Our Best Advice For Growing Out Your Curls

Getting a big chop or a buzz cut can be a pivotal experience in many people's lives. From the liberating feeling of showering without worrying about keeping your hair in a shower cap to pocketing the deposits normally sent to your braiding lady, there are several upsides to cutting your hair. But as much as we love our buzz cuts and TWAs (teeny weeny afros), it's also okay to love — and want — long, healthy hair.


Growing your hair out, however, can be a challenging process — and for curly hair, it may seem notedly even slower. According to CurlCentric, curly hair seems to grow slower because, unlike straight hair (which grows, well, straight), curly hair grows in kinks and coils subject to shrinkage, causing them to look much shorter than they really are. 

Curly hair is also, on average, drier than straight hair, and (as we all know), hair breakage is no friend to long, healthy curls (per Love Curly Hair). Hair breakage can not only cause your hair to look and feel unhealthy, but it can also mean less visible hair growth over time — as it keeps breaking off while growing. There's also genetics, the environment, and choosing the right products for your hair. All these and more can make your hair growth journey even more challenging. But not to worry. If you're thinking of growing out your luscious curls, here are some of our most tested and trusted tips on how to do just that.


Prioritize hydration

Just as your skin needs moisture, your hair needs water to fill its cuticles, strengthen, and keep it frizz-free (per Curl Keeper). Frizz-free hydrated hair means the hair is stronger and breakage-resistant, meaning your inches are safe and your curls are healthy. Now, you don't always have to pour or spray a bucket load of water over your hair (though that can be relaxing in the heat). Instead, there are more convenient and hydrating options like hair masks, deep conditioners, treatments, and our good old shelf favorite, leave-in conditioners.


Love Curly Hair confirms that hair masks like the Christophe Robin Hydrating Melting Mask with Aloe Vera (which boasts a rating of 4.4 stars at Nordstrom) are a great way to flood your hair with some much-needed moisture. Oils and deep conditioning treatments also keep your curls thriving as they seal moisture into the hair shaft, keeping your curls shiny, soft, and growing (per Ouidad). Believe us; hydration makes the hair-growing game a whole lot easier.

Take care of your scalp

We know all the focus can be on your curls, but it's a good idea to devote some care to the skin from which it grows — your scalp. Like the rest of your skin, your scalp consists of follicles that can get itchy, irritated, or inflamed. This can lead to poor hair growth. 


Luckily, your scalp is not as high maintenance as your face, and you can take care of it by keeping it clean and moisturized. While you cleanse your hair with a non-stripping shampoo and conditioner, Carol's Daughter recommends massaging your scalp either with your fingertips or a scalp massager. Massaging your scalp helps exfoliate the scalp, which increases blood circulation to the follicles, which fosters hair growth. So get to massaging — gently, of course.

And just as your hair needs hydrating leave-in conditioners, Ouidad recommends incorporating moisturizing scalp serums into your routine. These products keep your scalp hydrated, preventing dryness and flaking. Most scalp serums, like the highly-rated Gisou Honey Infused Scalp Treatment Serum, come with droppers, making it easy to part your curls and apply them directly on your scalp.


Leave the cutting to your hairstylist

It's normal to be a little scissor-happy when growing out your curls. So you might be tempted to cut your hair yourself at the first sight of any dead and split ends. But (as L'Oréal Paris explains) it is best to leave cutting any parts of your hair to your hairstylist or curl specialist. A professional and experienced hairstylist will be able to know when you need a cut, what length of split or dead ends to trim off, and can offer advice on the next steps on your curl-growing journey. 


If you prefer cutting your hair yourself, do it while it's dry using professional hair scissors (per Flora and Curl). You can also part your hair into twists to allow you to see your dead ends a lot more clearly and then trim.

Still, while growing your curls, we're always fans of the salon for the best outcome.

Protect your curls

It's one thing for your curls to grow, but making sure they stay put and healthy is a different ball game. Hair breakage occurs when the shaft breaks into tiny splinters, usually due to dryness, friction, or over-manipulation. And as breakage causes you to lose the hair you've so painstakingly grown, it is something you want to avoid while on your journey to long curls (per Afrocenchix). And you can do this by wearing protective styles and protecting your curls while you sleep.


According to Flora and Curl, protective styles are hairstyles that do not expose the ends of your hair, which are most prone to breakage. These hairstyles, which include buns, twists, and braids, are convenient and can be worn in several ways. And for a quick recap: friction from your bedding as you turn in your sleep, especially cotton pillowcases, can also cause breakage. You can prevent this by using silk or satin bonnets and pillowcases while you sleep (per L'Oréal Paris). So give your curls a break and try wrapping your hair in silk before going to bed. It'll do your curls a whole lot of good, we promise.

Reduce heat styling

Hair straighteners might be therapeutic to watch in action and blow dryers might be crazy convenient — but if your goal is long, healthy curls, you might want to skip the heat styling tools. Hair Everyday explains that styling your curls regularly with hot tools can cause your curls to dry. Dry or heat-damaged hair is highly prone to breakage and split ends, and the worst thing about split ends is that they can spread from the ends to the upper regions of the hair shaft. Heat damage can also permanently disfigure your curl pattern, leading to breakage. There are no upsides. 


If heat styling is an indispensable part of your day, include heat protectants in your routine. If you need a heat protectant recommendation, try the Briogeo Farewell Frizz Blow Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Crème, which has a rating of 4.5 stars on Ulta.