Protect your curly hair

At some point in the life of a curly-haired individual, there comes a firm decision to nurse their curls back to health, repair all the damage, and embrace their curls in all their glory.

As uplifting as this decision may feel, it is soon accompanied by doubts about whether the hair can be revived, how to spot the damage, if the damage is too extensive, or which products to use and how best to use them.

It opens up a new world that can feel overwhelming, with an abundance of resources but limited guidance. If you are in the transition period or trying to restore your hair to health, here's the blueprint you need to start working with:

Damaged curly hair

First and foremost, cease using chemicals and heat. All those things you've been doing incorrectly have taken a toll on your hair. This is the first big step. Avoid using hot tools such as curling or flat irons, and high-heat blow dryers. High heat is generally detrimental to hair, especially when it has been damaged by chemical straighteners.

The second thing to note is that if you want to witness the desired change, you must invest effort and exercise patience. Patience cannot be emphasized enough. The damage did not occur overnight; it is an accumulation, so you shouldn't expect it to disappear overnight either. Now let’s get right into the ways we could get our curls popping again!

1. Use a milder shampoo

Now, let's discuss shampoos. They contain a crucial cleaning agent known as surfactants, which are highly effective at their job. In fact, they excel at cleansing, but they can be so thorough that they also strip the hair of its natural oils in the process, which is where it becomes tricky. 

Curly hair naturally struggles to distribute the natural oils and sebum down the hair shaft due to the shape of the follicles, resulting in dryness. Using a shampoo that contains harsh surfactants would only worsen this issue, especially when your hair is already damaged. Therefore, it's advisable to opt for moisturizing shampoos, as they contain milder surfactants, or consider using a co-wash instead.

2. Use deep conditioner regularly

One surefire way to bring those curls back to their healthy state is through proper moisturization. Beneath all the underlying issues with curly hair, the lack of hydration is a common problem. Regularly performing deep conditioning treatments on a weekly or bi-weekly basis can work wonders.

Deep conditioner, as the name suggests, penetrates deeply into the hair. It provides thrice as much nourishment as a regular conditioner. By sticking to a deep conditioning treatment schedule, you will start to see positive results in no time!

3. Use protein treatments 

In the world of hair care, there's a concept known as the protein moisture ratio balance, which means that the protein and moisture content in your hair should be in equilibrium. When one is in excess compared to the other, it can lead to problems. Here's how you can tell if one is in excess:

Too Much Moisture and Not Enough Protein: When your hair has too much moisture and lacks protein, it can feel weak and overly stretchy. This can lead to a lack of structure and resilience in your hair.

Too Much Protein and Not Enough Moisture: On the other hand, if your hair has an excess of protein and insufficient moisture, it may become brittle and acquire a straw-like texture. It can be prone to breakage and lack flexibility.

Protein treatments are important for addressing issues related to the protein component of your hair. The primary structural element of hair is keratin, and when it becomes damaged or weakened, protein treatments come to the rescue. These treatments work by filling in gaps and addressing any protein deficiencies in your hair.

Some well-known and effective protein treatments available in the market include Olaplex and Aphogee 2. 

4. Finger comb or use a wide tooth comb to detangle!

You should avoid using a brush on your curls, especially when they are in the process of recovering. It's a big no-no! Curly hair is extremely fragile when wet, and if it's already damaged, it's even more delicate. Hairbrushes and regular combs can cause stress on the hair, leading to breakage and setting you back even further.

5. Get a trim

You can't move forward to a healthy state of transition with split ends glaring at you right in the face. These split ends are an indicator of damage, and they need to be cut off to give you the fresh start you need. Furthermore, they would only hinder growth and progress if they were to remain. 

While it's possible to trim them at home, it's not advised, as you don't want to make a mess of things and worsen the entire situation. If you must, it's a good idea to have a friend for guidance or something. However, the best approach would be to have a professional do it.

6. Put your hair in twists and braids

While your hair is still in the process of recuperating, it's advisable to steer clear of tight hairstyles. Adding strain or tension to it is not the best idea.

Instead, opt for simple, basic styles such as braids, twists, bantu knots, and so on. You'll come to appreciate your hair and notice all that you've been missing.

7. Sleep with silk pillowcases, scarves or bonnet!

Sleeping with silk can be a game changer, and it can be in the form of silk bedding like a mattress or pillowcase, silk scarves, or bonnets – the effects remain the same. Hair in a damaged state tends to tangle easily because it's fragile and weaker, which can lead to hair breakage.

However, silk provides a smooth and silky surface, reducing the likelihood of tangling and offering the bonus of a good night's sleep, and not to forget silk also hydrates the hair.

November 07, 2023 — Michelle Fletcher Smith