Curly hair is glorious — but ask anyone with loose or tight curls, and they’ll likely tell you that it can be quite daunting to manage. Aside from figuring out your curl cocktail, which in all honesty is an ever-evolving process, the simple nature of how curls are formed makes it difficult to keep curly hair moisturized.
Curly hair tends to be the driest of all textures for the simple fact that the way a curly strand spirals makes it difficult for the natural oils produced by our scalp to work its way down the hair shaft.
“A strand of hair receives sebum on its exterior from the secretion of the sebaceous gland. Sebum is not evenly distributed along curly hair resulting in drier hair,” says New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco.
Fusco further explains that these oils can be more evenly distributed by brushing or combing hair, but out of fear of disrupting the curl pattern, people with curly hair usually skip this step.
Because curly hair is generally drier, those with this texture typically don’t wash their hair as often. The downside is that washing less can leave hair brittle and curls prone to frizz.
On one hand, washing less means less frequent water replenishment to hair. On the other, using the wrong types of cleansers when you actually do wash can strip the oils that our scalp produces, leaving hair dry.
Hair still needs constant moisture and proper cleansing. Especially if your wash days are spread out to seven days or more.
Moisture leaves a strand of hair when it’s not rehydrated in between washes. Curly hair in particular needs constant moisture replenishment. “When pushing moisture back into the hair strands, not only are you rehydrating the hair but it also helps reduce frizz,” says hairstylist Yessenia Reyes.
What it all comes down to is balance. These expert tips can help you figure out the ideal middle ground between getting rid of dry hair and not disrupting your styling habits.
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Pinpoint Why Your Hair Is Dry
Of the many things hair needs to thrive, moisture is probably number one. With sudden changes, like going from months of indoor air to more regular sun exposure, your hair may be feeling drier and more brittle than usual.
Also, not being able to go to the salon for regular trims may have your ends looking unkempt and split. Everyone’s hair may need something different, so it’s important to start by narrowing down what may be causing your particular case of dryness so that you can reverse the dehydration.