5 Curly Hair Myths Debunked By A Hairstylist

If you have curly hair, chances are you've heard mixed opinions on how to care for it. Although many think of curly hair as a one-size-fits-all category, the term applies to a variety of hair types, shapes, and textures. And as many curly-haired individuals know, the wrong haircare advice can result in serious damage to one's coils. When treated improperly, even the most gorgeous curls quickly lose their luster, resulting in frizz, tangles, and increased breakage. Unfortunately, this vicious cycle can unfold due to the slightest misstep in a person's routine.

To find out how to style curly hair the right way, Glam spoke exclusively to England-based hair expert Khamis Maiouf, a professional hairstylist with over two decades of experience under his belt. As the CEO and founder of the Book of Barbering, Maiouf is well-versed in the topic of properly caring for curls and separating truth from fiction when it comes to managing your locks. Your days of wondering how to treat curly hair are over.

Curly hair is unmanageable

One of the most persistent beliefs about curly hair is that it's difficult to care for. While it's true that curls can pose different challenges from straight or wavy hair, the idea of curly hair being unmanageable doesn't sit well with Khamis Maiouf. "Quite the contrary, with the right care routine involving adequate hydration and the appropriate styling products, managing curly hair is not as daunting as it seems," he tells Glam exclusively. "Plus, its unique, voluminous style is highly sought after." All it takes is a little understanding of curly haircare basics.

Some people may not even realize they have curly hair, while others are keenly aware of their hair type. But regardless of where you are in your curly hair journey, it's helpful to include some tried-and-true steps in your routine to keep your hair feeling its best, none of which are particularly difficult. From using a comb in the shower to pre-conditioning the hair before showering, there are numerous ways to enhance your curls without the risk of damage. Other coil-friendly strategies include sleeping on silk pillowcases and plopping your curly hair, an easy way to preserve body and prevent tangles after showering.

You can't have long curly hair

If you've ever leafed through a lifestyle magazine or tuned into a talk-show segment, you've probably heard a thing or two regarding the "correct" length one's hair should be. We all know hair length is ultimately a matter of personal preference, but is there any benefit to keeping one's curls cut short? "This is a misconception. Hair growth and length are tied to individual genetics and care practices, not texture," Khamis Maiouf revealed in his exclusive chat with Glam. "Curly hair may look shorter due to shrinkage, but proper care can promote healthy growth." Depending on your hair type, you may even prefer the look of your curls when they're at a longer length.

To keep your curly hair growing long and strong, you'll want to avoid the enemy known as breakage. Various activities and styling methods can cause hair breakage, but some of the most common offenders are too-tight styles and chemical treatments like permanent hair color, per WebMD. As such, opt for loose hair ties, like scrunchies, and consider using a hair gloss or color-depositing conditioner in place of more damaging dyes. If you still experience ongoing hair breakage, you may be in protein overload. For further guidance, talk to a trusted professional stylist, who can guide you toward several solutions.

Curly hair is always dry

At some point or another, most hair types will encounter dryness. Signs of dry hair can include a tight or itchy scalp, dull strands, and increased breakage (via WebMD). Still, it's a widespread myth that curly hair is synonymous with dryness, explains Khamis Maiouf. "While curly hair may lean towards dryness due to natural oils having a harder time traveling down each curl, it isn't perpetually dry," he shares exclusively with Glam. The tighter your coils are, the more difficult it may be to distribute natural or added moisture throughout the length of your hair.

Struggling to keep your curls from feeling dry? Fortunately, Maiouf has a few ideas on how to help: "Utilizing hydrating hair products and limiting heat styling can ensure well-moisturized curls."

According to Wella Professionals, if your hair is tightly coiled or extra porous, it may require even more help to stay moisturized. In order to achieve bouncy, silky curls, be sure to include moisturizing products at every opportunity you can. This can mean utilizing scalp oils, pre-conditioning before shampooing, and adding a leave-in conditioner or hydrating spray after you wash your hair. What's more, those with very dry curls may need to layer multiple products to achieve sufficiently supple strands, per Mane Addicts.

Curly hair should be brushed regularly

It's an age-old debate in haircare circles: Should you brush curly hair? In Khamis Maiouf's expert opinion, it's best not to. "This myth can damage curly hair," he reveals exclusively to Glam. "Instead of regular brushing, especially when dry, curls should be detangled gently when wet using a wide-tooth comb or fingers to avoid frizz and breakage." To encourage even better slip while safely detangling hair, use a leave-in conditioner or moisturizing mousse. Not only will it help guide your fingers or comb, but it also helps to keep curls frizz-free throughout the day.

Of course, you're probably wondering what happens if you brush curly hair in an act of rebellion. Although results may vary depending on the type of brush used and one's curl pattern, the outcome is rarely pleasant. In worst-case scenarios, poorly-made bristles can snag and break your curls. Most of the time, though, you can expect to see an abundance of frizz. Brushing curly hair while dry or damp can disrupt the natural curl pattern, leading to undefined, disheveled-looking hair.

All curly hair is the same

While browsing the haircare section at your local beauty store, you've probably spotted several products claiming to treat curly hair. Certainly, this must mean that all curls are the same, right? "Far from it. There's a vast range of curly hair types, each requiring tailored care and products," Khamis Maiouf tells Glam exclusively. "It's vital to understand your specific curl type and its needs to maintain its health and beauty." 

An easy — though not foolproof — way to determine your curl type is by using a hair typing system, which provides a visual guide and numbered hair types. Curly hair can mean anything from type 4C, or very coiled hair, to type 3A, which looks like large, loose curls. Once you've established the type of curls you have, you can research your hair type to learn more about the products it responds well to. A common misconception is that the curlier the hair, the heavier the oil it can tolerate. However, other factors, like hair porosity and texture, can drastically alter the hair's response to certain products. To find out more, consult with a stylist who specializes in curly hair, who can help evaluate your hair's specific needs.