From the runway to the red carpet, natural hair textures are popping up everywhere and inspiring women of colour to realize the beauty that is naturally curly, coiled and kinky hair. Insert round of applause here! Whether your transition involves growing out chemically straightened strands or starting fresh with a short crop, a little knowledge will go a long way as you successfully embark on the journey to a natural hair texture. Of course, every curl is unique—but these five universal rules can give natural hair growth a helping hand.
1. Combing is kindest.
“Curly hair is the most fragile hair type,” says Brennen Demelo, L’Oréal Paris Canada Hair Artist & Expert. “A wide-tooth comb is the gentlest way to detangle curls, and it doesn’t disrupt the natural curl pattern as much as a brush would.” Now is also the time to take on a new grooming technique. Demelo prefers to detangle curls from the bottom up; working from the tips toward the roots reduces unnecessary tugging on fragile strands.
2. Hydrate 24/7.
What’s one thing curly hair can’t get enough of? MOISTURE! The notoriously dry hair texture just isn’t set up to retain hydration like other hair types, and that’s because the conditioning oils that are naturally present on the scalp take longer to travel down, and around, coiled strands. Besides keeping curls free of tangles and knots, combing plays a key role in how to care for curly hair by helping distribute oils along the hair shaft. But adding moisture back into hair on a regular basis is equally important, especially when it comes to cleansing. Taking a mindful approach will prevent delicate curls from being stripped of much-needed moisture. First, forgo daily cleansing and adopt an extended washday cycle. For natural hair textures, most pros suggest shampooing weekly. If you find that roots feel greasy in between water-based cleansing, try incorporating a dry shampoo into your routine to absorb oil buildup. Next, choose products designed specifically for gentle yet nourishing cleansing, like silicone-free L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Oil Shampoo Fine Coconut Oil. Follow up with an intense conditioner. Demelo’s favourite is L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Oil Daily Conditioner Rapid Reviver. The rich formula contains 20 percent conditioning serum with camellia and sunflower oils that revives hair in one minute. How you use conditioner can be a game-changer, too. “This is a must: Don’t rinse all your conditioner out of your hair,” says Demelo. How much you leave behind in your hair will affect how much frizz appears. If you like to linger under the shower head, support curls by shampooing and conditioning at the end of your steam session.
3. Dry with caution.
Be gentle when towel-drying curls. Think: blotting, not rubbing. The former will help keep curls intact, while the latter action breaks them up. If you’re leaving curls to air-dry, do just that and leave them alone. Fussing with curls at this stage will only encourage frizz. If using a hair dryer is more your style, get thee a diffuser. A diffuser will smooth out your curl pattern, says Demelo. “It will also help minimize some of the frizz that can pop up when curly hair is air-dried.”
4. Lock in a leave-in.
Making moisturizing treatments a priority keeps natural curls looking, and feeling, their best. Try a multi-use product, like L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Oil Coconut Oil Mask, that can be used daily as a leave-in conditioner, weekly as a pre-shampoo moisture boost or left on overnight for a deeply restorative treatment.
5. Put the beauty in beauty rest.
To wake up with curls that are poppin’, it pays to revamp your nightly haircare routine. Start by incorporating a hair treatment, like L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Oil Daily Penetrating Oil Treatment, into your wind-down ritual. The lightweight blend of six nourishing oils, including coconut, argan and amla, quickly absorbs into dry or damp hair, leaving natural hair growth softer and shinier. It’s ideal for use at bedtime thanks to its non-greasy finish. Just warm three to four drops between your palms and then run it through the lengths of your hair. And anyone embracing a natural hair texture should consider giving their bed linens a luxe makeover. Wrapping hair in a silk scarf, investing in a silk headwrap or sleeping on a silk pillowcase will help reduce friction between your hair and a traditional pillowcase. Any of these small steps has a big impact on preserving curly hair while you sleep, because less friction = less breakage and frizz.