Anyone with curly tresses faces a seemingly endless battle for shiny, soft and uniform curls. What should be an effortless look often appears crunchy, weighed down or frizzy. No matter the tightness of the curl, certain hair products and tools are ideal for promoting healthy, lustrous locks.
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Curls can appear dry since sebum, the natural oil from the scalp, takes longer to travel down curly strands than straight hair. Sulfate-free shampoos do not create a lather but clean hair without stripping it of natural oils. These cleansers are gentler than traditional shampoos are on curls. Still these shampoos are not necessary to use more often than every other day at most.
Conditioner should be applied every time you shower to promote moisturized locks and combat a dry look. Target the drier ends of the hair with conditioner first. Treat especially unruly curls to a leave-in conditioning mask once a week. This product can be left in your hair for about fifteen minutes before rinsing it out, or even kept in overnight and washed out in the morning. On other nights, be sure to sleep on silk pillowcases to reduce friction to the locks; cotton cases can snag the hair.
Always review your hair-care products' list of ingredients. Choose water-based products, as opposed to those that are oil-based, to feed thirsty curls. Some oils, however, are safe. Moroccan oil, olive oil and avocado oil moisturize and soften the strands; jojoba oil even mimics the hair's natural oils. Glycerin binds water molecules together to lock in moisture, shea butter is rich in vitamin A and aloe maintains the natural oils. Silicone-based serums, used sparingly, are great for getting frizz under control and taming flyaway strands. Above all, remember that a great product will not need to be dolloped abundantly all over the hair. Apply a minimal amount evenly so as not to weigh down the curls or create a barrier between moisture and the strands.
Gently wring out excess water with your fingers or paper towels instead of bath towels as the fabric creates friction, causing frizz. Instead of brushes, use a wide-tooth comb, or even your fingers, combing from the ends to the roots to avoid further tangling. Take care when working with styling tools on curly hair. Apply a heat-protecting product before using hair dryers, flat irons or curling irons. Affix hair dryers with a diffuser to cut down on direct heat while increasing volume, boosting the curls and drying hair evenly. Direct it to the roots and middle of the hair strands before the ends. Consider air drying more often as this is healthier for curly hair.