As a child, Winona developed a keen eye for stylish hair. She visited the hairstylist often as a teenager, experimenting with different hair colors and styles. As a young adult, she tried all the tools, techniques, and products advertised by unscrupulous marketers to transform her curls into complex styles. The good news is she got what she wanted (although for a limited time). The bad news is she damaged her hair in the process.
If Winona knew then what this article will tell her now, she could have saved herself and her hair all that trouble. The following points describe the hairstyling mistakes curly-haired women like Winona make without realizing because there was nobody to guide them.
Ways in Which You Can Damage Curly Hair
Women with naturally curly hair tend to do things which damage their hair in the long run. These tendencies are detailed below and should be avoided at all costs.
- Heat-styling frequently – Using heat-styling tools such as hair dryer, straightener, and curling iron can damage curly hair if not done with some thought into the device’s technology. The heat from the hair tools can cause the hair to become dry, frizzy, and brittle in the long run.
- Cleansing the hair frequently – As counterintuitive as it sounds, cleansing the hair often can be harmful to its health. For curly-haired women, washing the hair daily or every other day will strip the hair of its natural moisture. This will leave the hair dry and weaken the hair cuticle over time, making the hair brittle and prone to frizz.
- Using a cleanser with harmful ingredients – Modern research shows that ingredients used in the manufacture of shampoos and other hair products such as silicon, sulfate, and alcohol are harmful to curly hair’s long-term health. These ingredients are widely used for their ability to increase shine which is desired by most women. However, hairstylists advise against using products containing these ingredients because of the damage they do to the hair. Alcohol, for example, can dehydrate the hair, making it incredibly frizzy.
- Conditioning the hair frequently – This may come as a surprise because conditioning is believed to replenish moisture in thirsty hair. Few people are aware that even hair conditioners contain chemicals. Excessive use of deep conditioners and hair masks can do the opposite of what they are meant to do. They undermine the hair shaft’s ability to retain moisture and the hair becomes dry and lifeless as a result.
- Using a terrycloth towel – The terrycloth towel is popular because it is affordable and widely available. However, the cost to your hair in terms of its health is not worth the savings. Rubbing wet hair with a terrycloth towel ruins the delicate structure of curly hair, making it vulnerable to breakage, split ends, and frizz.
- Using the wrong type of hairbrush or comb – Naturally curly or textured hair tends to have knots and can get caught easily in hairstyling tools. Therefore, it is important to brush or comb the hair before creating the desired style. Using the wrong type of brush or comb can defeat the purpose, however, leading to more snags and ultimately breakage.
- Tying the hair too tight – All women agree on how annoying it is to have a few strands of hair flying across the face and tickling the nose in the middle of a task or workout. The most natural response to this is tying the hair very tight so no strands fall out of the hair tie or clip. This, however, puts a strain on the roots of the hair, making it weaker over time and leading to hair fall.
- Failing to trim hair regularly – Out of a desire to grow hair faster, most curly-haired women do not trim their hair regularly. This paves the way for split ends which slow down the process of hair growth because unhealthy hair does not grow.
- Manipulating the hair excessively – Women have a tendency to touch their curls frequently for no reason. This habit of caressing a few strands or rolling them around your index finger subconsciously places undue stress on the hair cuticle, making curly hair prone to frizz and breakage.
- Spending too much time outdoors – When the hair is exposed to the sun too much or too often, it becomes dry and dull. The sun’s heat depletes the hair’s moisture, making the hair susceptible to breakage and frizz.
Ways to Prevent Damage to Curly Hair
As the old saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way. If you are determined to mend your ways and revive your hair, the following recommendations are all you need to turn over a new leaf.
Select Hairstyling Tools Carefully
Only invest in those heat-styling tools which are specially designed to protect hair against dehydration, frizz, static, and heat damage. Use a hairdryer diffuser when blow-drying your curls. The diffuser will disperse the heat from the hairdryer, considerably reducing the chances of heat damage to your curls. Nowadays, you will find hot rollers with ceramic flocking, ionic technology, and argan oil infusion which are perfect for fine or damaged hair. They will also maintain the moisture balance in your curls and control frizz and static. Curling irons and flat irons with ceramic or titanium plates and infrared technology are recommended for the same reason.
Do Not Cleanse Your Hair Often
You only need to wash your curly hair once a week. Do not be tempted to exceed 2 washes during the week. In this way, your hair will not lose its natural moisture and it will stay healthy for many years to come.
Use Cleansers With Moisturizing Ingredients
Shampoos, conditioners, and hairsprays that are free from sulfate, silicon, and alcohol are highly recommended for curly hair. Also, look for hair products that contain ceramides and panthenol which moisturize the hair. They can be slightly more expensive than drugstore brands. But, the payoff in the long term is worth every penny. You will no longer have to deal with frizzy, knotty, dry and brittle hair.
Condition Your Hair Only on Wash Days
It is better to use the conditioner only on days you cleanse your hair. This will keep you from using the conditioner more than necessary. Your hair will also enjoy good health for a long time.
Deep Condition Only Once a Month
Deep conditioning hair masks should be used no more than twice a month at most. This hair product contains chemicals that can put unnecessary stress on the hair follicle and cuticle. As they say, moderation is the key.
Use a Microfiber Towel
A microfiber towel will not create friction in the hair shaft and expand the cuticle. It will maintain the hair’s natural curl pattern while absorbing all of the excess moisture. After a wash, simply wrap the towel around your hair like a turban for a few minutes until it is towel-dry. If a microfiber towel is beyond your means, you can substitute a clean t-shirt for it.
Use a Wide-toothed Comb or Detangling Brush
At the start of any hairstyling routine, it is important to use the right type of brush or comb to prevent snags and breakage in curly hair. A wide-toothed comb or a good quality detangling brush is a must-have in every curly-haired woman’s kit.
Opt for Loose Hairstyles
Tying your hair in a loose braid or ponytail will save you years of hair anguish. Tight hairstyles squeeze the life out of curly hair, making it vulnerable to breakage.
Trim Your Hair Regularly
Healthy hair grows faster. For this reason, you should trim your hair by half an inch every 6-8 weeks if you desire long hairstyles without compromising hair health.
Avoid Touching or Playing With Your Curls
Wrapping your hair in a satin scarf at home as you do the chores will help to keep your hands off your curls. You could also wear a bandanna or a hair band to work to eliminate the need for further manipulation.
Protect Your Curls Against the Elements
Wearing a hat or a scarf when you are outdoors will provide protection against the sun and wind. The best form of sun protection, however, is a hair product with built-in sun protection. Be careful to select the appropriate SPF number.
Today, Winona regrets spending so much time and money trying to achieve hairstyles at the expense of healthy hair. She has realized (a bit too late) that by adopting sensible hair care practices, she could have maintained her curls better. Thankfully, you don’t have to live with this regret. Simply follow the hair care advice in this article and be proud of yourself and especially your hair.
- ALY WALANSKY, The Ways You Are Damaging Your Hair Without Even Knowing It
- Wikihow, How to Take Care of Damaged Hair