Dry hair. It really is the worst, isn’t it? And unfortunately, when you’ve got naturally curly hair, it’s something that you typically have to battle with more than those with straighter textures.
Why does my curly hair look dry?
Curly hair can look and feel dry because it is more challenging for the natural oils from our scalp to travel down the shaft and coat all of our strands. We typically need to use leave-in moisturizers, oils and deep conditioners more than people with straight hair do. Aside from moisturizing our hair there are other things that can reduce our shine and sheen levels too.
Extreme weather. Using harsh hair products. Not tying our hair up at night. Applying too much heat. Not sealing our hair. Relaxing and color-treating too much. And that’s just for starters.
The good news is you don’t have to settle for hair that looks dull and dry. You also don’t have to apply a ton of products (like silicone, for example), just to get the shininess that you’re after either. There are simple and natural things that you can do to get your hair to where you want it to be. I’ve tried all of the following things — and can vouch for every single one.
1. Clarify your hair
If you’re a big fan of hair products, you definitely need to make it a point and practice to clarify your hair about once a month. “Clarifying” is simply removing any build-up that will not only make it difficult to style your hair but can make your locks look really dull and lifeless over time too. As far as what you should clarify your hair with, probably the only time when I will shout out a shampoo that contains sulfates is now; that’s because the drying agents in them can help to strip all of the “gunk”. However, a much kinder hair option is apple cider vinegar. It will get rid of build-up while still letting your hair retain moisture. An apple cider rinse can also help to soothe your scalp, restore your hair’s pH balance and reduce hair shedding. I’m a big fan of it. Have been for years. Anyway, for more details, check out our article, “Do a Hair Rinse with Apple Cider & Vinegar”.
2. Eat more antioxidants
You might’ve heard that antioxidants help to boost your immunity and that would absolutely be the case. As far as your hair is concerned, consuming them is beneficial because they strengthen the blood vessels that provide nourishment to your hair follicles. Antioxidants also help your system to produce collagen, so that your hair has more elasticity. And yes, the properties in antioxidants have also been known to make your hair shine more when you consume them on a consistent basis. Some of the foods that are high in antioxidants include green veggies, berries, citrus fruit, dark chocolate, pecans, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
3. DIY a honey and olive oil mask
Honey is a wonderful hair ingredient because it acts as a humectant; this means that it pulls moisture from the air and puts it into your hair. Since honey’s also categorized as being an emollient, it is literally able to smooth your hair follicles which can give your hair more sheen and shine overall. As far as olive oil goes, thanks to the vitamins E and K and fatty acids that it contains, it’s the type of oil that will make your tresses easier to detangle while also adding moisture, softness and shine. So, if you’re looking for a hair mask that will up your hair’s sheen, add two teaspoons of honey to a half cup of extra virgin olive oil. Let it sit on your clean damp hair for 20 minutes and rinse. You will immediately see an improvement.
4. Take a probiotic
It might surprise you that a probiotic can be good for your hair, especially since so much talk about it has mostly to do with how it is good for your gut. However, a probiotic is great for your hair’s health because the “good bacteria” that’s in it will help to reduce scalp inflammation which can help to prevent hair loss. It can also help to decrease cortisol levels (that can increase hair thinning) and it can even stimulate your hair growth phase. As far as shine and sheen go, probiotics are awesome because they help to bring balance to your body’s pH levels which can cause shiny hair to happen.
5. Rinse with cool water
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that very few things feel more therapeutic than really warm water running down my scalp. Still, as much as I’ve tried to fight it, my hair has proven that cooler temperatures are best. That’s because, not only is hot water pretty drying, cooler water is better at sealing the cuticles of your hair. And when your cuticles are nice and smooth, your hair appears to have more sheen. I’ll admit that it takes some getting used to but it’s well worth it in the long run.
6. Apply some aloe vera gel
If you’re someone who likes to use gel in order to give your curls more definition, but you’d prefer to go with something that has as few chemicals as possible, aloe vera gel is just what you’ve been looking for. First of all, since aloe vera is a plant that is loaded with vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants, it definitely will help to strengthen your hair whenever you apply it. As for some other bonuses, it’s also the kind of gel that will help to soothe an itchy scalp, strengthen your strands and make your curls look shinier. To get the best results, apply it when your hair is damp. And please don’t feel like you have to pile it on. A little bit of gel goes a pretty long way.
7. Make a vegetable glycerin spritz
If you’re wearing your hair in its natural state and you’re looking for a bit of a pick-me-up, make a hair spritz that has vegetable glycerin as its base ingredient. It’s another humectant that will reduce frizz (frizzy hair oftentimes looks like dry hair). Vegetable glycerin will also help to keep your hair hydrated, reduce damage and help to prevent split ends. The key here is to not overdo it. Meaning, if you constantly apply it to your locks, that can make it sticky (I’ve learned from up close and personal experience!). You can check out a video that features pros and cons of it for natural hair here. You can check out another that features a homemade spritz recipe here.
8. Make your own sheen spray too
Women within the Black community know what oil sheen is. And if anything was going to make our hair shine, almost with a glow, that would have to be it! Well, if you’d prefer to make some of your own, all you need is — one cup of rose water (it will soften your hair); a half cup of avocado oil (it reduces dandruff and breakage); a tablespoon of rosemary oil (it strengthens your hair while adding sheen), and 5-7 drops of cedarwood oil (it reduces frizz). Putting all of these ingredients into a spray bottle and shaking before using will give your hair the shine and sheen that you want while keeping your hair healthy in the process. Brilliant. Literally.