Curly or coily hair can often be dry, dull and frizzy. It needs moisture to look its optimal best every step of the way — cleansing, hydrating and styling. “Moisture is the key ingredient to successful results. It affects the look, feel and texture,” says Shari Harbinger, vice president of education for DevaCurl.
But first, to truly address the needs of the hair, we must remember that what we put inside our bodies will ultimately affect our outward appearance, including our hair, our crowning glory. “Our diet and the nourishing foods we feed the hair will affect the results almost always,” says Harbinger. “Foods and vitamins that contain biotin, folic acid and vitamin A are especially good for hair that is delicate, dehydrated and lackluster since these nutrients will strengthen from the inside out and serve as a support system to anything we do topically.”
Super hydrating, super moisturizing products are necessary when dealing with textured tresses, but not all are created alike. According to Harbinger, the key to achieving gorgeously, soft natural curls is to renounce conventional shampoos and silicone-laden conditioners and rethink the way we’ve been approaching hair. She advises avoiding products that contain sulfates, silicones or have a high pH. Sulfates dehydrate the hair, causing it to become dry and brittle, so use suds-free, non-sulfate shampoos instead. Silicones coat the outer layer of the hair, creating the illusion of shine, but in reality, they’re a moisture barrier that won’t allow hydration to occur inside the hair’s cortex. “[Silicones] are simply a Band-Aid and will only cosmetically improve the appearance of the hair for a short period. They are not water-soluble and tend to build up on the hair causing it to look lackluster, limp and unmanageable,” says Harbinger.
As an alternative, look for botanically-infused products with moisturizing and nourishing natural oils. Regarding pH, many of the haircare products that curly-haired women use disturb the natural pH of hair. Their hair’s naturally mild acidity keeps the cuticle smooth, shiny and healthy. “If the pH is too high, it creates an alkaline environment when in fact curly hair craves a pH-balanced environment, which is needed most to build a support system for the hair,” adds Harbinger. Products that are too alkaline will cause the hair cuticle to open more, the hair to swell and remove necessary natural hair oils — resulting in dry, brittle hair that is prone to tangling and breakage, while a product that is too acidic will cause the cuticle to contract. Thus, proper pH-balanced products are key.
Also remember that healthy, bouncy curls begin in the shower. Hard water can cause dryness. If you have hard water, install a shower filter as a quick and effective remedy. Next, Harbinger instructs curly girls to “wet hair and scalp thoroughly, apply a conditioning cleanser to the scalp to remove dirt particles and product buildup. Work through ends and then rinse. Then, apply a botanically-infused conditioner, gently gliding with fingers in a downward motion throughout the ends to evenly distribute and to remove tangles, taking your time. Rinse hair, but leave some conditioner in for added moisture. Now that the hair is moisturized, the foundation has been prepared to apply your styler.” Look for moisturizing finishing creams or non-silicone oil botanical blends for shine, remembering to pay extra attention to your ends.
From cleansing creams to botanical blends, here are 10 products that will give you unbelievably bouncy, gorgeous curls, plus shine and softness that will last for days.