Due to the shape of curly haired strands, the hair tends to be under moisturized. On the other hand, the curly-haired scalp can get very oily. Managing these conflicting demands is the struggle of girls who wish to keep their curls. We enlisted Atlanta-area hair stylist Maya Smith for help. This “curl-trepreneur” is the owner of The Doux hair salon, and the founder of The Doux Haircare for curly haired girls. This hip-hop inspired line will be available at Target starting Christmas Eve.
Natural hair do's & Don'ts
How do you wash Curly Hair?
The smartest way to approach curly hair is to do it gently. Kinky, thick, and coily textures tend to appear “tough” and durable enough to withstand massive manipulation. In my experience, these hair types are the most delicate and should handle with care.
The first step is to rinse thoroughly with water for a minimum of 30 seconds. It helps to eliminate any water-soluble product buildup, such as hair gel or heat protectant. It also enables you to save shampoo! Assuming you are shampooing in the shower, letting the water run over the hair in a downward motion helps prevent further tangling, and allows the hair shaft to swell and the curl pattern to fully rebound. Extremely thick hair can separate into four sections before wetting the hair for increased manageability.
Once the shampoo is applied, start with light manipulation at the scalp, being sure to work your hands from the crown of the head to the nape of the neck. “Squishing” the hair up toward the scalp like the girl on the commercial is a no-no. Shampooing this way can cause unforgivable tangling and matting. I recommend repeating at least once.
The (Fresh) Rinse.
If your scalp shampoos correctly, conditioning is a piece of cake. This time, you are focusing on your dry ends first, working upward toward the scalp. Gently detangle with a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush (our favorite is Felicia Leatherwood’s “Brush With The Best” detangling brush) before rinsing, starting at the ends, working up toward to the roots.
What products should you use for washing?
The Doux™ SUCKA FREE Moisturizing Shampoo and FRESH RINSE Moisturizing Conditioner available at www.thedoux.com
Why is “co-washing” a bad idea?
I am aware of the controversy surrounding the infamous co-wash so that I will be gentle in my explanation: Co-washing or conditioner-washing has become very popular. It is kind of like washing your clothes with fabric softener. In my experience, co-washing causes build-up on the hair, coating the cuticle and impairing the hair’s natural ability to absorb water. Oils, waxes, and product residue harden on the hair shaft, making it more brittle and less porous over time. When the hair can no longer efficiently absorb water, the elasticity of the hair is compromised and leaving the hair “crunchy” and stiff, where it is more likely to break. The result is hair that feels dry and brittle, no matter what product you use to moisturize it.
Without fail, we have restored hundreds of our clients’ curls, just by getting them to trade in the co-wash for a gentle, pH-balanced moisturizing shampoo, like SUCKA FREE. Once the hair properly cleanses of product residue, it “drinks” up the necessary amount of moisture, and returns to its natural softness.
What products should people use who want to keep their curly hair?
The great thing about our product line is that every piece of our range can be used on hair that is worn curly or straight. Our clients purchase one set of products and apply them differently to achieve the style they want. If you are rocking curly hair today, you are using Mousse Def and Bonita Afro Balm for softness and definition, and The Light for shine. If you are wearing a blowout, you are still using the same products, but applying the stylers less liberally, and utilizing the shine mist as a heat protectant. It is super simple and easy to follow once you have seen the results each of them deliver.
Styling products high in alcohol give curls a crunchy feel. They suck up every last bit of moisture. Hairspray tends to contain the most alcohol, while gels and mousses—really anything that provides hold or lift—come in second. I recommend water-soluble gels that don't feel sticky on your skin, and aerated mousses or foams that resemble beaten egg whites, to give hair fullness, control, and non-brittle curls.
Blow-Dry With a Diffuser or Hooded Dryer
My first choice for curly styles is air dry.
If you do not have the time to air dry then dry with a diffuser or hooded dryer on a low heat setting. A regular blow dryer nozzle disrupts the curl pattern and focuses hot air on one small section at a time, while a diffuser dries curls evenly for a full, uniform look. After applying a heat-protecting product, flip your head upside down and diffuse right at the roots and mid-length making sure to dry the area thoroughly to lock in volume. Do the ends last, and leave them only semi-dry, Because the ends tend to be more damaged, let them air-dry more.
Turn Down the Hot Water
Yes, a cold water rinse does not make for the most luxurious hair washing experience. However, cool water will snap those cuticles shut, which in turn will lock in moisture, make your hair shinier and reduce frizz.
Sleep on Satin
Bedtime can make or break your curls. Rough cotton pillowcases can cause your coils to tangle and frizz. Make your bed (or at least your pillows) with smooth satin pillowcases. Alternatively, wrap your hair in a satin scarf or bonnet to keep curls sleek and intact.