improve curly hair before and after

5 Easy Changes To Improve The Condition Of Curly Hair

  1. Stop Using Sulphates
  2. Condition, Condition, Condition!
  3. Learn Your Curl Type
  4. Dry With A T-Shirt
  5. Try To Avoid Heat

Most of the things we can do to improve the condition of curly hair are done on our favourite day – wash day!

Even though we are ideally washing our hair every 3-4 days..doesn’t it just feel like it comes round more quickly than that?!

1. Stop Using Sulphates

sulphate free shampoo to improve curl condition

Manufacturers add sulphates to shampoo to make them lather up. They are good at removing dirt, sebum and other products from the hair surface. So what’s the problem?

They are such harsh cleansers that they can actually strip your hair of natural oils and leave it dry and brittle.

Sulphates can also cause your scalp to feel dry and irritated. This is due to the removal of natural oil on the scalp and can lead to dandruff.

Curly hair is prone to a dry texture due to the way that sebum is produced at the follicle and distributed.

Its structure also makes it weaker due to cross-sectional points in the curls/waves. The last thing we need is drying out any more!

Best thing to do then? Use a moisturising, sulphate-free shampoo.

Your hair will still be cleansed but in a gentler way. A sulphate-free shampoo won’t lather up as much as other shampoos, but rest assured it is doing its job 👍

Step 2. Condition, Condition, Condition ➡️

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2. Condition, Condition, Condition!

Conditioner is so important for curly hair but it can be most effective when applied to dry hair!

This is a relatively new one for me. This is the application of a deep conditioner to hair BEFORE you wash it. This conditioner could be your usual masque-type conditioner but could equally be an oil.

The idea is to do with saturation. If you apply conditioner/oil to wet hair it will not be able to fully penetrate your hair shaft because it is already fully saturated with water. Hair is porous and will ‘soak up’ any water. This means that hair won’t be able to soak up the products that you are applying.

If you apply your products to dry hair, the conditioner/oil will be able to penetrate the hair first and will do its job!

olive oil on hair as treatment

I apply the oil to dry hair (leave it on for about 30 minutes) and then get in the shower, wet my hair and shampoo and condition my hair as usual.

Quick caveat – if you know that your hair is product-heavy it may be best to apply the mask to wet hair after shampoo like usual. The products can create a barrier that blocks moisture from penetrating your hair.

Tip: The best thing you can do to avoid chlorine damage – besides wearing a swimming cap- is fully wet your hair with water in the shower BEFORE you get into the pool. Hair that is already saturated with shower water prevents pool water from finding a way in.

Step 3. Learn Your Curl Type ➡️

3. Learn Your Curl Type And How Best to Treat It

Our curls are all different.

Different sizes, patterns, levels of dryness and porosity.

Knowing your curl type will help when choosing products, and in turn help improve the condition of your curly hair. Shampoo, conditioner, leave-in-treatments, styling products..all of these can be tailored to your specific curl type.

Broadly speaking, use heavier products such as oils and gels for thicker hair and lighter products such as serums and sprays for finer hair.

which product is best to improve curl condition?

There is a curl classification which can help with this.

  • Curl Type 2 is waves – loose waves to thicker waves
  • Curl Type 3 is curls – loose curls to spiral and corkscrew
  • Curl Type 4 is coils – tight coils to ‘z’ shaped coils and kinky coils

Read my post on which type of curly hair you have and why it matters

Once you know which curl type you have, it suddenly seems a little easier to navigate the infinite number of curly hair products available!

Step 4. Dry With A T-Shirt ➡️

4. Dry Your Hair With A T-Shirt

In the last 2 years I have gone from towel to clever microfibre turban towel to t-shirt!

The microfibre towel may absorb water best but the t-shirt transformed my curls.

This is one of the MAIN changes I have made.

My curls formed better following my very first use of a t-shirt. I got so many compliments and since then it has become a bit of a running joke at work. If I’m having a particularly good curl day one of my colleagues will say ‘Lauren, have you put a t-shirt on your head again?’

I use a t-shirt in one of 3 ways:

  1. a full on ‘plop’ -(I’m just going to say it – I wish this was a different word!)
  2. using the t-shirt as a turban with hair tucked into the body and then twisted up and clipped
  3. to gently squeeze the hair to remove water – never actually wrapping the hair. Sometimes I will then put the t-shirt around my shoulders as my curls dry naturally.

I have a special old t-shirt that is now my hair-drying towel. No other purpose. It is fulfilling its destiny 😉

Step 5. Try To Avoid Heat ➡️

5. Try To Avoid Heat, Or Protect Your Hair!

Even the heat from a diffuser can negatively impact your hair.

Particularly if you have finer curls. If you can, avoid heat altogether and let your hair air-dry.

Older hair (the ends of your hair that have been on your head longer) is even more prone to damage. If you have ever coloured and styled your hair, this damage is all still present on the older parts of your hair.

Ok, there isn’t always time to air dry but if we are using a diffuser then a heat-protector is a must! Plenty of leave-in conditioners also have heat-protection in them so this doesn’t necessarily mean an extra product. A great do-it-all product is Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence.

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This is a lightweight daily conditioning spray that adds moisture, protects from environmental pollution AND protects from heat! Win.

Overuse of heat can cause curl to lose its pattern and curliness – we won’t let it happen!

Read my full post on why heat is bad for curls for extra tips, recommendations and what to look out for in heat protectors!

These are just some of the steps we can take to look after the curls that we love so much. I’m off to rinse the oil out of my hair!

Lauren xx

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