Hair Diaries: A Beginner’s Guide To Taking Care Of Curly Hair

The number one rule? Moisture

In a new series, Katie’s stylist Dana Fiore of Hair House, is answering all your burning questions about hair. First up, she’s explaining how you can take care of your curls (if you’re lucky enough to have them!)

Think of this as a beginner’s guide that debunks any misconceptions you’ve made in caring for your hair. Be on the lookout for guides to taking care of straight and wavy hair in the coming week. (P.S. Take 20% off Hair House’s products with the code Katie20.) Without further ado…

Curly Hair:

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions about curly hair maintenance happens during youth. Years ago, people were almost trained to believe (either by magazines, television, etc) that curly hair was unmanageable, unprofessional, or just not pretty. Young girls would do anything to turn their curly hair straight, either through chemical processes or by using extreme heat. As technology advanced and even more importantly, when the curly hair movement became more prominent, techniques and products and tools became more readily available for people to learn how to take care of their curls and embrace the beauty of them!”  

1. How do you approach curly hair? 

Lots of professionals over the years have come up with different names for similar techniques for approaching curly hair. The approach to curls is almost always the same: moisture. The oils from our scalp usually never make it past an inch or two from our roots before we wash it. Curls even more so because the oils have to make their way down the ringlets.  Shampooing the scalp only and only as often as needed (sometimes as little as once a week) and using conditioner often is the best base to start your curly regimen. 

3. How should curly-haired women shampoo and condition?

Shampoos and conditioners for hair only matter when you are using the proper techniques; You can use a drug store brand and use it correctly or a luxury line and use it incorrectly. The most important thing for washing curly hair is to focus on the scalp only and not vigorously scrub the ends of your hair. That only strips it of its natural oils creating dry, brittle ends.

When rinsing out your conditioner, your hair should feel soft, not overly greasy or squeaky clean. Conditioner is temporary, so you want to find the right amount to leave in your hair to create a base before you apply your styling products. To lock in moisture, I like Oribe Intense Conditioner for Moisture and Control. 

4. What products and techniques do you recommend for styling with tools? 

Any heat styling should start with a protective hair spray, like Triilliant from the Sebastian product line. Before using a tool like a flat iron or curling iron, I recommend getting your blow-dry as smooth as possible first, making sure all moisture is out of the hair. This way, you would only need one or 2 passes of a hot tool to finish the look. A lot of people do a mediocre blow-dry and rely too heavily on hot tools to smooth the hair. The heat from a blow dryer could never compare to the direct, extreme heat of a styling tool. 

5. What products and techniques do you recommend for styling naturally? 

For natural wash-and-go styling, I recommend Hair Rules Curly Whip. It has great moisturizing and defining qualities. The hair should be wet, like almost dripping wet, before application (Squeeze the water out…don’t towel dry). By starting with wet hair, you will be locking it into its frizz-less state.

Any rough drying prior to putting in your styling products would do the opposite. So whether your hair requires a mousse, gel or cream, the key is always to apply it wet, squeeze the product in and either air dry, diffuse, or sit under a hood dryer. Once the hair is dry, you can fluff it up or shake it out to loosen. But not touching too much during the drying process will maintain the most definition without the frizz!

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