I get a lot of mails from my readers saying that they are doing everything but their curly hair still seems to not cooperate – it’s still frizzy and unruly and dry. As I troubleshoot with them, I thought of putting together the most common mistakes that I’ve seen in the different curly hair routines. Right from washing to styling curly hair, here are some mistakes you should be avoiding.
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Mistakes in cleansing curly hair
- Shampooing/co washing too often – Shampoo not more than once in 2 weeks and co-wash not more than 3 times a week. More than that is too much for curly hair to handle.
- Rubbing on hair in a rough manner – Apply the shampoo/conditioner in a smooth manner. Do not rub side to side. Use the tips of your fingers to gently massage your scalp.
Mistakes in conditioning curly hair
- Same point as above. Do not rub aggressively – Even while rinsing, gently lift hair to let water flow and remove excess conditioner. Do not rub.
- Not using enough conditioner – You should apply enough conditioner so that your whole hair is covered and it feels velvety and saturated. Your hair should be dripping in conditioner.
- Not using enough water – There should be enough water on your hair so that the conditioner can work in unison with the water to smoothen your hair and moisturize it. If you feel like there’s friction while detangling, just pour more water (if you already have used a lot of conditioner).
- Not detangling thoroughly – If you don’t detangle thoroughly in the shower, no amount of technique or product will help your hair look good while styling. You hair should be 100% tangle free.
- Not leaving some conditioner in – Do not wash away your conditioner completely. Leave at least 10-20% in your hair to condition your hair.
Mistakes in applying products(creams/gels/serums/leave ins) and styling curly hair
- Not using a styling product – Products help lock in moisture and provide curl definition. Check this – Beginner friendly products : Curly Hair Starter Kit
- Raking (running your fingers through your hair) while applying products – Raking is needed in the shower to remove tangles. But outside the shower, don’t run the product through your hair using fingers. This will ruin your curl pattern and prevent clump formation. Smooth the products onto hair like in a prayer position (hands) or take product in your palms, flip your head over and directly scrunch it. It’s usually each clump that needs product, not each hair strand. Note : If you are type 3b and above, raking may actually help with better product distribution. Give it a try.
- Applying products on not so wet hair or worse, on dry hair – Water helps the products do their job. And your hair is best styled when it’s wet because it is most manipulable at that time. Also, you need to lock moisture in so that your curls look hydrated even after they dry. Make sure your hair is really wet while applying products and scrunching. If your hair is not that wet, it may also cause frizzing.
- Not using enough styling product – Most bottles say “use 2 pumps” or “use a coin sized amount”. No, that’s just not enough for curly hair. There should be enough product(I use a lemon sized amount) to fully cover each curl clump from top to bottom. This will help in sealing moisture, providing hold and combating frizz. Wavies/fine haired curlies/low porosity hair can do with lesser product.
- Not using a gel – Gels are absolutely great to tame frizz, to provide curl definition and encourage curl clumping. I use gels like there’s no tomorrow and it’s a must have for me when it comes to my hair routine. I use a lemon sized / palmful of gel depending on the hold of the gel. Afraid of hard crunchy gels? Read this – Curly hair gels : Everything you need to know
Mistakes in drying curly hair
- Rubbing your hair – Rubbing the towel on the hair over and over to make sure there’s no water dripping ruins the curl definition and induces a great amount of frizz. Simply wrap a cotton tee on your hair to absorb excess water. Or scrunch your hair using the tee to absorb excess water. Or try plopping. Remember, water is your friend.
- Combing or brushing hair once it is dry
- Running finger through it once it is dry
- Detangling in between wash days
All 3 disrupt the curl clumping and pull them apart.
I hope this list helps you avoid any mistake you may be making in your curly hair routine 🙂