We hear lots about balance these days—work-life balance, productivity-leisure balance, health-indulgence balance. When it comes to curly hair, balance is also an issue. There’s moisture and there’s protein and the prettiest, healthiest curls need a balance of both. “Moisture creates supple, hydrated curls,” explains Ouidad Master Artistic Educator Chadwick Pendley, @chadwickpendley, “While protein strengthens hair, helping to give it strength and shape.” Here’s a look at both sides of the curl balance equation.
The structure of curly hair makes it extremely susceptible to dryness because it’s more difficult for the scalp’s natural oils to travel the length of a coily strand as opposed to a straight strand. What’s more, everything from heat styling to color processing to everyday environmental factors like UV rays can dry out curly hair, leaving curls looking dull and undefined. “Be proactive,” recommends Chadwick. “Curly hair will be dry, so moisturize curls every day. Conditioner is the best source of moisture and it’s a good idea to use conditioning products for every step of the care and styling regimen.” One of Chadwick’s favorite “ultra-hydrating” regimens incudes Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Cleansing Oil Shampoo, Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Intense Hydrating Mask, and Ouidad Moisture Lock Leave-In Conditioner, or for coarser curl types, Ouidad Whipped Curls Daily Conditioner and Styling Primer.
All hair is made of protein—primarily keratin. And if hair is curly, feeding it with protein is even more crucial. “Curls that lack protein will appear limp and lifeless,” says Chadwick. “Each hair has a protective layer of overlapping cells called the cuticle. Because of its corkscrew shape, curly hair’s cuticle is constantly lifted – its surface looks like ruffled feathers, with gaps in between each layer. These gaps allow moisture and nutrients to escape, which ultimately weakens the protein chains inside the hair.”
Protein-based deep treatments like Ouidad Deep Treatment Curl Restoration Therapy replenish the nutrients that curly hair loses constantly. It helps to reconnect the protein chains inside the hair to strengthen strands. These types of treatments are activated with heat to help them penetrate hair’s inner layer.
One caveat—it IS possible to overload hair with protein and not enough moisture. (That’s the balance part.) When that happens, strands can become dry, brittle and prone to breakage. That’s why protein-based treatments should be used occasionally, about twice a month, and followed with a moisturizing conditioner. Strike the right balance and curls will always be on point .