Image Source: @atoya_thecurlyhairstudio
In the comments for This is Why Your Wavy Hair Won't Clump, Naturally Curly reader, Brigitta asked: “I have the exact opposite problem - my hair clumping too much. I am 2c/3a… but after washing and diffuser drying my hair is just a couple of thick clumps, which I usually divide manually into smaller clumps, yet during the day they somehow re-clump, especially on the sides. Any tips for this?”
This common concern was echoed by other wavy and wavy curly readers. If you, too, are battling the mega clumps, this article will help you troubleshoot your regimen.
Do you have all the information you need to create a wavy hair care routine that is right for you?
Starting any new hair regimen is a challenge, but it is made more difficult without a good foundation of knowledge. With it, you can custom-tailor a routine based on the needs of your hair and scalp and ensure success without collateral damage to your waves or your wallet. Without it, you can waste money and time, and potentially wreck the texture that you are working so hard to foster. Many new wavies and curlies have only heard of the Curly Girl Method as a retelling on YouTube, without some really critical details. This is where I started, but luckily one of the influencers I was following shared a recommended reading list.
Wavy fix: If you are brand new to the Curly Girl Method, Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl: The Handbook should be the first stop on your hair journey. Follow this with wavy-themed articles on this site such as: Here Are The Top 5 Mistakes Wavies Make When Starting The Curly Girl Method and How to Make Wavy Hair Curl Evenly.
Is your hair still transitioning from heat damage?
Heat damage can make hair behave in all kinds of undesirable ways. It can become coarser and rougher, and resistant to the moisture which helps curls and waves retain their shape. The symptoms of heat damage on wavy hair can be difficult to confirm. Unlike tighter curl types that are curlier towards the root, and straighter in damaged areas, wavy hair tends to look more consistent all over when there is damage. This is because wavy hair usually has straighter roots, and the waves and curls start at ear-level. There are a few other signs to look for, however, which include: dull hair that lacks sheen, hair that will immediately lose its pattern when pulled into a ponytail, split ends or breakage, and hair that is difficult to detangle.
Wavy fix: The only way to get rid of heat damage is to cut it out of your hair. Wavies can do well with either frequent trims or a big chop. Just make sure that whatever cut you get works with your curl pattern, hair density, and personal style.
Image Source: @indiabatson
Are you using the right products for your hair?
Often, it takes a while to find what products work best in your hair. Products that are too heavy can weigh your hair down and require a lot of excess scrunching to make your waves look less crunchy. This will lead to disturbing of the smaller wave and curl clumps, so that they lose definition. Conversely, if your styler does not have enough hold, you can end up losing definition when you scrunch out the crunch.
Wavy fix: Use products that are formulated to work with curly hair.
- Shampoos: Finer, and/or low-density hair requires cleansing more frequently with shampoos that will leave it clean and full. Thicker hair does well with more moisturizing shampoos and cleansing conditioners.
- Deep conditioners and masques: Depending on the condition of your hair, weekly or bi-weekly conditioning treatments can keep your hair moisturized and manageable. Choose products that won’t weigh down or build up on your hair.
- Leave-ins: Every wavy should use a leave-in. It will help keep your hair moisturized and flyaway-free and it will help to combat frizz.
- Stylers: Foam stylers are a good base for fine hair that is easily weighed down. This can be followed with a water-based gel that is used sparingly (too much can make hair look crispy). Thicker hair does well with heavier hold gels.
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Is your haircut right for your hair?
While there are a lot of options when it comes to wavy hair cuts which can range from pixies with shaved sides to long layers, it is really important to consider variables that are specific to your hair such as:
- Its density. Fine, low-density hair looks best with graduated cuts that give the illusion of volume, while thicker, high-density hair can look its best with layers including internal or French layers which give the illusion of movement within the hair.
- How it behaves at different lengths. Sometimes, looser curlies and wavies need length for the curl to spiral downwards. Cutting the hair shorter does not result in the curls springing up, but rather sticking up at the ends. Hair at the wrong length for you can be extremely hard to manage.
- Its porosity. If you have high porosity hair, you will find that it tends to stick together when it is wet. It also lays flat. This makes it difficult to access the interior of your hair at the back of your head to condition and apply your stylers, and then create clumps. A few layers in this section can help tremendously.
Wavy fix: Find a stylist who knows how to cut wavy hair, who asks a lot of questions, and who will strive to give you a cut that will work with your hair care regimen and lifestyle. In the video below, the stylist is very engaged in tailoring a cut to Grace’s wavy hair.
Are you training your waves and curls?
One great thing about having hair with texture is that our waves and curls have different shapes, patterns, and sizes. On the flip side, curls can do their own thing, including tangling with other curl families. This creates the giant clumps that are difficult to deal with.
When your hair is still wet and coated with your leave-in and styler(s), instead of immediately scrunching, use the following techniques to help define your waves and curls, and keep them separated:
Are you diffusing properly?
When done correctly, diffusing can speed up you drying time while giving you enhanced definition. It can also give you loads of volume, and help lock in your style. However, if you are not careful, it can create a head full of ramen noodle-sized curls that intertwine with one another.
Wavy fix: Define your waves and curls by finger coiling, or using the Rake and Shake or Skip Curl Method. If desired clip your roots using the Butterfly Clipping Method for extra volume. You can then carefully diffuse. Here is a video with some great tips on mastering the diffuser: here
What are your tips for keeping your wavy hair from clumping too much? Share with your Naturally Curly Community in the comments. To keep those clumps in place, try these strong hold stylers for wavy hair.