9 Habits That Can Damage Curly Hair

by Elena Hart

I'll confess, I spent many of my younger years desperately trying to smooth and straighten my extra curly hair. But, after years of committing some bad habits that damage curly hair (from chemical processes to heat styling), I finally came to a point where I decided to embrace my natural texture. But then, I found that my curl pattern had seriously changed from the insane amount of stress that I put my hair through. (Sorry, poor, poor hair!) Luckily for me (and most likely for you), those bad habits that hurt curly hair are totally adjustable — any damage done to twirly strands can be reversed for a full and bouncy head of hair.

If you're constantly straightening your hair on Friday nights, for example, you'll want to reduce damage by finding an ionic flat iron with a low heat setting that won't scorch your twisting strands. If you haven't tried products with avocado and olive oils, you'll see your previously damaged and lifeless curls spring back to life with a revitalizing and split-end healing mask that contains the two power oils.

So, read on, embrace your curls, and keep them looking full and bouncy with these nine damage-reversing hair adjustments.

Chemically Straighten Curls? Loosen Curls Over Time With Natural Smoothing Product

AVEDA Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight , $25, Amazon

If you're guilty of putting hair through a lot of stress after trying to ditch your curls (been there), and you want to reverse the damage (but still smooth your twirly strands), this smoothing formula is the answer. This frizz-reducing formula has plant-derived fibers that attach to your hair, loosen curls over time, and lock in your straight style. Bonus: It's safe to use on already color-treated or relaxed hair.

Not Conditioning Curls Regularly? Coconut Oil Restores Hydration

Coconut Oil Hair Mask , $13, Amazon

If you're skimping on conditioning because you're afraid it might cause your hair to be oily or weighed down, think again: This coconut oil mask is the perfect positively charged remedy for negatively charged (static) hair, and it makes a healthy, nourishing balance that creates a soft and full look. Plus, this deep conditioner was made with chemically processed and heat styled manes in mind. Users rave about this mask because of how deeply it penetrates their strands and combats dryness.

Damaged Curls With Heat? Choose Flat Iron With Ceramic Plates & Low Heat

Diamond Professional Hair Straightener , $129, Amazon

It's no secret that exposing our hair to heat causes major damage. This Ionic flat iron has ceramic plates that are coated with crushed diamond particles and tourmaline for curls that will remain healthy and shiny after you heat style. Make sure to stick to this iron's low heat setting when running it through your hair — this will help your 'do maintain its natural curl pattern.

Don't Prep & Protect Curl Pattern? Spray Organic Thermal Shield

Revive Procare Thermal Protector , $23, Amazon

Giving hair as much protection as possible when smoothing strands with heat is vital to protecting natural curl pattern. This weightless organic spray is a leave-in conditioner and thermal protectant combo that helps your hair maintain moisture, as well as the vital proteins it needs to be vibrant. When you protect your hair against the harsh damages of heat, you won't find those awkward wavy and straight strands mixed in with your normal curl pattern.

Brush Through Curls? Instead, Comb With Sandalwood

M yhsmooth Sandalwood Comb, $12, Amazon

If your hair is beyond curly, brushing through it to keep it under control can seem like the best solution. But to avoid causing stresses on curls and creating major frizz, switch from the brush to this fine-tooth comb handmade naturally with sandalwood to keep static and frizz out. Wooden combs are best for curly hair and will distribute oil evenly down longer strands. Bonus: Wooden combs won't break or snag your hair — and this one has a pleasant aromatic scent, too.

Clean Locks With Just Any Wash? Stick To Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curling Shampoo , $11, Amazon

Sulfates, which are found in many hair products, can strip curly hair of the natural oils it needs to do its thing. This coconut oil and hibiscus shampoo is sulfate-free and designed for thick, curly hair. Plus, your locks will feel like they have new life after being renewed with silk proteins. Like Florence Welsh would say, the blah hair days are over.

Ignoring Damage? Olive & Avocado Oil Infusion Nourishes Split Ends

Giovanni Avocado and Olive Oil Deep Moisture, $8, Amazon

If you've been growing out your curls and haven't been making regular six-to-eight week salon appointments for a healthy trim, you'll most likely find yourself with dry and breaking ends. This deep moisture hair mask is made with avocado and olive oils (two of the best natural ingredients to combat dryness) to revitalize hair and seal split ends, so your hair can keep growing long and healthy without breaking.

Tight Up-dos Stressing Scalp? Detangle Knots, Then Wear Protective Braid

Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner/Detangler, $13, Amazon

On days when you need to pull curls back, put your hair into a soft, low braid to protect spirals from the elements. This detangling spray, made for curly hair, will smooth your cuticle and remove your worst tangles without the ouch factor that you're used to. Pro Tip: Thick haired girls can apply this product with a fine-toothed comb and keep it on all day as a leave-in conditioner.

Sleep On Cotton Pillowcases? Switch To Silk To Protect Strands

Spasilk Satin Hair Beauty Pillowcase, $13, Amazon

Cotton or wool blend pillows can dry out curls and leave them looking flat and lifeless. The friction from these fabrics while you sleep can also put your curls under major stress, causing permanent damage. Switching to this satin pillowcase, made specifically to eliminate breakage and reduce frizz, will make sure you're always waking up to a full volumized 'do. Users praise these pillowcases because they lead to soft and smooth hair after sleeping on them.

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