How To Wash Curly Hair—The Right Way

The right way to wash curly hair

We asked Jason Hallman, a senior stylist at Ouidad’s New York flagship salon and Curl Advisory Board member (translation: he basically has a PhD in working with curls and texture), to walk us through the best way to cleanse every type of curl.

Which cleanser should I use?
“Choose a shampoo or co-wash based on the condition your hair is in,” Hallman says. “If your hair is dry, brittle, or damaged, go for an extra-moisturizing formula like Ouidad’s Ultra Nourishing Cleansing Oil.”

If your curls are healthy, choose a shampoo based on the benefits you want. Need to wash away buildup? Try a clarifying shampoo. Want to control frizz? Opt for an anti-frizz formula.

A cleanser targeted to your curl type’s needs is always a good bet—for example, kinky curls are best cleansed with a co-wash, while loose curls benefit from a volume-boosting shampoo and conditioner combo. For classic curls, look for a shampoo and conditioner that balances moisture; for tight curls, a more deeply hydrating regimen is ideal.

Jason Hallman

“If most shampoos leave your hair feeling too squeaky clean and dry, try Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil – it has fatty acids that cushion your curls, and it’s great for all curl types (even fine hair).” –Jason Hallman, Ouidad Curl Advisory Board

How often should I wash my hair?
It depends on your curl type. Loose and classic curls can lather up two to four times a week. Kinky 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.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wet your hair. “Rinse and condition more often; shampoo less,” Hallman advises. If you work out daily, rinse and co-wash your curls instead of shampooing every day.

How do I prevent tangles?
“Don’t shampoo in a circular motion, which tangles the curls,” Hallman advises. “Instead, use a gentle back and forth motion, and avoid bunching up your curls.” Massage your shampoo or co-wash into your roots, and work the lather down the mid-lengths and lightly on the ends.

If your curls are very knotted, carefully break up the tangles with your fingers before wetting your hair – but don’t dry brush your curls. “Because curly hair stretches so much, you’ll get less breakage if you detangle wet,” Hallman says.

Rinse and condition

What’s the best way to condition curly hair?
Choose a conditioner based on how much moisture your hair needs, then let your curl type guide your application.

If you’re a loose or classic curl type, apply your conditioner from your hair’s mid-lengths to ends, “so you don’t weigh down the roots and create a pyramid,” Hallman says. If your curls are tight or kinky, you can condition closer to the scalp as well as through the ends.

Use your fingers to detangle as you distribute the conditioner, or if your curls are especially prone to tangling, comb through with a wide tooth comb or Ouidad’s Double Detangler.

Let your conditioner soak in for between two and five minutes (“the longer the better,” Hallman says).

If your goal is elongated curls, don’t rinse out all the conditioner – leave a light coating on the hair to add weight to the curls.

Watch how Ouidad stylists shampoo and condition curls with the Advanced Climate Control® regimen:

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  1. Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo

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    2.5oz - $10.00
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    $10.00 - $75.00
  2. Water Works Clarifying Shampoo

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    2.5oz - $10.00
    8.5oz - $18.00
    33.8oz - $50.00
    2.5oz - 33.8oz
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  3. Double Detangler
     
    $26.00
  4. Advanced Climate Control® Heat and Humidity Gel

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    2.5oz - $10.00
    8.5oz - $26.00
    33.8oz - $75.00
    2.5oz - 33.8oz
    $10.00 - $75.00

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