Use these coily hair care habits to prevent breakage and maintain the length of your hair.

Lady with coily hair smiling and looking to the side

If you’re looking to rock longer (or in my case, BIGGER!) hair, your time is better spent focusing on length retention. There’s not much you can do to force your scalp to grow hair faster, but you CAN focus on hair care habits that prevent breakage and make sure every inch you grow is maintained throughout the months and years. Although the entire length of my hair is rarely exposed to the elements (yay shrinkage!), there are five important things I do to handle my coils with care.

1. Don’t go guerilla during washing

There comes a morning in every natural’s life when you wake up and realize your TWA has transformed into a massive force field of gloriously textured hair. It seemed like just the other day you could wash and condition in six minutes, right? Well, “just the other day” was actually two years ago, and now you must find efficient ways to care for your coils without losing your sanity. Don’t attack your hair! Grab some butterfly clips and divide your hair into manageable sections. No more swirling your hands around an entire sudsy head.

2. Hold your hair while you comb or brush

Remember when your head would jerk in the direction your mom ferociously brushed it? Don’t relive those tortuous moments! Since our natural hair coils and springs back into place when we let it go, it’s even more important to hold the section of hair we’re detangling. If we let go, we “lose our place” so to speak, and all the combing and recombing can take a toll on our hair and tender heads. Don’t forget to twist that section once you’re done or place it back in a clip (refer to first tip).

3. Sleep with a satin scarf or pillow case

It’s easy for our coils to snag on rough fabrics. Satin or silk is a smooth and soft textile that your coils won’t get caught in. Depending on your preference, you can wear a satin cap, a satin scarf, or sleep on a satin pillowcase. Since I’m the type to forego a bedtime routine and just collapse into bed, a satin pillowcase was the way to go.

4. Use the right tools

Remember the Tangle Teaser? Yeah, me neither. If it worked for you, great! I just couldn’t visualize my coils squeezing through the Tangle Teaser’s tiny teeth. Every head of hair is different, so this will take some trial and error on your part, but here are my tried and true hair care tools:

  • Wide toothed comb for detangling
  • Denman styling brush for clumping or smoothing each section for maximum shiny twist outs
  • Concentrator attachment on blow dryers are better for my fine hair than the comb attachment when I do blow outs. I pull a section of hair taut, and the attachment concentrates the heat to that section, stretching it out.
  • Butterfly clips. I switched to these claw-like clips after I noticed duckbill clips always got caught in my hair.
  • “No snag” or no-metal headbands & hair ties. Seriously. Who puts metal on a headband? O.U.C.H.

5. Try protective styles

The more we tousle our hair around, the more opportunities we have for tangles and breakage. Try to fight Hand In Hair Syndrome and opt for twists, braids, buns, etc. I personally prefer to wear my hair loose, but I know a lot of naturals swear by low manipulation hair styles.

How do you handle your coils with care?