How To Take Care Of Curly Hair For Naturally Healthy, Radiant Curls

At some point, all curlies have a lightbulb moment when they realize that maybe, just maybe, the cookie cutter haircare rules might not be right for them. We all seem to know it almost intuitively (that aversion to hairbrushes…), and it turns out that that feeling was spot on – curly hair care is a whole world apart from straight hair care.

In recent years more and more curlies have decided to get on board with the CG method, adapting and adopting it to their natural curly hair care routine. The method has gained quite the following, and even has its own Reddit community! The CG method approaches curly hair care with the understanding that curly hair has specific needs and challenges due to its curly nature. The method is focused on keeping curly hair both beautiful and healthy – there are no harsh chemicals to beat your hair into submission and no rough styling methods.

We’ve summed up the core tenets of the CG method below, but before you continue reading, remember that your hair is unique to you. While the CG method will help your hair improve the longer you stick to it, there is no one-size-fits-all. While you may see great results with the CG method, understand that some aspects of the method may not necessarily be right for your hair or lifestyle. Incorporate the CG method into your lifestyle gradually and in a way that works for you, and pay attention to your hair's reaction to each change.  

how to take care of curly hair

Curly Hair Requires Moisture

A good portion of taking care of curly hair properly is making sure your hair receives and retains enough moisture. Because of the curly nature of each strand, curly hair is exceptionally prone to dryness. Hair receives moisture from the naturally occurring oils from your scalp, but because curly hair twists and turns throughout its length, the oils are unable to reach the entire length of the hair. To make up for the lack of natural moisture your hair receives, moisture needs to be added with products. There are many types of products that can impart moisture, ranging from oils to leave-in conditioners. Depending on your hair type, you may need more than one product for moisturization .

In addition to its difficulty receiving natural moisture, curly hair oftentimes has difficulty retaining moisture. For this reason, naturally curly hair care should focus on retaining moisture as well as adding it. Your hair loses moisture when the cuticle opens, which can happen because of various environmental factors and stressors. Humidity in the air, heat, and friction can all cause the cuticle of the hair to open and lose moisture. You won’t be able to control the weather, but we have put a short guide together to help you better care for your curls when humidity hits.

With regards to heat, you should avoid heat styling such as high-heat blow-drying and curling/straightening irons as much as possible. If you do opt to use these styling methods, consider using a heat protectant product beforehand. Additionally, when washing your hair, finish washing with cold water. Cold water causes the cuticle of the hair to close, allowing your hair to better retain moisture.

Friction is also a major cause of damage to the hair, which causes frizz while also inhibiting your hair’s natural ability to hold onto moisture. Damaging friction most commonly occurs when we dry our hair after a shower, and when we’re sleeping on our hair overnight. The easiest way to avoid roughing up the cuticle of the hair when it is wet and most prone to damage is by plopping your hair straight out of the shower instead of towel drying. Another major source of friction is caused by sleeping on your hair, and while we do very much need our eight hours a night, our hair doesn’t have to suffer the consequences. Read all about how to keep your curls frizz-free and undamaged while you get your beauty sleep in our guide to curly hair nighttime routines.

taking care of curly hair

Curly Hair Is Delicate

Because of the natural lack of moisture in curly hair, curly hair care requires a kid-gloved approach to washing and styling. Many shampoos strip away the natural oils in your hair, causing your curls to become dry and brittle. Furthermore, many styling products, even those specifically marketed for curly hair, have alcohol or other harsh chemicals that can dry out your hair.

Many curlies therefore opt for a no-poo (using no shampoo at all) or low-poo (using an SLS-free shampoo infrequently and sparingly) regimen. For those who opt for one of these options, co-washing (cleansing the hair with a silicone-free conditioner) is a great alternative. Co-washing cleanses your hair and scalp without stripping away the natural oils in your hair, while imparting additional moisture in the process.

When selecting styling products make sure to choose only those without drying additives such as alcohols or sulfates. If you choose to go completely no-poo and only co-wash, make sure the styling products you choose don’t contain silicones and other ingredients that are not water-soluble, as they can cause product buildup in your hair over time.

If you’re unsure about whether a specific ingredient is CG-safe, you can input the ingredient here for more information.

Finally, make sure to be very gentle when detangling and styling your hair. Detangle your hair only when wet and coated liberally with conditioner, and use either your fingers or a wide-tooth comb. Hair brushes or fine-tooth combs snag and tear individual strands, causing cumulative damage to your hair over time.
natural curly hair care

Curly Hair Is Unique

Curly hair has character. It comes in different shapes and textures, and can range from baby fine to thick luscious locks. A good curly hair care routine recognizes that curly hair is dynamic – it addresses the natural variance in texture and the changes in your hair due to your body’s natural cycles and changing environment. You may find that you need to adjust and tweak your routine over time, and adapt it to the changes in seasons to give your hair the right routine to keep it healthy.

Furthermore, just like curly hair requires a unique and dynamic routine, it also requires a specialized approach to cutting and trimming. A good haircut is the cornerstone of healthy, beautiful, and well cared for hair, but it can be challenging to find the right cut for you. We suggest finding a stylist that specializes in cutting curly hair, and working together with them to find the best type of cut for your hair’s needs. Make sure to go to your stylist with your hair dry and styled to give your stylist a good starting reference, and discuss any issues you experience with your hair before the scissors come out. Work together with your stylist to figure out the best cut for your hair, and follow your stylist’s recommendation on how frequently you should come in for a trim.