HOW TO TAKE CARE OF CURLY HAIR
If you’ve got straight hair and your child has curly hair, learning to take care of his or her hair can be a struggle, an education in a different hair type.
Curly hair is generally classified into four groups:
You also need to give consideration to the type of hair - all curls are not created equal. How thick are the strands? Is the hair dry (most curly hair is)? What's the hair density like - is there a lot of hair on the head?
All these factors come into play when taking care of curly hair. We are here to help - keep reading for eight easy ways to look after your son or daughter's curly hair:
1. Unlike straight hair, curly hair can go anything from 7 to 10 days before it needs a wash. It takes the natural oils from the scalp a longer time to travel down those twists and spirals so curly hair stays cleaner for longer.
2. Before you wash curly hair, it’s important to detangle. This doesn’t need to result in tears; saturate the hair with water and use a conditioner with a lot of slip - meaning it glides easily through the hair. Use a Tangle Teezer, wide tooth comb or paddle brush to help the process along.
3. Because it takes the naturals oils from the scalp longer to feed the strands of hair, when you do shampoo try and use something without sulphates which are known to dry out the curls. Be gentle when washing; you aren’t trying to get a mud stain out of her school blouse! Try a co-wash – washing with a cleansing conditioner – for a gentle, curl friendly clean. Always try and stick to brands and products that are especially formulated for curly hair.
4. Get to know conditioner! When you have curly hair, conditioner is your best friend. Cleansing conditioner, deep conditioner and leave in conditioner need to be added to your arsenal. Deep conditioner is a treatment masque that should be used weekly to nourish the hair and a little bit of leave in conditioner added every day to refresh and moisturise. Without doubt, conditioner is the most important product in your curly hair arsenal.
Cult US brand Amika’s new curl care range has no sulphates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, mineral oil, petrochemicals or artificial colours and instead relies on natural ingredients like Grape Seed Oi, Oat Peptide and Soybean Protein to nourish curls from the inside out.
5. Throw away your brushes and combs for styling! Curly hair should not be brushed or combed when dry as all that does is disturb the natural curl and encourage frizz. If the curls are looking a little droopy, mist them with water from a spray bottle, refresh with a dab of leave in conditioner and twirl the curl around your finger. Apply a touch of curl-friendly gel and leave to 'settle' for a minute or two. Frizz is just a curl waiting to happen!
6. Cotton pillowcases are a curl's worst nightmare! Cotton sucks all the moisture out of the hair and curly hair needs all the moisture it can get. Invest in two satin/silk pillowcases so there’s always a clean one on hand. Great for the hair and the skin! Instead of drying with a cotton towel, try microfiber or even an old t-shirt.
7. Never speak disparagingly about her curly hair. It may be different from yours but celebrate that difference and boost her self-esteem by always speaking of her hair in a positive light.
8. Research is key. There are lots of websites dedicated to kids and curly hair and YouTube is your best friend. There are (literally) hundreds of tutorials from parents that will give you step by step instructions on how to look after curly hair. Try watching this for starters.
There will be instances when you - or she - will want to switch things up and lose the curls for a straight look. While we suggest this as the exception and not the rule, it's important to use good tools. Detangle the hair, use a good a heat protectant and gently blow dry with a round brush if you can or with the comb attachment of your dryer.
A proper straight and sleek look requires the use of irons and our current favourites are the Lustro Grandé from Alfa Italia. With immediate heat recovery from 90°C to 230°C, and tourmaline-infused titanium plates, you can gently smooth out the curls - even on thick, coarse hair - in a single pass. The titanium plates (smoother than ceramic) means the Lustro won’t pull hair and create friction, and being naturally ionic, helps decrease frizz and flyaways.
What’s your favourite product or tool for curly hair?