Between scheduling wash days, restructuring your curl product assortment once a year, and falling for the bottomless amount of brands all claiming to “fix” your curls, managing curls is no easy feat. As a 3c/4a curl type, trust me, I share your pain. But I’m here to tell you there are some tips, tricks, and hacks that I recently discovered that have worked wonders when I implement them into my routine. Below are my top five hacks to better curl days.
Hack #1: Over communicating is paramount
Put it this way, in my 30 years of living, if I would get a dollar for the amount of stylists I’ve been to that act like they know what they are doing, I would be a very wealthy lady. I’ve found that over communicating is paramount — that means even before you make an appointment.
I enjoy a good ole Instagram search when looking for new stylists. A quick search of #curldoctor, #curlsalonsNYC, #curlsNYC, #curlsLA and more can populate several good stylists. After I find the salon the stylist works at, I call to make sure they can do 3c/4a texture.
Occasionally, I’ll even email a photo of my curls so they know exactly what they will be working with, and so I know that my experience will be a good one. Time and time again, I’ve learned asking these questions before you go in, leaves you and the salon/barber headache free and on the same page.
Hack #2: Shampoo isn’t the enemy
Co-washing, or the act of washing with conditioner only, has been trending for years now. People have avoided shampoo like the plague because many shampoos contain sulfates that are known to remove moisture in the hair — which is necessary for frizz-free curls.
But I’m here to set the record straight, shampoo is not necessarily bad. Think about it this way, healthy hair is clean hair and if the hair is not cleaned by shampoo, the very product established to do this, you risk the chance of a lot of product build up and lackluster, dry curls. That doesn’t mean you have to go back to weekly shampoo sessions, but that does mean incorporating shampoo a couple times a month.
Hack #3: Detangle hair in the shower
The easiest way to detangle hair in the shower is to split your hair in half (I typically make a part from one ear to the other). Then, divide those sections into two sections, resulting in four sections total. Clip all but one section to start the detailing process. Then with mild temperature water running against your hair, work your comb or fingers (for a more gentle detangle) and remove all knots. Trust me, this will make styling go a lot smoother.
Hack #4: Mask up
Nearly two years in the pandemic now, you should not be a stranger to a mask. Although that isn’t the mask we are talking about here. Hydrating hair masks once a week will do wonders for your curls.
Hack #5: Spray like your life depended on it
I learned this one the hard way — the wetter your hair, the better. Curly, natural hair thrives on moisture so make sure your hair is drenched when you are styling. Be sure to also understand the porosity (the ability of the hair to absorb water) of your hair when applying water. The porosity (low, normal, or high) will determine how much water you will need to use.
Also learn why you should condition and avoid hair brushes on wavy and curly hair.
Photo via iStock