Curly hair can be both beautiful and difficult to manage. Being someone with curly hair myself, there are many times when I have wished that I just had straight, easy-to-manage hair. But the trials and tribulations of curly hair aside, I did realise that I was making some common mistakes that were taking a toll on my beautiful locks and making them rebel a lot more than usual. So, here are the top 13 hair care mistakes we all (people with curly hair) make.
13. Combing your hair when it is wet: Your hair is the weakest when it is wet, and combing it at this time will not only cause your hair to break but will also weaken the strands. This is because when wet, your hair is more elastic, and when you run a comb through it (especially when you try to untangle a knot) your hair stretches and snaps back — weakening it and making your hair susceptible to breakage, split ends and frizz.
Tip: Instead of combing your hair after you have washed it or while you are in the shower, try combing out the knots before you start your hair wash regimen. This will ensure your hair is relatively knot free after you are done and free of damage.
12. Detangling it roughly: Running your comb through your hair and trying to detangle it by pulling through knots is another big mistake most people with curly hair make. This not only breaks your hair but also pulls at it from the scalp, making them weaker.
Tip: To get rid of knots without hurting your hair, section your hair and twist the strands so that you have a small portion of free hair at the end. Brush through this section to detangle it and gradually move up the section of hair. The twisting action prevents your hair from breaking and does not pull at your hair from your scalp. This does take a little more time than usual, but your hair will thank you for it.
11. Using too much heat : If your straightening iron is your favourite tool to tame your hair, its time you gave it up. Using heat on your hair once in a while is fine but using it on a regular basis can damage your hair. This is because when you use a straightening iron or blow drier on your hair the heat not only saps your hair of all its moisture and natural oils, but the heat tends to make your hair frizzy and dry. So, if you want to keep your locks looking healthy and shining give up that regular regimen of straightening or blow drying your hair.
Tip: Instead of straightening your hair with a straightening iron, you can opt for some natural and heat free methods to get the desired look. If drying your hair is the worry, use a thin towel instead of a thick one to dry your hair. A thin towel is much easier to handle and can be used to dry sections of your hair and scalp. Another good tip is to switch to a dry towel (not the one you use to dry your body) once you leave the shower to dry your hair. A dry towel is much more absorbent and will help dry your hair faster.
10. Not oiling it: Oiling your hair and scalp is the best way to keep your locks hydrated, and your scalp healthy. Apart from that, it also helps keep scalp infections at bay, gets rid of dirt that sticks to your hair and increases blood circulation in and around your scalp. But there are many times when we tend to give the all essential hair care step a miss. This not only leaves your hair dry, makes it susceptible to damage and leads to dehydration of the scalp.
Tip: Use warm oil every alternate day to oil your hair. Apply it on your scalp by sectioning off parts of your hair and massage it well into your scalp. After you have applied the oil on your scalp, take a wide toothed comb and brush through your hair. Making sure you run it from the top (front part) of your scalp to the tips; and from the base of your scalp to the tips of your hair. This practice ensures that all the oil spreads to both your hair shafts and scalp. Apart from that, it also helps increase blood circulation on your scalp and allows the essential nutrients present in the oil to permeate through your scalp. Doing this about an hour before you wash your hair is more than enough to ensure your hair is healthy, well conditioned and soft after you wash it.
9. Using a lot of hair products: Taming curly hair is no mean task. Conditioners, mousse, hair sprays and products to prevent frizz are all common fixtures for people with this kind of hair. But while these products might help keep your hair looking absolutely perfect, know that they can cause a lot of damage. For one, these products contain numerous chemicals that can damage your hair in the long run. Apart from that, if you don’t wash off the product and apply a fresh layer of it over unwashed hair, it tends to trap dirt and grime on your hair shaft which can eventually harm your scalp leading to infections.
Tip: Make sure you use products that suit your hair and avoid using them on a daily basis. A good way is to use natural methods for soft manageable curls and resort to products only when the occasion demands it.
8. Not washing it often enough: Washing curly hair is difficult, especially if it is thick and long. Most importantly getting rid of all the shampoo as you wash can be a task too. But despite all the hardship, washing your hair at regular intervals is essential. This is because the climate in India is often hot and humid, and thick hair tends to sweat more and trap more dirt. All this can lead to a dirty scalp, infections (like dandruff) and hair fall. Ideally washing your hair at least three times a week is a healthy practice.
Tip: Making sure you oil your hair is the best way to ensure that you wash it regularly. So have a fixed hair oiling and washing schedule and make sure you stick to it.
7. Washing it too often: While not washing your hair often enough is bad, washing it too frequently can cause damage it too. Shampooing your hair frequently strips it of its natural oils and makes it dry and more prone to frizz. Apart from that, using too much shampoo causes the chemicals to form a sediment on your scalp, not allowing it to breathe, blocking the ducts of your sebaceous glands (that release an oily substance onto your skin to help keep it healthy) and can harm your hair follicles too.
6. Not combing it enough: In order to maintain curls, people often tend to avoid combing their hair. Combing through curls makes hair frizzy and is often an instant recipe for a bad hair day. But not combing your hair is far worse than having frizzy hair. Combing your hair helps get rid of tangles, aids in better blood circulation throughout your scalp and helps spread sebum throughout your hair shaft — helping it stay healthy.
Tip: If you don’t want to ruin your curls, a good way to maintain them is to comb your hair before you go to bed. This way you give your hair some time to form curls by the time you wake up. You may like to read about the right way to comb your hair for healthy locks.
5. Touching your hair too often: Touching your hair is one of the most common habits women have. But while it might feel good and help you feel better about how you look, touching your hair too much can be bad for your tresses too. As you run your fingers through your hair, not only do transfer the sweat and oil from your scalp on to the strands of your hair (making it look oily), but you also tend to transfer the dirt from your hands onto your hair. Apart from that running your hands through knotted hair can lead to broken hair and split ends.
Tip: Set your hair when you leave your home and make it a point to give up the habit of touching them to reset it too often. This might take a bit of practice but eventually you will get the hang of it. A good tip to make sure your hair products last longer is to touch it up with wet hands. The water reactivates the products and makes them last longer.
4. Pulling it back and tying it tight: One way to get your curly hair to settle down is by pulling it back into to a bun or a pony tail. But this practice has a lot of repercussions on your hair and scalp. Pulling back your hair causes your hair line to recede and can even lead to a condition called traction allopecia (where you lose hair due to styling it in one way too often). So, it would be a good idea to change the way you tie your hair.
Tip: If you want to tie your hair in a pony tail, make sure you pin the top section of your hair (the area that frames the top of your head) a little loosely and then pull your hair back in a ponytail. This will ensure that all the weight of your hair does not fall on the crown of your head preventing your hairline from receding. Also, make sure you change the way you tie your hair regularly to prevent traction allopecia.
3. Not using a conditioner: Curly hair demands that you use a conditioner. Not only does it help make your curls more manageable and less unruly but it also helps keep them soft and well hydrated.
Tip: Choose a conditioner wisely so that it suits your type of hair. If artificial conditioners do not suit your hair, try some natural methods to condition your hair without damaging them.
2. Getting it straightened permanently: Sometimes handling curls can be just a bit much, so getting them straightened permanently is often a very tempting choice. But did you know that all the chemicals and heat that goes into straightening your hair permanently can cause a lot more damage than you thought? Not only can the chemicals harm your scalp, but they also damage your hair, making them brittle and prone to split ends. Apart from that, the heat that is applied often leaves your hair dry and brittle. Not to mention the odd curly look you have when your natural hair starts to grow out.
Tip: Let your curls be. You can manage them at home with these tips.
1. Using a plastic comb: Plastic combs are probably the worst hair care appliances you can use if you have curly hair. Not only can they be harsh on your scalp, but they lead to frizz. This is because when you comb through your hair with a plastic comb the friction between the comb and your hair leads to the formation of static, which causes frizzy hair. This electric charge has also been known to cause hair breakage.
Tip: If you value your curls, ditch the plastic comb and opt for a wooden one instead. Here is why a wooden comb is much better than a plastic one when it comes to frizz free hair.