Styling Naturally Curly Hair

So, you’ve decided to wear your hair in its beautiful, naturally curly state. But Afro hair has its own needs. Here’s how to best manage your curls.

Washing and conditioning

Two watchwords for curly-haired girls, whether Afro or Euro: gentle and conditioning. Curly hair tends to be very dry, as the oil from the scalp has a difficult time making it through all those curls. This means your scalp may be extra oily, while your strands are dry. To avoid breakage, you’ll need to wash your hair carefully with a gentle shampoo. Look for low-detergent, sulfate-free shampoos, and don’t worry if these shampoos produce less foam than you’re used to. Many people with curls like to wash their hair in sections, which helps them be extra-careful and prevent breakage.

If you have extra-kinky hair, try a creamy, heavy conditioner. If your ringlets tend toward clumping, choose a lighter oil or conditioner. Natural oils, from light jojoba to medium-thickness grapeseed or olive to ultra-thick coconut are all safe on Afro hair. For better penetration, try warming the oil by putting it in a bowl of hot water before use.

Tools and products

To keep your curls looking their best, carefully select the right brush, if you use one at all. You might be better off using your fingers, a pick or a wide-tooth comb. And don’t brush your hair wet, which leads to frizz and breakage. Instead, use the wide-tooth comb when your hair is saturated with conditioner for safest detangling.

Beware of any styling products with a high alcohol content. These give you dry, crunchy curls. And who wants that? Hairsprays, gels and mousses tend to be high in alcohol. Look for water-soluble products and avoid anything that makes your skin feel sticky.


Too much heat is bad for curly hair, and can even alter the proteins that give your curls their shape. Don’t blow dry more than twice a week, and when you do blow dry, use a diffuser attachment. If you must use a flatiron, keep the temperature below 400 degrees. Over-styling with heat makes your curls go limp. If this happens to you, take a total break from heat and focus on rehydrating curls with conditioning masks or other deep treatments.

Easy styles

It always helps to have a few go-to styles you can fall back on when you’re rushed. A low bun at the back of your neck is quick and easy, or a top knot can do the trick. Braid outs, flat twists and Bantu knots also look good on natural hair.

Other considerations

Since your curly hair is prone to dryness and breakage, vigilance is required to keep hair healthy. Avoid any style that pulls hair too tightly. At the gym, use a headband rather than torturing curls with a tight ponytail. If you’re worried about your hair frizzing on a humid or rainy day, spray a light oil mist on your curls before leaving the house. And invest in your scarf collection; a scarf is a quick fix when you’re busy. Avoid over-touching your hair. Excessively running your fingers through, and otherwise messing with your curls, can lead to instant frizz.

We’re here to help

Need help finding the best products for your curls? Want a few easy styling tips? We’re here for you. Call us today for an appointment.

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