How to Manage Thick Curly Hair: Styling Tips & Tricks to Tame Your Curls

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Thick, curly hair is much more likely to become frizzy, matted and unmanageable compared to straighter hair. Fortunately with the right products, styling tools and hair cut you can get beautiful bouncy, thick curls without frizz or tangles. This post has all the tips and advice you need to manage thick, curly hair.

How to Manage Thick Curly Hair

This post looks at the three essential steps you need to take to keep thick, curly hair healthy.

  1. Keep moisture in the hair to prevent frizz
  2. Use the right hair brushes and combs
  3. Get the right hair cut

How to Manage Thick, Curly Hair

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link. You can read my full disclosure here.

Preventing Frizz

Thick, curly hair is more likely to become frizzy than any other hair type. This is because curly strands become dry quicker than straighter hair since the natural oils from the scalp find it more difficult to travel down a curly hair shaft. The tighter the curl the drier it’s likely to be.

Fortunately there are ways to keep curly hair moisturised and prevent frizz from developing. The key is using the right products in the right way.

Related: How to Stop Curly Hair Going Frizzy

Replace Your Shampoo with a Co Wash

Start by replacing your shampoo with a co-wash. A co-wash will remove any residue from the hair without stripping it of its natural oils. If you have particularly dry hair, try rinsing with apple cider vinegar instead of water to restore the hair’s pH balance.

The As I Am Coconut CoWash is great for cleansing thick hair whilst maintaining curls and coils. It is a light conditioning cream containing coconut oil and castor oil to promote growth whilst removing dirt and excess oil. Regular use helps to improve hair texture and tame unruly hair.

As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner 16 oz./454 g
  • Cleanses hair
  • Maintains curls and coils
  • Light conditioning cream
  • Promotes hair growth
  • 454g/16oz Tub

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related: What is Co Washing for Curly Hair?

Apply a Leave in Conditioner or Hydrating Hair Mask

If you have thick, curly hair it’s important that your hair is properly conditioned. Using a leave in conditioner or mask regularly can help to keep the strands moisturised and healthy.

After you have washed your hair, apply either a moisture-rich leave in conditioner or hydrating hair mask. This will help prevent frizz and can be used as often as twice a week.

Recommended Leave In Conditioner to Manage Thick Curly Hair

The Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In Conditioner softens and detangles thick, curly hair and leaves it nourished and moisturised. This product increases hair elasticity which reduces breakage when detangling. It seals the hair cuticles and prevents damage and split ends.

The formula in this conditioner includes shea butter, and peppermint oil which stimulates and nourishes the hair root to promote healthy growth. This styling product should be applied to damp hair before drying.

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen/Grow and Restore Leave-In Conditioner 16 oz
  • A reparative leave-in conditioner that softens and detangles hair.
  • Nourishes, moisturizes and supports elasticity so hair resists breakage when detangling.
  • Provides a protective layer that improves the appearance of split ends.
  • Contains Peppermint oil that stimulates the scalp for an invigorating experience.
  • The Organic Shea Butter - Deeply moisturizes while conditioning hair and scalp.

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related: 11 Best Leave in Conditioners for 4c Hair

Use a Cotton T-shirt to Dry Your Hair

Drying curly hair with a cotton T-shirt helps to remove the excess water without removing moisture from the hair. Cotton is also much more gentle on the hair compared to a regular towel. If you don’t want to use a cotton t-shirt you could also use a microfiber towel which works just as well.

I use this microfiber bear towel to dry my hair. Use it when you have wet hair to soak up all the excess water before using a hair dryer, or letting your hair air dry. Microfiber won’t pull excess moisture from your hair like a regular towel would, and helps to retain your hair’s natural oils.

Related: How to Plop Your Hair with a Cotton T-Shirt

Apply Frizz-Free Serum Before Blow Drying

Frizzy hair is a thing of the past once you learn how to apply frizz-free serum to your hair. Apply it after your leave in conditioner or hydrating mask and before blow drying. This will help smooth out any frizz. If you brush the serum through your hair with a wide-tooth comb it will spread evenly throughout the hair to fully coat it.

Recommended Hair Serum to Manage Thick Curly Hair

The Curlsmith Intense Treatment Serum was designed for thick curly or coily hair. It helps to improve the hair’s natural texture and enhances natural waves and curls. The formula contains avocado oil, shea butter and olive oil which coat the hair strands and seal in moisture. They also nourish the hair follicles and promote healthy growth. Most hair serums come in a liquid form, however this one is solid and can be melted in your hands. It’s perfect for curly girls with dry or brittle hair.

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related: The Korean Hair Serum That Gives Your Hair a Glass Like Shine

Attach a Diffuser to Your Blow Dryer

A diffuser is an attachment for your hair dryer. Diffusers help to speed up drying time and leave curls bouncy, fuller and more voluminous. They also prevent the hot air from roughening the hair cuticle and creating frizz. They are great for giving definition to your curls and protecting the hair from damage.

Recommended Diffuser to Manage Thick Curly Hair

For the best results when using a hair dryer, always use a diffuser attachment. Diffusers spread the heat evenly across the hair and reduce the likelihood of damage. They were designed for textured curls and work well on thick, coarse hair and curly hair types.

UUCOLOR Universal Hair Diffuser Suitable for 1.4 in to 2.6 in Adjustable Hair Dryer Diffuser Nozzle...
  • ⭐Universal Hair Diffuser: The hair dryer diffuser is a universal diffuser that fits hairdryers...
  • ⭐Create Perfect Hairstyle: All types of hair are great for diffusing, especially curly hair. The...
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Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related: Best Diffuser Hair Dryers for Curly Hair

Always Use a Heat Protectant

To prevent thick, curly hair from becoming damaged, always apply a heat protectant before using any styling tools such as a blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron. Excess heat on the hair can make it become even more dry and damaged, creating frizz. Many heat protectants also add moisture and shine to the hair

Recommended Heat Protectant to Manage Thick Curly Hair

The John Frieda Frizz Ease Heat Defeat Protecting Spray is great for protecting thick curly hair whilst sealing in moisture and preventing frizz. This hair spray works well on curly hair regardless of curl type. It also helps to reduce frizz in thick, wavy hair.

John Frieda® Frizz-Ease® Heat Defeat® Protective Styling Spray 150ml
  • For frizz-prone hair
  • For wavy, curly, frizz-prone hair
  • Keeps hair smooth and straight for up to 24 hours
  • Formula silkens strands and replenishes moisture.
  • 150 ml bottle

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Related: Best Heat Protectant Spray to Use with Heated Styling Tools

Sleep on a Silk Pillowcase

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will help your hair to retain moisture while you sleep. Since silk creates less friction on the hair it is also less likely to become damaged. Many women notice that once they start using a silk pillowcase their hair becomes more manageable and healthier.

Recommended Silk Pillowcase for Thick Curly Hair

This 100% Mulbery Silk Pillowcase helps to keep moisture in your natural curls. It helps to reduce friction on the hair and prevent tight curls from becoming tangled or matted in the night. Silk is great for protecting thick strands and preventing hair from becoming unruly and frizzy.

OLESILK 100% Mulbery Silk Pillowcase with Hidden Zipper for Hair and Skin, Both Sides 19 Momme...
  • ☑19 MOMME GRADE 6A MULBERRY SILK: Our pillowcases are crafted from 100% pure 19 momme real silk on...
  • ☑ANTI-AGING & BEST FOR SKIN/HAIR CARE: Natural silk is considered as the most natural anti-aging...
  • ☑ANTI-AGING & BEST FOR SKIN/HAIR CARE: Natural silk is considered as the most natural anti-aging...
  • ☑PERFECT GIFT IDEA: With the OLESILK designed special box package, our pillowcases can be a great...
  • ☑EASY TO CARE & WORRY-FREE CUSTOMER SERVICE: Hand wash highly recommended. Machine washable on...

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Use the Pineapple Method

The pineapple method involves tying your hair very loosely on top of your head before you go to bed. This prevents the hair becoming tangled or frizzy, and stops the curls becoming flattened as you toss and turn in the night. The pineapple trick works well but make sure you don’t tie your hair too tight.

Related: The Pineapple Method Tutorial

Detangling Thick, Curly Hair

Since thick, curly hair is more likely to become tangled or matted it’s important that you are using the right brushes and detangling products on your thick, curly hair.

Using the Right Brushes and Combs in Your Hair

The right brushes and combs are essential for keeping thick, curly hair under control. Curly strands can become very easily tangled and matted.

To prevent tangles, use wide-tooth combs when styling your hair and be extra gentle. If you must use a brush, use one with soft, wide bristles.

Related: 15 Best Wide Tooth Combs

Use a Hair Brush with Boar Bristles

Using a natural bristle brush or boar bristle brush is a good way to detangle and style thick, curly hair. They also help to distribute your hair’s natural oils which will keep it moisturised. Although they may be slightly more pricey than alternative brushes, they are worth investing in.

The Sosoon Boar Bristle Paddle Hairbrush is designed for thick curly hair. It helps to prevent pulling and ripping and leave you with healthy shiny defined curls. It comes with a wide tooth comb in the box. This is the best way of preventing bad hair days!

Hair Brush, Sosoon Boar Bristle Paddle Hairbrush for Long Thick Curly Wavy Dry or Damaged Hair,...
  • BENEFITS: Using boar bristle hairbrush removes the dust, oil and dandruff, creates healthy, shiny...
  • NATURAL HEALTHY HAIR CARE PRODUCTS: Human scalp secrete oil/sebum every day which is the best and...
  • HIGH QUALITY EXQUISITE CRAFT: Exquisitely Caved Wooden Handle+Flexible Cushion+Natural Boar...
  • EQUIP with A TAIL COMB and A FOLDABLE HAIR COMB: The tail comb not only can be a wide tooth comb for...
  • TANGLE TAMER for ALL KINDS of HAIR TYPES: It doesn't matter if you're a woman or a man, an adult or...

Last update on 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Brush When Wet

It’s better to brush curly hair when it is wet, not dry. Detangling while the hair is still damp will help you manage those tangles and reduces breakage as well as split ends.

Get the Right Hair Cut

Getting the right hair cut is half the battle to learning how to manage thick, curly hair. The wrong haircut can actually make your tresses look even more unruly than before you got it styled!

Thick, curly hair should not be cut the same way as thin, straight hair. This is because thick, curly hair falls differently and needs to be shaped so that you’re left with thick curls at the top and thinner sections at the bottom.

You should also regularly trim split ends to keep the curls looking healthy and prevent them becoming frizzy and unmanageable.

Further Reading

This post was all about how to manage thick, curly hair

Thank you for reading my post about how to manage thick curly hair. If you have tried any of the tips in this post please leave me a comment below and let me know how you got on.

Olivia Herlihy RN

Olivia is a hair and skincare enthusiast with over 10 years experience working in healthcare and over 5 years as a Registered Nurse. She gained an online following after creating a natural haircare routine which completely transformed her hair. Olivia has since written an eBook on Ayurvedic hair care to help others use the same formula to improve their own hair.

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