In North America, the beauty standard seems to trend towards thick, luxurious hair. Hair products are geared towards increasing volume, shape, shine, and bounce. But anyone with really thick hair will tell you that their locks can be both a blessing and a curse. Having thick hair is like being in a relationship: while it might look easy to outsiders, those involved know that it takes a lot of work behind closed doors. While sometimes it really is a breeze, other times there’s a lot of fighting involved. Here are some tips on how to style thicker hair, so you can stop fighting with your mane.
A Dirty Secret
Thick hair holds a secret: it probably doesn’t need to be washed every day. A shampoo every two to three days is ideal for thicker tresses. Your scalp produces a fatty substance called sebum, which is what causes the oily buildup in your hair; however, daily shampoos can actually put sebum production into overdrive, as your scalp tries to replenish the natural oils in your hair that have been stripped away in the shower. So try washing your hair three or four times per week to prevent drying it out. Use a moisturizing shampoo to help battle frizziness, and a light leave-in conditioner which can do wonders to lock in moisture and prevent brittle split ends. Finally, towel-dry your hair by gently patting the excess water away, instead of rubbing.
More Product, More Problems
People with very thin hair might assume that you need to use a larger amount of product on thicker hair—after all, there are more strands to coat. Thick hair can benefit from a good curling mousse or anti-frizz balm. But thick hair can get very heavy and weighed down with too much mousse, gel or spray in it; it’s best to go easy on the product, rubbing it between your palms first and then evenly distributing it throughout your locks with your fingers. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly. Furthermore, apply the product of your choice right after you’ve washed it, while the hair is still damp; it will trap the moisture in and prevent flyaways.
If you want to avoid heat damage, try this: wash your hair in the evening, so it can dry before or while you sleep. Put your wet hair in a braid, tie a bandanna around your head, or (if you’re old-fashioned) pin it up in some soft rollers. If you don’t mind sleeping with a towel covering your pillow, you can even just go to sleep with your hair still damp. In the morning, you can undo the braid and you’ll have soft, wavy curls all day long, without having fried your strands with the blow dryer or hot iron.