Straight hair habits to stop right now!
We always want what we haven’t got when it comes to hair.
If it’s straight we want it wavy or curly and if it’s curly..we’re completely happy with that 😉
It can also be tempting to covet the routine of the other team..and many of us are more than aware of straight hair routines because we followed them for years. I know I used to blow dry my hair straight (ish) every time I washed it.
Straight hair habits might appear to serve you well when you heat style your hair every day, but are you actually inadvertently damaging your hair?
Some techniques and products are, unfortunately, non-transferrable.
Let’s go through 10 of the more common straight-hair habits that we need to ditch for our optimum curls.
(Pre-post disclaimer: Nothing at all against straight hair! Love it)
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Habit 1: Washing Your Hair Whenever You Feel Like It
Hair washing removes natural oil from the hair. The natural oil we are referring to is sebum.
Sebum moisturises the hair, lubricates it and reduces friction which can damage hair.
Straighter hair allows sebum produced at the follicle to travel down the hair strand more easily because it doesn’t have to navigate the bends and twists of waves and curls.
Why is this important?
It means that straighter hair can afford more frequent washing because it is being readily moisturised by the sebum.
Curly hair is drier so it needs longer to be moisturised by the sebum. You want to leave the natural oils where they are for longer without scrubbing them away.
Habit 2: Using whichever shampoo you like
Following on nicely from point 1, straight hair is much better able to handle the sulphates which are found in the majority of commercially available shampoos. Is this one of your straight hair habits?
Sulphates are cleansing agents which remove dirt, build up and oils from our hair. Co-washes (cleansing conditioners) or ‘low-poo’ (sulphate free) shampoos are usually recommended for curls instead because they contain much gentler cleansing agents.
Shampoo Recommendations – 10 Sulphate Free CGM Friendly Shampoos
Sulphates are usually only recommended for clarifying.
If you feel that your usual products aren’t working or your hair feels limp, dull, or you swim or have hard water these are all good reasons to clarify your hair.
It is usually recommended that you do this no more frequently than once a month and follow it with a deep conditioning mask.
Hair Habit 3: Not worrying about protein
I knew my hair was made of protein but I never really considered that I needed to keep adding more protein to it until I started researching the needs of curly hair.
Protein is necessary to retain the structure of the hair.
Without protein hair is weaker and we are always looking for ways to strengthen curly hair. The cross-sectional points (or bends) in our hair make it more susceptible to damage.
Any manipulation from outside sources such as brushing and heat can cause damage to the cuticle – the hair’s outer layer.
Depending on how porous your hair is you will find your hair needs more or less protein.
Read my post on porosity and figure out your level!
It is also important to balance protein with moisture. Protein on its own isn’t enough, your hair will need moisture, too.
This deep conditioning treatment contains both protein and moisturising ingredients
Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Yogurt Power Protein Treatment
Habit 4: Not worrying about deep conditioning
Following on from point 3, curly hair needs moisture and lubrication.
Straight hair tends to be less dry, so while everyone knows they need to deep condition, curly hair will need this treatment more regularly than straight.
Deep conditioners containing emollients such as argan oil or shea butter will help keep hair moisturised.
Noughty To The Rescue Intense Moisture Hair Treatment
Usually once a week or 2 weeks will work best, depending on your hair and how frequently you wash it.
Heat can help the treatment penetrate your hair. The porosity level of your hair will help determine whether you should apply heat or not.
Habit 5: Not using gel
We all know what we THINK gel will do to our hair. It goes without saying that, unless you are going for a super-slicked back look, you wouldn’t use a gel on straight hair.
Curly hair, however, is a completely different story! Based on everyone that I have spoken to, curly haired people fall into 1 of 2 categories:
-People that have tried gel and love it
-People that haven’t tried gel
You might think that you will end up with crunchy hair and you would be right!
The idea is that you create the crunchy cast to hold the curls in place and then scrunch it away once your hair is dry. A good gel will completely disappear to leave defined curls.
This one is my favourite
Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly
I have a full post on gel – ‘Essential Product Or Crispy Mess?’
Habit 6: Sleeping without a care
Ok, maybe a little high maintenance.
The thing is that straight hair will generally look similar in the morning to the night before.. Curly hair cannot be relied upon to do the same.
Stretched out curls? Check
Dragged through a hedge? Check
In order to avoid these and improve our chances of day 2,3,4.. curls we can ditch the straight hair habits and employ the following methods:
- Pineapple! This is gathering your hair in a scrunchie (satin or silk is best) and putting it into a fairly loose ponytail high up and forwards on your head (so it kind of hangs in your face). The placement prevents indentations and keeping your hair together in this way will help preserve curls and reduce frizz
- Buff! This is another way to protect your hair. Buffs are essentially tubes which you pull over your hair to encase it. Some are open at the top, others have a tie or you can pull it together with a bobble.
- Pillowcase choice. Cotton pillowcases can draw moisture away from your hair whilst simultaneously causing friction which can in turn lead to frizz.
Here’s a silk pillowcase that you can buy on Amazon.
Multi-functional Headband that you can use as a buff
Habit 7: Brushing with abandon
I say ‘with abandon’ because, while it is perfectly possible to brush away on curly hair, it is usually best to employ one or two tactics to ensure it goes smoothly (pun unintended 😉)
–Brushing wet hair. This is either brushing to detangle in the shower or brushing wet hair to style – using a Denman brush to define curls, for example. Special care needs to be taken with wet hair because it is more easily damaged than dry hair.
The ‘combing force’ is greater and friction at this time can lead to damage and eventually breakage.
In order to prevent this is is always best to add a leave-in conditioner or moisturising styler to your hair before you brush. This will add lubrication and aid detangling so that the brush glides through.
– Brushing dry hair. One of the great straight hair habits. I know plenty of curly haired people (me included) who love to brush their hair when it is dry. Due to the big frizzy mess that it usually creates, this is best done just before wash day.
The best way to do this is with the help of an oil.
Brushing is often done as part of a pre-poo routine. This means adding an oil to your hair before detangling. As with the leave-in conditioner above, the oil will lubricate and reduce stress caused by combing force.
A pre-poo treatment will reduce tangles and keep hair lubricated while you wash it. You then shampoo the oil out.
Coconut oil is great for this – it both penetrates the hair and seals moisture in.
Habit 8: Not reading ingredients
I remember the days when I could pop for a bottle of shampoo and just go by smell or even the look of the bottle or, the real shocker..by the promise on the front of the bottle…I know, I know!
That’s not to say that those with straight hair don’t care about ingredients, but I’ve definitely become borderline obsessed with them as I’ve gone on my curly journey.
I’m usually checking for one of the following:
- sulphates (as mentioned in point 2)
- alcohol denat (a drying alcohol which can really dry out your hair) See ‘Alcohol in Hair Products – What You Should Know’
- protein (as mentioned in point 3)
- silicones (I’m not against silicones in principal as I know many Curly Girl Method followers are, but I don’t want too many in my routine so I’ll always check)
- parabens (preservatives that are suspected to act as hormone disrupters so the fewer the better)
Habit 9: Using heated tools or high heat
Heat protection? Sure! Then you’re good to go.
There’s a bit of a problem with curls here.. They are generally drier than straight hair and can be weakened due to their structure so heat can be very damaging.
The real problem is that most heat protection products contain silicones, these are the ingredients which provide the protection. If you are following CGM then this rules out most of the products available.
Even if you aren’t following CGM, curly hair can be fragile, so the best solution is to avoid heated tools (such as curling wands/tongs and straighteners) and diffuse on the lowest heat setting.
Habit 10: Using a towel and rubbing your hair dry
Yep, just a regular towel, with all the big bobbly bits.
As we’ve mentioned, curly hair needs to be handled with care. We needs to reduce any friction and this includes towels.
A t-shirt or microfibre towel (much softer than a regular one) are the best options. They cause much less friction. Instead of rubbing our hair we are encouraged to gently squeeze the water out. This way the water is absorbed without roughing up the cuticle.
Microfibre Hair Turban
Speaking of friction, this brings me to bonus straight hair habit no.11: Touching your hair
Ok, course you can, but you know what I mean – try running your fingers through curls without ending up in a tangled mess!
We should also avoid touching our hair while it is wet. Disturbing the curl clumps while they are forming can lead to less definition and frizz!
People with straight hair..we love them really 😉
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