My hair is fairly wavy (and dare I say, beautiful) when left to its own devices. But back in the early 2000s, when I thought I knew everything, I decided to change up my look. I invested in a flat iron to achieve stick-straight tresses every day. I doused my locks in products and aggressively pulled a brush through them to get a silky, smooth appearance. As it turns out, the steps that I assumed were necessary for great-looking hair were actually some common mistakes curly haired girls make. (Brushing hair can be bad for it? Talk about a revelation.)

I’m happy to say that I no longer trip circuit breakers with multiple heating implements, nor do I breathe in a chemical concoction every morning. Rather, I’ve learned to work with my hair’s natural texture. It requires a lot less effort (always a good thing in my book) and, more importantly, is a lot healthier for my hair. Not to mention my fuller curls has cause hair envy among my friends (and strangers too.) To maximize your curly hair’s natural beauty and minimize the damage, here’s a quick rundown of seven common mistakes that destroy curly hair and how to avoid them.


In an interview with Bustle, beauty guru Kirby Reynolds said thatbrushing curly hair bends the curls out of shape. This goes double if your hair is tangled, as ripping your brush through the knots can cause major breakage (not to mention a sore scalp.) Be kind to your mane and use a wide-toothed comb to detangle your hair.

Breezelike No Static Wide Tooth Comb, $14, Amazon


Sudsing up your scalp with loads of shampoo may feel great, but as cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson told Allure, the sodium lauryl sulfate may dry out your curls by stripping out the natural oils. These days women have started switching to sulfate-free shampoo, while others are skipping shampoo entirely and use a “no-poo” cleansing method.

Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo and Conditioner, $17.79, Amazon

Rough Toweling

Obviously you want to dry your hair as fast as possible, but rough drying hair with a terrycloth towel may damage your hair’s cuticle and result in frizz. To remedy this mistake, many curly-haired ladies swear by the plopping method, which uses a t-shirt to quickly dry your lock without losing your curls.

Fruit of the Loom T-Shirt 4-Pack, $10.99, Amazon

Fighting Your Curls

Do you know how what some straight-haired women do for locks like yours? Your curly hair is a magical gift that deserves special, gentle treatment. If you embrace your natural curls and work with them, not against them, you will be gifted with many good hair days in return.

Pantene Pro-V Anti-Frizz Curl Creme, $19.92, Amazon

Wrong Haircut

The wrong haircut can lead to frizzy fly-aways and unflattering silhouettes. Since curly hair has a different texture and structure, what looks great on someone with a straight hair may not translate to your locks. Rather than trying to make their look work on you, try one of the many stylish cuts for curly hair.

Wrong Hair Stylist

Not all stylists are equipped to work with your locks, not matter how much training you’ve had. It’s never easy to say goodbye, but you deserve a stylist who knows how to handle curly hair.

Overusing Heat Styling

Back when I straightened my hair daily, the results were what you’d expect – fried-out, thinning hair. To make my mane look presentable, I had to keep flat ironing it, which only continued the harmful cycle. Before your flat iron addiction gets out of hand, step away from the hot tools and embrace your natural texture.

Images: Del Mich/Flickr; Giphy (7)