Many curly-haired women go on a similar journey in their lifetime: When I was a child, I had wildly thick and curly hair. It was so hard to tame! As I reached adolescence, I began straightening my hair to fit in. Eventually, my hair began to lose its curl shape, it became lifeless and thinned out, but I was in denial.
Reaching my 20s, I realized that all of my curl was gone and frizz was in its place. Today, my hair is naturally curly but won’t curl anymore. What should I do?
Losing curl shape can be distressing. It may leave you wondering if the damage already done is permanent. Fortunately, you don’t have to fret. There is a lot you can do to restore the natural curl pattern.
Why Your Curls May Lose Their Shape?
It’s crucial to realize the reasons why your hair may have lost its curl because some reasons are more detrimental than others. Women can lose their curls due to hormonal shifts, which can happen from puberty or pregnancy. Even medication can ruin the curls we had in childhood.
For most women, curl loss occurs due to over-straightening, far too much heat at too high of temperatures, and chemical damage.
For hair, our follicles determine our hair’s structure. Thanks to our DNA, which determines our follicle shape, it can never be altered (not yet, anyways). However, we can cause plenty of damage by manipulating our strands that sprout from the follicle.
Luckily, there are many alternatives to hair repair that can encourage the growth of healthy, bouncy curls like the ones you had as a little girl.
How To Restore Curl Pattern
There are a few ways to restore the natural curl pattern of damaged hair. The first thing you need to do is forget about the heat. There are plenty of different ways to get your hair to look just like you want without heating it up. You are also color your curly hair. All you have to focus on is restoration today and the right hair care in the future.
1. Use Clarifying Shampoo
Oftentimes, all of the products we use to style our hair can cause a hefty amount of build-up on the scalp and hair shaft. Regular shampoo isn’t enough. Your curls may lack their usual bounce because of that product build-up.
The best way to combat this is with a clarifying shampoo or an apple cider vinegar rinse for a budget-friendly, plastic-free route. Limit your use of clarifying shampoos to once a week to avoid over-stripping.
While we’re at it, avoid over-shampooing your hair as well. Naturally curly hair of medium thickness needs a wash only 2-3 times a week at most. Letting some of your hair’s natural oils can be the best thing for your curls.
The products that you use for your hair may also be the culprit. Anything too heavy will only weigh down curls. A lightweight mousse should become your new best friend for encouraging springy curl pattern.
Curl each curl around your finger as you apply product onto your wet hair. This method may take a decent amount of time, but it’s an excellent way to encourage your curl pattern to form again. We love this method because it’s totally heat-free. Be gentle and avoid too much manipulation of the hair.
4. Don’t Brush Your Hair
It will only flatten your curls. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb when applying conditioner in the shower and use only your fingers to gently separate curls once it’s damp. Don’t be afraid of the scrunch using your hands, either.
There is a reason this piece of advice winds up on almost every hair care list. The best way to get back your curl is to restore critical moisture. If your curly hair is ruined because of damage and heat-styling, chances are you need to deeply condition your hair. It’s one of the main causes of all of that frizz.
Pro-Tip: If your hair is especially damaged, look for products with protein or keratin restoration. After you rinse out this mask, rinse with your regular conditioner to hit with moisture. Protein can cause hair to feel brittle, so maintaining the balance between the two is key.
6. Get a Trim
One of the best things you can do for your hair is to give it a healthy trim. A cut and reshaping can bring back curls in a way you might never have imagined. Plus, you’ll be hacking off the damaged ends that may be too broken to restore. This also gives you an invigorating feeling that can lift your spirits on this journey.
7. Get a Short Haircut
Longer hair is heavier and weighs hair down. Remember, your cut dictates how your hair behaves. Incorporate layers to encourage movement, bounce, and volume. It can be helpful to start fresh if your hair is especially damaged.
8. Steer Clear of Chemicals
Chemical damage from keratin, relaxers, and perms break down the protein bonds in the hair to chemically alter them. To bring back your natural texture, all of this harsh chemical manipulation needs to stop. Restoring curls is truly about a hair lifestyle change, so it’s time to give up the damage.
9. Avoid Heat
Truthfully, heat styling should be limited to once per month. Heat styling actually breaks the hydrogen bonds on the hair, making it easy to manipulate into whatever style you want. This breakage can cause long-term hair damage, however. If you’re truly seeking to restore your curly texture, then you should cut out all heat styling completely.
If you fry out your hair with no heat protectant, you’re going to lose your curls and it may be too tough to get them back. So, when you absolutely must heat style your hair, be sure to use an adequate protectant.
10. Be Patient
Returning to your natural curl pattern is a process and hardly an overnight fix. It can take months for the damage to grow out and habits to change. Patience is key when starting this journey.
Be open to advise from your hairstylist, restore crucial moisture to the hair, and ditch the heat completely. We believe that if you follow these tips, your curly hair can come back in all its bouncing glory.
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