So You Think You Know How to Care for Curly Hair

by Julia Teen

At last, curls are in. Every time Taylor Swift walks a red carpet, a teenage girl who 10 years ago would have woken herself up at 6 a.m. to flat-iron gets a little extra sleep, and grown women who grew up hating their unruly strands finally get a little peace, too. Now that you've finally embraced your locks, it's time to start taking care of them. What's that? You know exactly what you're doing? Maybe ... or maybe not. Even if you've always loved your spirals and waves, you may not know the best way to keep them healthy and shiny. Whether you’ve got natural ringlets or are contemplating a perm (yes, they’re still happening!) for more bounce and shape, here are the top six curly hair mistakes to avoid.

Getting Cut By A Stylist Who Doesn't Have Curls

Unless he or she has a known roster of curly-haired clients, it pays to be a little discriminatory towards a straight-haired stylist. This person may have studied your hair type, or even cut millions of curls, but someone with curly hair is probably going to have a better sense of how to cut your curls. In this case particularly, it takes one to know one.

Not Accounting For Shrinkage

Your coils are longer when wet and constrict once they dry. For this reason, don't let your stylist cut your hair while it's wet. Doing so is the best way to think you're getting a collarbone-length cut, but end up with curls that finish at your chin.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Opting For A Blunt Cut

Look to most curly-haired celebs, and you’ll notice that they work in multiple layers. Having your coils all the same length results in a boxy or triangular effect, which you likely don’t want.

Using The Wrong Products

Every hair type benefits from shampoo and styling products created specifically for it. But this is especially true of curly hair, because it is (and acts) so completely different than straight hair. When you're shopping for shampoo, look for bottles that emphasize hydration and moisturizing abilities. For styling products, words like "defined," "amplified," and "humidity control" are important.

Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo, $6.99, Amazon

Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Define & Hold Creme, $12.49, Amazon

Shampooing Too Often

Here's a big secret: Many people with curly hair don’t need to shampoo at all. Consider ditching shampoo altogether, and just washing with a conditioner to hydrate. Believe it or not, the simple act of massaging the scalp with conditioner removes excess oil — and it won't dry their hair out like shampoo can. If that doesn’t work for you, others swear by this product.

DevaCurl No-Poo Conditioning Cleanser, $14.85, Amazon

Using High Heat

For any type of hair, applying high heat from a blow dryer, hot iron, or curling wand leads to dryness and frizz. With curly hair, the effect is exponentially worse. Use these tools as little as you can, and always on the lowest setting.

CHI Low EMF Professional Hair Dryer, $69.99, Amazon

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