Curly hair tends to take on a life of its own. If you have naturally curly hair, it sometimes feels like your hair controls you, rather than the other way around. 

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Believe it or not, high-maintenance curly, coily, and kinky hair has negative health implications. According to a recent study, the time it takes to style natural hair often precludes one’s time for fitness and health-oriented activities. Compound that with the chemicals used for relaxing natural hair, and you’ve got a comprehensive health issue. 

Here are some easy ways to maintain naturally curly hair.

Use a Wig for Big Changes

Instead of pressing or relaxing your natural curls to get straight hair, or causing permanent damage with bleach, use a wig for big changes. Wearing a wig allows you to put your natural hair in a protective style and reduces damage caused by heat, tension, and chemicals.

Fortunately, the stigma around wig-wearing is falling by the wayside. Celebrities like The Kardashians, Cardi B, Yara Shahidi, and Rihanna are open about their wig-wearing habits. With a high-quality wig and the right style lace (get more information), you can get the look you want while protecting those natural curls.

Take Your Time with Dye

If you decide to dye your curls, which are already prone to dryness, take your time. Dark haired girls don’t turn blonde overnight. It could take months to achieve the lighter shade you want without causing permanent breakage and damage to your curls.

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If you decide to go lighter, work with a stylist rather than trying it yourself at home.

Ditch Your Brush

There are a lot of brushes that claim they are curl-friendly. However, while they might not add to the frizz situation, they’re likely causing some subtle damage. Swap out the brush for a wide-tooth comb and don’t feed into the hype.

There is one exception: wet brushes that are designed for the shower can sometimes be used to work conditioner through your hair. However, if you have any tangles, be cautious.

Ditch Your Terrycloth Towels

It’s shocking how many people with curly hair will use a silk pillowcase to avoid friction, but still use a terry cloth towel when they get out of the shower. While terrycloth is fine for drying your body, it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near your hair.

Swap out your terrycloth for a microfiber hair wrap. Use it to squeeze your locks to get out the excess moisture, but never rub your hair with a towel of any kind. 

Style When Wet

The best time to style your curly hair is when it’s completely wet. That means before you even think about picking up your microfiber hair wrap. This is the best time to detangle without causing damage to your curls, as well as being optimal for applying leave-in conditioner and curl-friendly products.

If you’re worried about water going everywhere as you style, put those old terrycloth hair towels on the floor to sop up the mess.

Be Mindful of Heat

Natural and curly hair is prone to damage because the curl pattern prevents oil from the scalp to reach the ends. Thus, adding heat to the equation can make it that much worse.

Use a cool water rinse when washing your hair, and a diffuser whenever you decide to use a hairdryer. When using heat tools for styling, always let your hair dry entirely and apply a protectant spray first. It’s also worth investing in a curl-friendly hair protectant spray with an SPF to keep your hair safe in the sun.

Leave it Alone

The best thing you can do for your naturally curly hair is to leave it alone. Put your products in, give it a quick detangle, then try not to touch it. While you should schedule regular trims to snip off the split ends, the less you process your hair, the better it will be.

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