It should be obvious, but for some reason it isn’t: You just can’t treat curly hair the same way you’d treat straight hair. And if you’re blessed with natural ringlets and have ever had a hair disaster, chances are it was because someone tried a straight hair technique on your curly locks. While there’s a ton of advice out there on what you should do to your hair, what about the things you should avoid like the plague? Brit + Co to the rescue! Here are eight things to avoid to make sure that your coils are the envy of the town.


1. Products With Alcohol: If you ever read the labels for styling gel (and you really should), you’ll notice that a lot of them contain some kind of alcohol. This is a bad thing. The alcohol in gels and other hair products will dry out your hair, and curly hair needs all the moisture it can get.

Woman washing her hair with shampoo

2. Too Much Shampoo: Shampoo is another culprit that will dry out your hair and make it seriously prone to breakage. Many shampoos contain sulfates, which sometimes do too good of a job washing your hair. They’ve been known to completely strip your strands of all those good oils that keep your locks moisturized. Either cut down on how often you shampoo and co-wash instead (that is, wash your hair with conditioner alone), or use a sulfate-free shampoo.

Hair cutting

3. Cutting Straightened Hair: While it might be easier to cut your hair while it’s straight, it’s really not a good idea if you regularly wear your hair curly. There’s a good chance you’ll end up with a weird, lopsided haircut once your mane returns to its curly state. For best results, try to find a stylist who specializes in curly hair.

Brushing my hair but leaving the curls

4. Combing Dry Hair: If your goal is damaged, frizzy hair, then combing or brushing it while it’s dry is a good way to get that look. Otherwise, avoid using those products in your hair while dry. They’ll only break your hair, and nobody wants that.

Making sure she has a great hair day

5. Heat Damage: There’s nothing wrong with using heat styling tools on your hair. There is a problem with not properly taking care of your curly hair when you do. Spritz on a heat protectant before you use a curling iron, flatiron or blowdryer to make sure you don’t fry your hair. Seriously, damaged curls are harder-to-manage curls.

Barber razor on the wood table

6. Razor Cutting: Your curls may sometimes be a lot to deal with, but avoid razor cutting or “thinning” your mane. These cuts require a lot of maintenance because your hair will grow back looking thicker than before you took a blade to it.

Drying off after washing her hair

7. Terrycloth Towels: In the movies, people hop out of the shower and rub their hair with a towel before wrapping it up in a mop of terrycloth. Do not do this to your curly hair — the terrycloth will only cause breakage. Instead, use an old t-shirt or a microfiber towel.

Confident hairdresser smiling at camera

8. Too-Short Cuts: Myth: Curly girls should avoid bangs. Fact: Curly hair is super versatile, and bangs are just one of the many styles that look great on your natural coils. The key is to keep your hair’s shrinkage in mind when getting your hair cut, and don’t go too short.

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(Photos via Getty)