'I'm a curly hair expert. Here are 7 mistakes women with curly hair often make.'

Curly hair was long thought to be difficult to manage but now, more and more people are learning that with the correct techniques and products, their curls can be defined, frizz-free and enviable.

There's a lot to take in when you first start caring for your curls, so let's focus on a few of the easy-fix mistakes most curly-haired folks make.

Mistake 1: Overwashing.

Most curly hair is prone to being more dry. Everyone produces natural sebum (oil) from their scalp which travels down the hair shaft to help keep hair moisturised and protected. With all the twists and turns of curly hair, the sebum can have a harder time travelling down. Using a harsh shampoo, especially on the ends, can remove too much natural oil leading to dull, frizzy hair. 

Try opting for a creamy, no or low-lather cleanser or for extra dry hair, use a botanical, silicone-free conditioner to wash your scalp. Always cleanse twice and ensure you incorporate lots of water when scrubbing.

Pro tip: Use a silicone and sulphate-free lathering shampoo every three to four wash days to ensure you don't develop buildup on the scalp or hair.

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Mistake 2: Not using enough water when conditioning.

Much like your body, hair needs both food and water to be healthy. Conditioner = food for nourishment, water = hydration. You can eat as much good, nutritious food as you like, but if you're not drinking enough water, you'll never be truly hydrated. It's the same for your hair. 

Some say you should wring your hair dry before adding any conditioner to the ends. Well, not with curly hair! For max hydration, add your conditioner on dripping wet hair, work it through, then splash in some more water, work that through, add a small amount more conditioner, more water, and so forth. 

By incorporating the extra water you'll not only use less conditioner, you'll also find your hair is easier to detangle and will stay hydrated for longer.

Mistake 3: Towel drying your hair before adding styling products.

For years it's been common practice to towel dry hair and then add your styling products. Unfortunately for lots of curls, this can be a recipe for disaster. Curly hair is generally the least frizzy and more defined when soaking wet. We want to capture the curls like this and lock them in place. 

To do this, try leaving in a little of your conditioner, add in a curl cream and then lock it all in with a hard-hold gel. By locking that water in you'll have healthier, more defined curls that last longer. No more restyling every day!


Pro tip: Try adding all your styling products while you're still in the shower. You'll have less mess on the bathroom counter, and you can easily add more water to your hair if your curls start to separate. If you have finer curls or wavy hair that weighs down easily, try gently squeezing out some water with an old cotton t-shirt or a curl towel, then add your styling products.

Mistake 4: Using a regular bath towel.

Ditch the rough scrubbing and opt to gently "plop" your hair with a soft, smooth textured curl towel instead. Regular bath towels zap too much moisture leading to frizz and undefined curls. 

The tiny cotton loops in a bath towel can also be rough and damaging. Acting like velcro, they snag individual hair strands causing them to stand out from the rest.

Mistake 5: Not protecting your curls when you sleep.

The number one problem I hear from clients is that after all their hard work on wash day, they go to sleep and wake up the next day feeling like they need to start again. It doesn't have to be that way! By protecting your curls with a silk or satin bonnet while you sleep, your curls will be much easier to manage in the morning. 

Simply remove the bonnet, massage your scalp gently and let it settle for 10-15 minutes before deciding if you need to add any extra products or do a "refresh" routine. Adding a silk night cap was what made the single biggest difference in my curl-love journey and many others too.


Mistake 6: Avoiding gels or mousses because you don't want 'crunchy hair'.

Many curlies apply loads of heavy curl cream in an attempt to weigh the hair down and stop it from going fluffy. The issue is, most curl creams are for moisture only and don't contain any hold ingredients, meaning as the hair dries it's still free to expand and frizz. 

Lock in that definition and moisture with a hard-hold gel and see what a difference it can make! 

Don't fear the hard, crunchy noodle feel either. THIS IS A GOOD THING! Like a cast for a broken bone, that crunchy layer helps protect your curls while drying so they last longer and stay defined. The trick is to gently Scrunch Out The Crunch (SOTC) once your hair is fully dry. 

Simply tip your head forward or to the side and massage your scalp gently to loosen curls at the roots. Then cup your hands, gather from the ends upwards and scrunch gently. The hardness will disappear, revealing soft defined curls.


And last but not least...

Mistake 7: Treating all curly hair the same.

Curly hair can come in many shapes and sizes. From ultra-fine "angel curls" to bouncy spirals, gentle waves and super-tight afros. Every curl needs something slightly different.

For finer curls and easily weighed-down waves, opt for a gentle shampoo each wash day, use only a smidge of leave-in conditioner (if needed) and style with a volumising lotion and curl foam. Try styling on damp hair, rather than soaking wet hair.

For drier, thicker curls, style with a cream cleanser, rich conditioner, curl cream and firm hold gel. For more defined curls, go heavy on the cream and gel, for more volume and body, use less cream and a similar amount of gel.

Pro tip: For added volume, dry your curls with a diffuser. Use a low-medium heat and hover the dryer over your curls. The faster drying will help the curls bounce up and give more fullness.

So there you have it curlies, seven easy-to-avoid mistakes. Which will you try first?

For more from Kaycee you can follow her business This Little Curl's Instagram and see the website here.

What's your favourite curly hair advice? Share with us in the comments below.

Feature Image: Instagram

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