In most cases, “loosening up” is a positive thing; it’s associated with relaxing, letting go, having a good time. But when my curls decide to loosen up, it’s a whole different story.
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No matter what kind of wavy, coily, or curly you are, you can probably relate: curls that start out bouncy and fresh in the morning sometimes deflate, like a tire losing air, until they’re stretched, flat, and frizzy. But why?
“Curls have a mind of their own,” says Tara Love, the founder of Tara Love Hair, a salon that caters to African-American and multicultural women. “They are very unpredictable because you never know what they will do from one day to the next.”
“Maybe the reason why curls fall or get looser is because of gravity,” she speculates. “The hair can also be heavy, as in high-density hair with thick strands. Fine, short hairs tend to curl tighter and experience no real gravity pull.”
If your hair is thick and dense, gravity is likely to blame for your stretched curls—and it’s not easy to fight a force of nature. That being said, you can make your hair less susceptible to the effects of gravity by using lightweight products that won’t weigh you down further. “For curly styles that you want to stay in place, leave-ins and oils are needed,” Love shares.
“I love an old staple called Infusium 23,” she adds. “It’s light and controls frizz. If you need a little oil, I love Jane Carter Nourish and Shine. It’s great for hair and body. Rub a bit in the palm and apply.”
It’s also a good idea to switch out your hard-hold gel for a light cream to keeps curls buoyant. CurlTalk member @oh.hi.its.steph recommends SheaMoisture Curl Milk: “I find it to be perfectly moisturizing and curl-enhancing, but not terribly heavy either!”
High-porosity curls and waves are more likely to loosen throughout the day than low-porosity curls. That’s because high-porosity hair has large gaps and holes in the cuticle, making it very easy for the hair to lose moisture; and when moisture evaporates from high-porosity hair, it renders products less effective—which results in loose, frizzy curls.
Since highly porous hair loses moisture easily, it’s essential to stock up on ultra-hydrating products, like leave-in conditioners and sealers. You can also add anti-humectants to your hair care routine, like Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel, to seal the cuticle and keep moisture in. At night, try a heavy hair butter treatment—G'Natural Body & Hair Butter is a great option—to lock in hydration and prep your curls for a new day.
The Amount of Hair You Have
In one recent study, physicists studying the curvature of steel rods stumbled upon some interesting finds: namely, what makes curly hair go limp. Their conclusion? “The actual number of hairs per square inch on any individual’s scalp...that greater or lesser crowding may play a role,” according to Time Magazine. In other words, if you’ve got a lot of hair, your individual strands may just be too crowded to stay curly all day.
If this is the case for you, there are two things you can do:
One, incorporate a hard-hold gel into your routine to give you all-day definition. After smoothing Curlfection Firm Hold Smoothing Cream Gel through your hair, twirl individual pieces around your finger to create a defined curl pattern, and diffuse dry.
And two, accept that you’ve been blessed with thick, luscious curls—and at the end of the day, no matter how loose they are, your curls are beautiful. (At least, this is what I like to tell myself!)
It’s important to note that even with a full morning routine of leave-ins, creams, and gels, curls sometimes need a little midday refresh. What can you do? It’s just their nature.
Ever find your curls falling flat throughout the day? What do you do to keep them springy? Share with us in the comments below!