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4 Tips for Navigating the Curly Hair Journey in College

Curly hair troubles? Read on!

Woman with brown curly hair.
Credit: Roman Samborskyi/ Shutterstock

Having curly hair is a journey filled with ups and downs, especially during the college years. With busy schedules and limited budgets, it can definitely be a challenge to maintain a healthy and beautiful head of curls.

However, as someone with curly hair, I can tell you that with the right knowledge and care, it is possible to navigate this journey with ease. Whether you are a seasoned curly hair veteran or just beginning to embrace your natural curls, these tips are for you. In this article, I will share four essential tips I’ve learned for navigating the curly hair journey in college.

Woman with dark curly hair.
Woman with curly hair, Credit: NeonShot/ Shutterstock

1. Watch the Water Quality

The quality of the water you use to wash your hair can significantly impact your curls’ health. Hard water, which is common in most cities, can leave mineral deposits on your scalp and hair. This can make your curls dry, frizzy, and dull. 

Therefore, if you live somewhere where you can change the showerhead, investing in a good quality showerhead that removes impurities and minerals from the water is essential. This way, you can protect your curls from hard water and maintain their moisture.

Filtering showerhead in shower.
Filtering showerhead, Credit: Powerofflowers/ Shutterstock

However, if you are like me and live in a dorm where you cannot change the showerhead or filter the water, it can be difficult to avoid the hard water when it comes to curly wash day. Luckily, there is a way to combat this. 

When I wash my curls, I actually bring a Britta pitcher into the shower with me and use it to filter the water before pouring it on my hair. While this may seem tedious, I find that this works so well in removing a lot of harmful contaminants from the water and makes my hair look and feel so much better. 

Woman with red curly hair smiling.
Woman with red curly hair, Credit: Cookie Studio/ Shutterstock

2. Say No to Heat

Using heat on your curly hair can cause severe damage, making your curls dry and brittle. This can leave your hair prone to breakage and split ends, leading to more frizz. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using heat on your hair as much as possible. 

Instead, you can use alternative methods to dry and style your hair, such as air-drying, heatless diffusing, or heat-free styling products. By saying no to heat, you’ll protect your curls from damage and maintain their natural bounce and shine.

Woman using straightener on curly hair.
Woman with a straightener. Credit: Roman Samborskyi/ Shutterstock

3. Determine Your Curl Type and Hair Porosity

One of the most important steps in taking care of your curly hair is to determine your curl type and hair porosity. Knowing your curl type and porosity can help you select the right hair products and care routine to enhance your curls.

To determine your curl type, look at the shape and pattern of your curls and then speak with a professional or consult online resources. There are plenty of resources to help you find your curl type and what would work best for your hair type

Chart of curly hair types.
Chart of curly hair types, Credit: Elena Pimukova/ Shutterstock

What about Porosity?

Once you determine your curl type, it’s important to assess your hair’s porosity. Hair porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture. There are three types of hair porosity: low, medium, and high. One of the best and most accurate ways to determine your hair porosity is through the float test. 

To conduct the float test, take a strand of clean hair and place it in a glass of water. Wait for 3-4 minutes and observe. 

  • If your hair floats, you have low porosity curls. 
  • If your hair sinks to the bottom, you have high porosity curls. 
  • If your hair stays in the middle of the glass, you have medium porosity curls.

Once you know your hair porosity, you can choose hair products and techniques that cater to your hair’s unique needs.

Woman with short curly hair facing away from the camera with a yellow background.
Woman with short curly hair. Credit: Shutterstock

So many different factors go into what products will work for your specific curl type, which is why I am not recommending any products in this article. With so many different curl types out there, it is almost impossible to recommend a product that will work for everybody. However, by understanding your curl type and hair porosity, you can create your own personalized hair care routine that caters to your hair’s unique needs. 

Woman shopping for curl products.
Shopping for hair products. Credit: Brastock/Shutterstock

4. Other Things to Consider

Another thing to consider is using a silk or satin pillowcase, which can reduce frizz and hair breakage. Cotton pillowcases can create friction and pull at your hair, leading to frizz and hair breakage. Silk or satin pillowcases are gentler on your hair, allowing it to glide smoothly against the pillowcase. This results in less hair breakage, and it also helps to preserve your curls overnight.

Soft pink silk pillow with black sleep set sitting on top and pink silk sleep mask.
Silk pillowcase and accessories. Credit: AleksSafronov/ Shutterstock

Another idea is to use a microfiber towel to dry your hair instead of a regular towel. This is because regular towels can cause friction and damage to your curls. Microfiber towels are softer and more absorbent than regular towels, making them a better option for curly hair. Microfiber towels help to remove excess water from your hair gently. This can help to define your curls and reduce frizz.

Woman with towel on her hair.
Woman with hair towel. Credit: Dmytro Buianskyi/ Shutterstock

Final Words

While it can be challenging, navigating the curly hair journey in college can be a fun and exciting experience. By understanding your curls and incorporating these simple tips, you can maintain healthy, beautiful curls in college without breaking the bank. Here’s to a successful and stress-free curly hair journey!

Written By

Hello! I am an English and Entomology student at the University of Florida. I love roller skating, guitar, watercolor, beekeeping, video games, and good vibes!

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