If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with curls, coils, waves or spirals, you’ll know that taking care of curly hair is a lifestyle rather than an act. The truth is that biologically, there are no differences between curly hair and straight hair. It is the shape of the follicle a hair grows out of, that determines how straight or curly a strand of hair will be. A U-shaped or C-shaped follicle will result in curly hair; follicles with a slight bend will produce wavy hair and follicles that are perfectly round produce straight hair.
But it’s not just the shape of the follicle that determines curls – the angle at which the hair follicle tunnels into the scalp also plays a role. Straight hair follicles tunnel vertically into the scalp. Curly hair follicles go into the skin at an angle, causing hair to curve as it grows, which results in curls.
While there aren’t any biological differences between curly hair and straight hair, curly hair has its own set of needs. But curls aren’t just curls: just like there are different hair types, there are different curl types. Knowing which type of curls you have is essential, as different curls require different products. So how do you determine your curl type?
A universal curl type classification has been developed, and these charts typically range from 2 to 4. Type 2 is considered wavy, type 3 includes loose spirals to tighter corkscrews and type 4 refers to tightly coiled hair. These types can be further subdivided into different textures, depending on the density of the strand which is classified as A – C, starting with thin / fine hair at A, thicker hair at B and coarse hair at C. You can have any combination of curl and texture type, for example 2C, 4A, 3B etc.
How to care for curly hair
Curly hair is more delicate than straight hair due to the shape of the hair fibre. The curly shape of the strand indicates that the hair cuticle may be slightly lifted based on the porosity. This means that the strand may be more prone to damage and is more prone to lose moisture.
Our hair follicles produce an oil known as sebum. Sebum travels down the hair shaft, nourishing and moisturising the strand as it goes. The shape of a curl makes it more difficult for the sebum to travel, and as a result it doesn’t always make it to the end of the strand. This means that curly hair may become dry or dehydrated a lot quicker.
Most shampoos contain a detergent ingredient called sodium lauryl sulphate. It does a great job at cleaning the hair and working up a foamy lather, but it can also have a drying effect, essentially stripping hair of its natural moisture (which curly hair needs plenty of!).
We recommend using a sulphate-free shampoo instead. Try the new HASK Curl Care Moisturising Shampoo (R179.95): suitable for all curl patterns and enriched with a nourishing blend of coconut oil, argan oil and vitamin E, this formula hydrates and protects your curls from damage. Each wash gently removes build-up without stripping away natural oils, revealing bouncy and weightless curls.
Cantu’s Flaxseed smoothing shampoo (R179.99) removes product build-up and impurities, leaving curls fresh and bouncy. Flaxseed helps reduce breakage, repairs damaged curls, and minimises frizz. A carefully-curated formula designed for curly, coily, and wavy hair.
When conditioning curly hair, you want to look for deep conditioning products. It can become a little difficult to retain moisture in curly hair. It is essential to use a deep conditioner, especially on the shaft of your hair as well as your ends. Look for moisturising ingredients such as shea butter or coconut oil.
Try the newly-launched Marc Anthony Strictly Curls® 3X Moisture Triple Blend Conditioner (R154. 95). This conditioner gives thirsty curls the essential moisture they need to feel strengthened, smoothed and protected.
Cantu Flaxseed Smoothing Leave-In or Rinse Out Conditioner (R179.99).A silicone-free formula that moisturises dry, brittle hair. Crafted with pure shea butter, honey, vitamin E, olive oil, and flaxseed oil, this Smoothing Conditioner infuses your hair with all the nutrients needed to promote healthy hair growth.
Direct Heat styling is probably the worst thing you can do to curly hair. If it’s unavoidable, it’s important to protect your hair in the process by using a diffuser (this gets attached to the front of your hairdryer, allowing for more even heat distribution). A heat protectant product is also an essential!
It is worth investing in silk pillowcases or wearing a bonnet while you sleep. Cotton pillowcases are absorbent and soak up the moisture from hair, plus they can create friction when you move around causing breakage. Sleeping on silk results in less friction, plus it doesn’t draw out or absorb any moisture from your hair.
HASK Curl Care 5-in-1 Leave-In Spray (R189. 95) is a great product to add to your arsenal. It gives hair an added boost of moisture while softening and increasing shine. Best of all, is it provides thermal protection.
The Perfect Hair Sunflower Oil Spray (R79.99) is infused with quality sunflower, coconut and castor oils. Can be used on both skin and hair for a natural shine boost, and to seal in moisture.
Crème of Nature’s Leave-In Conditioner (R149.95) is a unique two-phase formula that combines argan Oil liquid shine and a strengthening protein complex that improves hair strength, protects against damage, and adds moisture and shine.
Give your hair extra moisture and allow your curls extra bounce by including a deep treatment product in your hair care routine. Whether used weekly, bi-weekly or once a month, it’ll give your hair that extra hydration boost it needs.
Try Marc Anthony Strictly Curls® 3X Moisture Deep Conditioning Treatment (R179.95). It gives your curls the lasting, deep moisture they truly need for definition, better bounce, formation, and hydration. For curls that need a little something extra, we recommend Marc Anthony Strictly Curls® 3X Moisture Moisturising Smoothie (R154.95). With this crafted smoothie cream, frizz is smoothed and curls are defined with lasting moisture. It gives curls a soft, flawless hold that lets your natural curl shine.
The Perfect Hair Sunflower Leave-in Treatment (R69.99) contains natural sunflower, coconut and castor oils that penetrate the hair to soften, strengthen and repair. Designed to treat dry or damaged hair, this mild and effective treatment product to use on curly and coily Afro hair types.