How to care for curly hair: your definitive guide

Understanding your curl type, the best hair styles and what you should never do...

curly hair guide

by Jazzria Harris |
Updated on

If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with curly hair, you’ll most likely have found yourself wondering how to care for it to keep your hair looking its best. Luckily, we’ve covered all you need to know in this handy guide: from how to identify your curl type to expert curly hair tips so you can successfully care for natural curls. Plus, we’ve also got the details on the best and newest curly hair products, including hair oils, gels and curl creams. Think of this as your comprehensive guide to all things curls…

Which curl type are you?

There are four main hair types: type 1: straight, type 2: wavy, type 3: curly, type 4: coily. Each of these hair types is then broken down into letters to further differentiate them. Curly hair can be type 3a: soft curls, 3b: curly or 3c: tight curls. There are lots of useful diagrams on social media which can help you identify your curl type and, in turn, allow you to tailor your routine to suit it.

What’s the difference between curly and wavy hair?

Although commonly confused, curly and wavy hair are two different hair types. Wavy hair falls in a soft bend while curly hair will fall in a coil or twist shape. Both require different types of care and products to keep them healthy and looking great.

How to look after curly hair

“Caring for your curls requires a routine to provide them with what they need to thrive,” says Sharley Butcher, Curlsmith’s Global Lead Educator & Textured Hair Specialist**, “**This should consist of four steps: shampoo, condition, moisturise (with a leave-in conditioner), and a styler. [Then] Once a week, deep conditioning is required to allow deeper penetration of nourishing ingredients into the cuticles.”


The ultimate frizz-control shampoo.

A defensive shield for waves, curls and coils.

What not to do if you have curly hair

If cared for correctly, curly hair can be styled in a multitude of different ways. “However, wearing your curls out reduces any tension on your strands,” says Sharly, “If you like to tie your hair back, use satin scrunchies to do so, as they will prevent breakage from occurring.”


A satin scrunchie ideal to wear as you sleep for kink-free hair in the morning.

Also, “Always apply your styling products when wet, as the water allows the styling product to glide easily throughout your strands. A Continuous Spray Bottle is a great tool to have to wet hair before styling and for refreshing curls between wash days.”

How to style curly hair

There are various techniques available to style your curls, such as;

  • finger curling: defines curls and reduces the volume

  • shingling: great for type 4 hair to add definition

  • raking: encourages curls clumps

  • scrunching: encourages volume and a tighter curl pattern

Each method provides a different result; select depending on your required outcome.

The best curly girl hairstyles

“The best curly hairstyles depend on personal preference,” says Sharley, so don’t be afraid to try out different looks to find out what works for you.

So, there you have it, everything you need to know to care for your curly hair. If you’d like more information check out our handy guides on how to care for specific hair types, including how to care for 2b, how to care for 3b hair and how to care for 4b hair.

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