Does your coily hair frustrate you? Maintaining coily hair is challenging, but knowing the right tips and techniques will help you get luscious curls.
Understand more about your coily hair, and learn how to care for it, from having an ideal coily hair routine to using the right products for your strands. This ultimate coily hair guide will walk you through all you need to know to rock your coils.
What’s Coily Hair?
Coily hair, sometimes called kinky hair, refers to curly hair with a small ringlet, compact spiral, and zig-zag pattern. Thanks to its tight curls, it produces extra voluminous hair.
However, the coily hair type is extremely fragile since it doesn’t have enough cuticle layers to keep the strands from drying. Also, its curly pattern prevents the natural oils from traveling from the scalp to the strands. As a result, people with coily hair often have dry and spongy textures.
What’s the Difference Between Curly and Coily Hair?
Curly hair is an umbrella term for textured hair, but it still differs from coily hair. For one, curly hair features looser curls, while coily hair sports defined ringlets, fuller hair, and tighter, smaller strands.
Besides this, curly hair has S-shape curls, while coily hair looks like a Z-shape pattern. Finally, curly hair is less dry than coily hair since coiled strands receives less moisture in its cuticles. Despite these differences, many hair care products work well for these hair types.
Coily Hair Types
Coily hair falls under the Type 4 hair category and includes three more subtypes.
4A Hair Type
Type 4A forms small, bouncy, and dense S-shape coils with fine texture and ringlets like a crochet needle. Since it’s tightly coiled, this type produces a thick and slightly dry hair texture.
4B Hair Type
Type 4B sports a Z-shape pattern with sharp angles. It has tighter coils than the previous type but has a thin or coarse texture.
4C Hair Type
Lastly, type 4C coily hair features the tightest strand and least definition among the coily hair types. Because of this, it’s the most prone to breakage and slow hair growth.
Although knowing your hair type is a good start for maintaining your hair, many salons now prefer to focus on what your hair needs.
How to Care for Coily Hair
Unfortunately, coily hair is prone to shrinkage, dryness, and tangling. These hair care tips below will help you manage and care for your coils.
1. Keep Your Tresses Hydrated
Your coily hair needs water from the scalp to the hair cuticles to feel refreshed and moisturized. Feel free to wash as often as necessary if your hair is drier.
One tip to keep it hydrated is putting water-based, leave-in cream on damp hair after washing. Add this to your hair care routine to have longer-lasting moisture in your hair.
2. Lock In Moisture
Besides hydrating the hair, ensure to lock in the moisture to keep your hair lush. The LOC method is a tried-and-tested technique to lock moisture in the strands. LOC, which stands for liquid, oil, and cream, refers to the sequence you need to apply hair care products.
Note that ‘liquid’ may be water or water-based leave-in cream. Use this method after washing and conditioning your hair.
3. Avoid Oily or Greasy Products
Although you need to moisturize your hair, it’s best to stay away from heavy, oily, and greasy products, as some may seal your hair and prevent moisture from penetrating.
Also, avoid using sulfate products since they strip the hair of its moisture. Meanwhile, treatments with silicones (those that end with ‘xane,’ ‘cone,’ and ‘onol’) can cause product build-up on the scalp since they’re not water-soluble.
Other ingredients to avoid include mineral oils, waxes, isopropyl alcohol, and denatured alcohol—all of these dry out coily hair.
4. Use Shampoo Occasionally
Regardless if you’re using a sulfate-free shampoo, coily heads should refrain from using shampoo regularly, as they can strip the natural oils off your strands.
Instead, use a rinse-out conditioner with deep conditioning after washing to hydrate and moisturize your coily hair. Consider using a hair treatment if you have intensely dry hair.
5. Trim as Needed
Don’t forget to trim your hair as needed. It’s easy for coily hair to have knots, tangles, and split ends. So, snipping the ends will keep it healthy.
However, avoid trimming your hair often or on a defined schedule since coily hair takes a long time to grow back. Also, get a stylist specializing in coily hair to avoid blunt lines or ends, unless you can trim well.
6. Protect Your Hair While Sleeping
Caring for your coily hair doesn’t stop when you sleep. One way to protect your tresses is to use a silk pillow or pillowcase to lessen the friction between your hair and the fabric. Another tip is to wrap your hair in a silk cloth to keep it moist throughout the night.
Proper hair care at night will keep your coils from getting more dry, tangled, and damaged, especially while sleeping.
7. Understand Your Hair
Each hair is different. So, it’s essential to check how your strands look and behave to know how to care for and style them. Consider looking at your hair’s porosity, density, and thickness.
Low porosity means your hair has difficulty absorbing and holding moisture. Meanwhile, dense hair may appear lush but is generally drier. Lastly, thick hair has a larger diameter per strand, resulting in stronger hair.
Knowing your hair textures will help you target your strands’ and scalp’s needs.
The Best Products for Coily Hair
Choose hair products carefully, and consider adding these to your hair care routine as they can support your coils.
Hydrating or Moisturizing Oils
Some oils help hydrate hair and seal it in moisture. These include argan oil, coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil. Ideally, you want to use light oil.
However, avoid overusing them. Instead, apply oil depending on your hair’s texture and needs. If your hair needs a continuous supply of moisture, you may use it daily. Otherwise, use it as needed.
Hair butter is a blend of organic oils and butter that seal moisture in the hair. It’s perfect for dry and fragile coily hair since it provides rich fatty acids that help build hair elasticity and reduce breakage.
Ideally, look for products with shea butter, which has anti-inflammatory properties that help moisturize hair and heal a damaged scalp.
Hair Mask or Hair Treatment
A hair treatment or mask works like a facial mask. It soaks the hair with a deep conditioner to hydrate and strengthen it.
It’s one of the best hair care products to invest in since it helps replenish your hair’s moisture. Use it once or twice weekly, depending on the product’s instructions.
Leave-in conditioner is a conditioning treatment left in the hair to provide continuous moisture throughout the day.
It also helps minimize damage, especially when your coily hair is exposed to harsh external factors like sun exposure, humidity, dust, and dirt. However, avoid putting too much product as it can clog the scalp and cause nasty build-up.
Styling Tips for Coily Hair
Here are ways to style coily hair without damaging it.
Style Coily Hair in a Protective Way
Putting your hair in protective styles will prevent damage and breakage as it dries throughout the day. These styles include buns, small braids, and twists. If you want a low-maintenance hairstyle, try mini twists, box braids, and lemonade braids.
However, avoid styling your hair often or too tightly, especially if you have fragile strands. Otherwise, it’ll lead to breakage and increased damage from over-manipulation.
Dry It Naturally
Naturally coily hair is prone to frizz, but letting it air-dry minimizes heat exposure and prevents frizz. Although a blow dryer or diffuser will dry your hair quickly and reduce frizz, it’s always better to dry your hair naturally.
If it’s taking too long for you to air-dry your hair, try styling it when it’s damp then applying your hair care product properly to dry it quicker.
Add More Volume
Embrace your coils and go for a big and bold look by adding more volume to your curls.
Try hanging your head upside down and scrunching your curls from the roots. Doing this creates volume and enhances your curls. Meanwhile, if you want bouncy hair, apply hair products lightly, especially at the crown.
Love Your Coils!
If you’re a coily hair type, loving and maintaining your natural hair starts with the proper practices and products to moisturize, strengthen, and style it.
Once you start caring for your coils, you’ll enjoy effortless, voluminous, and gorgeous hair wherever you go.
Hopefully, this guide helped you learn how to treat your coils better. So, try our tips above and start rocking your natural curls!