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The Only Guide To Healthy Curls You’ll Ever Need

photo of women with very curly hair

In the vast world of hair care, the quest for a healthy-looking mane can feel never-ending. It seems like there’s a new haircut, style, or product every day. They all promise you your healthiest-looking hair yet and we fall for the gimmick time after time. When it comes to our curls, however, we’re pretty particular. We won’t try anything new until it has been thoroughly vetted by our most-trusted stylists, influencers and friends. Which is why it’s pretty devastating when a product we’ve come to know and love doesn’t make our ringlets look and feel as healthy as it should.

If you’re feeling lost and have no idea how to care for your curls, we’re here to help. As it turns out, having healthy-looking curls is actually pretty simple—if you know what to look for.

We teamed up with Ashley Brown, Mizani brand ambassador and stylist, to create the only guide to healthy-looking curls you’ll ever need. Continue reading to find out everything from how to tell if your hair is damaged to what makes a healthy hair care routine. (Spoiler alert: You’re going to have to get rid of those split ends.)

How do you keep curly hair healthy?

Different hair types usually have wildly different needs, but Brown says the key to healthy hair is the same no matter your hair type or texture.

“The key to healthy hair, regardless of texture, is balance and a strong foundation. Hair needs a balance of protein and moisture to thrive and a strong foundation to be stable,” she explains. “A strong foundation can be achieved with regular trims and salon treatments.”

A strong foundation and the right amount of moisture and protein can be achieved by regular salon visits and a stylist-approved at-home hair care regimen. Whether you’re trying to grow your hair out and just need a trim or are hoping for a whole new look, going to the hair salon every six to eight weeks is the key to healthy-looking hair. This will allow your stylist to track your hair, as well as keep unsightly split ends at bay. If you are unsure whether or not your curls are healthy, be sure to schedule an appointment with a trusted hairstylist.

How can you tell if your hair is damaged?

Brown says there are two key indicators to be mindful of when trying to determine whether or not your curls are damaged: elasticity and porosity. Elasticity refers to your ringlets’ ability to be stretched and return back to its normal state without breaking. Brown says the easiest way to test your strands elasticity is to pluck a few strands from your head stretch them—literally.

“While your hair is wet, hold the strand of hair and stretch it. If the hair stretches and returns back to its original length and shape after being released, then it has good elasticity. If it snaps off or doesn't return to its former shape, this is a sign of poor elasticity and damage,” she explains.

Porosity refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and hold onto moisture. Porosity is important because strands need to be able to retain moisture to remain as healthy-looking as possible. Low porosity hair often appears damaged or dry and it may have a difficult time absorbing moisture. Once low porosity strands absorb moisture, however, they have no trouble holding onto it. Highly porous hair absorbs moisture easily but isn’t able to retain moisture well, which means high porosity strands often look and feel the most damaged.

While there is no foolproof way to test for porosity, Brown says taking a closer look at how your strands look and feel can usually offer some insight.

“Separate a strand of hair from the rest of your hair and slide your fingers up the strand towards the scalp. If you feel bumps along the way up, that may indicate the cuticle is lifted and your porosity is high. If your fingers slip up the strand smoothly, this may indicate your porosity is low,” she explains.

How do I stop my curly hair from shedding?

If you are experiencing a lot of shedding, the first thing you should do is determine the root of the issue. Hair fall occurs either at the root of the strand or due to breakage at the midshaft. If your shedding is happening at the root, it’s time to make an appointment with a trusted stylist, trichologist, or dermatologist.

If your hair is breaking off mid-shaft, you’re likely dealing with fragile strands. There are several products on the market that target fragile strands prone to breakage, including the brand new Kérastasis Genesis range. Looking for more product recommendations and information about how to put an end to breakage? Check out our complete guide, Hair Breakage: What’s Causing It & The Products That Can Help.

Whether your shedding is happening at the root, is due to breakage, or a combination of the two, we always recommend scheduling an appointment with a trusted stylist to address any of your hair concerns.

Good hair day by @mmaamemma.

How often should you wash your hair if you have curly hair?

How often you wash your hair is a personal decision that usually depends on your weekly schedule and whether you’re partial to day one hair or day five hair. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer for ladies with curls, you should aim to wash your hair at least once a week. This will help to keep product build-up at bay and make sure your scalp is squeaky clean.

Good hair day by @thenotoriouskia.

How can I take care of my curly hair at home?

One of the best ways to help protect your strands is with the hair products you use to cleanse, condition, and style your hair. If you’re in search of some new products to make sure your hair looks and feels as healthy as possible, Brown recommends Mizani’s Moisture Fusion line. Brown says the Moisture Rich Shampoo and Intense Moisturizing Mask, formulated with cupuaçu butter, argan oil, and honey, helps to quench hair for soft, moisturized manageability.

“This system adds a deep moisture boost to the hair, giving the hair ease in manageability without weighing the hair down,” she explains.

In search of a new leave-in conditioner? Look no further than the cult classic, Mizani 25 Miracle Milk. Miracle Milk boasts 25 beautifying hair benefits including heat protection, controling frizz, and repairing damage. If it’s definition and hold you’re after, add Mizani Perfect Coil Oil Gel to your styling routine. Formulated with coconut, olive, and marula oils, this editor-approved styling gel helps to define and shape your curls until your next wash day while helping to keep them moisturized.

Good hair day by @nakawunde.

How do you sleep with curly hair?

If your hair could use a little extra protection, Brown recommends wrapping your hair in a silk scarf at night or swapping out your cotton pillowcase for a satin one. This will help to prevent any harsh pulling as you toss and turn at night.

Now that you have a hair care routine complete with a haircut schedule, a moisturizing system of products, and tricks and tips to keep your ringlets in tip-top shape, you’re bound to have the healthiest-looking hair of your life.

Interested in personalized advice about the healthiest hair care routine for your mane? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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