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The Beginner's Guide To Textured Haircare

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Nothing about the beauty world is one-size-fits-all. Take it from Kiernan Shipka. But if there's something that's really, super, definitely not one-size-fits-all no matter how hard you try, it's haircare. Which is why you won't find a run-of-the-mill "Beginner's Guide To Haircare" on this site. The more general it gets, the less useful the information becomes, right? So today we're rolling out the first of several guides to haircare focused on different textures. First up is a guide penned by our very own Priscilla Quaye. When she's not an executive assistant, she's running @curlcilla, her very informative, very scrollable Instagram dedicated to natural haircare. Yes, at Glossier, haircare greatness walks among us. Only seemed fair to share the wealth. Take it away Priscilla.

If you want to play a fun game while you read this, count how many times I use the word moisture. Textured hair requires a lot of it. If you're looking for a key, you've found it.

Cleanse, but don't strip

Moisture may be the key, but you still have to cleanse your hair and scalp, a step that can be drying at best and damaging at worst. So, how to cleanse without losing all that important moisture? (Moisture word count: 4)

Co-washing! It’s shorthand for “conditioner washing” because it quite literally is washing your hair, but with conditioner. Throw this into your shower routine every two washes as if it were shampoo—massage your scalp and rinse just as you would otherwise. As I Am’s Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner is super creamy and makes your hair feel super clean but not stripped. If your focus is your scalp, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner gives you a soothing, gentle cleanse with its tea tree and peppermint oils (plus you can’t beat its $4 price tag). I'd also recommend Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Cleansing Conditioner for hair that tends to break.

The only problem with co-washing is it doesn't remove buildup like a true shampoo. So when it is time to lather up, opt for one that’s sulfate-free and moisturizing like Shea Moisture’s Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo.

Detangle without crying

Anyone with textured hair can tell you: Combing can be the worst. One moment you're showering, and the next you're stuck on a knot in the back of your head with all your dignity rinsing down the drain. Don't cry in the shower! We can prevent this! Start by finding a super slippery, moisturizing, cheap conditioner like Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner ($4!). Slippery, to help your detangling tool slide through sections (more on tools later); moisturizing to add life back in after stripping the hair during co-washing or shampooing; and cheap because you are going to use a ton of it. Then pick your tool. I prefer my fingers because they're the cheapest and gentlest. But you can also opt for something like the Denman D3 Styling Brush or the Tangle Teezer. Either way, work in sections and run your hair under water when you get to a tricky spot.

Deep condition consistently

Moisture! Moisture moisture moisture. The reason textured hair tends to be so dry is because the scalp's natural oils have a hard time making it down all the hair shaft's twists and turns. So, weekly, bi-weekly, or as often as you can, slather on a thick and rich treatment filled with moisturizing oils (coconut!) and extracts (shea butter!) like Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Masque or Camille Rose Naturals’ Algae Renew Deep Conditioner. For extra penetration and photo opportunity, use a plastic shower cap or a hair steamer like Huetiful’s… hell, I’ve even used a plastic “thank you” takeout bag while on the road. Consistency is key.

Style for longevity

One of the best things about textured hair is that it doesn't need to be restyled every day. Make the most of this by picking a style that works for you, protects your hair, and is easy to preserve all week. The styles are endless (wash-and-gos, twist-outs, and braids, oh my!), but the method used when styling is actually more important than the actual style itself. And it all comes down to...more product. Try out the liquid-oil-cream method–dubbed the LOC method–of product layering to make sure you keep all that moisture in. Start with a water-based leave-in conditioner, like Kinky Curly Knot Today; followed by a light oil like coconut or grapeseed. Finish with your cream styler of choice—I like Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. Working in small sections helps to ensure you saturate all strands.

Preserve it all week long

You've spent all that time—now what? That style's gotta last for several sleeps. I prefer “the pineapple”—a popular method which involves tying all of your hair up into a loose ponytail that sits as close to your forehead as possible. If the pineapple stretches out the curls at the nape of your neck, try multiple pineapples, a low loose bun, or lightly 2-strand twisting your hair in large sections. The method may be negotiable, but sleeping on some kind of satin or silk is not. Cotton is like a thief in the night, abrasively robbing your once juicy curls of all their moisture (final moisture word count: 14). Silk won't do that. A bonnet works, but this dreamy Grace Eleyae pillow case is even easier. And glamourous, too.

—Priscilla Quaye

More tips for your curls: The best ways to style curly hair without doing much at all, right here.

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