If you’re a person whose locks tend to go this, that and every way possible instead of just straight down, then you know about struggle—well, at least you know about hair struggle. There are countless questions and myths about what’s best for curly manes: Should you wash? Are you washing too much? Should you use oils? What about all the frizz? To answer these burning questions and give us tried-and-true tips on how to make wild tresses look and feel their best, we turned to Senior Curl Specialist Sergio Delgado of DevaChan salons. Read on for a few genius (and surprising) pieces of advice for curly girls. Spoiler alert: You can say goodbye to shampoo forever. Seriously. We told you—genius.
Should curly girls really wash less?
“Curly heads don’t necessarily need to be washed as often as they need to be hydrated," says Delgado. "Washing—especially with shampoo—can be dehydrating, causing hair to lose curl shape, brilliance, bounce, control and luster. Only wash when your scalp needs it. If your hair looks messy or the curls lose shape, revert to reshaping (basically a mild hydration and styling) for better results. To refresh curls, simply wet them with a spray bottle until they are saturated but not dripping. Then apply conditioner with fingers—no styling tools or a terry-cloth towel. Don’t use a comb or brush either; it will break the curl patterns and contribute to frizz. Scrunching or diffusing is fine.”
How should you tackle product buildup in curls?
“Buildup is a common problem. If your curls have a piece-y, sticky look and don’t get wet, it’s either because of silicone buildup or too many oils being used, which literally seal the hair cuticle to the point of almost being laminated," says the curl expert. "The result is a stiff, sticky, water-repelling hair shaft. To break up this build up and allow moisture back into the hair, cut out all oils and silicone-based products. This alone will make a difference. You can also do a baking soda-and-conditioner wash—this will raise the pH level of your conditioner but won’t damage your hair like shampoo.”
What is the biggest misconception about curly hair?
“People think it's hard to manage, maintain or style—not true, anyone can style their curls, and the range of styles is amazing," he says. "Curly is not limiting at all. It just takes a little knowledge. The second biggest misconception about curly hair is that oil is a good moisturizer. No, no, no—stay clear of oils! For the best bounce, shine and hydration, condition and detangling curls regularly is key.”
What is the best process to make curls look their best?
“Conditioning and detangling is the real secret,” says Delgado. “If you smooth your curls at least twice a week with the proper conditioning and detangling routine—and are diligent— after two months, your curls will be healthy, vibrant and more uniformed. Also make sure to ditch shampoo detergents and sulfates, lose the oil and stop toweling off with terry cloth.”
Can a curly girl really stop using shampoo completely?
“Yes, it seems daunting, but a curly girl can and should dump shampoo for good," says the hairstylist. "The best way to wean off of shampoo is to start by washing less. Then, switch one shampoo session to a sulfate-free cleanser and alternate between that and regular shampoo for about two weeks. Next, mix the two together, adding in more sulfate-free cleansers and less shampoo. You will start feeling and seeing a huge difference in everything from shine to frizz level, curl bounce, luster and curl retention.”