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Curly Hair 101: Find YOUR Texture & Best Products To Use

If a journey starts with a single step, your natural hair journey starts with a lifetime of patient walking, searching and exploring. But where do you begin? If you take to the Internet the most common discussion is split into two camps: those saying knowing your curl pattern is important, while others say hair texture (width, length, density and porosity) is more important. We say that BOTH are important, because your texture whispers to you constantly…telling you what it needs to stay healthy, shiny, or styled and controlled. Here’s a helpful guide that ANY texture queen can learn from!

Curl Types, Pattern and a Little Science!

Firstly, it’s important to understand WHY your curly hair is sometimes hard to manage, so we’ll make it quick and concise when it comes to some hair science.

Every strand of hair is called a hair shaft and at the root of the shaft is the hair follicle, the root of your hair attached to your head.

For people with straight hair, the hair follicle that the hair grows out of is round and for people with textured hair the follicle is oval shaped. Picture it like a pasta die where long, straight spaghetti comes out of a round hole vs. a shaped die where twisty shapes come out. 

Your hair grows out curly, kinky, with zig-zags or ringlets because of the follicle shape. This shape is your curl pattern.

BIG IDEA #1: You NEED hair oils for your curls to live their best life because they can’t get enough oil from your scalp. 

The fix? Hair beneficial oils! Argan Oil or a shine enhancing oil can make all the difference with helping your hair look shinier and also BE healthier, protected and hydrated. Perfect Locks argan oil and silk nectar serum are amazing products that can help with moisture.

Your hair shaft is made of Keratin, and Keratin is a protein that contains the amino acid cysteine that forms bonds called disulfide bonds. The more curly your hair is, the more bonds you have in your hair.

Porosity, Frizz and MORE Curl Science

The curlier your hair is, the more bonds it has, the more porous your hair often is. Here’s why: every strand of hair is covered by plates called cuticles that will bend and flex based on the curl pattern you have. Straight hair has plates that sit straight and flat, while the curly hair goes in many directions, flexing those plates and in so doing, leaves gaps. These gaps are where your frizz, tangles, dryness and breakage start. The more raised your cuticles are, the more gaps you have in your hair…the more gaps in your hair, the more porous it is. 

So how can you tell what YOUR porosity is? 

There are 3 ways you can figure out how porous your hair is:

Method #1: The Water Cup test: take a clean strand of your hair and put it in a cup of water. If it floats, it has low porosity (meaning the cuticles are closed), if it sinks then your hair has high porosity (meaning the cuticles are open and lifted). 

@perfectlocks For more deets on how to care for your hair type, check out our blog post! Link in bio. 💜 #hairporosity #haireducation #hairhack #healthyhairtips ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Method #2: Sometimes the water cup test can be unreliable, so another good way to tell is the Spray Test. With clean hair that has no product on it at all, spray some water on a few strands of hair. 

  • If you see droplets form without absorbing, your hair has low porosity. 
  • If the water forms some droplets and then some of them are absorbed, your have medium porosity hair. 
  • If the water sinks into your hair, you have high porosity hair.

Method #3: Another method is as simple as determining how long your hair takes to dry. If it takes hours, your hair has low porosity, but if it takes minutes then your hair is highly porous. Additionally, how your hair accepts styling products is another indicator. If you use shea butter on your hair and it leaves your hair oily then your hair has low porosity. If oils and creams still leave your hair dry, then your hair has high porosity.

Hair Porosity Water Test Infographic

If the water glass test isn’t for you, here’s 5 different ways to determine your hair porosity! Check out this video from Healthy Afro Hair Youtube channel.

If your hair is porous, here’s why you fight the frizz…

If your hair is highly porous, your cuticles are raised and will drink in more and more moisture from the air until the hair shaft changes shape and swells. The drier your hair, the less beneficial hair oils it has, the bigger the frizz problem. 

Frizz and highly porous hair can also be caused by:

  • Washing your hair in hot water.
  • Using harsh haircare products that include chemicals that destroy the natural oils of your hair and damage your hair cuticles over time.
  • Blow dryers or styling tools like curling irons that cause thermal damage to your hair, further drying it out.
  • Using rough towels that ruffle up the cuticle and possibly damage it. 

BIG IDEA #2: You NEED daily hair care products that will nourish, impart beneficial oils and are not loaded with chemicals that will harm your curls . 

The fix? When it comes to curly hair, and especially curly hair extensions, the key is hydration especially with kinky hair to try and prevent it from getting damaged with some basic kinky hair maintenance.  Use sulfate-free, water-based styling creams, gels or oils that will moisturize and enhance curls, while eliminating frizz. 

When it comes to styling, invest in a diffuser. There’s no need to spend a fortune on fancy hair dryer attachments, because a simple, round one will enhance natural waves and curls by 30 percent without making your curls frizzy. For a no-heat option, when your hair is 80 percent air dried, apply a styling gel and twisting the hair around your finger to create small curls. Pin the curl to the top of the hair with a clip or bobby pin loosely. Allow the hair to completely dry naturally, take out and shake out the curls gently.

Caring For Your Texture

Once you know your hair type/curl type there are some key tricks to keeping those curls looking amazing, frizz-free and on point. It starts at night…

Textured hair can be prone to breakage (particularly when the hair is parched), so tossing and turning in the night with rough fabrics like cotton pillowcases can do microscopic damage you can’t see until breakage happens. You remember earlier we were warning about not using rough towels on your hair after showering? It’s the same reason!

Silk is the fabric of choice when it comes to wrapping your curls with some love because of their very fine weave that won’t catch on the already open cuticles of your hair. 

If you love your pillows and don't want to buy a special pillowcase (particularly when traveling), you can also use Satin Bonnets to securely wrap your hair in soft protection. Additionally, Satin Bonnets are great for doing an overnight oil or leave-in treatment on your hair that keeps the product from getting all over your pillow.

When Your “Curl Girls” Need A Break

The ends of your hair are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair shaft because they are the furthest from the scalp, have taken a beating over time and 100% never get a drop of the oils from your scalp. Even the most religious user of hair oils and leave-ins still sometimes needs to give your “curl girls” a break. If you notice a lot of hair fall each time you touch your hair where your hair is coming out, it's time for a protective style.

Protective styles can range from twists, braids, updos, and wigs. One of the most popular ways however is to lean into a hair weave with some hair extensions to allow you to color, style and go wild with hair that isn’t your real hair (thus protecting it). 

Weft Hair Extensions

A weave is like a protective shield for your natural hair, protecting it from the elements and giving you the option to cut, color, style, blow dry, or even use hair relaxers on your hair without consequences to your own natural hair. They are damage free hair play!

Hand Tied Weft ExtensionsClose Up of Hand Tied Tracks

Hand-Tied Wefts

Thin, lightweight, & flexible
Hand-knotted weft lays flat
5 tracks weighing 4oz
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Machine Weft Hair ExtensionsClose Up of Machine Weft Tracks

Machine Wefts

Thick, strong, & durable
Perfect for full sew-in installs
1 long track weighing 4oz
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Natural Beaded Row Extensions

Hand-Tied Rows

New Colors & Lengths
Perfect for beaded rows
Popular for all hair types
4 tracks weighing 2oz
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Double Drawn Extensions

Double Drawn Wefts

New Product Release
Full from root to end
Fully hand-knotted tracks
5 tracks weighing 4oz
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Beaded Weft Hair Extensionsnatural beaded rows close up of track

Beaded Rows

Easy & quick to install
Pre-beaded tracks
1 long track weighing 4oz
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Weft hair extensions are extensions that are sewn into your hair. They should be installed by you or a professional hairstylist. There are different ways to sew in the extensions, but the most popular way is to sew them in so they are hidden beneath your natural hair. This gives the illusion of longer, thicker hair. Weft hair extensions can be a great way to add length and volume to your hair. Hand-tied extensions have been gaining popularity over the years, there are several techniques.

With proper care, weft hair extensions can last for months. However, it's important to remove them periodically to clean the natural hair and prevent tangles. Additionally, the weight of the extensions can cause breakage if they are left in for too long. As a result, it's best to consult with a professional to determine how often to remove and reinstall the extensions. With proper care, weft hair extensions can give you the gorgeous, voluminous hair you've always wanted.

The actual hair extensions themselves can last for years and are reusable if they are high quality Remy hair, like the wefts here at Perfect Locks. Proper maintenance is required.

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