If you’re lucky enough to have curly hair, then you know firsthand that it requires a little extra TLC. Sometimes it may consist of spending all day to complete washday, and this may seem like a lot to handle. Then after all that time spent caring for your curls, they thank you by having a mind of their own and not doing what you want them to—how ironic! Therefore, we’re taking the time to discuss the most common mistakes most people make when caring for stubborn curls, and how you can correct them.

Mistake #1: Using Products That Contain Sulfates and Silicones

Silicones and sulfates are terrible on curly hair. They are known for weighing the hair down, repelling moisture and causing your curls to look lifeless and limp—and who needs that. Try making it a priority to read the ingredients of your hair care products before applying them to your hair, to ensure that sulfates and silicones are not added.

Common Sulfate Ingredients

  • Alkylbenzene Sulfonate
  • Ammonium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate
  • Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate
  • Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
  • Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate

Common Silicone Ingredients

  • Cetearyl Methicone
  • Cetyl Dimethicone
  • Dimethicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Stearyl Dimethicone

Mistake #2: Detangling Your Hair Wrong

Trying to detangle curls with a brush or a fine-tooth comb is a very common mistake when it comes to caring for curls. Hair brushing should be put to a minimum when possible because they break up curls and allow frizzing to prosper. Try finger detangling as an alternative to brushing to avoid frizz and a loss in curl definition. If you try using a pre-poo before washing or a cowash this can make detangling your hair easier than it’s ever been.

What is Pre-poo: Pre-poo is an oil treatment applied to the hair usually before shampooing or conditioning.

Mistake #3: Not Getting Regular Trims

You are putting your curls in danger of breakage and damage when you fail to get regular trims. Get into the habit of getting regular trims to maintain healthy looking curls. If you don’t snip off the split ends, they will continue to fray and cause your hair to lack luster. Every few weeks, try dusting your hair to keep your curls looking bouncy and healthy.

What is Dusting: Dusting is a micro-trimming process that rids your hair of the damaged sections that stick out.

Mistake #4: Not Moisturizing Hair Enough

It has been proven that curly hair is a lot dryer than straight hair for many different reasons causing curly strands to naturally crave more moisture. Skipping deep conditioner or not applying enough conditioner to your hair, can cause it to look dull and lack its natural shine. Try to get into the habit of applying a generous amount of conditioner for to your hair after every wash, and deep condition your hair at least once a week.

Mistake #5: Over-Cleansing Your Hair

It is recommended to only cleanse your curls about 1-2 times a week, but it is ultimately up to you to decide how often you wash your hair. Textured hair like waves, curls and coils need natural oils to remain great. Washing your hair too often can lead to the stripping of natural oils from your curls and cause them to dry out.

Mistake #6: Touching Your Curls Too Much

Touching and playing with your curls, especially while the hair is drying can lead to frizz and loss of curl definition. After styling your hair, try not to touch your hair too often—even though I know it’s hard not to touch your beautiful mane. If you dry your hair with a diffuser, use a gentle motion to lift curls from the bottom. I recommend waiting until your curls are completely dry before fluffing with your fingers or try using a pick.

Mistake #7: Applying Heat Too Often

You can severely damage your hair and permanently change your curl pattern with one single pass of a flat iron. Try using heat on your curls in moderation, but if you must use a heat styling tool on your hair, use it on the lowest temperature setting and always deep condition with a restoring mask afterwards. In addition, apply a heat protectant serum to your hair before using a heat styling tool to lessen the amount of damage caused. When it comes to drying your hair, air-drying whenever possible is the best decision for your curls to avoid a big frizzy crown. If you lack the time for air drying, try using a hooded dryer or a blow dry with a diffuser piece attached to circulate the air without disturbing your curl pattern.

Mistake #8: Using a Terry Cloth Towel to Dry Hair

Terry cloth towels are terrible on your curls and there are better alternatives to drying your hair like a cotton t-shirts or microfiber towels. Terry cloth towels cause frizz and tangles to your hair while absorbing too much moisture from the hair. By using a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to scrunch dry your hair, it won’t frizz your hair and you’ll notice the difference.

Mistake #9: Not Protecting Your Hair While Sleeping

Try sleeping with a silk pillowcase or tying your hair up at night with a satin scarf. When you sleep with your hair directly on a cotton pillowcase, cotton soaks up natural oils from your hair and strips away its natural moisture. The silky fabric helps to preserve the health and shine of your hair while also cutting down on tangling and breakage.

Mistake #10: Chemically Processing Hair

Anything that forces your curls to go against its natural pattern or color can be damaging to it. Some people think that temporary chemical treatments are better for your hair, but they too can permanently alter the way your curls look and behave. For example, keratin treatments alter the structure of the hair without breaking down natural bonds like a relaxer would. This treatment is not permanent because it doesn’t change or break down your hair’s natural bonds, but it also doesn’t wash away easily. Breakage is more susceptible to occurring when your new growth reaches the keratin treated hair.

Mistake #11: Not Protecting Hair from the Sun

UV rays from the sun are harmful on curls and pull moisture from the hair, resulting in dry and brittle curls Try using products on your hair that include UV protectant ingredients or apply leave-in conditioner to your hair before going outside.

Mistake #12: Using the Wrong Hair Products

It can be very frustrating to find products that work for your hair type. Try looking for products that are designed especially for curly hair and apply products to wet hair for maximum absorption. While your hair is drying, it is also working to absorb the products and won’t weigh your hair down.

What are a few mistakes you’ve made with your curly hair?