Say Goodbye To Bad Curl Days: 8 Tips & Techniques For Mastering Your Curly Hair

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Written by Sophie Mara

Updated: April 4, 2024

Curly Hair In Content
image via @nualamoreysalon

Blessed with naturally curly hair?

We’re willing to bet you’ve been the envy of your peers on more than one occasion. They want what you have and spend hours wrapping straight locks around heated tools trying to get it. Little do they know that mastering the art of natural, healthy-looking curls is a lot harder than it looks.

If you feel your curls are lacking right now, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together our top curly hair tips to combat frizz, banish dry ends, and amp up their shine and definition. Keep scrolling, you’re about to have the healthiest, softest, and most enviable curls of your life. 

Choose The Right Shampoo

Your journey to healthy, shiny, defined-looking curls begins with a single wash. So, choosing the right shampoo for your hair type is super important.

Yes, you might get lucky and find the first curly hair shampoo you use does everything you need it to. More likely, you’ll need to do a little more research on the ingredients that work best for your particular curl pattern.

With this trial and error method in mind, we highly recommend purchasing travel-size products rather than full bottles. One, it won’t break the bank and means you can afford to test out more than one or two shampoos.

Two, you won’t have a discarded lineup of almost full bottles set to go to waste if/when they don’t work. The exact brand and scent you settle on will be a personal choice, but we do have a top tip for you…

Use A Clarifying, Moisture-Moosting, Sulhate-Free Shampoo 

In case you didn’t know, curly hair is more prone to drying out than straight or even wavy locks. Starting at your scalp, the spiraled shape of your hair makes it harder for natural oils to travel down and reach the ends.

Think of it like racing a beach ball down a ramp. Release it at the top of a straight slide and it’ll hit the bottom in seconds, let it go at the same height on f a curly slide and you’ll be waiting a lot longer for it to reappear.

Sulfates, the ingredients that create your shampoo’s lathering effect, are horribly drying, especially for curly hair. Opt instead for a sulphate-free formula that promotes moisture instead of stripping it and your curls will look and feel instantly healthier and more defined. 

Invest In A Highly Moisturizing Conditioner

Hydrated hair means healthy hair, especially when it’s curly. And conditioner offers a frequent opportunity to douse our locks with moisturizing ingredients.

Make sure you’re taking full advantage and look out for formulas with intensely nourishing ingredients to moisturize each strand from within. Our favorites include olive, avocado, coconut, and argan oils, for strength and protection, shea butter for softness and hydration, and aloe vera for its definition and detangling properties.

Bonus points for leave-in formulas that continue to nourish for even longer!

Use Good Quality Products In Small Amounts

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image via @jesseniaspallet

With so many haircare products on offer, it’s tempting to choose the cheapest ones to get more product for your money. Unfortunately, these cheaper substitutions usually have a lower price point for a reason.

Either they don’t contain the ingredients your hair needs to thrive or they do but in meager quantities. You’ll need to use a lot more product to get the desired results and pay to replace your hair products more frequently. 

Over time, saturating your hair like this can weigh your curls down, having the reverse effect of what you set out to do.

Our advice? Look for high-quality, nutrient-rich formulas from the get-go. You’ll be surprised how little product you need to achieve noticeable results, which will also save you money and time in the long run. 

Avoid Heat (In All Forms)

When we say avoid the heat, we’re not just talking about your blow drier and other heat-styling tools on your dresser. We also mean the heat from the sun.

Heat in any form has the potential to damage the delicate keratin bonds that make up the strands of our hair. This leads to dryness, frizz, and worst of all, breakage. So, if and when you must use heat, turn the temperature right down and always use a high-quality heat protectant as a barrier.

Sleep On Silk

Curly Hair 5 450 x 560
image via @doreandrose

For less frizz, fewer tangles, and preserved curl definition, we highly recommend sleeping on a silk or pillowcase instead of a cotton one. Cotton is coarser and more absorbent than silk so tends to create more friction and suck the moisture out of your hair. 

Silk on the other hand is soft, smooth, and anti-static in nature. It’s also a protein-based fiber with natural moisturizing properties which will your curls intact even when you’re tossing and turning.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, satin pillowcases will also do the trick. Though manmade and slightly more absorbent than silk, anti-static satin still prevents frizz and tangling proving much kinder to your curls than cotton. 

Back Away From The Brush

As tempting as it might be to go at tangled curls with a good old-fashioned paddle brush, the moment you do your curls will be destroyed until your next hair wash day. These tiny bristles interrupt your natural curl pattern leaving your hair frizzy and wild rather than soft and defined. 

Instead, use a wide-tooth comb to gently remove any tangles. Start from the bottom and work your way up only brushing when when necessary. 

Apply A Hair Oil For Shine And Definition

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image via @hairbyreema

There’s a lot of debate on whether oil is actually beneficial for your curls. Some claim it’s deeply nourishing, promotes shine, and protects your hair strand by strand. Others believe it causes build-up and acts as a barrier to prevent your curls from absorbing much-needed moisture. Us? We say it’s less about the product itself, and more about how and when you use it. 

If you wash, condition, and dry your hair and then apply an oil right away, the sealing nature of the product means your curls may struggle to absorb any other products you apply afterward. Similarly, if you’re using hair oil every single day but don’t properly cleanse and rinse your hair with each wash, you’ll likely develop a build-up that leaves it feeling weighed down and greasy. 

The solution? Firstly, use your fingertips to thoroughly cleanse and rinse out your hair oil on hair wash day. A double cleanse every few washes can help you stay on top of this.

Secondly, use hair oil sparingly and only on the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. Apply it as the final product in your haircare routine. so other products can absorb happily into your hair beforehand.

Then, you can use the oil to seal that moisture in and protect your hair from other, damaging environmental factors until it’s time to start the cycle over again.

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