Many people of African descent have textured hair that is more prone to heat damage and drying out. Unfortunately, many popular curling methods don’t take this into account. They either don’t work on black hair, damage it, or make it frizzy. Fortunately, it is still possible to add curls to black hair. How much effort this takes depends on whether it is naturally curly, or if it has been chemically straightened or relaxed.
Heat is the number 1 enemy of hair, especially natural hair. It can not only dry your hair out, but also lead to frizz. This doesn’t mean that you have to wash your hair using freezing temperatures. Simply use the coolest setting that you can handle.
How often you wash your hair depends on how quickly it gets greasy. Depending on your lifestyle and hair type, this can be anywhere from 3 to 10 days.
Don’t lean forward when you rinse your hair. When you straighten back up, your hair will get tangled and frizzy. Stand upright and tilt your head back under the running water.
Hair oil is only good for locking in moisture, so if there is not enough moisture in your hair to begin with, you’ll only end up making your hair look shiny and greasy. The key to getting soft, lustrous curls is to wash your hair with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
Every 1 to 2 weeks, switch out your regular conditioner for a deep conditioner.
Don’t use oil on your hair while it is still wet. You will apply that once your hair has dried.
The only time you should touch your hair while it is wet is when you are detangling it, patting it dry, or applying products. Once you put the products in, leave your hair alone. The more you mess with your hair, the more you’ll break up the curl pattern; this can lead to frizz.
If you want to use the scrunching technique, wait until your hair is mostly dry. It is recommended for those with loose or wavy curls.
You can wrap your hair around flexi rods or put it into two-strand twists while it is still wet. This does not count as “messing.”
Pat your hair dry with a T-shirt to soak up any excess moisture first. Next, apply your desired products while your hair is still wet. This includes things like leave-in conditioners and styling gels.
Divide your hair into sections when applying the products, then run a wide-toothed comb through your hair. This will ensure even distribution.
Do not use oils when your hair is still wet. Instead, stick with water-based products instead. It would be even better if they have a gel-like consistency.
Never use a hair dryer on your hair and call it a day, as this will lead to dryness and frizz. Instead, pat your hair dry with a T-shirt, then let it finish air-drying on its own. If this is not possible, pop a diffuser attachment onto your hairdryer. This will distribute the heat and give you nicer curls.
Always use a low-heat setting on your hairdryer. Stop when your hair is about 90 to 95% dry.
Never use a towel to pat your hair dry, as this will lead to frizz.
In most cases, you will want a layered cut rather than a straight-across-the-bottom cut. If you choose the latter, your hair may taper out into a pyramid shape.
Thinning may work for some types of curls, but it may not work for others. Ask your stylist for their opinion.
When it comes to hair care, you get what you pay for. In most cases, a cheap conditioner from the drug store will not give you the same results as an expensive conditioner from a salon. This is because cheap, drugstore brands tend to contain harsh, drying ingredients that tend to leave hair more frizzy than curly.
Try salon brands such as: DevaCurl, Ouidad, ECO, or Camille Rose Naturals.
When choosing oils, stick with lightweight, natural oils, such as: argan, coconut, grapeseed, or jojoba.
If you must use a cheaper brand, make sure that it does not contain any sulfates, as these can cause hair to turn dry and frizzy.
For even better results, choose a detangling conditioner–this will make it easier to detangle your hair. Once your hair is clean, comb it with a wide-toothed comb, starting from the ends.
This method works best for kinky or naturally curly hair. It won’t work on braids or relaxed hair.
Brush your hair with a Denman brush while it is still wet to enhance natural curls. Detangle your hair with a wide-toothed comb while the conditioner is still in it. Always start from the ends and work your way up to the roots.
Choose a styling gel meant for bringing out curls, and apply it to 1⁄2 to 1 in (1.3 to 2.5 cm) sections of hair. If you need to, run a wide-toothed comb through your hair to evenly distribute the gel.
When buying gel, look for labels such as “For Curly Hair” or “Curl Defining.”
Focus more on the ends and mid-lengths. The closer you get to the roots, the less product you should use.
Grab a thin section of hair from the back of your head, right at the nape. Run a medium-toothed comb or Denman brush through the section, starting at the roots and finishing at the ends. Pull the hair strand firmly enough so that it becomes longer and the curls smoother.
Repeat this process for the rest of your hair. Start in the back of your head and finish in the front.
Mist your hair with water as you work so that it does not dry. It must be damp.
How long you sit under the dryer depends on how thick and porous your hair is. The thicker and more porous it is, the longer it will take to dry.
If you want your hair parted in a specific way, create the part before you sit under the dryer.
You can also use a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment at home. This helps elongate and set the curls while dispersing an even airflow.
Due to your hair type, you shouldn’t be washing your hair more than once per week. When you do wash your hair, however, the style will come out. Your hair will still be naturally curly, but the curls won’t be as defined. To define them again, you’ll have to repeat the process in this section.
This method is great if you are transitioning from relaxed to natural hair as the curls will help conceal the difference between textures. It may also work on relaxed hair and micro box braids as well.
For best results, start with stretched hair, like what you’d from a braid-out.
If you have long hair, part it into 4 sections first: 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom. Secure each section with a hair clip.
Grab a 1 in (2.5 cm) section of hair from the top of your head. Apply just enough water to dampen it, but not so much to make it soaking wet. Smooth your hair down with a bristle brush.
Don’t get your hair wet if you are starting with micro or box braids. Instead, grab several braids and get ready for the next step.
If you want tighter curls or ringlets, start with a 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in (0.64 to 1.27 cm) section instead.
Place the end of your hair section against the middle of a Flexi rod. Wrap your hair around the rod until you get to the roots, then fold the ends of the rod inward to secure it.
If you are curling braids, stop when you are halfway up your braid. Don’t go all the way to the roots.
If you want tighter curls or ringlets, use a straw or smaller flexi rod instead. Slide a bobby pin through the straw and hair to secure it.
Flexi rods come in different sizes. The thicker the rod, the larger the curl will be.
Work around your head, section by section. If you plan on finishing with large, chunky curls, try to keep each strand a consistent size. This is not as important if you plan on separating the curls out into smaller ones, however.
Again, if you are curling braids, only curl them halfway up to the roots.
If you have to run a few errands or go to sleep, wrap a silk scarf around your head. Not only will this hide the rods with style, but it will also keep them in place while you sleep or run about.
If you are in a hurry, you can speed the process up with a hood dryer or a hairdryer. Use a low-heat setting so as not to damage your hair.
If you wrapped Flexi rods around braids, dip the wrapped braids into boiled water for 20 to 30 seconds first. Be careful not to burn yourself.
Your hair must be completely dry before you take the rods out, otherwise the curls won’t stay set. If your hair feels damp, wait longer or dry it with a hairdryer.
Once you take the rods out, separate each curl into 2 or 3 individual curls with your fingers. This will give you voluminous hair with less frizz.
If you want more volume, comb through your hair with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb. This is a great idea for relaxed hair; don’t do it with braided hair, however.
In most cases, this style is not permanent. If you want the style to go away, simply wash your hair. If you want to keep it, you should still wash your hair as you normally would, then repeat the whole process.
If your hair is natural, the curls should maintain their shape until you wash them again. After that, you’ll have to redefine them with flexi rods.
If your hair is relaxed, the curls may start to lose their shape by the end of the day, just like naturally straight hair. You’ll have to repeat the process to get the curls back.
If you have braids, the style will be permanent. To straighten your braids, simply dip them in boiled water again, then let them hang straight and loose until they dry.
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