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If you’ve been blessed with beautiful bouncy curls, learning how to care for them is super important. However, it can be confusing considering there’s so much conflicting information out there, and tons of curly hair myths.

To give you guys some clarity on how to care for your curls, we called on the one and only Curl Doctor, aka one of Hollywood’s hottest hairstylists, Shai Amiel, who works with goddesses like Lizzo and Logan Laurence. He dispelled five of the most common curly hair myths he hears on the regular – spoiler alert: some of them may surprise you!

Curly Hair Myth 1: Heat Protectants Prevent Hair Damage

As much as we’d love it if this hair myth was a #fact, Shai confirms, “Heat protecting products won’t prevent your hair from being damaged.” In fact, he reveals “If anything, these products could heat up and accelerate the damage. You can’t put lotion on your skin and walk through fire without burning your skin.” Moral of the story: Don’t expect that by using heat protection alongside regular heat means your hair won’t get damaged. When it comes to curls, less heat is always better.

Curly Hair Myth 2: Protective Hairstyles are Protecting Your Hair

While the term protective hairstyle implies that the style is protecting your curly hair, Shai reveals that in many cases, protective styles actually aren’t: “Protective hairstyles aren’t really protecting your curls. In order for your curls to thrive, it’s best to let them be natural. Curls are formed at the root and they maintain the shape by letting them coil as they wish. It’s almost like training your muscles. If you don’t allow your muscles to flex, they will lose mass. The same applies to your curls. Allow them to dry in their natural form.”

Shai outlines what you should do instead, “Avoid any styling that forces your curls to dry in a non-natural coil. Once you’ve rinsed your conditioner, it’s best to apply your styling products and let the hair do what it’s supposed to do. This applies to wet, damp or tight ponytails, braids on wet or damp hair, slick back buns, twist outs, etc. This also applies to straight styling or using a hot tool in direct contact with your hair. Diffusing is perfectly safe. Don’t keep it in one spot – if it’s too hot for your head, then it’s too hot for your hair.”

 

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The process revealed. Kristen flew in from Boston because she decided it was time to embrace her natural curls. I started her actual haircut at 11:15 and finished it at 12:25pm. At 12:30 we started the cleansing process to remove the buildup. Once that was completed we addressed the condition of her hair. It felt dry and had a good amount of loose hair that was tangled with her hair. We detangled it with the hydrating mask. This gives you more slip to go thru the tangled sections. After the detangling we placed her under the dryer for 10 minutes to make sure it felt hydrated. After we rinsed her treatment we styled her curls. That was completed at 3pm. We used a hooded dryer to dry it until 4:30pm. She was here from 11:15am until 4:30pm. Amy questions?

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Curly Hair Myth 3: Oils On Wet Hair Seal In Moisture

“Oil & water don’t mix,” insists Shai. If you’re applying oil to your curls when you step out the shower (guilty!), you could be wasting your oil… “This is the most common mistake I see people do. Obviously a greasy product or oil would make your curls appear shiny.” However, he prompts the question: “Is it shiny or only greasy? I’d rather achieve true shine by hydrating the curls properly until the cuticle layer is closed to reflect the light off your hair giving it true shine. Not a greasy shine. You should never apply oil to wet hair. If you think it’s a good option for your hair, pour oil and water into a cup. They don’t mix.”

Shai says, “It’s the same concept when painting. You can’t apply oil-based paint on the TLC water base or the other way around. Oil is not a styling product. If your hair is wet or damp, it’ll prevent the oil from penetrating your hair shaft and it’ll sit on the hair. It’s like applying new nail polish on top of an old one.”

However, Shai does point out that “Oil does have healthy nutrients. It’s been used way before we had hair products.” So, if you’re wondering how you should use an oil in your hair care routine, Shai suggests: “Apply oil to your DRY even dirty curls and work through your hair. You can leave it on for a few minutes or hours if you see the results improve. It’s best to follow this with a good cleanser and finish it with a hydrating treatment.”

Still skeptical and don’t want to quit your oil-post-shower routine? Let these curls below convince you that what Shai says goes!

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Curly Hair Myth 4: Skipping Hair Appointments = Longer Hair

Again, as much as we’d love for this myth to be true, Shai reveals, “Avoiding haircuts won’t help you maintain length. Hair will naturally have split ends. You can’t avoid that.” For healthy hair, Shai says “It’s best to trim your curls every three to five months depending on the length and health of your hair. Consult with your stylist for their recommendations.”

Shai continues, “Avoiding trims will only delay the retention of length. It’s like washing your car: It’ll have so much dust after one week and if you wait six months you’ll have six months’ worth of dirt on your car. But if you tell them at the car wash you only want to remove 1 week’s worth of dirt you’ll still drive a dirty car. If you wait three years you will actually have more split ends than a person that’s on top of it. It’s because the untrimmed ends are weaker and will fray more easily. Untrimmed ends will have more loose strands that don’t stay within the ringlet. One weak strand will break a lot faster than a clump (ringlet) especially if it’s trimmed and healthy.”

Curly Hair Myth 5: 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner Will Not Work. Period.

“There’s no such thing as a shampoo + conditioner in one,” insists Shai. “If you don’t cleanse your scalp you can see a decline in the healthy scalp leading to other potential issues. If you only use conditioner on your scalp, you could see buildup.”

“Conditioner is like hand lotion and shampoo is like hand soap. You can’t wash off the mud with lotion and you can’t hydrate your skin with soap. Cleanse your scalp once in a while, whenever you feel it’s necessary or you’re in the mood for a good wash,” explains Shai.

For more curly hair tips, check out how to care for kinky and coily hair.