If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with curls, coils, waves or spirals, you’ll know that taking care of curly hair is a lifestyle rather than an act. The truth is that biologically, there are no differences between curly hair and straight hair. It is the shape of the follicle a hair grows out of, that determines how straight or curly a strand of hair will be. A U-shaped or C-shaped follicle will result in curly hair; follicles with a slight bend that will produce wavy hair and follicles that perfectly round produces straight hair.
But... it's not just as simple as that. It’s not just the shape of the follicle that determines curls – the angle at which the hair follicle tunnels into the scalp also plays a vital role. Straight hair follicles tunnel vertically into the scalp. Curly hair follicles go into the skin at an angle, causing hair to curve as it grows, which results in curls.
While there aren’t any biological differences between curly hair and straight hair, curly hair has its own set of needs. (as we curly girls very well know by now) But curls aren’t just curls: just like there are different hair types, there are different curl types. Knowing which type of curls you have is essential, as different curls require different products. So how do you determine your curl type? I've got you!
It's about to get a bit complex... brace yourself! A universal curl type classification has been developed, and these charts typically range from 2 to 4. Type 2 is considered wavy, type 3 includes loose spirals to tighter corkscrews and type 4 refers to tightly coiled hair. These types can be further subdivided into different textures, depending on the density of the strand which is classified as A-C, starting with thin/fine hair at A, thicker hair at B and coarse hair at C. You can have any combination of curl and texture type, for example, 2C, 4A, 3B etc.
How to care for curly hair
Curly hair is more delicate than straight hair due to the shape of the hair fibre. The curly shape of the strand indicates that the hair cuticle may be slightly lifted based on the porosity. This means that the strand may be more prone to damage and is more prone to lose moisture. (FACTS!)
Our hair follicles produce an oil known as sebum. Sebum travels down the hair shaft, nourishing and moisturising the strand as it goes. The shape of a curl makes it more difficult for the sebum to travel, and as a result, it doesn’t always make it to the end of the strand. This means that curly hair may become dry or dehydrated a lot quicker.
Most shampoos contain a detergent ingredient called sodium lauryl sulphate. It does a great job at cleaning the hair and working up a foamy lather, but it can also have a drying effect, essentially stripping hair of its natural moisture (which curly hair needs plenty of!).
For the best results, I would really (and highly) recommend using a sulphate-free shampoo. What I'm loving right now? The new HASK Curl Care Moisturising Shampoo, the great thing is that it's suitable for all curl patterns and enriched with a nourishing blend of coconut oil, argan oil and vitamin E, this formula hydrates and protects your curls from damage. Each wash gently removes build-up without stripping away natural oils, revealing bouncy and weightless curls.
When conditioning curly hair, you want to look for deep conditioning products. It can become a little difficult to retain moisture in curly hair. It is essential to use a deep conditioner, especially on the shaft of your hair as well as your ends. Look for moisturising ingredients such as shea butter or coconut oil.
Try the newly-launched Marc Anthony Strictly Curls® 3X Moisture Triple Blend Conditioner. This conditioner gives thirsty curls the essential moisture they need to feel strengthened, smoothed and protected.
Direct Heat styling is probably the worst thing you can do to curly hair. If it’s unavoidable, it’s important to protect your hair in the process by using a diffuser (this gets attached to the front of your hairdryer, allowing for more even heat distribution). A heat protectant product is also essential!
It is worth investing in silk pillowcases or wearing a bonnet while you sleep. Cotton pillowcases are absorbent and soak up the moisture from hair, plus they can create friction when you move around causing breakage. Sleeping on silk results in less friction, plus it doesn’t draw out or absorb any moisture from your hair.
Crème of Nature’s Leave-In Conditioner is a unique two-phase formula that combines Argan Oil liquid shine and a strengthening protein complex that improves hair strength, protects against damage, and adds moisture and shine.
Give your hair extra moisture and allow your curls extra bounce by including a deep treatment product in your hair care routine. Whether used weekly, bi-weekly or once a month, it’ll give your hair that extra hydration boost it needs.
I've been LOVING Umberto Giannini Grow Mask Hemp, Coconut & Shea Mask, it reduces frizz and flyaways and infuses your hair with protein and moisture. Made with certified organic ingredients which derive from an Amazonian palm fruit, babassu oil contains high concentrations of sterols and tocopherols to moisturise and improve hair and scalp. That’s why it’s one of the main ingredients of this organic hair conditioner. Our Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner is enriched with fatty acids and natural oils, as well as complex amino acids from wheat, soy, and other all-natural ingredients, to help hydrate and replenish your hair.