Oct 19, 2021

How To Restore Curly Hair

Give your curls the love that they deserve!

Got naturally curly hair? Don't hate it . . . Embrace it! So many curly-haired people work against their natural curl by using relaxers, blow dryers, hot rollers, flat irons or curling irons. That's fine, it's a personal choice, but when chemicals and hot tools are used over and over again in order to make your hair do something it doesn't want to do . . . well, your hair ends up paying the price. Instead of putting in all that hard work and damaging your hair, why not take the path of least resistance and enhance and restore your curly hair instead? The following tips will help you celebrate your curls by helping them be healthier and look better. Three cheers for restoring your curls to their former glory!

Get the right haircut, and go to a curl specialist

Some hairdressers are scared of dealing with curly hair. They only know how to cut it like they would cut other hair types, which is a big no-no. When cutting curly hair you don't want to end up with a triangle head or the poodle look -eek! 

When cutting curly hair, the stylist should always use cutting scissors and not thinning shears.  The curly hairstylist should always cut curly hair at an angle, as this allows them to keep the natural movement of the curl. 

During a curl haircut, the stylist will use their cutting scissors to take each section and softly cut into the hair to remove weight, giving the curl more bounce. Long layers can be good to help take the weight from the bottom of the hair without causing the dreaded triangle shape. No short layers, especially with long hairstyles, as this is how you end up with a curly mullet (it's not the 80's).

Great haircuts for curly heads have a diamond shape. This means the stylist keeps the height and weight toward the top of the head and the cheekbones. The curls are tapered around the face. Have your hairstylist carve out your curls in this way to create definition and movement.

Visual cutting is important for taking weight out and shaping curly hair. Many curl stylists report that it helps to stand back and look at how the curls falls naturally after being cut, as this allows for them to evaluate the progress of the overall shape of the cut.

Indulge in extra conditioner

Forget everything you've heard about curly girls not using conditioner -- conditioner should be your best friend! Curly hair is typically more porous than non-curly hair, making it more susceptible to breakage. Conditioners, particularly ones with silicones such as dimethicone, help by temporarily sealing the openings in the hair cuticle. This essentially forms a shield around the hair, helping to prevent unwanted trauma to the hair fiber. Keep in mind that the conditioner shield is temporary -- if it hasn't worn off by the next time you wash your hair, it'll be removed by exposure to water. Be sure to reapply the conditioner after every wash.

Cut down how much your hair is processed

The most common cause of curl loss is due to over-processing. This can be attributed to chemical damage, heat damage, and everyday manipulation. When restoring curly hair, the goal is to repair the bonds in the hair, restore strength, increase elasticity, and incorporate the correct products and habits to avoid future damage. Make it easier on your hair (and yourself) by taking a break from chemical treatments. Also, avoid using thermal styling tools whenever possible, with the exception of your diffuser. And speaking of your diffuser...

Dry your hair with a diffuser 

Never, never dry curly hair by rubbing your head with your towel.  This causes friction and will make your curls frizzy. You'll spend way too long trying to comb through your matted hair. Instead, oh-so-gently squeeze excess water out of your hair with a towel, preferably a microfiber towel or even a soft, cotton tee-shirt. After that, cast your curls with gel and diffuse dry. If you don't have time to diffuse, wrap your curls on top of your head with a plain white tee-shirt to let them dry naturally until you can hit the diffuser.

Use the Right Products

To keep your curly hair curly, you need to use good products formulated for your hair type. We're sure you already have a whole drawer or cupboard full of hair products and could probably open up your own store. The good news is that with the right kind of hair products, you probably need only need 4 or 5 max.

A good foundation under your products is super important. Be sure that your shampoo and conditioner are formulated for curly hair -- we, of course, recommend checking out a completely customized set. Curls can be fragile, so you need to strengthen while taming frizz, adding manageability and restructuring from the inside out. That's a tall order, but customized products can do all that and more

Detangle in the shower, and rinse with cold water

Here's a washing tip for ya -- after you shampoo and condition your hair in the shower, use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your curls before your final rinse. Curls are extra fragile when wet, so be sure to do this with care. If you experience resistance, don't yank the comb through -- treat your hair with the respect and dignity that it deserves! 

After you finish combing, rinse your hair for about 10 seconds with cold water. This extra cold water rinse helps close your cuticle and helps smooth and control your curls. The end result is less friction, and an overall healthier head of curls. Even better -- because you already detangled your hair in the shower, you won't have to disrupt your curl pattern once it's dried.

Restorative style tip: try Loose Curls 

It takes time and effort to restore curly hair. Until you get those perfect ringlets, you should celebrate what you've got, because loose curls are beautiful in their own right. You can create a loose, less-defined curl look with the finger-combing technique. Work a lightweight anti-frizz serum through damp hair to detangle and separate curls. Next, flip your head over and apply a curl-activator. Then take haphazard sections and twist them like a rope, wrapping each one around your finger before pinning in place. Blow-dry using a low heat setting, unpin the twists and gently shake your ringlets loose. Voila, a head of loose curls with minimal damage to your hair.

Restorative style tip: Volumize and fluff your curls 

Another styling tip for curly hair that's being restored: you can add a ton of volume to your curls with one quick trick. Once your hair is almost entirely dry after a wash, place your fingertips at the roots and give yourself a scalp massage. This fluffs up the interior of the shape of your hair without disturbing the exterior. Diffuse-dry with your head bent forward, and you're good to go with fluffier, bouncier curls.

Wanna learn more about the ins and outs of haircare? Here's what you should read next:

"My Hair Is Naturally Curly But Won't Curl Anymore"

5 tips for getting your natural curls back

Flyaway Hairs: How To Tame 'Em

Buh bye, flyaways!

Curly Hair & Humidity

Your how-to guide for dealing with curly hair in the humidity.

Oil Training Hair: Q&A With A Dermatologist

Everything you need to know about oil training your hair

Curling Hard To Curl Hair: A How-To Guide

Let's curl that hair!

Two different ways to straighten natural hair

Caroline Schmidt