As a curly girl, I think I speak for the curly-haired community when I say we take impeccable care of our hair. My wash day routine is truly an event to be seen, and I only let the absolute best products touch my ringlets. Every once in a while, however, I decide to try a new product or chemical service, and just like *that*, all of my years of hard work maintaining my precious curls go right down the drain.
The first time it happened, I was despondent, but I promised myself that if it ever happened again, next time I would be prepared. I spent countless hours on curly hair forums and asked frantic questions to my favorite hairstylists to find the greatest tips and tricks for how to restore your curls after damage.
Whether you’re a hairstyle chameleon or a newly transitioned naturalista looking to restore your natural curl pattern, chances are good you’re looking for tips and tricks to help your curls look their absolute best. I caught up with Redken x Mizani brand ambassador Leysa Carrillo to get the scoop on everything there is to know about how to get your curls back.
Good hair day by @emily_india.
What can cause your curl pattern to change?
Before we get into how to restore your natural curl pattern, you need to know exactly what can cause it to change in the first place. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can cause your curl pattern to change.
“There are many different factors that can impact your curl pattern, like hormonal changes, chemical treatments, too much heat, or color services that aren’t done properly,” Carillo explains.
While there are many factors that can contribute to your curl pattern changing, you’ll be able to see the change almost as soon as it happens. If your ringlets don’t spring back like they used to, chances are good one of the factors above are to blame.
“If the change is minimal, it doesn’t mean it’s damaged. Curly hair is all about memory. So a continuous use of heat could relax the curl, but that doesn’t always mean there’s damage,” the stylist says. “If you wet the hair and try to style it and it doesn’t bounce back, the damage may be permanent.”
Good hair day by @its_micaaah.
How do I get my natural curls back?
How you get your natural curls back all depends on whether you’re dealing with permanently damaged hair or a temporary lapse in curl memory. If your curls are permanently damaged, Carillo says the solution is simple—although it may not be what you want to hear.
“The solution would be cutting off the damaged hair.”
If you’re not quite ready to part with your length or aren’t dealing with permanent damage, the stylist says you can help to restore your natural curl pattern with the help of a healthy hair care routine curated by your stylist.
“It’s all about working with your stylist to create a regimen that works for you and your specific hair needs,” Carillo says. “I can say that all curly hair needs a good regular cut, hydrating products, a nutritional diet, and lots of water. Healthy hair comes from within!”
What products can I use to get my curls back?
When your curls just aren’t doing what you want them to do, your first thought may be to pile on the products—but that’s the exact opposite of what you should do. Products can sometimes mask your mane’s real issues or worse, exacerbate them. If your curls are suffering, reset your strands with a clarifying shampoo like Mizani Moisture Fusion Clarifying Shampoo and swap out your multi-step styling routine for an all-in-one product like Mizani 25 Miracle Milk. The clarifying shampoo will rid your strands of any problematic products, creating a blank canvas so your curls can reap the full benefits of the nourishing leave-in.
While the best products to help restore your curl pattern will be recommended specifically to you by your stylist based on your hair type, needs, and concerns, Carillo says there are a few products that everyone with curly hair can benefit from.
“I love to recommend a hydrating mask like Mizani True Textures Moroccan Clay Steam Mask to bring moisture back to the hair. This is key because textured hair needs strength!”
Once a week, treat your freshly washed hair to this hydrating hair mask and watch as your curls slowly return to their former bouncy glory.
“My best tip is to apply a hydrating mask on towel-dried hair, so it absorbs better,” Carillo explains. “When rinsing, only rinse about 80 percent, so some of that product is still left on the hair for ultimate hydration.”
If a deep conditioning treatment doesn’t give you the results you’re after chances are good your hair isn’t lacking moisture, rather it may be lacking protein. Not sure if your hair is lacking protein? Look out for these common signs.
- Your mane looks stringy and limp.
- Your locks are more easily tangled than usual.
- Your strands lack elasticity.
- Your locks look dull.
- Your hair feels gummy.
Many things can compromise the protein in your hair, including day-to-day wear and tear. However, many salon professionals say they almost always see a lack of protein after mishandled chemical treatments or on a client whose diet lacks protein. If you think your diet is to blame, be sure to make an appointment with a doctor.
In search of an at-home protein hair treatment? I can’t get enough of Redken Extreme Length Primer Rinse Out Treatment. This treatment helps to restore the protein missing from your mane and helps to strengthen hair to reduce breakage and help you achieve longer, stronger hair.
When you’re worried about restoring your natural curl pattern, you may think potentially hair altering services like hair color may be off the table. But Carillo insists if you work with a licensed colorist who has experience working with your hair type, you can slay a new hair color and make sure your curls look their absolute best.
“I am a colorist for all hair textures, and I love working with a line that respects all hair types with their products. I personally love Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside and Redken Flash Lift Pods Bonder Inside,” she says. “It gives me two in one: beautiful lift and bonder protection.”
If you’re unsure whether you’re a good candidate for hair color, schedule a consultation with a colorist before taking the plunge.
What hairstyles are best to help restore natural curls?
Let me preface this by saying, heat is not your enemy. But heat applied incorrectly has the potential to damage your hair beyond repair. If you feel like excessive heat usage is the cause for your limp curls, your best bet is to give your hot tools a break. Now is the perfect time to give your mane the heat styling break it desperately needs.
If your curls just won’t cooperate, it may just need a break from daily styling. Style your hair in a protective style like braids or twists that will allow you to skip daily styling for a few days (or weeks).
Good hair day by @leysahairandmakeup.
How long does it take to get your natural curls back?
Everyone's hair is different, so while it may take your friend just a few weeks to see their curls return to their former glory, you may have to wait a couple of months. The quickest way to see results is to cut off your damaged strands. But if you’re in it for the long haul, you’ll be rewarded with glorious curls just in the nick of time.
Looking for more advice about how to get your curls back? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.