Hair can be complicated, but there are some simple truths to it.
Truth #1: Haircut
A good haircut is essential. I can’t stress enough how important a good haircut is for how good your hair looks. Find a haircut online based on the shape of your face and your hair type, or if you trust your hairstylist, ask them what they think would suit you.
Tips for Curly Hair: Find someone to cut your hair who has curly hair, because he or she will know how to cut curly hair the best. How do you find someone like that? NaturallyCurly.com has a Salon Finder that will help you find a curly stylist. It’ll probably cost more than a trip to Great Clips, but trust me, it’ll change the way you see and feel about your hair.
Truth #2: Trimming
Get your hair trimmed frequently. If you don’t keep up with your hair, how is your hair supposed to keep up with you? For short hair, 4-8 weeks is recommended, and for long hair, 8-12 weeks. If you have curly hair and have a haircut tailored to your curly hair, you can wait up to 10-12 weeks! That’s worth a good haircut, isn’t it?
Truth #3: Shampooing
If you have straight hair or wavy hair, you should wash about every other day. The benefit of straight hair is that the natural oil will moisturize your hair and slide down the hair shaft easily. Washing everyday should not be necessary unless your scalp is especially oily.
I recommend using a natural shampoo without lauryl sulfate. Harsh chemical ingredients like lauryl sulfate can dry the scalp out more than conditioner can make up for. Find them on websites like Swanson Vitamins or Amazon. Availability tends to be limited at local grocery stores. Other shampoo ingredients to avoid can be found at NaturallyCurly.com: Cleansing Agents in Shampoos.
If you need a shampoo to remove buildup, treat an itchy scalp or dandruff, try a 2% salicylic acid shampoo. It’s safe for curly hair as long as you don’t use it often.
Tips for Curly Hair: Whatever you do, don’t wash everyday! The natural oils from the scalp can’t slide down curly hair shafts as easily as straight hair shafts, so washing everyday will only dry your scalp out. Instead, wash every 3-4 day, and use shampoo only on the top of your head where the oiliness tends to be. The rest of your hair isn’t getting any moisture from your scalp, so you don’t need to shampoo it.
Truth #4: Conditioning
Conditioning is as necessary as shampooing, because shampoo removes at least some moisture. If you use natural shampoo and traditional conditioner, you should see a difference in the moisture level of your hair and scalp.
If you use a natural shampoo and conditioner, the conditioner won’t be replacing the moisture, but just adding to it to help keep your hair soft and shiny.
Tips for Curly Hair: Using a deep moisturizing treatment as your conditioner will make a dramatic difference in your hair health. I like using Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist. Just a quarter-sized amount spread throughout the hair (not on the scalp) and combed through is plenty.
Another key to conditioning: don’t rinse it out. You’ll get a lot more out of your conditioner if you don’t rinse it out. This method may weigh down straight hair, but it’s worth a try if your hair needs moisture badly.
Truth #5: Styling
Every person will have to find styles that work for them, but the key to good styling is not killing your hair. Try to settle for a style that doesn’t require you to flat-iron all the time, or a style that you can flat-iron or go without flat-ironing. If you do straighten your hair often, get your hair trimmed more often to prevent a style disaster. You can also consider a straightening treatment, which is better for your hair than flat-ironing frequently.
Tips for Curly Hair: You may find that moisture is enough to style your hair. I like using Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist not just as a conditioner, but as a styling product. After shampooing and conditioning, I put a little more of it in my hair (maybe a nickel-sized portion) and comb it through my hair. It increases the amount of moisture and softness and prevents tangles much more effectively than just putting conditioner in my hair and then styling. I also use argon oil and then use a blow dryer with a diffuser. This is plenty of moisture and structure for my hair to be able to do all the styling by itself!
Another important tip: a blow dryer with a diffuser is essential for curly hair. I used to be anti-blow-drying and then bought one for the winter. It increased the curliness of my hair dramatically. The diffuser will prop up your curls as it dries it, giving the curls a chance to hold instead of being weighed down by water. Invest in a good hairdryer!
Truth #6: Frizz
Frizz is an unfortunate truth of hair, but it is a truth, and so we’ll address it. Especially in humidity, frizz can be frustrating, but it’s the possible result of two factors: dry hair and open hair pores.
If you keep your hair plenty conditioned, then you know which one it is. If you think your hair is in need of some moisture-replenishing, try getting a trim and starting your hair-keeping habits over, focusing especially on moisturizing well. You can also try a deep conditioning treatment after conditioning, but don’t rinse it out to get the most out of it.
If you have frizz problems, but not dry hair problems, try using a 1 to 3 dilution of tea tree oil to water. Spray it in your hair somewhat generously. This will close the hair pores, so your hair doesn’t try to suck in moisture from the humid air. It also feels nice on your scalp and won’t leave any greasiness!
Truth #7: Dandruff and Dry Scalp
If you have dandruff or a dry scalp, try using a 2% salicylic acid shampoo. You should also consider switching to a natural shampoo and conditioner to prevent drying your scalp out further. Jojoba oil is also good for treating dandruff and a dry scalp. It will leave your hair a little on the oily side, though, so use it when you don’t have to go out.