22 Strange But Brilliant Hair Hack Products Anyone With Curly Hair Should Know
Natural curls are gorgeous, but going "natural" doesn't always mean that there’s zero effort involved. The internet is loaded with life-changing hacks for curly hair, because caring for curls is pretty different from caring for straight hair, and it requires its own specific routine and products. Needless to say, people want to know the best and most effective ways to do just that, and new and innovative tactics are always welcome.
That’s why I reached out to ten professional stylists and hair experts who specialize in natural curls. They were more than willing to share their insights on the best ways to care for curly hair, and a good handful of them shared brilliant tips I’d never heard of before.
Almost all the curly hair experts I spoke to said the same three things: First, curly hair needs more moisture than straight hair. Second, avoid brushes and combs (especially while dry), but if you must, choose your tools carefully. And Finally, to the best of your ability, skip anything that’ll cause chemical or heat damage. In order to achieve all of the aforementioned, these ten experts also recommended some surprisingly brilliant curly hair products to help out with their hacks. Not only are these products interesting and intriguing, but they help to retain the moisture, health, and strength that curly hair needs to look its best.
1Add A Drop Of Conditioner To Your Shampoo For More Manageable Curls
"For manageable curled hair it's all about the cocktailing and layering of the perfect hair products," says Netty Jordan, Celebrity Stylist. "For quick in-shower hacks I like to mix a nourishing conditioner like Label.m Honey and Oat line with a tiny drop of shampoo. The mix of products leave the hair cleansed but still moisturized and manageable."
2Or Try A Shampoo That Doesn't Lather (And Doesn't Strip Away Oils)
"Frizz is caused by an imbalance of moisture so we want to avoid stripping the natural oils," says Dailín Davila, Senior Stylist at G2o Spa + Salon in Boston. "No Poo is a zero lather cleanser made by Deva Curl. The fact that it doesn't create suds is still very strange to some people, although curly haired women all over the world are getting used to this idea. It's my number one product recommendation for any client that is having trouble with frizz and needs more hydration and definition. The fact that it doesn't have a lathering agent allows the curls to maintain their natural oils which is the best possible conditioning agent for hair."
3Rethink Your Typical Diffuser Design
Nick Arrojo, Owner & Founder of ARROJO NYC, recommends this strange but effective metal YS Park large diffuser. "It’s lightweight and travel-friendly and perfect for creating curl and texture expansion." That's because the mesh contains silver and titanium particles which retain heat without producing air flow for a softer, more manageable diffused heat. It also has an adjustable strap that'll fit most blow dryer sizes.
4Prep Your Products With A Hair Primer
You've heard of priming your face, but what about your hair? MariLynne Cosmillo, Cherry Blow Dry Bar Director of Education & Operations, recommends you do just that. "Anytime you’re using products with a strong hold, like a spray, mousse or gel, put on a protective barrier with proteins. Try Heat Is On by Blowpro. It’s loaded with milk and rice proteins amongst others with no styling agents to get in the way of your favorite product of choice, but will help treat your hair all day long."
5Mix This Conditioner With Water In A Spray Bottle And Use It As Your Styling Product
Ali Ryan, owner and stylist at The Dry House in Nashville, says, "I would recommend mixing water and your conditioner in a spray bottle and using that as your product. It's a great trick to refresh curls after a few days, or to use right after a shower. Spray in, let air dry, or use a diffuser if you're on a time crunch." Ryan recommends Deva Curl conditioner for this hack. It's got an ultra-creamy consistency to restore strength and manageability, and it's made specifically for curly hair.
6Don't Be Afraid Of Oily Moisturizing Components
According to Natè Bova, Master Stylist at Warren Tricomi Salon and specialist in natural hair, "The major difference with caring for curly hair is that curly hair needs a lot more moisturizing components in shampoos and conditioners, like argan oil, marula, shea, etc. My preferred shampoo/conditioner is the Acure Triple Moisturizing." The formula is loaded with interesting ingredients like sea buckthorn oil and argan stem cells, but these oily ingredients work wonders as far as getting healthy, bouncy curls.
7Certain Edible Ingredients (Like Avocado) Can Help Nourish Tired Hair
According to Schwarzkopf Celebrity Stylist Larry Sims, "Curly Hair, no matter what consistency, tends to be a bit more dry than straight hair... Use ground or grinded avocado in your hair as a mask. The natural oils provide nutrients and adds moisture to the hair." Or, to minimize mess, there's Giovanni 2chic mask, which has avocado and olive oils to revitalize tired hair, detangle knots, and infuse strands with nourishment.
8Go For Versatile Products That Cover All Your Bases
According to Anthony Cole, Sebastian Professional International Stylist, a "great product for helping restore elasticity and keratin back into the hair is Clairol Professional Keratin Rescue Split End Repair." Not only does it protect from damage, reduce frizz, and improve shine and strength, but you can use it as a serum, pre-blow-out cream, or lightweight styling agent. "It can be used as a leave-in conditioner and is great for all," says Cole.
9Natural Oils Are "The Greatest Resource In A Curly Hair Arsenal"
Jorge Manni, stylist at Eliut Salon, speaks to the importance of natural oils in your hair care routine. "In their purest form, they are the greatest resource in curly hair arsenal." As a result, Manni recommends argan oil, like this OneNaturals organic brand. It's USDA-certified organic and unrefined without any fillers to preserve all of the natural nourishment. It's also non-greasy, non-scented, and comes in a glass bottle with a dropper for easy application.
10Layer (Don't Cocktail) With A Great Curl Cream For Moisture And Shine
"When applying leave-in products I always layer rather than cocktail to stay away from unwanted flaky buildup," comments Jordan. "For the ideal curls my go-to product [is] Label M Create Curl cream for definition, moisture and shine." It smells great, dispenses easily, and even helps to heal hair that's damaged from heat or coloring.
11And Even The Professionals Mix And Match With Drug Store Products
"You may also think that as a stylist in a fancy salon, I use fancy products," says Bova. "I actually sometimes use Treseme Mega Hold gel (A drug store product) to style my curls along with the Rusk Jelee Gloss." It adds shine and all day control without that sticky, wet look, and it even helps with humidity resistance to keep frizz levels down.
12For Thinner Curls, Try A Lightweight Mist Instead Of A Serum
"People with curly hair need to spritz CHI Keratin Mist on a daily basis to lock in moisture and improve shine," says Rocky Vitelli, Farouk Systems Global Artist." While it's more of a mist than a serum, it still provides loads of moisture. It's also a great option for thin curls that tangle easily, because it won't weigh hair down too much.
13For Added Moisture And Less Product Build-Up, Switch Your Shampoo Out For Cowash
"Curly heads should condition more often than they shampoo," says Arrojo. "Too much shampoo will sit on the scalp and cause more build up and residue... This is where the co-washing trend came from, as more and more girls realized they could skip shampoo and just go with conditioner. The only problem with this is we all need to shampoo sometimes; even the curliest heads should shampoo at least once a week. ReNEW Cowash can be used in lieu of your regular shampoo and conditioner; it cleanses without suds or foam, so it doesn’t leave buildup, while the rich and hyper-moisturizing formula uses avocado and babassu oils for an incredibly rich and conditioning one-step regimen."
14Keep Your Hair's Elasticity In Mind When Cleansing
"Natural coils stop at the scalp and do not allow your natural oils to spread and penetrate all over the surface," says Cole, which makes gentle cleansing especially important. "I recommend cleansing the hair dry with Sebastian Professional Twisted Elastic Cleanser, massaging it into the scalp to ensure a deep clean." It washes the hair thoroughly, but infuses each strand with flexibility and moisture instead of stripping the hydration, like standard shampoos do.
15Sensitive Skin? Try A High-Quality Aloe Vera Gel To Style Curls
"Another strange but genius product I recommend is aloe vera gel," says Davila. "I recently had a client who was having skin reaction allergies and was looking for something very natural. It was something I had heard through the grapevine but hadn't tried. The result was surprising; her hair was more defined and bouncy than if she had used nothing at all. I don't think it would have worked as well on someone with coarser tighter curls but for her texture it worked out." This one by Green Leaf Naturals uses certified organic aloe with no added dyes or alcohol, so it's extra safe for sensitive skin.
16Do An At-Home Steam Treatment With A Lightweight Oil
"To give curly hair great moisture, use GLISS Hair Repair Nutritive Oil on wet hair and let sit in a steam shower for 10 minutes," says Sims. It's a lightweight and non-greasy formula that infuses strands with keratin and eight different beauty oils, making it stronger, shinier, and more manageable.
17This "King Of All Products" With An Odd Formula That Prevents Build-Up
"For curly hair, I recommend Aveda Be Curly," says George Kyriakos, founder of Stylebookings. "It’s the king of all curly hair products. You apply it after you wash your hair, then you can let your hair air dry and repeat, or use a diffuser to dry your hair. You can apply a few times throughout the day and it will not build up." The strange secret? A wheat protein blend that expands when hair is wet, but retracts when hair is dry.
18For Uniform Texture, Moisture, And Anti-Humidity, Start With A Great Base
“All hair is unique but, generally, with curly hair you want to encourage a defined curl and reduce frizz,” says Leo Izquierdo, Co-founder of IGK Hair Care. “SOLD OUT Curl Priming Basecoat will give you defined, humidity-proof curls that won’t lose shape, smoothness or shine. Sweet almond oil creates uniform texture and locks in moisture while sea kelp nourishes the scalp to help strengthen hair and prevent breakage. Use on damp hair to prime before styling. Spray on dry, styled hair throughout the day to re-activate style and hydrate curls.”
19Sleep On A Silk Or Satin Pillowcase To Reduce Frizz And Breakage
"[This] isn't a hair product, but it is a product that makes curls more manageable - Satin or silk pillowcases," says Davila. "You wouldn't necessarily think of it on your own but cotton is a very absorbent material and although our hair is not drenched in oil, the cotton will try to take anything it can get. Also, when you move around in your sleep, that creates a lot of friction on your hair which can cause lots of tangles as well as rough ends. Satin or silk allows your hair to glide more easily and won't dry it out." This pillowcase from YANIBEST uses 100 percent pure mulberry silk, comes in multiple colors and sizes, and is hypoallergenic as well as cooling.
20Instead Of Brushing, Find A Comb That Minimizes Breakage
"Avoid brushing your hair," says Cosmillo. "For the best looking curls, use a wide tooth comb in the shower while the conditioner is on and again after rinsing before getting out of the shower. Then, apply product evenly from root to tip without combing your hair to keep curls in their best shape." This pureGLO hair comb has wide teeth like Cosmillo recommends, but it's also made with genuine natural Jade Sandalwood — a dense and sleek material that prevents static and glides through hair much more easily than plastic or metal.
21Instead Of Shampooing Every Day, Reach For A Dry Shampoo That Compliments Curly Hair
Because curly hair needs more moisture, Manni suggests avoiding products that strip hydration. "Dry shampoos are great to deal with extra oil rather than over-shampooing, which can lead to damaged hair." This Silky Touch dry shampoo is vegan, eco-friendly, and uses careful ingredients that won't harm hair. "A little of it goes a long way," says one reviewer. "You don't need mounds of it for the product to work. Even if you have thick curly hair like myself."
22Try A Mousse Instead Of A Gel For Added Body And Shine
For body and shine, Vitelli recommends Biosilk Silk Therapy Mousse. After adding the mist, "Apply BioSilk Silk Therapy Mousse to damp hair and comb out. Put hair into place and when dry apply twisted fabric to hands and massage scalp for volume." Because it skips the alcohol, it's not drying and won't flake. It's even made with concentrated silk and botanical extracts for tons of nourishment.
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