If you have been on a journey to embrace your natural hair pattern or have at some point thought that you might like to start wearing your natural hair pattern but are not sure where to start, then this post is a great place to find answers.
After testing and experimenting with my hair for years and working with curls and waves around the world, I have encountered my fair share of mistakes made along the way.
Because lets be real. curls/waves can be, well, complicated.
Curls and waves have a mind of their own and making mistakes along the way is an essential part of your hair chronicles.
After all, it is only in making mistakes that we can truly conquer anything, right?
Today I’ll be sharing some key mistakes I see curly and wavy girls make when they get started wearing their natural curl pattern (including myself).
Spoiler alert, it’s not as simple as using the right products. When it comes to common mistakes, most of them have much more to do with healthy hair habits, how you are applying/using, and how/if you are protecting your hair.
Caring for curly/wavy hair truly is a journey. A chronicle. A hair chronicle! There is no one size fits all approach and it will always be an ever changing process.
Today, we will be discussing 5 Curly/Wavy Mistakes That Are Killing Your Hair. And they just might not be what you think…..
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5 Curly/Wavy Styling Mistakes That Are KILLING Your Hair (type 2a-3a)
Not Taking The Time To Assess Your Hair
Before you can ever begin the process of embracing your natural hair type, you must first take the time to understand your hair and what it needs.
So many people get super excited to bring their curly/waves back to life that they miss this crucial foundational first step.
Before you buy one single product, you must first take the time to not only identify your curl type, density, porosity, and texture, but it’s also super important that you make a note of the current condition of your hair.
Buying products before you understand your hair is like, packing for a trip without knowing where you are going. The contents of your suitcase would be vastly different if you were going to Florida versus somewhere like Alaska.
And what you pack in that suitcase will make all the difference in the experience of your trip.
Are you making one of these mistakes that is KILLING your hair? Take the quiz to find out!
Before you buy a single product, you should ask yourself questions like….
- Is it heat damaged?
- Has it been colored?
- Is it dry?
- What is the density of your hair?
- Are you dealing with abnormal frizz?
- Have you had any recent hormonal changes?
- What is the texture of your hair?
- What is the porosity of your hair?
Each of these questions play a crucial role in how you should treat your hair going forward.
This also makes it easy to circle back in the next 1- 6 months and track the progress you’ve made.
You should take a good before and after photo in good lighting so you can have something to compare it to as you make progress.
Remember when it comes to understanding your hair, more is more. Be sure to make very specific notes about your hair.
Here are a few post that will help you learn more about your hair:
- How to identify your curly type
- Everything you need to know about hair porosity
- How to find the right Protein/moisture balance
Failing To Established Healthy Hair Care Habits Consistently
Although marketing gurus have become pros at making people believe that there is just one single fix to all your problems in life if you “buy this one unicorn product”!
It just isn’t the truth.
As with fitness, relationships, finances, and many other areas of life, there is no unicorn solution. The magic happens in your daily habits and routines.
Rather than blasting your hair with all the moisture because it’s dry and damaged, It’s important to establish a healthy consistent routine that will give you hair moisture, protein, and protection to thrive.
A few things you can start doing right away to establish a healthy routine are:
- Create a weekly schedule and pencil in when you will do you treatments, clarifying, and scalp massage
- Take notes of each wash day to keep track of how your hair reacts to specific products treatments and techniques
- Clarifying one to two times per month
- Deep conditionnweekly/bi-weekly
- Add a protein treatment one to two times per month
- Scalp massage before bed 3-5 nights per week
How often you do these treatments will totally depend on your specific hair type and the current condition of your hair.
Which is why it’s important to keep track of how you hair reacts to each individual product, treatment, and technique used.
You can check out these helpful posts on creating healthy habits:
Using The Wrong Application Technique
You know that feeling when you know everything you need to know about your hair, and have the best products of all time, but still come up with a failed wash day?
It can be so frustrating when you’ve done all the right things and are still not getting the results you want.
I’ve known that feeling all too well.
A failed wash day can often be linked to using the wrong application technique.
Because how you apply products and how much you apply matters!! I’d make the argument that techniques are greater than products.
Application techniques are another topic that have been over complicated in my opinion. If you would like to geek out about application techniques, you can get all sorts of technical.
But I like to keep it simple and have broken application techniques into 4 categories. It’s just easier to make sense of the world when we divide information into categories.
- Praying Hands Method – Emulsifying product between your hands and glide it over your hair (in a praying hands motion). This helps to keep curl clumps together and produces chunky volumized results.
- Rake & Scrunch – There are many different versions of raking/scrunching. This technique generally creates smooth and defined curls/waves
- Brush Styling – This is a great way to ensure even product distribution. There are many different types of brushes that help enhance your natural curl/wave pattern.
- Hybrid Method – My personal favorite, this method combines all or some of the above mentioned methods depending on the section of your hair. That’s right, you CAN treat each section of your hair differently.
Not only are all curls/waves different, but many of us have different curly/waves throughout our head.
I want to give you permission to treat and style your hair in sections. I treat the bottom layer of my hair completely differently than the top because it is different hair.
This is why it’s super important to not put rules on curly/waves and is equally important to be open to experimenting.
Using The Wrong Products
I said that technique is greater that products BUT product selection is oh so important.
Still, I always recommend having a good understanding of your hair, establishing healthy hair habits and experimenting with different application techniques BEFORE you make a hefty product purchase.
There are so many affordable products that you can pick up at the drugstore which is why I always recommend starting off with inexpensive products. You can read my post on drugstore products here
Or, if you’re feeling extra thrifty, you can try your hand at DIY products.
There are many ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen that work wonders on your hair.
You can get my FREE DIY’s Recipe book here!
In my experience, DIY’s take a bit of trial and error. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a few times to troubleshoot.
When it comes to choosing products, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Understand your hair and it’s needs – This is an absolute must to avoid purchasing products that don’t work or make your hair worse
- Understand the relationship between protein and moisture – This topic is too deep to go into in this post but you can read this helpful article on how important it is to have the perfect balance of protein and moisture.
Check out these helpful posts on how to choose products
- How to choose the right products
- Drugstore or high end products, does it really make a difference?
- Best Products For 3a Hair
- 11 Holy Grail Products For 3a Hair
You Aren’t Protecting Your Hair
Mastering the fundamentals of curly/wavy hair care are crucial to having healthy hair. But it will all be in vain if you fail to protect it.
Protecting your hair is a key element to having great curly/waves yet many people fail to do it properly.
I think it’s partially because people just don’t know and also fail to make a habit out of it.
When it comes to protecting your hair, it is much more complex than you may think.
Think of hair protection like upkeep to a car or having your teeth cleaned once per year. It’s a small thing that can make or break the health of your hair long term.
I have broken hair protection down into categories because for me, grouping things together help me to make sense of them and retina knowledge.
Curly/wavy hair protection can be summed up in these four categories:
- Heat protection – Heat tools and the environment: It’s commonly understood that heat tools cause damage to your hair follicle, but it is not as commonly known that the sun can also damage your hair. It’s important to use heat protection while using heat tools as well as on those day trips to the beach.
- Friction – Curly/wavy hair is prone to breakage because by nature it experiences more friction because of all the texture. Friction causes damage and breakage. Things that cause friction are traditional hair ties, hats, sleeping on a non silk pillowcase, and pulling your hair back tightly. The goal should be to avoid friction at all costs.
- Hair loss – There are many factors that can cause hair loss including age, hormones, diet, habits and environment. It is important to take necessary steps to protect your hair against hair loss and to create an environment for your hair to thrive.
- Damage – Many of the items listed above can cause damage, but in this case I am referring to damage caused by an imbalance of necessary nutrients. If you are not fueling your hair with the right treatments or in contrast treating it excessively, it can cause damage, breakage, and even hair loss.
You can check out these helpful posts to learn more about how to protect your hair
When it comes to styling curly/wavy hair, there are 5 common mistakes I see people make that are the kiss of death for healthy hair.
Once you identify these mistakes, and make an action plan to course correct, you will be well on your way to having healthy hair that thrives.
Take some time to get to know your hair – Before you buy another product, carefully access the current condition of your hair.
Create healthy habits and stick to them – “Your habits will determine your hair”. There is no magic fix to having healthy hair. It is simply a compilation of what you do daily that will determine the overall health of your hair.
Learn and experiment with different application techniques – A product is truly only as good as the user. Diligently track and experiment with different products and application techniques to find out exactly what works and what doesn’t work on your hair.
Choose the right products – Once you’ve laid a solid foundation, it’s time to choose products. Because product choice does matter. Read labels of products and be aware of the ingredients. This will help you better determine how your hair reacts to certain ingredients. Remember to keep your products simple. I recommend sticking to a complete product line until you are more familiar with what your hair needs.
Use protection – If you are not protecting your hair properly then you will always be fighting an uphill battle. It’s important to utilize tools like a silk cap, non damaging hair ties, and diffuser to mitigate the amount of damage caused by heat and friction.