Tight curly hair can be both a gift and a burden. While it may look stylish, the amount of maintenance required in both care and styling may seem overwhelming. However, by adopting the right nourishing and styling rituals, tight curls can be kept tame and healthy with ease.
Naturally curly hair has a tendency to be drier than other hair types and should be deep conditioned at least once a week. Curls require moisture to remain smooth, shiny and frizz-free. Deep conditioner provides maximum moisture, penetrating the hair shaft for long-lasting health. While there are many types of deep conditioner, those with curly hair should select one specifically for curly hair that contains natural oils. Natural oils such as coconut and argan oil contain fortifying nutrients, while sealing the cuticle for long-lasting results. For the most effective deep conditioning, apply it from root to tip after shampooing. Twist hair up on top of the head, and apply a shower cap. Leave conditioner in for as long as possible; this can be a half hour, or overnight for optimal results. Thoroughly rinse it out, concentrating on the scalp. Hair will be noticeably soft, and curls will be more manageable.
Curly hair requires as much moisture as possible, and moisturizing products should be used at all styling stages. After hair has been washed and lightly towel dried, a leave-in conditioning product should be applied. For curls, serums and oil-based products are best. Apply liberally to thick hair and lightly to thinner hair to avoid buildup. Once applied, disperse the product with a wide-toothed comb. Avoid brushing wet hair with anything other than a gentle comb, as this will cause breakage and frizz. Apply a finishing product when hair is dry. A dime size of argan oil works well to seal the cuticle, as well as a spray-on leave-in conditioner. Moisturizing products can be reapplied throughout the day to help curls maintain their shape and softness.
Curls have to be styled carefully to avoid damage and maintain a manageable state. When hair is wet it should be dried with either a microfiber towel, an old t-shirt or paper towels. These are gentler than regular towels and can be used to soak up the water as opposed to rough drying and disturbing the cuticle, causing frizz. To keep hair in optimum condition it should be allowed to air dry. Heated styling tools dry out curly hair, leaving it rough and frizzy looking. The more that curly hair is left natural, the healthier it will look. If curls are too tight and uncontrollable when air dried, place the hair in a loose hairstyle when damp, such as a bun or a loose braid, and remove the style when hair is dry. Such styles make the curls less tight when taken out, but the hair will still maintain natural volume.
Curly hair becomes unruly when washed too often, as it loses all oils and nutrients; natural oils are essential for fighting dryness and frizz. If hair is used to being washed on a daily basis, start off slowly by moving washes to every other day. Once hair gets used to this routine it will be less likely to overcompensate by producing excess oils, and the hair will look fuller and healthier between washes. Sulfate- and silicone-free shampoos should be used for curly hair. Sulfate causes excess lather and strips the hair of essential oils, making it very rough on the cuticles of curly hair. Silicone can often tame hair, but it builds up on the follicle over time and can lead to breakage and dullness. Shampoos with natural ingredients such as tea tree or coconut oil will contribute to the hair's structure and create a noticeable difference in the look and feel of curls over time.