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Taking Care Of Curly Hair

Updated on February 19, 2016
relache profile image

Raye loved playing dress-up so much, she studied costume and makeup for her BA, then got an MFA in surface design.

Having a Curl-Positive Attitude

Repeat the following to yourself:

  • I love my curly hair.

  • I love my curly hair.

  • I love my curly hair.

The first step to taking care of curly hair is to get over all the anti-curl stigma that seems to exist in the world of hair care. Whether it's in advertisements, movies or even the attitude you get from your stylist, the world puts out a message that straight hair is better, easier and prettier. However, those of us born with curly hair don't have to spend our lives hating our curls or trying to get rid of them.

When I was a little girl, my mother kept my hair short as I didn't like having it fussed over, and she liked how it curled (mom's got utterly straight hair herself). Then in junior high and high school, I hit the "girly" phase of my life and spent countless mornings agonizing over trying to not have curly hair. In college I became somewhat resigned and indifferent. Finally, when I was in my thirties, I got some great curly hair advice and found that I could not only love my hair, but make it super-easy to care for and healthier too.

Long and curly, from a few years back.
Long and curly, from a few years back. | Source

Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey

Curly Girl: The Handbook
Curly Girl: The Handbook

This book talks about different types of curls, debunks curly hair myths, includes homemade recipes for great hair care/repair products and offers lots of support and stories from dozens of other curly-haired women


The Book That Changed My Life (& My Hair)

I never would have guessed that I'd find a book on curly hair and have a life-changing experience... but I did! I was in my mid-30s, I'd just left a corporate job and was having a lot of "I'd really rather have my life be like..." moments. One of those was wishing to find a way to not only like my curly hair, but find someway of taking care of it really easily. More like a no-care routine.

The book I found is called CURLY GIRL and it was written by Lorraine Massey, a hair stylist who has a salon in NY. She's got super-curly hair and has made her career focus on the cutting, care and styling of hair that is not straight. I saw the book on, read a few reviews and bought it, which is not how I usually buy books. Within days I changed how I was taking care of my hair and in just a few weeks I actually had friends and family complimenting me on my hair and asking what I was doing differently.

The main and immediate benefits I got were that my hair looks thicker, it's in better condition (less frizz) and the curls have better definition. The long-term benefits have been that the amount of time I spend on fussing with my hair is almost nothing and the amount of hair care products I use are about 1/10th of what it used to be, which means I'm saving both time and money.

Curly Hair Care Tips

  • Ease up on detergents, add more conditioner - Curly hair has a different structure than straight hair and it needs more oils to stay strong and less frizzy. I stopped using any and all shampoos in the spring of 2003 and my hair doesn't look or feel greasy at all. Since I'm not removing all of the natural oils that my own hair makes, I don't have to do all sorts of actions to repair it or replace them afterwards.

  • Use a natural conditioner - I've switched over to using organic conditioners to moisturize and condition my hair. I condition it every time I shower. By using natural products, I'm not accumulating a layer of synthetic chemicals on my hair that need to be scrubbed off.

  • Wean yourself off that hair dryer - One of the best things I ever did for my hair was stop using a hair dryer. My curls actually come out better formed and with more spring by not blow-drying them, and my hair is a lot less frizzy too!

  • Get a curl-educated stylist - For years, I had stylists who would cut and style my hair to make it be straight and I'd only be happy for a day, until I showered and had to deal with it myself. Having a hairdresser who understands and has experience with cutting curly hair is the best way to not wind up with styles that you fight with once you get home.

Styling Curly Hair

Battling the "Frizzies"

Fixing or preventing frizzy hair is one of the biggest battles a curly girl will face. However, stopping the frizzies is a lot easier than you think!

Get a haircut - Seriously. Get damaged and dry ends trimmed off. Split-ends are the result of hair strands that are just too old or dry, and the ends of the hairs do literally split, making for a very fuzzy appearance. Often women with naturally curly hair that's long resist getting regular trims, but in the end, your hair looks better and grows better with those super-dead ends gone.

Condition, Condition, Condition - Keeping hair moisturized is one of the best ways to avoid looking frizzy. In addition to always using a good hair conditioner, it helps to limit use of heated styling tools (dryers, curlers) especially the longer your hair is.

Protect Your Hair - Outside elements like the sun, wind and chlorine in water will all also dry out the hair. If you're serious about limiting the frizzies, make sure to take care of your hair if you're outdoors a lot. For long hair, consider wrapping it up or tying it back when outside to help protect it more.

Curly Comments and Questions - How can we help you love your curly hair more?

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    • Diana Abrahamson profile image

      Diana Abrahamson 20 months ago from t Francis Bay

      Accepting one's curly hair is a start..agreed! Thanks for the tips.

    • Avory Shell profile image

      Avory Shell 6 years ago

      Very helpful! I used to battle my curls, but eventually I have learned to love them! The idea to ditch shampoo altogether is brilliant!

    • gr8archer45 profile image

      gr8archer45 9 years ago from Pakistan

      HI, this is brilliant advice..i have hair that is sort of in between straight & curly. Its more like wavy & i really feel frustrated while styling it. Although the hair quality is pretty good I'd rather have completely straight hair or curls. I recently got rebonding done on my hair but sumtimes i do like curls

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      This is a great hub. Usually I straighten my hair during the winter but as it takes so long to do, at summer time I just let it be! most of the time it is wet from the beach or the pool anyway and it does not look too untidy.

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      desert blondie, the best thing I ever did for my curly hair was decide to help it be that way instead of fighting it. It suddenly made everything so much easier!

    • desert blondie profile image

      desert blondie 9 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Valuable information! I've got very curly hair!!! But I've been straightening it with blow dryers, big curling irons, now ceramic flat irons for decades! Thanks for sharing this revelation about handling the curls!

    • relache profile image

      Raye 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Monitor, what caused you to not have hair?

    • monitor profile image

      monitor 9 years ago from The world.

      Relache, this is a great hub. Very informative. I was wondering if you have the same knowledge on how to get hair to grow back. I used to have pretty curly hair and would love to put the advice in this hub to practice, that is you can help get my hair BACK!!!

      But seriulsy this is well written and a lot of people are going to love it. Thank you.

      Your Fan.


    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 9 years ago from Atlanta

      great hub! love the video excellent product suggestions.