by Mary Wolff
As a natural, it seems like there is a lot of information to remember regarding hair care for your curls. While you may think you have things pretty much down pat, some curlies are guilty of at least a few curly hair mistakes. Make sure your curls are in the clear by avoiding the 10 biggest curly hair mistakes.
1. Shampooing too often.
Shampoo has a purpose of cleansing, but when overused, it can have some serious consequences for your natural hair. Shampoos, especially those with sulfates and harsh chemicals, can strip the scalp of necessary natural oils. These natural oils keep the scalp and strands healthy. If you have thicker curly hair, you can probably wash your hair once a week or less frequently while thinner hair times should shampoo no more than 2-3 times a week. The days of washing your hair every day or every other day are gone!
2. Over Styling hair.
Every time you style your hair, you are essentially causing small damages. When you blow dry or use heat tools, you are weakening the keratin bonds of strands. When you constantly touch your hair to pull it into new styles, you are running the same risk of weakening these bonds, as well as introducing your hair to dryness by disturbing the natural oils on the scalp. It’s okay to style curls, but for the most part, curls will look and feel their best when left to run free the way they were intended! Try looking for low manipulation hairstyles instead.
3. Using harsh products.
This is one of the biggest mistakes a natural can make when it comes to hair care. You want to avoid ingredients like sulfates and parabens. These harsh additives can lead to issues such as dry scalp, irritation, dry strands, and even breakage. With this in mind, many naturalistas switch to products that use ingredients found in nature to get the hair care their curls deserve. Try a regimen like the Curly Girl method, which focuses on using gentle ingredients.
4. Using the wrong products for your hair issues.
If you have dry hair, using products for normal or oily hair won’t help your situation. Likewise, if you have oily hair, using products for dry hair will only make matters worse. It’s important to know what issues are going on with your hair and adjust your product usage based on those issues. Make sure you deal with any issues as they come up to avoid them getting more out of control.
5. Using terry cloth towels.
If you are towel drying your curls with any old cotton towel, you are doing it wrong. Microfiber towels are made to be extra absorbent and inherently gentler on hair. In fact, Cynthia Alvarez, Dove Hair Curl Expert, reports in Forbes, “It’s gentler on the hair and helps dry your hair faster without creating frizz.” Microfiber towels are a must-have for every natural.
6. Using the wrong brush.
Most people with curly hair know that brushing can be a nightmare. If you decide to brush your curls, you just need the right tools. You should always have a brush with wide teeth to work through hair without pulling or tugging on your strands. A good one is Cricket Ultra Smooth Coconut Detangling Brush which you can find here.
7. Detangling dry hair.
Along the same lines of having the right brush for the job, it is important to never detangle or even brush dry hair. Dry brushing can lead to weakened keratin bonds, breakage, and the loss of strands that no natural ever wants to experience. Make sure you detangle or brush hair when it’s damp in the shower or after showering with your favorite leave in conditioner or detangler in place.
8. Skipping deep conditioning treatments.
Curls are naturally thirsty. While porosity does play a role in how much moisture your curls need and how often, everyone can benefit from doing a deep conditioning hair mask. This task should be performed at least once a week, regardless of texture, and more often if hair is extra thirsty or dry. A few great products for a deep weekly mask treatment include Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner, Ouidad Curl Immersion Triple Threat Deep Conditioner, and Alikay Naturals Honey and Sage Deep Conditioner.
9. Having a lack of knowledge about your hair type.
All curls are definitely not the same and your hair type plays a huge role in the type of care best suited for your curls. It’s important to know where you fall on the curly hair scale. If you know you are a type 4, that’s great and all, but knowing if you’re a type 4A or type 4C makes a lot of difference, too. Not only is curl pattern important, but porosity and density as well. For more help identifying your true hair type, check out this guide.
10. Skipping on regular trims.
Getting your hair trimmed regularly is a great way to keep hair looking great. Some naturals will avoid the scissors like the plague because they are worried about losing their length. However, having split ends can quickly make hair look less healthy which is why regular trims should be a part of any well-balanced hair care schedule.