10 summer hair care tips for naturally curly hair (2023)

Those beautiful curls and waves of curly hair hide a secret — they’re thirsty.

Because curly hair coils and curves, it makes it difficult for the natural oils in the scalp to make their way to the tips of the hair strands, causing hair to dry out at the ends and making it more prone to breakage. That’s why curly hair goes frizzy, and we need to tame those tresses to prevent them from swelling in summer’s humidity.


Summer may be a little more intense for curly hair, but good mane maintenance matters year-round. Gwen Jimmere, founder and CEO of Naturalicious, a hair-product company dedicated to curly hair, and Michelle O’Connor, Matrix artistic director and creative director of JCPenney Salon by InStyle gave us tips on how to take your hair from frustrating to fabulous.

Ditch daily shampoos. Frequently shampooing curly hair can cause breakage, they said. Seven to 10 days is fine between shampoos, Jimmere said. It’s better to use a conditioner in hair between washings to add moisture. Products such as Heavenly Hydration Grapeseed Hair Mist ($12, naturalicious.net) keeps curly hair healthy between shampoos.


Stop tangles. Before washing your hair, use a “pre-poo” as Jimmere called it, a pre-shampoo oil treatment. O’Connor said this step conditions and detangles hair, making it easier to handle after shampooing. Matrix Oil Wonders Volume Rose Pre-Shampoo Treatment ($12, us.lookfantastic.com) is one example.

Go mild. When you do shampoo, pick something mild, with low lather, O’Connor said. Total Results Curl Please ($12.50, www.jcpenney.com) is one product. To avoid tangles, wash hair in sections by twisting or clipping away parts and use a small amount of product for each section. Gently clean the scalp; don’t scrub as that can damage hair. Work product down the hair strand and repeat on all sections. Rinse the same way, O’Connor said.

10 summer hair care tips for naturally curly hair (1)

Be cool. Hot water hurts your hair. Brave a cold-water shampoo/rinse to close cuticles and lock in shine.

Detoxify after damage. Chlorine is particularly heinous on curly hair because of its dryness. Detoxify and restore moisture with clay-based shampoo. Jimmere recommended Moroccan Rhassoul 5-in-1 Clay Treatment ($23, naturalicious.net), which detoxifies, cleanses, detangles and deep conditions to put moisture back in.

Get in condition. Conditioners are a must after shampooing. Apply conditioners to the hair where its needed, rather than the scalp, where it’s not, O’Connor said. Use either your fingers to distribute, or a wide-tooth comb, Jimmere added. You know you’ve bought the right wide-tooth comb “if you can fit the tip of your pinky between the teeth. Anything smaller is too small,” she said.

Dry and style. Skip the terrycloth towel and get yourself a T-shirt towel, they both said. Regular towels cause friction, frizz and breakage because of the loops in the fabric. T-shirt towels are smooth, and unlike a plain T, they’re bigger and thicker, making them more absorbent. “You can literally wash your hair, put the towel on your head and 15 minutes later, your hair’s going to be 85% dry already,” Jimmere said.

10 summer hair care tips for naturally curly hair (2)

Outsmart humidity. Use a lightweight gel style and lock in your curls, Jimmere said, by using Dramatic Definition Gel ($33, naturalicious.net). In the summer, avoid using styling creams because those are water-based and compound humidity’s effects. “Even with gel, your hair will still swell; you can’t stop that. But you’ll still have curl definition and won’t look like a basketball player from the ’70s with a giant Afro,” Jimmere said.

Don’t be a hot-head. If you can, lay off the blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron, O’Connor said, as these heat-styling tools are prone to break hair. Preferably, wrap wet hair in foam rollers or twists and let dry naturally. If you’re a heat-tool addict, do it right, she said. Buy high-quality tools made with tourmaline or ceramic. These have ionic properties, which do less damage. And use a heat-protecting product before using a styling tool. One example is Biolage Styling BlowDry Glotion ($17, ulta.com).


Go satin smooth. At night, switch to satin pillowcases or sleep with a satin scarf around your head, O’Connor said. Cotton pillowcases can tangle your tresses and cause frizz.

Debbie Carlson is a freelance writer.


How do you take care of curly hair in the summer? ›

Moisture is essential for curly hair. So the rule for curly hair in the summer is to choose moisture-rich hair products from start to finish. That means moisturizing shampoos, moisturizing conditioners and moisturizing styling products. Ingredients to embrace include coconut oil, shea butter and honey.

How do I take care of my naturally curly hair? ›

To care for curly hair, board-certified dermatologists recommend these tips.
  1. Only wash your hair when needed. ...
  2. Keep your hair moisturized. ...
  3. Take care of your scalp. ...
  4. Detangle your hair. ...
  5. Protect your curls from the sun. ...
  6. Care for your hair while you sleep.
Jun 29, 2022

How do you make curly hair not frizzy in the summer? ›

How to Fight Summer Frizz
  1. 1 of 8. ...
  2. Brush your hair as little as possible. ...
  3. In the shower, use an ultra hydrating shampoo + conditioner. ...
  4. Rinse your hair with the coldest water you can handle. ...
  5. Make time for a mask. ...
  6. Gently blot or twist to dry—never rub. ...
  7. Double up on conditioner. ...
  8. Apply a hair serum to strands.
Jun 18, 2020

Does hair get curlier in summer? ›

Human hair is extremely sensitive to humidity—so much that some hygrometers (devices that indicate humidity) use a hair as the measuring mechanism, because it changes in length based on the amount of moisture in the air. Straight hair goes wavy. If you have curly hair, humidity turns it frizzy or even curlier.

What are the do's and don'ts of curly hair? ›

What Not to Do to Curly Hair
  • Don't Over-Wash Hair.
  • Don't Use Too Much Shampoo.
  • Don't Rinse Out All of The Conditioner.
  • Don't Dry Vigorously with Towels.
  • Don't Rush to the Hair Dryer.
  • Don't Brush or Comb Dry Hair.
  • Do Use a Wide-Toothed Comb.
  • Do Use Ample Conditioner.
Apr 17, 2020

What should you not do to curly hair? ›

10 things you should never do if you have curly hair
  1. Overwashing your hair. ...
  2. Using shampoo and conditioners that have sulfates. ...
  3. Forgetting to use oil. ...
  4. Relying too heavily on products. ...
  5. Using the wrong type of comb. ...
  6. Combing hair while it's still wet. ...
  7. Using the wrong type of towel. ...
  8. Not using a diffuser.
Feb 13, 2019

What foods help curly hair? ›

Top 10 Foods for Curly Hair Growth
  • NUTS.
  • DAIRY.
  • WATER.
Sep 4, 2018

How do you refresh naturally curly hair? ›

8 Ways to Refresh Curly Hair
  1. Water. Sometimes just a spritz of water is all you need, especially if you've already added plenty of stylers on day one. ...
  2. Leave-in conditioner spray. ...
  3. Q-Redew: ...
  4. Finger coils. ...
  5. Hair gel. ...
  6. Styling cream. ...
  7. Pin curls. ...
  8. Perm rods, flexi-rods or curling wand.
Mar 30, 2020

What products should curly hair avoid? ›

There are some overall ingredients to avoid on the INCI list for a Curly Girl product:
  • Silicones.
  • Sulfates.
  • Drying alcohol.
  • Parabens.
  • Certain waxes and mineral oils.

What reduces frizz in curly hair? ›

Follow these styling tips to help keep your curls smooth, shiny, and separated.
  • Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. ...
  • Towel dry gently. ...
  • Don't brush. ...
  • Define your curls. ...
  • Create a barrier against humidity. ...
  • Air dry your hair. ...
  • Protect your style with hairspray. ...
  • Use a secret weapon.

What season is best for curly hair? ›

Fall is the ideal season for curly hair with its crisp air and light breezes.

What does hot weather do to curly hair? ›

Curls need protection throughout the summer and environmental aggressors such as UV rays, humidity, seawater and chlorine can lead to damage, causing dryness, frizz and breakage.

What ruins curly hair? ›

5 Things That Cause Damaged Curly Hair
  • Color Damage.
  • Over-Washing.
  • Mechanical Damage.
  • Using the Wrong Hair Products.
  • Heat Damage.
  • Shampoo.
  • Conditioner.
  • All-In-One.
Apr 27, 2022

What is the healthiest way to sleep with curly hair? ›

Best sleep position

Sleeping on your back can also create frizz and knots in your hair as you move your head from side to side during the night. If you have curly hair, sleeping on your side or on your stomach is your best bet. As an added bonus, sleeping on your side has all sorts of other health benefits.

What are some tips for curly hair? ›

Our Top 10 Curly Hair Tips
  1. Find a Curly Hair Routine That Works for You. ...
  2. Don't Overwash. ...
  3. Detangle Gently. ...
  4. Start Styling When Hair Is Wet. ...
  5. Scrunch Those Curls. ...
  6. Use a Diffuser or Air Dry Your Hair. ...
  7. Use a Heat Protectant If You're Going To Blow-Dry or Use Hot Tools.

What to do with curly hair after shower? ›

Air-drying your hair whenever possible is typically the best choice for curly-haired girls. To speed up the drying process, gently scrunch your curls and towel off the excess water with a microfiber towel before you air-dry your locks. A soft, cotton T-shirt also works well on wet hair.

What type of brush is best for curly hair? ›

“Look for [a brush] that is gentle with flexible bristles to avoid tugging on the hair.” Boar bristles are preferred because they're soft and gentle, but if you're opting for synthetic bristles (i.e. plastic or nylon), be on the lookout for ones with rounded tips that won't cause breakage.

What is pineapple hair? ›

What is pineappling hair? The pineapple hair technique, a term coined by the NaturallyCurly community, is a way to protect your curly hair when you sleep. Done correctly, the pineapple hair method creates a beautiful pile of curls on the top of your head, which resembles the shape of—yes, you guessed it—a pineapple.

How do you add moisture to curly hair? ›

How do you keep your curly hair moisturized?
  1. Use moisture-rich products. Choose hydrating and moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, as well as strengthening hair treatment masks for optimal moisture-protein balance. ...
  2. Keep your curls protected. ...
  3. Watch out for breakage. ...
  4. Trim & detangle to prevent split ends.
May 31, 2021

How can I make my curly hair look good in the morning? ›

5 Tips for your Curly Morning Routine
  1. 01 Scrunch Out the Crunch. If you use gel to style your curls, it may leave your hair with a glossy stiffness.. ...
  2. 02 Lift the Roots. ...
  3. 03 Loosen Up Your Curls. ...
  4. 04 Smooth Out the Frizz. ...
  5. 05 Add Styling Products.
Jan 17, 2022

What stimulates curly hair growth? ›

Here's some tips to stimulate hair growth and see results within weeks:
  1. Growth Oils and Coffee. Stimulation and blood flow greatly help hair growth. ...
  2. Split ends are NOT repairable. ...
  3. Taking Vitamins and Eating Enough Protein. ...
  4. Natural Food Masks (Or Protein Masks in General) Method.
Feb 13, 2018

What products activate curly hair? ›

10 Curl Activators That Won't Dry Out
  • Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream.
  • SoftSheen-Carson Care Free Curl Gold Instant Activator.
  • Luster's S-Curl Activator and Moisturizer.
  • Creme of Nature with Argan Moisture & Shine Curl Activator Creme.
  • Twisted Sista Curl Activator Creme.
  • Aveda Be Curly™ Curl Enhancer.
Aug 7, 2021

Does curly hair grow slow? ›

The fact of the matter is that curly hair takes a longer time to grow longer because it grows in a curl, rather than straight down. But curly hair, as well as straight hair, usually grows about 1/2” per month. So with patience, and with a coordinated plan with your hair stylist, you can have longer hair.

How do I activate my natural curls? ›

Twists and “braid outs” are the most simple and fastest ways for achieving definition on your natural hair. Simply apply a curling custard of gel to your hair and braid or twist each section. Once the sections are dry, unravel, separate the curls and fluff out your hair for more volume.

What does 2C hair look like? ›

2C type hair is extremely wavy but not coily. The S-shape bends in the hair start off at the roots. These waves are defined and thick. The bends are looser and wider than the tighter structure of curly hair.

How do you refresh curls between washing? ›

Try using a light leave-in conditioner or curl cream to help add moisture back into your hair. All you need is a spray bottle filled with a mixture of water and your favorite leave-in conditioner. Spritzing this mixture onto your hair will refresh the curls and bring out their natural shine.

What happens to curly hair in the summer? ›

Just as it's harmful to your skin, prolonged exposure to the sun's UVA and UVB rays can damage the cuticle, the outermost layer of the hair, which makes holding a curl more difficult.

Does hot weather affect curly hair? ›

A Curly Girl's Guide To Humidity Hair. Curly hair can handle a lot weather-wise. In the heat it just gets curlier, if it's cold it keeps your head warm, and if it's raining outside, well a bunch of curls don't need a brolly like straightened hair or a high maintenance blow-dry.

How often should you wash curly hair in the summer? ›

Curly or color-treated hair tends to be drier, so keep washing to only one to three times a week with a hydrating, color-protecting shampoo.

What triggers curly hair? ›

Curly hair is dominant, so someone is more likely to have curly or wavy hair if at least one of their parents does. Recent research points to trichohyalin, a protein in hair follicles, as having primary influence over hair curl. However, there are many genes contributing to hair curliness, most of them unknown.

Does the sun ruin curly hair? ›

The UV rays will quickly dry out hair in hot, sunny weather leaving it frazzled and frizzy. So if you're out in the heat, the best protection from the sun is to cover your head with a scarf, hat or a protective style like braids to protect your curls and scalp.

Does cold air help curly hair? ›

Use Cold Air: Using cold air instead of the usual hot air will prevent the hair from stretching and creating frizz. Keep Your Hands Out of The Hair: Let the diffuser do the work for you! The more you touch naturally curly hair, the more frizz you will create.

How do you fight humidity in curly hair? ›

One of the best ways to do that is to lightly coat your curls with oil. The great thing about oils is that they not only lock moisture in, they also lock excess moisture out, which is exactly what you need to fight frizz on high-humidity days.

Does cold air damage curly hair? ›

Why does the cold weather have this effect on curly hair? Cold air is generally drier and holds less moisture. This draws out the moisture in our hair to balance the surroundings. Less moisture leads to drier hair and scalp, dull and brittle strands, itchy and flaky scalp, and split ends.

What does heat damage look like curly hair? ›

One obvious sign of curly hair heat damage is damaged curls; you may notice your curls look straighter or looser with your first wash after heat styling. Your curl pattern may also appear and feel completely different after heat damage, with you struggling to get your bouncy curl back.

Can you wet curly hair everyday? ›

Yes, you can wet natural hair everyday, and it is actually advised to do so to maintain moisture. Let's be clear though: by wetting your hair, we don't meanwashing it. We simply mean rinsing natural hair either in the shower or spritzing water over your hair.

What is a good curly hair wash routine? ›

Loose and classic curls can lather up two to four times a week. Coily curl types can co-wash weekly, and deep cleanse with shampoo once a month. Tight curls fall somewhere in between - shampoo or co-wash every few days to a week. A good rule of thumb: If your curls feel dry, try washing less frequently.

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