Feature Image by Paul Siewert

Curly hair gals know that the waves, kinks, coils, and everything in between have a mind of their own. And the difference between defined, gorgeous curls vs dehydrated, frizzy strands is all dependent on the hair care routine.

Curly hair has follicles that curl as they grow, so it’s harder for the scalp’s natural moisturizing oils to move down the shaft and provide hydration — and the main reason why curly hair needs way more moisture and hydration than straight hair to be healthy.

To help you embrace your natural texture, we spoke to industry experts for their five best tips to keep curls hydrated and balanced.

Protect your natural oils
When you shampoo, choose a formula that doesn’t contain harsh surfactants so it won’t strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils. A chelating shampoo like Curl Defining No-Lather Shampoo acts as a magnet for impurities, pulling them out of your hair without pulling out those natural oils. “Follow with a rich conditioner and leave-in to lock in all that lovely moisture that was delivered to your strands,” explains Lindsay Holden, co-founder of Odele.

Invest in a leave-in conditioner
Since curly hair is drier, it shouldn’t get washed as often as straight hair. It’s important to use a leave-in conditioner after shampooing. Shelly Aguirre, a stylist at Maxine Salon, says, “When looking for a leave-in, make sure that the leave-in is designed for your specific curly hair type. Hairitage by Mindy McKnight offers four different cruelty-free and vegan types of leave-ins that cater to a variety of curls to keep them properly moisturized.

Keep your scalp free of buildup
“Curly hair tends to be dry, and the scalp needs to be kept free of buildup, so it’s important to look for a curl-enhancing product rich in allantoin — a natural keratolytic. Allantoin helps to gently shed dead skin cells but also provides intense moisture and helps the curl look bouncy and hydrated,” says Chelsea Scott, co-founder of TheBeautySpy.com. Her favorite Allantoin product is Moremo Curling Essence because “it’s a triple threat packed with allantoin, silk, and keratin,” she shares.

Switch to air drying
Heat styling can lead to nasty damage and worsen dry ends. But, “those with a curly texture often use more heat to achieve a desired smooth look, without the frizz, so they need to give the hair a break from hot tools and let it air-dry at least once or twice a week,” says Danielle Waldron, CMO of Gussi.

Add daily moisture
“An essential way of keeping curls hydrated is maintaining continuous moisturization daily with a serum like NUELE Hair Serum. This ensures that beneficial moisture is locked into your hair follicle and the natural curl is maintained as desired,” explains Dr. Christine Martey-Ochola, NUELE co-founder.

Do you have any hair care tips for curly hair? Let us know in the comments below!

xx, The FabFitFun Team