Some people with naturally curly hair strive to grow their hair as long as possible, which can be a challenge with natural textures.
Growing long and lush curls doesn't have to be a challenge if you know the tricks. This article provides some helpful advice on styling long curly hair.
Note: Visit our Hairstyle Gallery and select the Naturally Curly or Wavy & Curly options to see a wide selection of related hair styles. Combine the Hairstyle texture options with length to see the most options.
Key Challenge - Managing Frizz
One of the challenges of having long naturally curly hair is learning to manage it so it doesn't frizz.
Naturally curly hair may frizz and puff up because of the following reasons:
1. Improper hair cut which does not encourage and strengthen curl patterns. 2. Excessive or daily shampoo treatments with full strength drying formulas. 3. Use of hot water during cleansing or rinsing. 4. Absence of added moisture through pre-shampoo conditioners, conditioning cleansers and post wash rinse out and leave in moisture enhancing products. 5. Improper or overuse of supportive styling products such as gels, mousses and creams. 6. Touching curls during drying process. 7. Encouraging frizz during styling by brushing curls too vigorously which may separate curls. 8. Neglecting regular removal of split ends. 9. Use of damaging curl smoothing tools such as chemical treatments (relaxers, strengtheners) which may provide temporary texture softening but ultimate reduction of much needed moisture. 10. Aggressive use of hair color, bleach or similar. 10. Daily or regular use of hot styling tools such as blow dryers, hot irons, rollers or similar.
Long Curly Hair Brush And Comb Challenges
When long curls are fine or medium in thickness they can be more easily styled with fingers, combs, picks or brushes. When curls are thick to very thick or extremely coarse, they may be harder to style with fingers, combs or brushes.
Naturally curly long hair which is thick to very thick can easily become frizz challenged if allowed to become unmanageable through lack of consistent and appropriate detangling and styling.
As a rule, naturally curly and textured hair is more sensitive to humid or rainy weather conditions.
Although there are many advantages to allowing long natural curls to air dry, in some climate conditions the result of not using some form of heat styling can result in a tangled mess.
How To Cleanse Long Curly Hair
The traditional wisdom of washing long curls every day with undiluted shampoo products has been proven by scores of curly people to be problematic.
Experiment with curl friendly cleansing techniques such as:
1. Pre-shampoo oiling and/or conditioning to amp up moisture before cleansing. 2. Diluted Moisturizing Shampoo (DS), Conditioning Only (CO) Water Only (WO) or Combination. 3. Moisturizing Rinse out and Leave In Conditioning treatments. 4. Detangling curls in shower while conditioner is still on strands. 5. Allowing a slight film of conditioner to remain on curls even after final rinse. 6. Cool/cold water final rinsing. 7. Plopping, air drying or a combination with a drying with long finger diffuser. 8. Use of long finger diffusers, hoods, soft bonnets and alternative heat styling for frizz producing climates and weather conditions.
How To Condition Long Curly Hair
If long curls are too thick to be easily combed and/or detangled, a good practice is to cleanse hair in the shower and apply high quality rinse out conditioners. Carefully detangle wet tresses prepped with moisturizing conditioners with minimal breakage and damage.
A top-quality rinse out conditioner combined with a stellar leave in conditioner is extremely advantageous in preventing frizzy curls.
Evaluate different brands of conditioners known to work well on thick curls and waves. Isolate those which work best for your hair, type and texture then alternate them regularly.
Some curl experts believe the same conditioner should never be used extensively over a long period of time due to the potential to cause buildup or achieving minimal results. Experiment for yourself to determine if this theory is true for your own curls.
It's not necessary to use branded shampoo and conditioners. In other words, mix and match based on what works best for your hair. Don't select products because they may be manufactured by the same company.
Long Flowing Curly Locks You'll Love
Work towards cleansing your hair as infrequently as possible. Many people with long or textured hair have learned the best way to keep hair healthy and less prone to damage is to minimize the wear and tear of daily shampoo treatments.
When possible extend the time between shampoo cleansings to once a week or even just 2-3 times a month or so. Perform Water Only (WO) or Conditioning Only (CO) washes in between full cleansings to keep scalp and hair fresh and free of debris.
Brushing Long Curly Hair
While it's best to perform most styling on long curly hair when it's still damp this tip excludes the use of potentially damaging brushes.
When hair is wet it's most prone to breakage and related damage. Use smooth fingers (without sharp nails or rough skin) picks or combs with smooth teeth.
Properly styled curls will be uniform, nicely shaped, and gorgeous. Many people crave beautiful, well shaped long curly hairstyles.
Always start at the bottom of each curl section and slowly work up. Minimize tangles by sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase or styling hair in sleep friendly hairstyles.
Anti-Frizz Cream For Long Curly Hair
After cleansing and rinsing curls, towel blot to remove excess moisture being careful not to rub wet curls. Plop or towel wrap wet strands to allow tresses to partially dry.
Disperse anti-frizz cream into the palms of your hands, rub palms together, and work cream through damp hair. After thoroughly working frizz control cream through tresses, style with a wide-tooth comb, pick or your fingers.
After styling your long curly hair they way you desire, allow it to dry by itself. As long curls dry naturally the curls become tighter, more uniform and bouncy.
After Styling Long Curly Hair
After long curls are completely dry avoid touching the curls again except for gentle arranging with fingers, pick or a curl friendly smooth tooth comb.
If you wish to restyle your hair, use a spray bottle filled with clear water or mixed with a tiny bit of conditioner to mist long curly tresses. Keep a back-up spritzer bottle handy for use if the weather changes or your hair unexpectedly becomes unmanageable.
Note: For more tips check out Ringlet Definition which provides tips on what you may want to know about ringlets, how to create them and best tools.
Although no two heads of long curly hair are the same, there are many tips, tricks and techniques for styling long curly tresses which will be beautiful.
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Original Publication Date: 07/06/05 - Revised Date: 01/30/11