What Determines Hair Shape?
Curly, textured hair stems from the shape and curvature of the hair follicle, where the hair grows. Coily and very coily hair is due to the hair follicle being curved with the hair growing out of the hair follicle at a small angle close to the scalp. This hair type has an elliptical cross section or looks like an ellipse when the hair is cut straight across. Wavy hair is associated with the hair follicle being inclined rather than curved with the hair strand having an oval cross section. Finally, straight hair is associated with the hair follicle having little to no tilt with hair growing perpendicular to the scalp. This hair type shows a round cross section when cut. The slight variations in hair follicle curvature and shape lead to the different curl types or patterns.
How Does Curly Hair Differ From Straight Hair?
People often describe their curl type by referring to the curl pattern classification system. Curl pattern is broken down into 4 main categories: curl pattern 1 refers to straight hair, curl pattern 2 to wavy hair, curl pattern 3 to curly hair, and curl pattern 4 to kinky and coily hair. These categories are further divided into subcategories A, B, and C based on the width or diameter of the curl. While this is an oversimplification of the complexities of curly hair, it helps people determine how to better take care of their specific hair texture.
Natural oils produced from the scalp, which help coat and moisture the hair, have a harder time traveling down curly hair strands compared to straight hair; therefore, curly hair needs a bit more moisture. Studies have shown an inverse correlation between hair strength and hair curliness. Curly hair is typically small in diameter and more prone to structural damage from combing and styling. This damage can manifest as breakage and frizz. Curly hair needs to be properly lubricated and conditioned to minimize damage during grooming; however, there is a balance needed so the curls don't become too weighed down. With curly, textured hair having decreased tensile strength and decreased access to scalp lipids compared to straight hair, it needs a bit more TLC.
What Does Curl Shampoo Do?
Since curly hair leans toward the more dry side, curl shampoo should be gentle and not strip the hair of necessary lipids. Curl shampoos may produce lower foam in the shower because lower levels of surfactants are used. At the same time, curl shampoo needs to aid in lubricity, reducing friction between hair strands. This is accomplished by adding cationic materials such as polyquats to the hair. These positively charged ingredients adhere to the damaged, negatively charged sites of the hair and reduce the friction and further damage. They leave hair feeling softer and smoother as well. Synthetic polymers and natural polymers, such as polysaccharides, can be added to curl shampoos to help give curls definition while taming frizz.
Does Curl Shampoo Work For All Hair Types?
Curl shampoos, like Saltair's Curl Defining Shampoo, work best for curly or wavy hair that needs less robust cleansing. The goal of a curl shampoo is to gently cleanse the scalp of excess sebum and the hair of product buildup without compromising the moisture of the hair strands. Typically less surfactant is utilized resulting in less foam but a more gentle cleanse; however, using a curl shampoo on straight hair won’t change the shape of the hair or structure in any way. For those with straight hair, try using our Moisture Shampoo for hydration instead.
How Curl Shampoo Works On Fine or Thin Hair
Curl shampoo works well for fine or thin hair as well as coarse and thick hair. These shampoos cleanse the scalp while minimizing any dryness to the hair. Those with fine or thin hair may need to utilize a curl shampoo more often than those with thick or coarse hair because fine hair is weighed down easier with styling products. Those with tighter curls and coils, curl pattern 4, tend to have more dry hair and may go longer without washing their hair than those with wavy or curly hair. Curl shampoo may be used across the board for all curl pattern types but the frequency of hair washing may differ.
Before And After Using Curl Shampoo & Conditioner:
Reading the Label
Our Curl Control Defining Shampoo cleanses the scalp while hydrating and conditioning without weighing curls down:
- Sulfate-free surfactants: a blend of surfactants that cleanse without stripping hair of natural lipids
- Polyquaternium-7 and polyquaternium-10: cationic polymers that attach to damaged hair sites improving both wet and dry properties of the hair
- Linseed and Chia Seed: rich in polysaccharides that tame frizz and define curls
- Quaternized Panthenol: a modified form of provitamin B5 that has a positive charge and therefore adheres better to the hair, further enhancing its benefits including increasing hair shine and increasing hair strength
- Babassu Oil and Murumuru Butter: tame frizz and add shine to the hair
- Acidic pH to help minimize negative charge of hair and limit frizz
For best results, use with our Curl Control Defining Conditioner. For those needing extra moisture, follow with your favorite moisturizing mask treatment.
The Full Curl Control Hair Care Line
Saltair offers a full Curl Control Defining system for those with waves, curls, and coils. To further smooth and reduce frizz, define your curls, and add shine, start with our Curl Control Defining Shampoo followed by our Curl Control Defining Conditioner. Then complete the look with our latest product launch, the Curl Control Defining Jelly. Learn more in our guide to our Curl Control Defining Jelly.