While straight hair has a round shaft growing in an upright direction; curly and coily hair do not grow from the shaft in a vertically upright direction. As a result, the source of oil needed to keep the outer part of each hair shaft moisturised, is positioned far from the layers of cells. So, curly hair needs a really different routine to maintain its health and appearance.
Overnight deep-conditioning is to extra-curly hair what sleeping masks are to dry skin; and oiling is to coily hair what face oils are to dry skin. In dry winter, the need for additional dryness care increases. That’s why curl types 3B and above need a WHOLE different league of moisturising products. But even among curly hair types, there are specific needs for each kind of curl pattern.
There are different types of curly hair
Moderately curly, this type is characterised by loose, S-shaped curls which tend to be frizzy. These curls are bigger, but also have less shape, for that reason.
3B-curls tend to be rough and lack natural shine, but have loads of volume. The circumference could be described as that of a marker.
3C hair is often described as corkscrew hair, as the curls grow like that. This hair type tends to be slightly springy and quite voluminous. Despite the ringlets here being pencil-sized and making the crown look full, this hair type is actually quite fine.
Type 4 hair is kinky and coily, with 4A coils being fine and wiry, growing in S-shaped groups with a circumference as thin as crochet needle. Obviously this hair type is springy.
Z-shaped curls which are as wide as the spring inside a pen, this type is usually more on the fluffy and rough side. Like 3C and 4A, this type, too, can look shorter than it is due to “shrinkage”, which is what happens when your hair is very curly.
4C hair is pretty much exactly like 4B hair, except it lacks the definition and shape of 4B hair. So, the hair doesn’t grow as intertwined groups of strands.
Here’s how curly hair which is 3B or 3C have different needs from wavy hair and coily or kinky hair
Moisturising hair masks, hair creams, hydrating butters, and nourishing conditioners are perfect for this kind of hair. Such curly hair should not be washed more than once a week. This is because curly hair grows in a slanted direction when it starts from the follicle, so the oil from the sebaceous glands fail to reach the shaft, as there’s a lot of distance between the source of oil and the keratin layers coating each strand. So, moisture is needed to be supplied externally.
The only thing to watch is the amount of conditioning product you apply near your scalp, because such hair can get weighed down by heavy oils, as the number of strands on the head is sparser in curly hair (and hence nature blesses such hair types with a voluminous shape to make locks look more abundant) than straighter hair types. So, if you oil or moisturise the scalp too much, your hair can look a bit flat.
These DIY treatments work well for curly hair
A home-made mask with avocado, honey, and bananas is amazing for curly hair. All you need to do is combine the banana pulp, avocado pulp, and a spoon of honey in a blender. Sift this out, removing the banana seeds and fibres by macerating it in a way that a smoother paste is filtered out through a big sieve, and then apply the mix to your scalp. Rinse it out with cool water.
Coily and kinky hair types ( 4A, 4B, 4C) need regular oiling, minimal shampooing, and as little combing as possible
If curly hair is dry and frizzy, coily hair is even more so. That’s why lipid-rich serums containing oils, pure butters like shea and cocoa, and hot oil massages are a must for this hair type. Since the scalp also tends to be drier, and the hair more prone to static–minimal shampooing is recommended. Frequent conditioning and oiling, though, are musts.
As we mentioned above, the strands on the head of a person with curly hair, tend to grow in groups because the hair follicles are fewer than the number of follicles in the same amount of space on a straight-haired person’s head. So, when you comb or brush such hair, you end up separating your curls, leading to damaged hair which loses its shape and shine.
Oil treatments are a must for shiny and moisturised curls, especially in-shower oiling
In-shower oiling does not work for other hair types because wet straight hair is too slippery to absorb oil. However, oils are well-absorbed by damp coily hair. The process involves brushing hair, wetting it, applying your oil of choice to the strands (not the scalp), and then combing it. Letting the hair air-dry in this shape, without using a towel or brush, is the best way to maintain the shape.
Mixing different oils is NOT a no-no if the oils are “compatible”
A mixed oil treatment works wonders for dry, coily hair. Moroccan argan oil is often touted as the richest, most nourishing conditioner for wiry, frizzy, and damaged locks. Combining it with some melted cocoa butter leaves hair shiny, smelling delectable, and looking really nourished.
In fact, coily hair really benefits from a conditioner and oil mix
Certain conditioners and masks combine really well with oils. For example, a thick, creamy conditioner formulated for kinky hair works really well with coconut oil. Leave-in conditioners, when combined with some vitamin E oil are also an excellent treatment for such hair.