How to Take Care of Naturally Curly Hair

Naturally curly hair can seem complicated. If you talk to someone with curly hair, they might tell you about hair rules they follow or products that they swear by. Don't feel overwhelmed—naturally curly hair is actually quite easy because it's very hands-off. As long as you keep your hair moisturized and frizz-free, you'll be ready to rock your curls!


[Edit]Are you supposed to brush curly hair?

  1. Skip the brush, but reach for a detangling comb. You may have noticed that when you brush your dry curly hair, it instantly frizzes and puffs out. To keep your curls defined, use a detangling comb while your hair is still wet or run your fingers through your hair to detangle it.[1]
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    • You definitely don't need to brush your hair every day—just use the detangling comb when you wash your hair or wet it in the shower.

[Edit]How often should I wash my naturally curly hair?

  1. Limit it to around twice a week. Curly hair thrives on its natural oils and you'll strip those if you wash your hair every day. This can make your hair dry and frizzy. To give your curls the love they deserve, wait a few days in between each wash.[2]
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    • Don't worry—you can still jump in the shower, but skip the shampoo. It's totally fine to get your hair wet. In fact, it can help reset your curls for the day.
    • Keep in mind that this is a recommendation, but there may be times where you want to wash your hair more frequently—after you workout or if your hair is oily.
  2. Use a co-washing product instead of shampoo if you like to wash more frequently. Shampoo removes the natural oils near your scalp, which can lead to dry, brittle hair. Instead, use a co-washing product which is a cleansing conditioner. It won't strip your hair, so it stays curly and hydrated. To use it, thoroughly massage co-washing cream onto your scalp before you work it through your hair. Let it sit for a few minutes before you rinse it off. No separate conditioner is needed! To get you started, look for a co-wash that has:[3]
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    • Humectants like honey or vegetable glycerin
    • Emollients such as oils and shea butter
    • Protein like wheat or soy protein
    • Moisturizers like aloe vera or amino acids

[Edit]What should I do to care for my hair in between washes?

  1. Spritz your hair with water to quickly revive curls. Sometimes, you wake up and your hair may look a little frizzy, or your curls may lose their shape during the day. To revive your curls, spray water onto a section of your hair and scrunch or shape your curls. Do this anywhere your curls look flat or deflated. If you want to restore some shine, rub a few drops of hair oil in between your fingers and carefully work it through your hair.[4]
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    • If you're planning on jumping in the shower, it's totally fine to get your hair wet—you don't have to shampoo it. Just wet your hair so the curl structure resets.
  2. Add a little leave-in conditioner if your hair needs a little shine or fragrance. While water is great to revive your curls in a pinch, if you have more time, squirt a pea-sized amount of leave-in conditioner onto your palm. Spray it with a few spritzes of water and rub your palms together. Then, flip your head forward and scrunch your hair to work the product into your curls.[5]
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    • The conditioner leaves a light scent and eliminates frizz that you typically get in between washes.

[Edit]How do I wash and condition my hair?

  1. Wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates are basically detergents that strip oil from your hair. Unfortunately, these are too harsh for curly hair and they can really dry it out. Instead, massage a sulfate-free shampoo onto your scalp. It won't foam up as much as standard shampoo, but it's doing the job. Then, rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water.[6]
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    • If you're having a hard time working the product onto your scalp, add a few splashes of water and keep rubbing.
  2. Massage rinse-out conditioner into your hair and leave it on for a few minutes. Buy a conditioner designed for curly or wavy hair so it's super nourishing. Work the conditioner into all of your hair and let it sit for 3 to 4 minutes or as directed on the package. This gives the product a chance to penetrate your hair for deeper moisturizing. You'll notice your hair start to clump or curl. Then, rinse it out using cool water.[7]
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    • If you feel like your hair is still dry throughout the week, you may want to do a weekly deep condition where you leave a thicker product on your hair for longer before you rinse it out.

[Edit]How do I dry naturally curly hair?

  1. Scrunch your hair with a T-shirt and let it air dry. Don't reach for your usual bath towel to dry your hair. The loops in the towel can actually snag on your hair and make it frizzy. Instead, lay a T-shirt flat and flip your head over so your hair falls on it. Wrap the T-shirt around your hair and flip your head back. Leave the curls to dry for at least 10 minutes. Then, remove the towel and let your hair finish air drying.[8]
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    • If you like to use a styling foam or gel, squeeze it on your palms and scrunch it into your wet hair before you towel dry it. This distributes the product through your hair better.
  2. Use a diffuser if you need to speed up drying time. You've probably seen a diffuser attachment for a hairdryer—it looks like a big circle with around a dozen prongs sticking out. Push it onto your hairdryer and turn it to the lowest setting. Hold the diffuser near the roots of your hair for 10 to 20 seconds. Then, tilt your head and cup the diffuser around a strand of your hair. Dry it for 10 to 20 seconds. Keep moving the diffuser around your scalp and hair until it's mostly dry.[9]
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    • Stop drying before your hair is completely dry or you might make it frizzy.

[Edit]How can I moisturize my curly hair?

  1. Use hair care products with moisturizing ingredients. Curly hair that's nourished looks glossy and healthy, but your hair can become dry and brittle if it's not getting enough moisture. Read hair care product labels before you buy a product and choose hydrating, moisturizing products. These are usually cream or lotion based so they cling to your hair better.[10]
    Take Care of Naturally Curly Hair Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Look for products that contain argan, jojoba, and macadamia oils, for instance, since these do a great job of moisturizing hair.
    • If you want extra shine or moisture, rub a few drops of hair serum between the palms of your hands. Scrunch the product into your hair while it's still wet.
  2. Seal in moisture with hair oil or hair styling cream. Rub a few drops of hair oil between your fingers and massage it onto the ends of your wet hair to prevent split ends. Then, rub a moisturizing hair styling cream between your palms and scrunch it through your hair. If you want a stronger hold, mix a small squirt of curly styling gel into the styling cream.[11]
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    • Want an even bigger moisture boost? Treat your curls to a deep conditioning hair mask about once a week. Massage the conditioning cream onto your wet hair and leave it on for 30 minutes before you rinse it out.
  3. Protect your hydrated hair from heat damage. Heat will sap moisture from your curls, leaving them extra dry or frizzy. If you frequently use heat tools, you can do a lot of damage which will leave your curly hair feeling brittle.[12]
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    • If you really want to use a heat tool, apply a heat protectant to your hair before you style it. This can help lock in moisture so your hair doesn't dry out too much.

[Edit]How can I protect my curly hair overnight?

  1. Put your hair in a protective hairstyle before you go to bed. It's so frustrating to go to bed with beautiful curls only to find an out-of-control bedhead in the morning. Preserve your curls while you sleep by pulling your hair up onto the top of your head and tying it loosely so your head isn't pushing down on the curls. You could also pin up specific curls with hair clips or bobby pins.[13]
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    • For even more protection, put a bonnet over your hair. If the outside of the bonnet is satin, flip it inside out so the satin comes into contact with your hair—not the coarse terry cloth.
  2. Sleep on a satin pillowcase to reduce friction. If you've got a cotton or flannel pillowcase, take it off! Your hair catches on the loops of the fabric while you sleep which can make it frizzy. Put a satin pillowcase on your pillow so your hair simply slides across it as you move in your sleep.[14]
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    • You can also use a silk pillowcase. Satin just happens to be a more affordable option.
    • If you like to wrap your hair up at night, use a silk scarf!

[Edit]What's the best haircut for curly hair?

  1. There's not a single perfect hairstyle, but there are ways to get a great cut. Common haircutting mistakes include traditional layers which tend to make your hair frizz out. Talk with your hairstylist about what look you're going for. If you want a soft, look with defined curls, have them cut with the curl. If you like more texture, ask them to cut against the curl.[15]
    Take Care of Naturally Curly Hair Step 15.jpg
    • Avoid using hairstylists that stretch your hair out and cut it in a straight line since they're not paying attention to your hair's curl pattern.

[Edit]Related wikiHows



  2. [v161236_b01]. 10 January 2020.
  8. [v161236_b01]. 10 January 2020.
  9. [v161647_b01]. 17 November 2020.