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Hair

The Natural Hair Edit: How to Keep Your Curls Hydrated and Healthy

by Sade Page

@iamzoefoster

• By Sade Page

Just FYI: I have a great deal of experience in transforming my natural hair from damaged and dead into voluminous bouncy curls. I have a 3C/4A curl pattern, and from the time I was 12 years old until I was 18 I chemically relaxed my hair, bleached it, and overused heat styling tools to the point where my hair was on the brink of death. By the end, my hair was so damaged that while it used to hit just below my armpits when straightened, it only hit just below my ears. Now that I’m in my early twenties and have taken steps to repair the damage, my hair has grown so long that it reaches past my shoulder blades when straightened (!). Today, my curls are damage-free and the healthiest it’s ever been — seriously. The method to keeping your curls happy is pretty simple once you know how, so here’s everything I’ve learned along my hair journey.

Cut Her Off

When you’re getting a haircut, it’s absolutely essential to see a stylist that specializes in curly cuts and can understand how to revive curls no matter the extent of the damage. When you have curly hair, the cut of your hair is the deciding factor in whether or not you will love your curls. You can’t have voluminous bouncy curls if your dead ends are splitting all the way up your hair shaft and hiding your true curl pattern. A good haircut will not only give you a great shape that will support your new hair growth, but will naturally result in healthier, springier curls.

The Dream Routine

Getting a good routine in place is fairly simple – just try the L.O.C. method. Applying products in the right order — leave-in conditioner, oil, and curl cream, hence the name — actually allows your products to work together to lock moisture in your hair. The L.O.C. method should be used every few days so that your scalp doesn’t get clogged with product build up. Add in a deep condition every week and a thorough wash every 1-2 weeks and your curls will thank you.

Product Talk

What *really* accelerated my hair growth was using the right products. Curly hair tends to lose moisture more easily than other hair types, but putting products on your hair every single day in an attempt to hydrate just leaves the scalp congested with build-up. Choosing products that penetrate the hair shaft and require minimal reapplication is key to keeping your scalp healthy and your curls moisturized.

First off, you’ll need a leave-in conditioner. Adwoa Beauty Baomint Leave-in Conditioning Styler is THE best moisturizing product I’ve ever found — it’s rated over 4.4 stars on Sephora for a reason. The product is versatile on all hair textures, not just curly ones. It’s on the pricier side as far as leave-in conditioners go, but it’s worth every penny. Another star from their line is the Baomint Deep Conditioning Treatment, which will leave your curls hydrated, soft, and moisturized. 

The role of an oil is to seal in moisture, not add it. No matter how thick or heavy an oil is, it will never add more moisture to the hair. With that in mind, I say stick to a lightweight oil like jojoba or moroccan. This will ensure that your scalp stays unclogged, plus you’ll minimize breakouts from using too oily products. 

When it comes to a curl cream, many drugstore brands offer great options. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse Or TPH By Taraji Curls 4 Days Curl Cream brings out springy curls without weighing hair down. 

Ultimately, curly hair is not difficult to style and manage once you understand how to keep all that much-needed moisture in your hair. It may require more maintenance than other hair types, but at the end of the day, it’s the only hair type where no two heads are exactly alike.