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Being born with naturally curly hair can be a huge blessing! We rarely have to worry about things like achieving volume or even about thinning hair.
But as most people with curls know, our hair can come with a ton of maintenance. It’s not always easy making our curls bounce and behave like they do on TV (how Carrie Bradshaw maintained perfect curls on a shoestring budget for six seasons continues to baffle me).
It takes quite a bit of product, manipulation, and tools to make our curly hair look just right. And unfortunately, it’s not like we can just throw our hair up into a pony if we’re having a bad hair day.
On top of that, curls need a lot of TLC to keep them healthy. Folks with curly and natural hair textures often face problems like extreme dryness, breakage, frizz, split ends, and more. That’s why it’s especially important that we take care of our hair properly — and that means having all the right hair products.
If you’re struggling to keep up with your curl maintenance on your own, it’s ok to ask for help. Curly hair care is going to be a lifelong duty and getting advice from fellow curly might just be the only way to do it.
So, we’ve gathered a list of the top seven things that curly-headed folks already the world have come to depend on for their hair care.
(Hint: before you start buying anything, make sure you know exactly what type of curls you have. That way, you know that you’re using the exact right products).
If you’re used to blowdrying your hair, then a diffuser is a must-have! Diffusers help dry your hair without disturbing your natural curl pattern and are essential to keeping your curls intact.
If you’ve never used one before, make sure you check out instructions on how to use a hair diffuser properly so you can make sure you get the most out of your new tool. It can be a bit tricky to figure out at first but once you get the hang of things, your diffuser will end up becoming your best friend!
Brands that sell top-notch diffusers include DevaCurl, Conair, Drybar, and more. Just make sure that your diffuser is compatible with your hairdryer or else it won’t clip on. One easy way to avoid this problem is to purchase a hairdryer that comes with a diffuser attachment so you know that the tools will work perfectly in sync.
2. Hair Mask
Most people with curly hair also suffer from dry strands, which means you need to put in a little extra love into your haircare routine.
When looking for a hair mask, make sure you look for one specifically made for curly and/or natural hair so you know it will actually target your needs. A hair mask meant for thin straight hair probably won’t do your thick curly hair much good.
Tracee Ellis Ross‘ haircare line Pattern Beauty makes a mask specifically made for coils and tight curls that includes ingredients like rice water ferment and moringa seed extract.
3. Scalp Treatment
Taking care of your curly hair means also taking care of your scalp! After all, if you want healthy locks, you’ll need to start at the roots.
Many scalp treatments and serums only need to be used once or twice a week so make sure you read the instructions closely before you dive in.
If you’re dealing with an extra dry scalp or perhaps even dandruff, Head & Shoulders makes a daily scalp cream with coconut oil you might want to consider.
4. Microfiber Hair Towel
You’ve probably heard that using a regular bath towel on your hair is a huge no-no and that goes doubly for curly hair. Curls can be extremely delicate and brittle, vulnerable to snags and breakage. Using a microfiber towel can both reduce frizz and help keep your locks in one piece.
You can find plenty of microfiber hair towels on Amazon if you’re looking for an affordable option to get you started.
5. Leave-In Conditioner
In case you’re not seeing a pattern yet, let me lay it out for you: your curls demand moisture! And, unfortunately, a good in-shower conditioner might not cut it.
Look for a lightweight conditioner that targets your particular curl type — what works for someone with 3b curls isn’t going to work for someone with 4c curls.
Celebrity hairstylist-beloved brand Curls makes a blueberry leave-in conditioner that gets rave reviews for tight curls. If you have looser curls, on the other hand, you might want to try one by John Freida Frizz Ease, which has been a staple for many curly people around the world.
6. Hair Supplements
Sometimes all the right hair conditioners and treatments in the world aren’t enough to strengthen your strands. If you’re looking to grow your hair long and strong, you might need to add vitamin supplements to your routine.
Supplements can be particularly useful if you feel like you’re not getting enough nutrition from the food you consume.
Some of the best vitamins for hair care include biotin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin D. Or, you can look for a multi-vitamin specifically made for hair care. You’ve probably seen popular brands like SugarBearHair advertised on Instagram by some of your favorite influencers. Other popular brands include Hum Nutrition and Olly.
If you have extremely dry, curly, or curly hair, you might want to consider adding a co-wash into your routine. Co-washing is a great, gentle way to clean your hair without the harsh chemicals that many shampoos contain. It allows you to clean and rehydrate your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.
Taraji P. Henson’s hairline TPH By TARAJI makes a co-wash that’s quickly become a fan-favorite.
8. A Pair of Shears
It can be hard to get to the salon these days, and even when you do, it’s tricky to find someone that actually knows how to cut curly hair properly. You might want to consider having a pair of shears on hand so you can give yourself a trim every now and then.
Make sure you go for something high-quality like Japanese steel scissors, which are specially made to be as precise as possible. Just make sure you check out this guide to Japanese hairdressing shears before you make a purchase so you get the correct kind for your hair.
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This article was written by one of the members of the badass Femestella staff.