Which haircare mistakes to we tend to engage in? A lot can depend on your hair type and lifestyle. For those with curly hair, a little TLC is often required due to the nature of the curl strands and their susceptibility to damage. Wavy and curly hair are created by the presence of an oval hair follicle. Curly hair is softer and more susceptible to breakage. It also tends to have less sebum present, making it drier. Hence, it’s important to know which practices can negatively impact on curly locks, and what to do instead. Below are some of the most common haircare mistakes.
Shampooing too often
As mentioned before, curly hair tends to be drier. This can also extend to the scalp. Therefore, it’s not necessary to hit the shampoo bottle every day, or even every other day. A lot depends upon how active you are and what condition your curls are in. According to the experts at Ouidad , it’s ok to wash or co-wash your hair between 1 and 3 times per week. As a general rule, the drier your hair and scalp, the less often you should wash it.
Using the wrong shampoo
There are a mind-boggling number of shampoo formulas out there, and it’s important to use one that is tailored to your hair type. If your hair is extra curly, it will benefit from an extra-moisturizing formula. Or opt for what is called co-washing (conditioner-only washing). Most conditioners contain a few cationic surfactants (cleansers) like benhetrimonium chloride, which remove dirt without stripping the hair. If your hair and scalp tend to be dry, this may be the best option for you. Also avoid shampoos containing a lot of foaming agents like sodium laureth sulfate and cocamide DEA, which can cause allergic reactions and tend to be drying. Believe it or not, you don’t need lather to get hair clean. If in doubt, read the ingredient labels before buying. For a list of common shampoo ingredients read this Newsweek article.
Using the wrong styling products
It’s important for people with curly hair in particular to use styling products. They help with frizziness, dryness, tangling and other issues. Even if you air-dry your hair, it’s a good idea to add protection and definition with styling products. However, the wrong styling products can wreak havoc on your hair. For example, styling gels containing alcohols can dry out your hair. Opt for alcohol-free cream formulas that add definition and shine. Another problematic ingredient is silicones. On the label, they usually end in -one or -oxane. They are synthetic polymers that create slip and providing some heat protection. While not all silicones are created equal, they all do have a tendency to build up on your hair, ultimately leaving it dry and dull. They are hydrophobic, which means they are hard to wash out. You’ll then need a clarifying shampoo to remove them, which causes more drying, and on and on. This is especially true for thick silicones like dimethicone. It’s a cycle that you just don’t want to get into.
If you still want to use silicones, opt for a water-soluble one like cyclomethicone.
Not protecting your hair from the elements
Whether or not you color your hair, this is a common mistake that can really cost you down the line. Things like heat, humidity, chlorine, and ultraviolet light have an especially strong impact on curly hair. Aside from avoiding pools and sunlight, there are few things that you can do before hitting the pool or the beach. Yes, you can apply your barrier sunscreen to hair. Usually the ingredients found in sunscreens for the skin are ok for the hair, too. (Yes, you should be using sunscreen on your skin, too.) You can also try products containing oils like jojoba, carrot seed oil, red raspberry oil, almond oil, and shea butter. These ingredients provide natural sunscreen protection. Look for brands like Alba Botanica, or take a look at our All Purpose Dry Oil. If you don’t have any products available, wear a hat.
Too much heat styling
Let’s face it, we all life hectic lifestyles that often necessitate quick hair drying. However, it’s important that we give our curly hair a break from heat styling whenever possible. Even with a diffuser, hair dryers can damage the hair cuticle and dry out curly hair. Sometimes we can avoid heat styling by getting the right haircut. Also buy the best blow dryer you can afford, usually an ionic or ceramic hair dryer, or a combination of both. They tend to cost more than regular hair dryers, but it’s worth it to get less frizz and a shorter drying time. However, air drying is best for curly hair. The right styling product can make your curly hair wash-and-go.
Over-manipulation of hair
Again, a good haircut makes over-manipulation of hair less likely to occur. One should also never comb out curly hair when it’s dry. Use a conditioner or cowash that detangles and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle gently. Separate tight curls with the fingers if possible. Don’t over-brush.
Not protecting your curls while you sleep
It’s so easy to protect your curly hair at night. Just buy a satin sleep cap or a silk pillow case. The fabric helps to reduce friction, reducing damage to your curls while you sleep. Also avoid wearing tight bands or other restraints in your hair while you sleep. Curlers are a no-no! A silk pillowcase is also kinder to your face.