care for curly hair
Hey guys. It’s Tamara. Have you ever found yourself wondering how to care for curly hair?
I grew up a typical child of the early 90’s. My fine, curly hair was shampooed and then brushed out into a halo of frizz. I grew up hating how unmanageable it was, and in my early 20’s I started flat ironing it daily doing all sorts of damage to it.
The birth of my son (who has very much inherited my insane hair) has inspired me to learn how to care for our curly hair. I can’t wait to share what I have learned, and hopefully save a few children out there from a very awkward, very frizzy kindergarten class photo like mine.
Teaching your kiddo to love and embrace their natural hair is a gift, and it starts with learning to work with what they have to make it the best that it can be.
Learning how to care for curly hair starts with understanding two fundamental facts about wavy and curly hair. Once you understand these two things, how to care for curly hair will make a whole lot more sense.
1. Wavy, Curly, and Kinky/Coily hair is dryer than straight hair.
All of our scalps produce natural oils called sebum.
However, when hair is wavy, curly, or kinky it’s much harder for the sebum to go anywhere. Instead it tends to stays on or very near the scalp.
This leaves the hair begging for moisture and the scalp a bit oily.
2. Curly hair is more porous than straight hair.
All hair is porous, but just how porous it varies from person to person. This is called porosity.
The curlier the hair, the more porous it tends to be. And the more porous the hair is, the more delicate and prone to breakage (aka frizz!) it is.
Step 1: Shampoo Infrequently
Your #1 concern when caring for your child’s curly hair should be keeping it moisturized. Their sebum-deprived porous hair is THIRSTY.
The best my curly hair ever looks is after a weekend of camping, when I haven’t washed it in 3 days. My curls are defined, and my frizz is at a minimum.
That’s because the absolute worst thing you can do to curly hair is shampoo too often and strip it of the precious little moisture that it has.
Reduce your shampooing to every second or third wash, tops.
Step 2: Condition like it is going out of style.
Double down on the shampoo, and double up on the conditioner. Don’t be stingy!
Condition every single time your little one bathes. Let that conditioner sit on the hair for as long as your kiddo will tolerate it before you rinse.
You can also consider putting a small amount of conditioner back into the hair after rinsing, and leaving it in.
Many people are scared to do this because they’re worried about gunky buildup, but you might be surprised at how much your child’s hair absorbs.
Step 3: Skip the hair brush.
That’s right. If you truly want to care for curly hair, you need to stop brushing it.
Rather than brushing with a traditional brush, gently comb the hair with a wide tooth comb while sopping wet only, and dry very gently with a towel as to not tangle it terribly in the process.
I remember the battles my Mom and I used to get into over brushing my crazy-curly hair as a child. I wish I could hop into a time machine and tell her that she should have been conditioning more, and brushing way, way less.
Step 4: Go easy on the ponytails.
If a pony tail is absolutely necessary look into using a spiral hair tie.
Step 5: Avoid heat tools.
Blow drying and straightening your child’s hair will only damage it, making it broken and frizzy. If your aim is to care for curly hair, you really need to make a commitment to avoid hot heat as often as possible.
That’s it! That’s Caring for Curls 101! Let’s recap:
If you’re interested in learning more and delving deep into the world of how to care for curly hair, I suggest you pick up this book from your local bookstore.
Tell me about your experience with curly hair!
Got any Curly Hair 101 tips to share?