Top 10 dos and don’ts for maintaining healthy curly hair.
1. Don’t: shampoo too often
Too much washing can strip curly hair of naturals oils that serve to moisturize and protect your strands from harsh elements such as wind. For curly hair, it is harder for the sebum to coat the strands often giving it a dry, dull appearance. Gentle shampoos, free of harsh chemicals such as sodium laurel sulfates are best for curly hair. Some people skip shampoo all-together a method known as “no-poo”.
3. Don’t: wash (or cowash) everyday
Most curly hair doesn’t need to be washed daily. For some every 3 days is sufficient and for others once per week. This all depends on the hair’s texture, thickness, curl pattern and overall health.
4. Do: always use a conditioner
Conditioners add moisture, help with detangling and increase shine. Added bonus: treat yourself to a deep conditioner. Cover your conditioned hair with a plastic cap for 5 – 30 minutes. You can sit under and dryer during this time or leave it as is.
5. Don’t: use heat styling tools
Hair is a protein made up of different layers that function in different ways e.g. hair color and shape. Each time we use a direct heat on our hair, it breaks down proteins and alters the shape of the curl. If you must use heat, don’t go over 200°C and try to avoid using heat on a daily basis.
6. Do: wear buns, twists and braids
Protective styles hide the ends of our hair. The ends of the hair are the oldest part of the strand and more prone to damage. Tucking them away will reduce dryness and split ends. Curly hair is prone to tangling. To reduce tangles style the hair in two strand twists or braids.
7. Don’t compare your hair to others
Sometimes we want what we don’t have. Embrace you and love what you have. If you have children, it’s important they learn to love themselves, their curls and afros.
8. Do: learn about your porosity
It’s important to know your hair’s ability to absorb water (i.e. porosity). Hair with high porosity absorbs water easily, but it also dries out quickly. Low porosity hair does not easily absorb water, but once it does, it is easy to retain. Both types of porosity can be challenging, but there are methods that work to keep hair healthy and moisturized. For more information
9. Don’t sleep with your hair out
Tie your hair up at night and either sleep on a satin pillow or a satin hair bonnet. Sleeping on loose hair makes it prone to tangle. And cotton is very drying to the hair.
10. Do: apply oil to your ends
The oldest part of the hair needs the most TLC. Rubbing a small amount of oil on your ends every other day will help seal in moisture. For fine hair, light oils such as jojoba or sweet almond oil are recommended. For thicker hair, you could use a heavier oils or butters such as olive or coconut oil or shea butter.