By the age of 50, there is probably only one thing we’d want to stay curvy: that’s our curly hair. Unfortunately, as we grow older our curls start to become tighter or looser. Hormone imbalances, some medications, and even external environmental factors don’t help.
Now dry and highly porous, those shiny bouncy locks seems to have seen better days: cuticles are lifted, often as a result of colour processing or heat damage, and hair becomes more prone to breakage, knots and tangles. However, with proper care, they can be brought back to their full potential with an easy-to-manage regimen. The secret to caring for curly hair is pretty simple: it’s all about treating it super-gently and keeping it as moisturized as possible. Here are some basics you need to know to tame your mane.
The best way to tame your curls is to use a wide-toothed comb while conditioning in the shower. However, in case you prefer to use the brush search for one with soft bristles, like boar’s hair, to help smooth and tame flyaways without worrying about breakage.
Ditch the towel
The rough texture of most towels can be incredibly abrasive on curls. Use a microfibre wrap or an old t-shirt to dry your hair and never rub it as this will increase the risk of breakage, frizz, and flyaways. Gently twist your hair when wet and blot your curls dry. When possible, opt for air drying.
Avoid frequent shampooing
Dryness is a common problem with curly hair as your scalp stops producing oil, especially at midlife. Avoid frequent shampooing as it can only stretch and stress out fragile strands, and dry out thirsty curls. Steer clear from those ones that contain a lathering agent called sodium laurel sulfate, a soapy agent, also known as detergent, that is known to strip your hair from moisture. Instead, keep your hair well-hydrated before and after the washing by deep conditioning the lengths and ends with oils or formulations which include shea butter, palm, or avocado.
“Start a healthy and hydrating routine and your hair will reward you with amazing curls, moisture and a hydrated scalp. Even between shampoos, it’s important to add moisture to hydrate your hair,” celebrity stylist Neil Moodie explains. “More water and moisture in your hair will help elongate certain curl types. Our hair is a living fibre, and it’s dry, to begin with. If we starve the hair of moisture, it dries out again and the cycle continues.”
Replenish dry hair daily
Knowing what type of curls you have will help you adjust your beauty treatment accordingly. Coarser, crazier hair may need heavier, creamier products. As a rule of thumb, the longer you leave a deep conditioner in, the more benefit it’s going to give you. Search for leave-in formulas as they deposit a uniform film of moisturizing polymers on the hair and create a humidity-resistant barrier.
Serums are great for smoothing down flyaways, but, if the definition is what you covet, treat your ends with something lighter. The milky formula of curl creams helps curls reform in next to no time without weighing them down. Even better, twice a week, get a good hair mask and sleep in it with the help of a shower cap (all you have to do is rinse the product out in the morning). Also, invest in hair-botox and a regular specific treatment from your hairdresser.
Protect your curly locks
Flat irons, curling tongs, blow dryers are all styling tools that can lead to breakage. Looking after weaker, ageing hair from damage is now more important than ever: use a protection spray every time you use them and never forget to add a diffuser to your hairdryer for a more even (and gentle) heat distribution.
Do regular trims
To look after your hair in the long term, keep them trimmed every 6-8 weeks to get rid of the split ends and damaged hair. This will help you to keep your curls in great condition and will ensure your ends stay thick and healthy. Also, update your look once in a while with a new haircut: your mood and your locks will thank you.
Invest in a silk pillowcase or turban
Using a silk pillowcase or wearing a bonnet while you sleep will result in less friction, which can create frizz. Silky ones prevent hair breakage caused by friction (something that can happen with regular cotton pillowcases) while keeping hair looking lustrous and soft, no matter your age. Aside from keeping your hairstyle intact, sleeping on a silk pillowcase can help prevent wrinkles, and who doesn’t want that?