Curly and wavy girls often wonder why their strands aren’t as shiny as their straight-haired friends. In general, it’s because curly and wavy hair is drier and because many curly and wavy girls do things that disrupt their natural hair and leave it dull. So how do you keep frizz at bay but also get great curly hair shine? It’s easy. Read on!

Don't ruffle your hair

Each strand of hair has tiny scales covering it like overlapping tiles on a roof. “When the tiles lie flat, they reflect light and your hair shines,” explains Lorraine Massey, co-owner of Devachan Salons and Spa and author of Curly Girl: The Handbook. “When they’re ruffled, your hair won’t shine because light needs to be reflected off a smooth surface.” Things that rough up the cuticle include heat from blow dryers and flat irons, chemical treatments, terry cloth towels and hair brushes. Skip the heat and chemical products (if you must use a hair dryer, use a hair diffuser), toss the hair brush and combs and use a micro-fiber towel or old t-shirt to dry your hair.

Skip detergent shampoos

“Traditional shampoos contain detergents that erase shine from hair,” says Massey. “Hair is like fabric and we never look for shine in our clothes after we wash them so why would you expect your hair to shine after?” Instead, look for cleansers that are 100% sulfate-free and contain botanicals or cleanse hair with conditioner rather than shampoo. It actually works just as well because it’s the movement of your fingers on the scalp that cleanses hair. Simply apply conditioner to finger tips and gently massage scalp to release dirt and oils.

Steer clear of silicone

Silicone is another hair shine eraser, but it’s ironically also in a lot of shine products. “At first, silicone seems to give hair shine, but eventually that shine turns into an unhealthy, heavy, dull, greasy look,” says Massey.  Alcohol also gives hair a dull cast because it dries it out – and curly hair is naturally dry enough on its own. Instead, read product labels and look for styling products that are silicone-free and alcohol-free.

  1. Type 2 (Wavy): Wavy and swavy hair tends to be shinier than tighter curl types. But you should still say sayonara to shampoo to keep this shine and enhance it. You can also give hair extra body and luster by combining a little alcohol-free, silicone-free gel with your sulfate-free shampoo. Use this to cleanse hair and rinse completely. Follow with conditioner.
  2. Type 3 (Curly): Eat your way to gleaming strands! Foods that contain healthy fats help moisturize hair from the inside out leaving it shinier and thicker. In fact, women who go on crash diets or suffer from anorexia often have dull, lifeless, thinning hair because they lack these nutrients. These fats include omega-3 fatty acids which are easy to find in foods like avocado, salmon, flax seed oil, egg yolks, sardines or in fish oil supplements.
  3. Type 4 (Kinky): Every strand of hair has a follicle that produces natural oils and it’s these oils that help give your hair shine. But because curly girls have only 100,000 hairs on their head in contrast to other hair types with around 120,000, there aren’t as many hair follicles and thus not as much shine-inducing oil. Also, thanks to curly hair’s twists and turns, it’s harder for that oil to travel to the ends of the hair to moisturize it. And the curlier the hair type, the harder it is for that oil to travel. To make kinky hair glisten, deep condition it regularly and leave a lot of conditioner in your hair every time you shower to add slip for the oils.

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Final Thoughts

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