ballet dancer with natural hair

Curlies, who doesn't want beautiful, strong, healthy hair?

Even if you're rocking an Alek Wek look, you still want to keep your close-crop cute! But all too often we sacrifice the health of our curls making hair care decisions that maaaaaaaybe aren't the best. When it comes to strengthening your hair, there are a few things you should know to help improve your curl health. Walk through these steps!

1. Evaluate your care routine

This can't be stressed enough! So many curlistas are damaging their hair with their everyday habits without even realizing it. If you find your strands are breaking more easily or you have a lot more shedding, this could be because your hair isn't as strong as it used to be. Remember, you don't have blood flowing through those follicles, and the longer each hair, the older it is! Evaluate your routine to make sure the problem isn't something you've recently added in your routine, like a new brush that is too rough or a different pillowcase that isn't holding you down like you need it to be.

2. Eat a balanced diet

One of the best tips for strengthening your hair is to pay attention to what you intake. The foods you eat play a role in the strength of your hair since hair is made up of proteins which your body produces naturally. If you aren't giving your body a diet rich in necessary nutrients such as vitamins A and B, and other elements like proteins and iron, your hair will remain weak and brittle. Input equals output curlies! Just remember—dietary changes don't yield immediate results. Keep with it no matter what, and enjoy the fruits and veggies until you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

3. Step away from the heat tools

When you constantly heat your hair, you are weakening the protein bonds of strands. This will automatically lead to hair more prone to breakage, even with the best of protectants. One of the best tips for strengthening your hair is to spend more time on air drying, and when you MUST break out the dryer, use it on a low setting with a diffuser to reduce some of that potential for damage. Your curls will thank you!

4. Keep things smooth!

What's more luxurious than sleeping on silk? Well, it turns out...not too much! But it's not just the feel or the labor-intensive process behind the fabric that makes it valuable—silk actually actively works to keep your hair hydrated because it doesn't suck in moisture like cotton does. Bonus: it doesn't have textured threads that can tug at your hair either. Sleep on a silk pillowcase or wrap your hair in a silk head wrap at night to train those curls up!

5. Stay hydrated

Think of yourself as a houseplant, curlies. We've covered your fertilizer, so to speak, but making sure to water is just as important! When you are dehydrated, your whole body doesn't function at its best, including the processes that push those curls out. End result: your hair will naturally be dry and brittle. For stronger hair, make sure you rethink how you drink!

6. Use a weekly hair mask

Hair needs moisture and protein to stay strong internally speaking. But you know it's just as important to provide both elements directly to your strands to prevent breakage? A decent rule of thumb is to do a moisture mask once a week and a protein mask every other week, but as always, your routine may need to change depending on your individual hair needs. For protein needs, check out ApHogee's Two-Step Protein Treatment and for a gentler, daily leave-in protein product: Curly Hair Solutions' Pure Silk Protein Deep Moisturizing Treatment. For a moisturizing mask for weekly use, check out Alikay Naturals' Avocado Moisture Repairing Mask or SheaMoisture's Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque to revive thirsty curls and improve strength.

Are you ready to get those curls pumping? With these tips, they'll do more than lift—they'll fly!