Those with naturally curly hair may be the envy of people sporting pin straight locks, but there is more work involved than meets the eye. Curly hair literally reaches out to beg for moisture throughout the year, not only during humid summers and dry winters. Be proactive in feeding moisture to your thirsty hair to promote a healthy appearance for your curly mane.
Review Your Products
The products applied to the hair make a direct impact on its appearance. Ignore a product's packaging and take a look at the ingredients list. As water is the best moisturizer for curls, choose water-based rather than oil-based products, and especially avoid mineral oil, which dries out hair. However, avocado and jojoba oils penetrate the hair shaft to moisturize the strand, and jojoba is similar in structure to the natural hair oil, or sebum. Select shampoos, conditioners and hair products specifically formulated for curly hair. There are certain ingredients ideal for curls. Glycerine binds water together to lock in moisture, and shea butter is rich in vitamin A. Aloe vera, widely known for its ability to heal sunburns, works the same magic on hair, maintaining the natural oils.
Wash with a sulfate-free shampoo every other day at most. Sulfates create that familiar lather, but they can also dry out the hair, making it appear frizzy. Alternatively, ditch the shampoo altogether and use only conditioner, known as co-washing. Use a deep conditioning treatment once a week or more often if needed. Apply the treatment to the hair and let it sit for at least 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing it out. You can even leave the product in overnight, keeping the curls in a plastic hair net, and wash it out in the morning.
As difficult as it can be, restrain yourself from overloading on products. Too much buildup of hair product not only weighs down the curls but creates a barrier between moisture and the strands. Though heat protecting serum should be applied to hair before using any heating tools, remember to give your hair a break once in awhile. Air drying is much less damaging. When using a hair drier, however, keep the temperature setting low and opt for a diffuser, which dries the hair slower and allows it to effectively hold both curls and moisture.
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Ditch the Dry Parts
Natural sebum, the oil produced from the scalp, takes longer to travel down curly hair strands than straight hair. Shorter hair will appear healthier than longer hair for this reason. With the ends of the hair drier, it is important to concentrate on applying moisturizer products to this area first. You can quickly rid yourself of these dry ends and keep split ends at bay by getting a trim every eight to 10 weeks.
Pam Smith has been writing since 2005. In addition to her work for Demand Media, her articles have been published online at CBS Local. She also wrote for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book's Literary Map while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English at the Pennsylvania State University. She is currently an editorial assistant for Circulation Research.