From the finest to the thickest, the straightest to the curliest, all hair is made from the same protein rich material, but each hair type has its own set of needs to keep it looking and feeling fabulous. Afro hair is no exception!
Putting in the maintenance is SO worth the effort, though. With the right tips and tricks your hair will be healthy on the inside and spectacular on the outside. Here’s a quick intro to all things curls and hair health.
Not all curls are the same
It’s easy to think that curly hair is just the opposite of poker straight hair, but there’s so much more to it than that.
From soft waves through to corkscrew ringlets, right the way to tight Afro hair, every curl is different – and that’s why we love them! There’s no one-size-fits-all way to look after curls, but the more you understand what curly hair needs and loves, the better you’ll be able to pick the professional treatments and products that will leave you with hair that makes you feel fabulous!
Curly hair is often naturally fine and porous
Curls (and especially Afro curls) look thick and robust but are often naturally quite fine and porous in texture, making them fragile and more prone to damage than straighter hair types.
This is part of the reason why some people think their curls grow slowly. Actually, the hair grows at the same speed as anyone else’s, but breakage often means it doesn’t reach its full growth potential, keeping strands shorter than they could be.
That’s not the only reason why tight curls might appear to grow slowly
The other reason is down to the zig-zag shape of the individual hair strands. This shape means that Afro hair grows close to the head, curling towards itself rather than growing downwards – again meaning it can feel like it takes forever to reach the length you want!
The zig-zag shape that characterises strands of Afro hair can also make it trickier for natural oils to spread evenly down the hair, meaning hair can become drier and lose its shine.
So, how can you get the best from curly, textured or Afro hair?
If you’re embracing your curls, it’s all a case of picking the right professional products and finding a hair stylist who really understands your hair type.
“Afro hair requires a combination of treatments to maintain the moisture content and strength as it tends to be drier and weaker than its European counterpart,” says Kim Johnson of award-winning specialist Afro hair salon, Hype Coiffure.
Even with looser curls, you’ll find that those natural oils will spread less easily than they would on straight hair, so a bit of extra care is essential to avoid it becoming dry.
“We offer a range of moisturising and protein treatments both in-salon and for clients to take home, such as KeraStraight Moisture Mask and Protein Mask” says Kim. “We also recommend our clients stick to a simple homecare plan, such as regular use of Moisture Enhance or Volume Enhance Shampoos and Conditioners, or for extra protection, Rescue Crème or Moisture Mist.”
One of the reasons why KeraStraight is so good for natural curls is its protein technology, which uses small protein molecules which are easily absorbed by the hair, rebuilding strength and integrity. “KeraStraight Intense Boost and Style products use hydrolysed vegetable proteins”, explains Brenda Charlemagne, KeraStraight’s Textured Hair Education Ambassador. “I just love working with the brand on Afro and textured hair.”
Another ‘must’ for moisture-loving curls is Ultimate Oil, which 3x Afro-Caribbean Hairdresser of the Year, Michelle Thompson, loves. "Ultimate Oil delivers maximum moisture without excessive grease and weight”, she says, “leaving the hair fully hydrated, weightless and shiny."
If you want smoother, straighter hair, try an Ultimate Treatment
If you’re looking to smoothen and straighten your natural curls, there are alternatives to harsh chemical relaxers. Ultimate Treatment works wonders and is a much kinder treatment which repairs your hair as it works. And its effects last for up to four months!
“The blend of proteins in KeraStraight’s Ultimate Treatment enables me to give my customers amazing results in the salon and makes it easy for them to look after at home”, explains Brenda.
Sandy Wood of Sandy Wood’s Hair Specialists, is also a fan. “We make sure all our clients know that a KeraStraight Ultimate Treatment has no resemblance to a relaxer at all”, she says. “Whilst saying that, we have managed to convert 80% of our ‘relaxer’ clients to an Ultimate Treatment, and stood back and watched their hair recover from the damage and weakness a relaxer causes.”
Curl queen or smooth and sleek – KeraStraight has your back whichever you’re dreaming of… so which will you choose?Photo credit: Sandy Wood