
4. Blow drying the wrong way
Sometimes when you are in a rush, you have no choice but to blow dry your hair. Here is how you can do it the right way - use a diffuser attachment to even out the pattern of your curls. Simply plop your tresses onto the diffuser, cupping the tool around your hair. It’s okay if your hair isn’t completely dry. Air drying really helps cut down the frizz.
Tackling curly hair is not easy. The structure of the follicles is a lot more different than your regular hair. As a result, the strands do not receive adequate moisture from the oils of the scalp. So what’s the best way to care for your curls? Moisturise, moisturise, and moisturise! Invest in a leave-in treatment too.
- Gauri Sindhu