Tips to Tame Curls: Products for Natural Curly Hair
I recently read a blog about a young girl who used to hate her natural curly hair and ended up having her hair straightened, which eventually destroyed her scalp and the natural moisture of her hair. Well, honestly, just like this girl, I also fell victim of the straight hair trend here in the Philippines.
You see, the beauty standard in our country is white skin and straight hair. Curly hair was never regarded as beautiful. In fact, you will likely be bullied if you have curly hair. I remember that when I was young, my hair was called a bird’s nest, because it was untidy and, well, it really looks like a bird’s nest on my head. Because of this, I started detesting my curls at a young age and vowed to have it straightened once I grow up.
True enough, when I went to college, I had my hair straightened. And because I was still a student, my allowance was limited. Hence, I ended up choosing unreliable salons that offer hair straightening at a discounted price, which eventually destroyed my scalp and my hair. I didn't learned my lesson and still continued having my hair straightened for years, until finally I had enough. I eventually decided to embrace my uniqueness and love whatever I am and cultivate whatever I have. So I started loving and caring for my hair.
In this article, I will break down how I changed my views toward my own hair and began properly caring for it, as well as share tips and tricks for helping others with curly hair learn how to best care for it.
Learning to Love and Care for My Curly Hair
The first thing I did is I had the remaining straight hair cut off to remove all the memories of my hair straightening days. I really do not want to remember those painful moments. You see, having your hair straightened is painful—the medicine, the hair ironing, and (if the attendant is not careful) you might end up with a burnt scalp. Gosh! I can’t believe I did that to my lovely curls!
Now, I just want to help other women to learn to love their curls, help them find products that are suitable for their hair type, and give tips to maintain their beautiful curls.
In the Philippines, there are very few product advertisements for curly hair, but there are bunch of advertisements for straight hair. You can really see the discrimination for the two categories. But don’t be sad, there are still products sold online or in big shopping malls for curly hair (although it’s really limited).
Before using any products on your hair, however, first you have to know your hair type, as hair care routine varies depending on your curl type. There are at least 10 hair types, and mine is classified under 2C-wavy and 3A-curly. To find out more about your hair type, check out the video below.
Essential Items for Maintaining Healthy Curly Hair
Here are some of the products I’ve used and where you can buy them. So far, these products have been very useful and helpful in maintaining my curls.
Disclaimer: I am not a product endorser and this article is not sponsored by any of these companies. I am just sharing the products I used in hopes of helping others.
1. Hair Lotions
Hair lotions are used to style and define curls. It is absolutely recommended for type 3A hair, as it definitely alleviates the frizz and help maintain consistency with your curls. It also leaves your hair soft and shiny without weighing it down.
Hair lotions also add volume to your hair. Plus, it's not at all sticky, despite it being called “lotion."
Which Hair Lotions Are Easily Available and Where to Find Them
So far, the only hair lotion I found available in all Watsons stores is the Monea Hair Defining Hair Lotion. It is also cheap for only PHP 99, and you get to use it for three to five weeks.
Another hair lotion that you can only buy online through Shoppe or Lazada is the Garnier Fructis Style Curl Calm Down Anti-Frizz Cream, which is around PHP 280.
So far, both products work well for me. I recommend the Garnier more, however, because it has less smell—unlike Monea, which has a medicine-like smell (though it's more accessible, since it's available in all Watsons stores). They are both hair lotions though and serve the same purpose, so why not try both and check which suits you best?
How to Use Hair Lotion
After shampooing your hair and putting in conditioner, towel dry your hair. Then put an ample amount of hair lotion into your palm and spread evenly through your hair before combing it.
2. Hair Moisturizing Oils
Hair oil is a must for anyone with curly hair. Proper oils can actually resolve almost all of your curl issues, like frizz, brittleness, dryness, and even split ends.
You see, one of the problems with curly hair is that it holds less hydration than straight hair. Hence, you need to moisturize it often, and the best moisturizers are oils. Unlike hair lotions, hair oils are more readily available—either in stores or online—so using it often will not be a problem.
The 3 Main Types of Moisturizing Oils: Coconut, Olive, and Avocado
There are two main types of oils: sealing oils and moisturizing oils. First, let’s discuss moisturizing oils. The three best moisturizing oils for both hair and skin are: coconut, olive, and avocado. They all help to strengthen hair by preventing damage and even help reduce hair loss.
The most easily available and cheapest forms in the Philippines are coconut oil and olive oil—you can buy them in any grocery stores. Avocado oil, on the other hand, is quite rare and can usually only be bought online.
How to Use Hair Moisturizing Oils
For both coconut and olive oil, the best way to use it is to leave it overnight. Here’s the step-by-step process to do at night before you go to bed:
- Comb your hair to untangle your curls.
- Put the oil on your palm and apply it evenly to a handful of your hair.
- Do this process until all hair strands have been applied with oil.
- After applying it to your hair, comb again to spread the oil throughout your hair, then tie it before going to bed.
- The next morning, shampoo your hair and put some conditioner in it. Leave it in for five minutes.
- Comb and style your hair with sealing oils.
You can mix the olive and coconut oil if you want, or you can use one product at a time. I do this at least once a week and it’s like I went to the salon and had my hair steam oiled.
Doing this often will soften your hair and help remove your dandruff if you have some. Just make sure to shampoo your hair once you put coconut or olive oil in it, because the oils are very greasy and will weigh your hair down.
3. Hair Sealing Oils
The second type of hair oils are sealing oils, which seal in moisture. This means that you have to wash your hair first with water, then put conditioner in, before applying these sealing oils in order for them to work. In short, these oils are applied after showering.
Sealing oils improve the elasticity of hair and keeps it soft and supple. It helps repair damaged hair and replenishes moisture. There are different sealing oils sold in the market, but be careful in choosing one—there are some that contain parabens and sulfates, which can make hair brittle and dry.
My Two Recommendations for Sealing Oils
I’ve used several hair oils, but I can only recommend two that really worked well for me. First is the Naturals Argan Oil by Watsons, which is only PHP 199 each. It’s cheap and available in all Watsons stores. It is not also greasy and does not weigh your hair down. The only downside with Naturals Argan Oil is it can’t define your curls well like hair lotions can—it only gives moisture and shine, but it can’t hold the tangles so much.
The other sealing oil that I recommend is the Renewing+ Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Oil for all hair types. This one is by far the best sealing oil I’ve ever used. It's also available in all SM stores for around PHP 580. It's not greasy and sticky, doesn't weigh your hair down, keeps your hair hydrated for at least two days. It can also tame your tangles and somehow defines your curls.
4. Hair Conditioners
For curly hair, you should always choose hair conditioners that are sulfate and paraben free, because these chemicals can make your hair dry and cause split ends.
There are several hair conditioners available in the market, but I would recommend hair conditioners that have avocado, coconut, or argan oil as the main ingredient (or at least as one of them). For obvious reasons, these are the best oils to moisturize curly hair.
My Two Recommendations for Hair Conditioners
I have tried several products, but I only recommend the two ones that worked best for me. First, is the Silk Secrets 1 Minute Hot Oil Treatment, in either the argan or coconut oil variety, whichever suits you best. This is around PHP 199 per tube.
My second recommendation is the Luxe Organix Premium Keratin Treatment 3 Minute Hair Repair, in either the argan or coconut oil variety. This one is only PHP 199 as well, but sometimes comes with a "buy one, get one free" promotion. Both products are available at any Watsons store.
How to Use Hair Conditioners
Shampoo your hair, then remove the excess water before applying an ample amount of the conditioner to your hair. For best results, leave it in your hair for three to five minutes before rinsing it with water.
Additional Tips for Curly Hair
- Do not shampoo your hair every day, because it will destroy the natural oils of your hair. The oils produced on your scalp—sebum—are what hydrate hair, adding shine, decreasing frizz, and giving it strength. But do not go for too many days without shampooing your hair either, as it will build fungi and dandruff on your scalp. Consider shampooing your hair every other day.
- Depending on your hair type, invest in a brush that will not destroy your hair. For my hair type, combs that are at least 1 centimeter apart are highly recommended. Check your hair type and find the brush that’s best suited for you.
- Do not overdo hair products. Just put an ample amount into your hair and do not combine them. That is, don't put hair oil and lotion in at the same time. That will destroy your hair and will even create fungi on your scalp. For others, they recommend hair mousse and gel. But for my hair type, I don’t recommend such products, since they dry out my hair. Learn what’s best for your hair and stick to it. Try one product at a time and change it immediately if it doesn't work for you.
- Hair blowers are a no-no for curly hair. It will make your hair dry and tangled. After showering, just towel dry your hair as much as you can and let it finish drying naturally.
- Lastly, do not brush your hair too often. Brush it only after showering, because it will make your hair fly in different corners.
Love Your Hair, Don't Fight It!
Learn to love your curls instead of fighting them. Curly hair is very manageable as long as you find the right products that are best suited for you.