If you look to social media or forums for inspiration on how to look after your curls, you might be a little confused with some of the terminology out there. We thought we'd put together a simple guide to help clear things up and help you understand curl terminology.
Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. This is great for clarifying, refreshing the scalp and restoring PH balance. Gently brush out your curls, then dip your hair into a bowl of warm water mixed with a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Massage into your hair and scalp for a couple of minutes, rinse and then follow with conditioner.
Blow drying, bleach, straightening, bad products can all cause lasting damage to our curly locks. Some curlies embarking on their curly journey like to chop off all this damage, with a drastic haircut. Alternatively you may prefer to take you time and remove the damage over a number of cuts. If you would like a recommendation for a good curly hairdresser, please do email us!
Before and after 'big chop' transformation cut by The Muse Salon, Northampton
Some following the ‘Curly Girl Method’ prefer to have no shampoo in their routine at all. Instead they will wash their hair with conditioner. This is called co-washing. There are also some specific ‘co-wash’ products out there which are a non-foaming, conditioning cleansers (and usually a little lighter than a regular conditioner).
A clarifying wash is a deep clean for your hair and scalp. The idea is to remove stubborn dirt, oil and product build-up. Most shampoos marketed as clarifying will contain sulfates, which do have a bad reputation in the curly world. However, if your hair is feeling weighed down, it might be in need of a clarify with a sulfate-heavy shampoo, just follow with lots of conditioner. You can also clarify by doing an ACV rinse as described above.
CLUMPING / CURL CLUMPS:
Know how your hairs group together to form your lovely curls- each one could be called a ‘curl clump’. Soaking wet hair is the perfect time to encourage these lovely clumps to form. We always recommend scrunching in the Hydrating Curl Creme into soaking wet hair to encourage smooth clumps to form.
There are many different types of curls and they are broken down by the curl type system. Read our article here to find out more about your curl type.
DENMAN BRUSH TECHNIQUE:
Some curlies get amazing definition by using a Denman Brush (D3) to twist their curls into shape.
Denman Brush technique demonstrated by @curly_tanisha
A diffuser is an attachment for your hairdryer that spreads the air flow over a larger area. This is particularly good for curly hair as it gently dries the curls without causing frizz, or disturbing the curl pattern.
Wrapping your curls around your index finger to encourage the curl pattern. Watch our tutorial on this here.
Once your curls are dry, you can achieve more volume by using a wide tooth comb to gently back comb and 'fluff' up the roots.
Fluffing image by @curlyfirst
This is a drying method for curly hair using a microfibre towel or old t-shirt.
A hairstyle favoured by many for sleeping. It’s a high front facing ponytail that holds curls forwards so that only the underneath of the hair touches the pillow. This protects curls during the night. Our pineapple protector helps keep your pineapple in place and protects the underside of the hair.
@dervscurls in the Pineapple Protector
Since washing your hair every day can be both time consuming and drying on the hair. Many curlies like to use a refresh method on non-wash days to neaten up their curls. We recommend spritzing the hair with some water, then scrunching in the Enhancing Curl Gel. You can also use the finger coiling method to reshape the curls.
SQUISH TO CONDISH:
This is simply squishing and scrunching your hair after applying the conditioner. This action forces both water and conditioner into the hair for maximum hydration.
SOTC (SCRUNCH OUT THE CRUNCH):
Sometimes styling products (mainly Gel) can leave a bit of a cast around the curls once they are dry. This can simply be scrunched out with your hands. Gently scrunch sections of your hair in your hands to break the cast.
Sulfates are detergents. There are two main ones Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate which create a frothy lather that removes dirt, oil and build-up from the hair and scalp. These ingredients are effective cleansing agents safe and suitable for most, however they can be very drying. Since curly hair is prone to dryness, we choose not to use sulfates in Only Curls products.
Silicones are a conditioning agent, they create slip to detangle the hair and give hair a silky shine. This all sounds great, however by coating the hair these silicones can build up and block further moisture from entering the hair, leaving hair dry and brittle. They also can only be removed with sulfate heavy shampoos which we know are drying on curly hair.
Heard any other terms that you'd like translating? Let us know and we'll add them to the list : )