When you have thick, coarse hair, styling it can be a challenge. Thick, coarse locks tend to be dry, dull and difficult to control. However, you can make your hair softer, shinier and more manageable if you use the right hair care products. The key is choosing formulas that don't strip moisture from your tresses and instead add more hydration to your hair.
Ditch Traditional Shampoo
Thick, coarse hair doesn’t usually get as greasy as fine hair, but you still need to wash your hair regularly to keep it clean. Traditional shampoos aren’t the best option, though, because they contain sulfates -- lathering agents that can dry out coarse hair. Instead, opt for a cleansing conditioner. This formula has few detergents and chemicals that can leave hair dry and brittle, and it restores moisture to your hair. You use it like a regular shampoo, massaging it into the roots and working it down the ends of your hair. If your locks are feeling particularly dry, you may want to follow those infamous instructions on most shampoo bottles -- cleanse, rinse and repeat -- letting the cleansing conditioner sit on your hair for a few minutes before rinsing the final time. While your hair is still damp, you can also work a dime-size amount of your cleansing conditioner through your hair to serve as a leave-in conditioner so your thick, coarse hair stays soft and manageable all day.
While a cleansing conditioner can help keep your hair hydrated, thick, coarse hair sometimes needs extra help. A conditioning masque can provide intense moisture to your hair so it’s soft and shiny. Look for one that contains hydrating and conditioning ingredients such as olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter or aloe. Unlike your usual conditioner, this type of masque is typically only used once a week for deep conditioning. Usually, it is applied to wet hair and should sit on your locks for at least a few minutes so it can fully penetrate the strands before you rinse it away. Follow the instructions on the masque’s label to ensure the best results.
Get Style Help
When it comes to styling, thick, coarse hair often presents a challenge because it can have a mind of its own. To gain control over your locks, use a styling cream. Not as heavy as a gel but thicker than a mousse, the cream adds more moisture to your hair, as well as body and definition. It also makes your hair more manageable, so when you create a style, it stays in place. Add a few drops of the cream to your palm, rub it between your hands and then work it through damp hair from roots to ends. To create volume, use the cream in conjunction with heated styling tools like a curling iron or blow dryer.
You may face another issue with thick, coarse hair -- dull tresses. A shine serum can definitely come in handy. Usually, shine serums contain silicones like dimethicone that coat the hair to make it appear smoother and shinier. To avoid making even coarse hair appear greasy, though, apply the serum on wet locks. Just dot a dime-size amount in your palm, rub your hands together, and work the serum through your hair. You can ensure that the shine serum is properly distributed by applying it in 1-inch sections -- it takes a little more time, but your hair will look sleek and shiny after you blow-dry it.
Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.