Learning to take proper care of my curly hair has been a process, and something that I've gotten much better at over the years. My hair was wavy when I was younger and didn't become truly curly until high school, so there was definitely a learning curve. This New York Times article came out while I was in college and it (along with this book) was a turning point for knowing how to take care of my curls. Here's my advice for taking care of curls:
- Find a stylist who really knows how to cut curly hair. The best test is whether they will cut your hair while dry, since curls behave totally differently when not saturated with water.
- Be very, very nice to your curls, and hopefully your hair will love you back! Seriously - treat your hair gently when you wash and style it and use rich, nourishing conditioners.
- Ditch harsh shampoos and choose cleansers that are sulfate-free. These products don't lather as much as conventional shampoo, but also won't totally strip your hair of its natural oils. This is key since curly hair tends to be drier than straight hair.
- I recently discovered unwash and I love their Hydrating Masque, which I use weekly. When my curls need an extra strong dose of moisture (like with dry winter weather around the corner), I turn to Rahua's Omega 9 Hair Mask.
- Take advantage of letting your curls air dry! One of the great benefits to having curls (since, let's be honest, they can be temperamental) is the freedom to wash, style, and go. It's just a bonus that skipping heat styling helps prevent damage over time.
- When you do need to speed up the drying process, always use a diffuser. I use this one from DevaCurl. Its unusual shape serves an important purpose and distributes even, gentle airflow that can dry underside layers and along the roots.