Three celebrity hairstylists spill their curl-reviving secrets.
No matter what your curl pattern (or lack thereof) is, we're all guilty of stressing our hair out in some way. If you think your strands are stress-free, think again. From constant heated tools (yes, hair dryers included) to overwashing and even air pollution, your hair goes through copious amounts of wear and tear on the daily.
We're all aware of the laundry list of issues that can arise with hair damage—think dryness, brittleness, breakage, and a lackluster finish. However, your curl pattern is just as reliant on a proper hair-care routine, and if you've noticed that your strands aren't as bountiful and bouncy as they once were, then it's probably time to make some changes to your routine.
What Causes Your Curl Pattern to Change?
Unfortunately, hair is notoriously temperamental and can be thrown off kilter through the tiniest of changes. According to Kim Kimble, the celebrity hairstylist that's responsible for Beyoncé's 30-foot braids in Black Is King, some of the biggest culprits to flatter curls include heat, chemicals, and even your prescription meds.
"Too much heat or chemicals such as color or relaxer can damage your natural curl pattern," she says. "We call that too much physical damage. Your curl pattern can also change due to any medication you are on, so talk to your doctor or dermatologist to see if that is a factor."
According to celebrity hairstylist Annagjid "Kee" Taylor, known for her work with Keke Palmer and Tiffany Haddish, your curl pattern can change by pretty much anything that sucks the moisture out of it.
"Anything that can really dry out your hair and really damage it will cause your hair to lose its natural curl pattern," says Taylor. "Using chemicals, which includes coloring your hair and over-processing it, will do more harm than good. Strands will become burnt out and hard to style, and the same will apply to excessive heat. Don't put your natural curls through excessive change frequently and continuously."
Restoring Your Natural Curls: The Salon Method
Here's some good news: Your curls aren't gone forever. All our experts agree that there are tons of avenues you can take to revive the bounce in your tresses, no matter how severe the damage is.
If your curls have been lightly compromised, Kimble says a protein conditioning treatment can work wonders, while Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, Kerry Washington's go-to hairstylist and founder of TSD Hair, also says treatments like scalp massages and moisturizing conditioners for textured hair can also help.
However, if your curls just won't come back, Taylor suggests going for a "big chop" to bring them back to their glory days.
"Once you cut the damaged ends, the natural hair will grow in, you just have to maintain it with the right products to keep the hair moisturized," she says. "If you're afraid of the drastic cut, you can do it gradually. Cut off the damaged ends one to two inches at a time every six to eight weeks."
Restoring Your Natural Curls: The At-Home Method
If you'd rather avoid the salon until it's absolutely necessary to go, we get it. However, Taylor does want to note that no single product will bring your curls completely back to normal.
"Unfortunately, no product can bring your curl pattern back. I know nobody wants to hear this, but products won't bring your curls back," she says. "As your virgin hair grows back from the scalp, you're going to want to care for and protect that hair as much as possible, because that's going to be the most natural curl pattern."
Don't fret, as that doesn't mean your curls have to stay in a flattened state of limbo. There are a few methods and products that help your curls reach a more buoyant state. The first step, according to Kimble, is to break up with your heated tools and chemicals for a while.
"Make sure to give your hair a rest from heat or chemicals," she says. "That is the best way to combat curl pattern damage."
To create definition and bounce, Sturdivant-Drew suggests braiding your hair when it's wet and letting it set overnight. Instead of a conventional three-strand braid, she recommends creating flat twists or two-strand twists.
"Apply some curly products in the hair while wet, using a brush to twist small sections of the hair around with a brush," she says. "The brush will control the hair into place patternwise and start the look."
She recommends using the Tangle Teezer's Scalp Exfoliator & Massager to release tension while exfoliating the scalp, plus the TSD Hair Flower Extract Conditioner to strengthen hair, control frizz, and add a glossy sheen. She also suggests using Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding to give the hair added texture and curls.
Though Taylor is adamant on the fact that products can't solve everything, she notes that there are a few that can definitely help from root to tip. If you decide to chop off a big chunk of your strands and start anew, she suggests using the Deeper Than Hair First Class to Jamaica Castor Oil. "It encourages hair to grow longer and thicker, and it's great after going for the 'big chop' and can be used on all hair types," she says. She also suggests using the Deeper Than Hair Resurrection Masque to deep condition and reduce frizz and breakage.
If your hair has gone through severe damage, Taylor suggests using the ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment. "For over-processed hair that can no longer take color or [is] too brittle to be styled, this two-step system will help restore structure to the hair, revitalize curls, and prevent future breakage," she says.
Shop the Story:
Want more stories like this?