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How To Care For Curly Hair

Last Updated on January 13, 2022

How To Care For Curly Hair:

Anyone with curly hair will agree with me when I say that growing up with curly hair sucked. Not knowing how to tame your curls as a kid led to the passing comment of “You should straighten your hair more often” after straightening it once for school. 

Plus, humid heat is not your best friend. 

So how do you care for curly hair? Is there a way of taming your unruly locks? Absolutely and the trick is to understand what your hair wants based on your hair type. 

Whether you have wavy hair on the type 2 scale or tight coils on the type 4 spectrum, learning to care for your curls  with the right products will transform your hair. 

But wait, let me tell you something. 

I have spent time trying and testing different routines that work for a wide range of curly girls out there; just by implementing these tips into your routine, you’ll notice a massive change in the way your curls look and feel– plus little frizz. 

Let’s get into it, shall we? 

How To Care Of Curly Hair Based On Your Curl Type: 

Any curly girl knows that there isn’t just “one type of curl” there are lots of different types from type 2A which is more of a wave to type 4C which is the coils.

Let’s break them down into categories as caring for your curly hair differs slightly based on your curl type.

How to Care For 4a to 4c Curls:

Type 4 hair is commonly referred to as afro-textured, coiled, or kinky hair. It tends to look very dry and almost spongy in texture, but it can also look wiry. 

Strands from very tight small curls in zig zags from the scalp are prone to shrinkage. 

Type 4 curls are beautiful, but they’re most prone to dryness. The natural oils from your scalp struggle to travel down every coil on your hair shaft, making it prone to dryness, breakage, and frizz. 

The last thing we want is to strip our hair from natural oils by using harsh shampoos s. This may further dry the hair out and cause scalp issues like itching and flaking. 

Instead of using regular shampoo, you’ll want to invest in a moisturizing curly hair shampoo which will balance out your scalp oils and provide hydration to the ends of your hair needs. 

You may have been taught to wash your hair every other day, but this is the worst thing you can do with curly hair. You’ll need to train your hair to wash it less and less.

I would recommend washing your hair with curly shampoo every week or two, and in-between washes; I would reccomend doing a deep conditioning treatment on the ends. 

This will help keep your ends and scalp hydrated, and by training your hair to wash it less, you’ll notice your scalp looks less greasy. 

Caring for 4A hair:

People with 4A hair tend to have dense, springy, S-patterned coils in the same circumference as a crochet needle. 

A good curling cream and leave in the moisturizer will be your best friend for revitalizing dry strands and hydrating the ends of your curls. 

Caring for 4B hair: 

4B curls are densely packed and blend in sharp angles like the letter Z; using nourishing water and hydrating cream before styling this type of hair will leave it looking hydrated ad will define these curls.

Coconut oil is also ideal for this type of hair as it makes it appear thicker, plus it helps stretch out coils and clump them together for texture definition.  

However this is only suitable if you have high porosity curls as it might be too heavy for low porosity curls and just sit on top of the curls rather than penetrate deeply. 

Knowing how to use hair oils for curly hair is important to understand what works for your curls and what doesn’t.

Caring for 4C curls:

4C is the curliest hair type you’ll find, it has a similar texture to 4B hair, but the coiled strands are much more fragile; they have a tiny, tight zig-zag pattern down the hair. 

I would recommend using a substantial amount of leave-in moisturizer such as SheaMoisture Red Palm Oil& Cocoa Butter Curl Stretch Pudding.

This will help maximize the length of the strands. Castor oil is also another brilliant hydrator for brittle and dry ends.

curly hair x3

How To Care For 3A To 3C Curls:

The strands on this curl part of the spectrum tend to be much looser and wavier; the moisture of the hair here all depends on the porosity of your hair. 

You’ll want to find the right balance, some moisturizers, conditioners, and styling products may be too heavy on your hair if you have low porosity but may not be enough if you have high porosity hair. 

You should go for a lightweight sulfate-free, curly shampoo and conditioner if you have low porosity hair to smooth the hair rather than weigh it down. 

Type 3 curls tend to get frizzier because the curls are in between a tight spiral and loose wave, so be sure to focus your efforts on moisture and investing in the right gel based on your hair’s porosity. 

Caring for 3A curls:

When caring for 3A curls, your hair is just out of the wavy type and starting to look more curly. Frizz is not your friend and brushing your hair while dry is a no-go. 

Instead, brush your hair while wet and twirl each section to define your curls with your choice of styling cream or gel. This will help keep frizz at bay and really define those curls.

If you notice your hair is getting frizzy or losing oomph, I will reccomend purchasing a curl refresher to give it the little boost it needs. 

Caring for 3B hair:

Type 3B curls are known for their springy ringlets, almost as tight as a sharpie marker. As the curls get tighter, the texture tends to get dryer as your hair struggles to distribute natural oils from the scalp to the ends.

I would reccomend using styling gels with humectants to attract moisture and retain moisture on the strands of your hair; apply while your hair is wet, so you get defined curls without the frizz. 

Caring for 3C hair:

3c curls are almost like tight corkscrews; they can range from the size of a straw to a pencil; they offer natural volume as the curls are densely packed together. 

Frizz again is common; I would reccomend going for a sulfate-free, creamy cleanser to renourish the ends and help tackle frizz. 

Using a curling mousse over a styling cream when the hair is soaking wet also helps curls clump together and dry faster, leaving them looking defined. 

curly hair pic x2

How to care for 2A to 2C hair: 

Type 2 hair is on the bottom end of the curly hair spectrum; it is compared to wavy or slightly curly hair when you get down to type 2C.

Caring for 2A hair: 

2A hair is defined as loose and even ‘lazy waves.’ 2a hair is the loosest curl type, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with challenges.

The biggest thing you’ll find with 2A hair is that it is prone to frizz and, in some cases, ‘matting.’ The round brush will be your best friend for helping frizz, paired with the right heat protectant for curly hair.

I would recommend using a curl-enhancing shampoo, curl-enhancing leave-in conditioner, curl-defining gel, and curl reviving tonic for any touchups.  I would also do a deep conditioning treatment every 3-4 weeks.

Caring for 2B hair:

Type 2b waves have slightly more texture and movement than type 2a; you need to control your curl a bit more to prevent it from getting voluminous and wild.

I recommend investing in a heavier styling product such as a texture cream or gel, which helps weigh down your unruly locks.

Twisting small sections into tendrils and let them completely dry before running your fingers through to break apart and shape the wave. I would reccomend deep conditioning every 2 weeks.

You should use the same products for 2A, but instead of just using a curl reviving tonic for touchups, I would also invest in a fortifying curl lotion or shining curl oil.

Caring for 2C hair: 

My 2c girls can have a lot of fun with their curls; these types of curls are what most people try to achieve through curling their hair, so if you’re lucky enough to have this curl type, embrace it!

However, without the right products or tools for the job, it can be quite a tough challenge to achieve. You should use heavy gels and shine serums when defining these kinky curls.

I would also reccomend you invest in a diffuser and use it in a cool setting, gently lifting the hair at the root and scrunching it down the shaft as you dry it.

Humidity is not your best friend though, with type 2 hair, you’re prone to frizz, so you need to be sure you’re nourishing your hair with lots of hydration and regularly using a deep conditioner, so your ends don’t dry out.

Shea Moisture is a brilliant brand for type 2 hair; these are my top recommendations:

  • – Manuka Honey & Yoghurt
  • – Superfruit Complex
  • – Argan Oil & Almond Milk
  • – Fruit Fusion Coconut Water
  • – 100% Virgin Olive Oil
wavy hair

How often should you wash curly hair?

As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be washing it every day for curly hair. Instead, you should wash it 1-3 times a week– 3 times as a maximum if you’re training your hair.

You should use a gentle, hydrating shampoo and always condition to help keep the cuticle and scalp healthy. Washing your hair too often will dry your scalp out, which is the last thing we want for our curly locks.

Curly hair struggles to retain moisture on the ends, so instead of constantly washing your hair, you should wash with conditioner between washes.

Washing your hair with conditioner may sound odd for someone with straight hair, but it is the trick to nourishing the ends of curly hair.

But don’t worry, you don’t put conditioner on your scalp as you would shampoo; instead, you run the water through your hair to remove excess oils and dirt and then nourish the mid-lengths and ends with conditioner or deep conditioning treatment.

Top curly hair tips here, my friends!

How To Build A Curly Hair Care Routine:

Here are some of my top tips and tricks for building a curly hair care routine based on your curl pattern. Curly hair routines only vary slightly between curl types– don’t worry.

Establishing a good cleansing routine:

You need to start your curly hair routine with a good wash to help eliminate any dirt, grime, and excess oil buildup on your scalp.

Make sure you focus on your roots as this is where the buildup will collect; the ends of your hair probably lack natural oils, so mainly focus on the roots.

Getting yourself a sulfate-free and paraben-free shampoo is super important as harsh shampoos you buy from the drugstore will damage your curls.

Washing your hair once or twice a week throughout will keep your hair feeling fresh and your curls defined.

Regularly conditioning your hair: 

Follow up your shampoo with a curly hair conditioner; for type 4A to 4C hair, you’ll want to look for a more moisture-rich option, particularly with castor oil.

Between your shampoo washes, you should alternate with conditioner washes, this will help keep your hair fresh and curls hydrated when styling.

Remember to deep condition at least once a month:

Deep conditioning at least once a month will help restore moisture that your regular shampoo won’t do. It will hydrate the ends and help retain more moisture in the ends of your hair.

I would reccomend leaving the treatment on for half an hour with a cotton towel or microfibre towel on your head, so it penetrates deeply into the cuticles.

Properly dry your hair: 

You may not have a choice to brush your hair while wet, but properly drying your hair is so important. Our hair is weakest when wet, and brushing it while wet puts enough toll on the ends.

It is important to dry curly hair with fabric that won’t cause too much friction; this will prevent your curls from looking frizzy and breakage.

Instead of using a traditional towel, opt for a soft cotton t-shirt to dry your curls.

Protecting your curls: 

Protecting your curls is a super important part of the curl care routine, especially while you sleep. You should make sure your curls don’t rub on rough fabrics as this can cause breakage and frizz.

Instead, opt for a bonnet, or if you prefer, opt for a satin pillowcase; this will help protect your luscious curls while you catch some well-deserved Zzz.

I would also reccomend investing in a heat protectant cream, spray, oil, or serum designed for curly hair as it will protect your curls from breakage and heat. 

Choosing the right hairbrush: 

As you may well know, not any old brush works on curly hair, plus by only being able to brush your hair while wet, you’re limited to options. Choosing the right brush is crucial. 

I would reccomend using a wide-tooth comb in the shower when using your conditioner to help ease the knots and prevent tugging and breakage. 

I would also reccomend investing in a Denman brush or wide bristle brush; they’re brilliant for defining curls. The plastic bristles help to gently ease knots and allow you to twirl the brush as you comb through to define the curls. 


Learning to care for your luscious locks based on your curl type is so important; remember to moisturize, hydrate, and condition the ends! 

We’ve spent too long tackling frizz and trying to tame our unruly hair with excessive heat exposure and straightening the ends until they’re dry and split; now it’s time to give our hair the care and TLC it deserves! 

Finding the right shampoo and conditioner and styling products for your curls is the first battle, but taking the time to learn about your hair is super important too. 

Let’s embrace our curls, ladies!

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