The ultimate guide to curly hair care secrets.

Ah, curly hair—the crown you never take off. Whether you're flaunting ringlets or loose beachy waves, there's no denying that curly hair has a personality of its own. But let's be honest, it's not all bounce and shine; managing those curls can sometimes feel like taming a wild beast. You've probably tried a myriad of products, only to find that what works wonders for one curl type falls flat—quite literally—for another.

But what if we told you that the secret to perfect curls isn't just about the products you use, but also the science behind those luscious locks? That's right, understanding the unique biology of curly hair can be a game-changer in your hair care routine. And no, you don't need a PhD in Trichology to get it right.

In this guide, we're going beyond the usual "best products" lists. We'll delve into the science of curly hair, explore the unsung heroes of hair care, and even debunk some popular myths (Curly Girl Method, anyone?). So, whether you're a curly hair veteran or just starting your journey, buckle up.

The Science Behind Curly Hair

You might be surprised to learn that the shape of your hair follicle determines whether your hair is straight, wavy, or curly. A round follicle typically results in straight hair, while an oval or asymmetrical one leads to curls. But it's not just about shape; it's also about the distribution of natural oils. Curly hair tends to be drier because the oils produced by the scalp have a harder time travelling down the length of the hair. This is why moisture is a curly girl's best friend. Understanding these biological nuances can significantly influence the choices you make in products and treatments, leading to healthier, happier curls.


Watch: The 5 ways to lift your hair game. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

The Importance of Proper Hair Care

Now, let's talk about why proper hair care is non-negotiable for curly hair. Unlike straight hair, which is generally resilient and tolerant of a wide range of products, curly hair is often more sensitive and prone to damage. This is because the twists and turns in curly hair create weak points, making it more susceptible to breakage. Therefore, using the right products isn't just about enhancing your curls; it's about fortifying them. Think of it as a holistic approach to hair care that goes beyond surface-level aesthetics. Your hair is an investment, and the right care routine is the best way to protect it.

Shampoos and Conditioners: The Building Blocks

When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, one size doesn't fit all, especially for curly hair. Most people don't realise that the pH level of your shampoo can make or break your curl pattern. A shampoo that's too alkaline can disrupt your hair's natural pH balance, leading to frizz and breakage. On the flip side, a slightly acidic shampoo can help close the hair cuticle, making your curls more defined and less prone to frizz. The key takeaway? Always check the pH level of your shampoo; it's a small detail that can have a big impact.


Give these a try:

Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo, $50 and Conditioner, $51.

Image: Adore Beauty/Mamamia.

VIRTUE Smooth Shampoo $60 and Conditioner, $63.

Image: Adore Beauty/Mamamia.


Marc Anthony Bye Bye Frizz Keratin Smoothing Shampoo $16.99 and Leave-In Conditioner, $18.99.

Image: Priceline/Mamamia.


The Magic of Hair Oils

Hair oils are often relegated to the realm of 'extra' in a hair care routine, but for curly hair, they're essential. While many experts tout the benefits of popular oils like coconut and argan, few discuss the importance of matching the molecular size of the oil to your hair type. For instance, coconut oil has a larger molecular size, making it ideal for coarser, thicker curls. On the other hand, finer curls may benefit from oils with smaller molecules like jojoba. Understanding this can help you choose an oil that not only nourishes but also complements your specific curl pattern.

Give these brands a go:

Ouai Hair Oil, $50.

Image: Sephora/Mamamia.


Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil, $52.

Image: Adore Beauty/Mamamia.


How to style curly hair

Styling Products: Gels, Mousses, and Creams

The world of styling products for curly hair is as diverse as the curls themselves. While gels and mousses are often the go-to for defining curls, what's less discussed is the role of humectants in these products. Humectants like glycerin attract moisture from the air, keeping your curls hydrated. However, in a humid climate, too much glycerin can lead to hair absorbing excess moisture, causing frizz. Conversely, in dry climates, glycerin may pull moisture from your hair into the air. The lesson here? Tailor your styling products to your geographical location and the current season for optimal results.

Here are some popular products:

John Frieda Frizz Ease Curl Reviver Mousse, $12.59.

Image: Priceline/Mamamia.


Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Envy Perfect Curl Cream, $17.99.

Image: Priceline/Mamamia.

MOROCCANOIL Curl Defining Cream, $56.50.

Image: Adore Beauty/Mamamia.


Tools of the Trade

You've got your products lined up, but what about the tools? Believe it or not, the material of your hair tools can significantly impact the health of your curls. For example, metal combs can cause static and frizz, while wooden or bone combs tend to be gentler. And let’s not forget about drying… Ionic dryers are often lauded for quicker drying times, but they can be too effective, stripping your hair of necessary moisture. A ceramic dryer, on the other hand, offers even heat distribution, making it a safer bet for curly hair. These are the kinds of details that can elevate your hair care routine from good to great.


The Curly Girl Method: Yay or Nay?

The Curly Girl Method has gained a cult following, but it's not the end-all-be-all. One aspect that's often overlooked is the method's focus on avoiding sulphates and silicones. While this is generally good advice, not all sulphates and silicones are created equal. Some are water-soluble and easier to wash out, posing less risk of buildup. Moreover, some curly hair types may actually benefit from occasional sulphate shampoos to remove stubborn buildup. The point is, don't take any method as gospel; adapt it to suit your unique hair needs.

Listen to You Beauty where we are joined by curl expert Rumbie Mutsiwa to talk about the many myths about caring for curly hair. Post continues after audio.

DIY Treatments for Curly Hair

Home remedies for curly hair are aplenty, but let's focus on something that's often underestimated: the power of temperature. Hot oil treatments are a staple, but have you considered cold treatments? Rinsing your hair with cold water or applying a chilled aloe vera mask can tighten the hair cuticle, adding natural shine and reducing frizz. It's a simple yet effective trick that's often overlooked in the realm of DIY hair care.

It's crucial to remember that curly hair care is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Your curls are as unique as you are, and they deserve a tailored approach. While the market is flooded with products and methods claiming to be the "holy grail" for curly hair, the truth is, the best regimen is one that you customise for yourself.

Feature Image: Priceline/Adore Beauty/Mamamia.

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