For about 20 years, I straightened my hair religiously. I remember getting my first relaxer at 9 years old, cementing the treatments as an annual habit until I was 21. Then around that time, I started questioning the ingredients and safety of the products I was using, and decided to crank up the heat to get my hair straight. After almost a decade of aggressive heat styling, I finally decided to stop straightening my hair mid-2018 and haven’t looked back since.
To say that my natural hair journey started off a little rocky is an understatement. I had been straightening my hair for so long, I had no idea what my natural texture even was, let alone how to take care of it. After months of trial, error, three haircuts, and a lot of deep conditioning, my curls are well on their way back to health.
With that being said, I’ve learned a LOT about how to take care of my
If you aren’t sleeping on a satin pillowcase (or don’t tie your hair up in a satin scarf or bonnet) you have to start ASAP. Sleeping on cotton creates friction as you toss and turn throughout the night. This causes unnecessary frizz. If you sleep on a satin pillowcase, your hair is protected from friction, preventing frizz while you sleep helping you maintain your curl pattern.
Speaking of sleeping, you want to put your hair up into a pineapple (aka a loose ponytail on top of your head) if it’s long enough. This will also help protect your curls because you aren’t laying directly on them, flattening them. Several months ago I started using a satin scrunchie to put my hair up and it’s a game. Changer. Just like with the pillowcase, tying your hair up with a satin scrunchie prevents unnecessary friction and frizz on your curls, preventing tangles and the dreaded ponytail crease. I love tying my hair up with satin scrunchies while I sleep, workout, etc.
Mister Water Bottle
This is a holy grail item if you have curly hair. Refreshing your curls is a necessity if you want to keep your curls looking good without washing your hair all the time. This spray bottle provides a light, even mist over your hair getting it evenly damp for restyling without getting your hair soaking wet.
Not only is this diffuser effective at gently drying your curls without frizz, but it’s also collapsible and fits nearly any hair dryer, making it perfect for travel or your gym bag. I actually prefer this diffuser over the one that came with my blow dryer.
Wide Tooth Comb
If you want to gently detangle your hair without breakage, a wide tooth comb is where it’s at. I usually like to detangle my hair with a wide tooth comb in the shower while the conditioner is still in my hair. Using the “slip” of the conditioner to help me detangle, the comb usually glides through fairly easily. If you try to detangle your hair while it’s dry, you run the risk of creating more breakage and frizz.
Using regular bath towels on your curls is a major no-no. Regular cotton towels are too harsh for curly hair, creating friction while you dry your hair. And for curly hair friction usually leads to frizz. A microfiber hair towel is a way better option. It absorbs water quickly helping your hair dry faster, but doesn’t create frizz like a standard cotton towel does. I like using a version that can be tied up to keep my hair out of my face while doing my makeup or getting ready.
Last but certainly not least, one of my favorite tools – the hair pick. I love using a pick on day two and three hair to get more volume. Personally, I find that my hair tends to get really flat on the top and voluminous on the bottom, so using a pick to gently tease the roots helps give curls more volume and better shape. Just make sure you don’t try to pick your hair when it’s wet!
- Curl Friends and Natural-Haired Beauties – what tools for curly hair can you not live without?
Les is the founder of Balanced Black Girl and the host of the Balanced Black Girl Podcast. She’s a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and natural beauty junkie who loves 90’s R&B, trying new skincare products, and creating recipes in the Instant Pot. She created Balanced Black Girl to provide content and experiences empowering women of color to live well.