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Navigating the world of hair care, particularly when dealing with curly locks, can be a challenge. Selecting the right flat iron for curly hair can make a significant difference, transforming unmanageable tresses into sleek, shiny curls. With the right tools and techniques, you can maintain the health and vibrancy of your curls while enjoying the versatility of different styles.
Maintaining Healthy Curls: Flat Iron Use and Hair Care Tips
Curly hair can indeed be a handful. Its inherent dryness, coarse texture, and propensity to frizz can make it particularly challenging to manage. But fear not, there is a silver lining. With the correct techniques and care routines, you can transform your unruly curls into soft, healthy, and well-defined locks.
9 ESSENTIAL CURLY HAIR CARE TIPS
Get ready to wave goodbye to your hair woes. Here are tips designed to help you properly care for your curly strands, paving the way for healthier, more defined, and easier-to-manage curls.
1. Absolutely Always Get a Dry Cut
Curly hair possesses unique characteristics that differentiate it from straight hair, particularly in how it should be cut. If a stylist suggests cutting your hair while it’s wet, be cautious! Curls can be misleadingly long when wet, only to shrink significantly (somewhere between 6 to 12 inches) as they dry. Dry cutting offers a realistic perspective on your hair’s length, allowing your stylist to gauge the hair’s movement, discern the areas with the most weight, and determine the exact amount required to be trimmed. This technique ensures a haircut that is not only precise but also custom-tailored to suit your specific curl pattern.
2. Shampoo Less
Frequent shampooing can be more harmful than beneficial for your curls. It robs your mane of its natural oils, leading to dryness and frizz. To protect your hair’s natural moisture, aim to shampoo only once a week.
When shampooing becomes essential, ensure you opt for a moisturizing shampoo specifically designed for curly or dehydrated hair. Better yet, consider a Co-wash. Co-wash, short for conditioner-only wash, is the practice of using conditioner instead of shampoo to clean your hair.
The outcome of co-washing is hair that sits comfortably between squeaky-clean and second-day hair — smoother, softer, and significantly more manageable. If you incorporate co-washing into your routine, we suggest keeping a small, travel-size bottle of a clarifying shampoo like Davines Solu on hand. Use this every third wash to eliminate any potential product build-up that can weigh down your curls.
If you prefer using natural, organic shampoos, ensure they’re mild and free from sulfates, silicone, and parabens. These chemicals prevent natural oils from penetrating the hair shaft, increasing the risk of hair damage and enhancing frizz.
3. Constantly Moisturize
To keep curls hydrated, applying an excellent conditioner regularly is crucial. Thoroughly coat each strand of hair with conditioner and allow it to penetrate for at least five to ten minutes before rinsing. Well-moisturized hair is less prone to frizz and less likely to be disturbed by changes in humidity.
In line with the moisturizing routine, use a super-nourishing and moisturizing hair mask once a week. Not only does it provide ample moisture, but a good hair mask also repairs hair, prevents damage, and helps maintain curl definition.
The last essential product in your curl care arsenal is a reliable, hyper-moisturizing leave-in conditioner. This simple product can transform fried, frazzled, and puffy curls almost instantly. While in-shower shampoos, conditioners, and co-washes are effective, they are rinsed out at the end of your shower. A quality leave-in conditioner remains in your curls, offering continued moisture and frizz-fighting power.
4. Style Your Hair While It’s Wet
To effectively combat frizz, it’s recommended to apply hair-care products immediately after showering when your hair is thoroughly wet. This approach works best because fully saturated curls are easier to manage and their cuticles remain open, ready to absorb the moisturizers and styling agents you apply. Distribute the product evenly throughout your hair, starting at the roots and working your way down to the tips, using your fingers. Then gently scrunch your hair and squeeze upwards towards the scalp. This method promotes better absorption of the product, contributing to healthier and more defined curls.
5. Never Blow Dry Without A Diffuser
Although air-drying is always the recommended method for curly hair, if you find you must use a blow dryer, ensure you’re equipping it with a diffuser. Drying your hair with a regular nozzle can disrupt your natural curl pattern due to its concentrated air flow, which can also cause heat damage. A diffuser, however, disperses the air flow over a larger surface area, preserving your waves and reducing frizz.
Before you begin drying, be sure to apply a heat-protecting product. Next, flip your hair upside down and commence diffusing from the roots and mid-lengths of your hair. Allowing these areas to dry completely will seal in the volume, your curl pattern, and your styling product.
Lastly, be mindful with heat on your hair ends—these are the oldest parts of your hair and tend to be more damaged. As such, they are delicate and prone to splitting. By limiting heat exposure, you can protect these vulnerable areas from further damage.
6. Turn Down the Heat
Frequency and intensity of heat styling can alter the proteins responsible for your hair’s unique curly structure. Over time, these curls may lose their bounce and become more resistant to styling. To prevent this, limit the usage of blow-drying to once or twice a week and restrict flat ironing to once or twice a month. Importantly, when you do choose to use a flat iron, ensure the heat doesn’t exceed 400 degrees. If you observe your curls losing their vitality, discontinue all heat styling immediately. Employ the use of a conditioning mask during showers to form new hydrogen bonds, which may aid in re-establishing your natural wave pattern.
7. Get Rid of Your Brushes
Brushes may not be the best companion for your curls. Their bristles can cause your hair to frizz, disrupt your natural curl formation, and result in a tangled mess. Rather, utilize your fingers to shape and enhance your curls, and consider the use of a curl rejuvenator for refreshing your look. In situations where detangling becomes necessary, opt for a wide-toothed comb or even your fingers, particularly while your hair is coated with conditioner in the shower.
8. Avoid Products with Alcohol
Products containing alcohol can have detrimental effects on your curls, making them feel stiff and brittle, similar to the texture of Ramen Noodles. Moreover, these products can strip your hair of its natural moisture, a factor that can severely damage your curls. To maintain healthy, luscious curls, we propose the use of water-soluble gels that do not have an overly sticky feel, and lightweight mousses or foams. These types of products can offer the desired volume and control without risking the health and vitality of your curls.
9. Stop Touching It
We understand, the allure of playing with your curls can be irresistible. However, excessive handling can disrupt the hair cuticle, leading to the dreaded frizz. Minimizing friction is key in maintaining the integrity of your curls. So, rather than drying your hair with a coarse bath towel, we suggest opting for a soft microfiber cloth. This allows you to delicately squeeze out excess water from your curls, keeping them intact and frizz-free.
How to Keep Hair Healthy when Using Irons Daily
While curling or straightening can help achieve your desired hairstyle, daily use can cause significant damage to your locks. If you’re unable to part with your favorite heat styling tool, consider the following tips to minimize damage and maintain healthy hair:
- Choose a High-Quality Material: Opt for irons made from materials that evenly distribute heat, thus reducing the likelihood of burning your hair. Consider the following options:
- Ceramic Irons: These heat quickly and evenly and produce negative ions that smooth the cuticle and boost shine. Make sure to select irons made entirely of ceramic, not just coated with it, as the coating tends to wear off over time.
- Tourmaline Irons: These can produce six times the amount of negative ions compared to ceramic models, leaving your hair smooth, shiny, and healthier-looking.
- Titanium Irons: While typically the most expensive, they heat quickly and evenly, making them an excellent choice for thick or coarse hair.
- Adjustable Temperature Controls: To prevent damage, use the lowest heat possible that still achieves your desired style. Irons with digital heat controls allow you to select a specific temperature. A range between 175 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (80 to 200 degrees Celsius) suits all hair types. The finer or thinner your hair, the lower the temperature should be. Avoid setting your iron higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius), regardless of your hair’s thickness or coarseness.
- Consider Iron Size: The size of your iron can also affect the degree of hair damage. Larger irons reduce the need to pass over the same hair section multiple times. Typically, a 1-inch (23-mm) curling or straightening iron is versatile for all hair types. Short hair may require a smaller iron, while extremely thick or long hair might benefit from a larger one. For curling irons, consider the hairstyle you’re aiming for. Smaller irons create tight ringlets, while larger ones produce loose waves.
In conclusion, maintaining healthy curls while using a flat iron for curly hair necessitates a careful balance of heat styling and attentive care. Emphasize on using high-quality materials, limiting heat exposure, and avoiding harmful products, can significantly enhance the overall health of your curls. By adopting these practices, you can continue to enjoy the versatility of styling with a flat iron while preserving the natural vitality and bounce of your curly hair.