Curly hair is known for drying out more quickly than other hair types because its texture prevents your natural scalp oils from making their way smoothly down your strands. Cold weather, heat styling, and highlights can all make things worse, leaving your curls at risk for breakage and damage. This means that in order to keep your curls healthy and in tact, you'll need to steer clear of any additional dryness-inducing habits in your routine and instead double down on ones that add moisture, which starts with your shampoo.
"Most people think of conditioner or a hair mask when they think of moisturizing the hair, if you think about it, we only condition our hair from the mid-lengths to the ends, so shampoo is what keeps the upper half of your hair hydrated," says Townsend, who has one major rule when it comes to finding the right shampoo for dry, curly hair. "I recommend avoiding products that have a lot of alcohol in them as they tend to dry out your hair quickly," he says. Alcohol-based ingredients are often used as surfactants (aka lathering agents) in shampoos, because they're great at whisking away dirt and gunk from the scalp. However, they're also great at whisking away the natural oils we need to keep our hair hydrated, which can leave it looking rough, dull, frizzy, and prone to tangling.
"Instead, opt for moisturizing products such as gels, mousses, and curl creams that have more natural ingredients like coconut oil, avocado oil and jojoba oil," says Townsend. He's a fan of Dove Daily Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture Shampoo ($5)"because it’s infused with Pro-Moisture Complex which is a blend of amino acids that penetrates hair to help replenish lost proteins where hair is most damaged, ultimately leaving hair hydrated, silky and easier to manage," he says. Townsend suggests limiting your washes to once every few days, since over washing can further strip your hair of its natural oils, and following up with a moisturizing, curl-friendly conditioner, like Ouidad Curl Quench Conditioner ($20). With the right products, taking care of curly hair has never been easier.
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