At some point, you might have had the desire to straighten your naturally curly hair. Most of us might have tried straighteners or other methods to straighten our hair. Maybe you’ve had it with all the straighteners and chemicals and are now wondering how to get a curl pattern for natural hair?
It’s always been easy to believe that straight hair is more beautiful compared to the waves and curls we’ve been blessed with.
But, after months of years of trying out different things to straighten your hair, you may have noticed that your curls aren’t quite the same anymore.
They’re less curly and more limp, dry, and frizzy.
If you’re looking for a way to restore the natural curls you took for granted in the past, you’re in luck!
We’ll discuss how to get back your natural curl pattern (if it’s not too late).
Why does the hair lose its natural curl pattern?
There are many different curl patterns – wavy hair, curly hair, and coily hair.
All of these get ruined because of a couple of reasons.
Let’s explore the different causes behind the loosening of curls:
Heat is the hair’s number one enemy, and one of the main reasons your tresses get ruined.
This absolutely holds true, even for curly hair.
Using straighteners, flat irons, or blow dryers without diffusers can cause irreparable damage to the hair, often leading to the loss of curls.
The reason behind this is a process called denaturation.
Heat denatures proteins.
That means, once a certain temperature is reached, the heat changes its structure and shape for good.
This change is biological in nature.
In other words, it happens at the cellular level – which alters the hair’s microfibrils, which are responsible for holding the structure of the hair.
Without these, then, the hair loses the natural characteristics that these structures give, such as your natural curls.
In addition, constantly using heat on the hair also causes damage that can be easily noticed.
Have you noticed that flat ironing your hair every day makes it more dull, dry, and lifeless?
The heat sucks the moisture from your hair, and this damage can also contribute to its inability to hold your curls’ shape.
Certain conditions in the environment also affect your hair greatly.
Much like heat damage, for instance, often being out in the open exposes your hair to harmful UV rays from the sun.
These can cause considerable damage to the hair, causing it, like heat does, to be dry and less healthy.
Living in a place where water isn’t as clean or filtered can also cause damage to your hair.
Using hard water on the hair can make it more frizzy, which can also change how your curls look and feel.
Chemical treatments such as relaxers, dyes, perms, and bleach are known to cause damage to the hair if enough precaution isn’t taken.
You can end up with frizzy, dry hair that makes it hard for your tresses to hold both moisture and the natural curls’ shape.
Moreover, chemical treatments such as relaxers or softeners are also designed to make the hair straighter.
These can’t be undone, thus they permanently cause the curls to be looser.
These are only some of the factors behind curl loosening.
Other factors may cause your hair to lose its natural curl pattern as well.
No matter what it is, though, there are several tell-tale signs to know when your curls are starting to lose shape.
What are some signs that my curls are getting looser?
There are a number of signs to watch out for to fully know that perhaps your curls are not as defined as they once were.
A simple way to check it out is by doing this test:
- First, get a strand of your hair
- Wet it and let it soak for a few minutes
- Stretch the wet strand and let it go
- Observe it goes back to its original shape or not
If your hair is still able to return to its curly self, then well and good!
But, if you notice that your hair remains straight, or is unable to get the defined curls you used to have, then that might be a sign of a bigger problem – may be your curls are starting to loosen.
There are other indicators that your hair has been damaged enough to lose its natural curl pattern.
You may want to look out for the following:
Your hair appears straighter
This might seem like stating the obvious, and it’s pretty self-explanatory, but the truth is that if you feel like your hair seems straighter, then it probably is.
You’ve probably straightened it enough times, to the point that it now remains straight PERMANENTLY.
This means that your hair has lost its ability to hold your curls, hence why it is straight.
A good way to compare is to check how starkly different your curls are towards the end of your hair, as compared to your curls just growing from the roots.
Hair that has just grown from your follicles retains the natural shape your curls have.
So, if the new growth is curlier than the tips, that means your hair is already damaged at the ends.
You feel like your hair isn’t growing at all
Excessive heat damage to the hair results in what is called the tapering effect.
What this does is that it gives you the illusion that your hair isn’t growing at all, because the hair gets tapered.
This means that the hair closest to the scalp contains thicker strands, which constantly get thinner as you approach the ends.
This makes the hair seem like it lacks volume, making it look shorter than it actually is.
In addition, having damaged hair also demands constant trimming to address frizz and split ends that occur easily.
Also, straighter ends that don’t match the curly mane near the scalp don’t really look that neat.
This necessitates trimming or cutting the straight ends.
As a result, the hair really doesn’t get longer; when the hair grows a bit, you simply end up cutting the ends off, after all.
Your hair feels dull and lifeless
Sustaining too much damage is what makes the hair lose its curly structure, ultimately.
The damage could be as a result of heat, the environment, or from chemical treatments.
Your hair could end up with split ends and lacklustre.
Having dull, dry hair, are signs that you might be losing your natural curl pattern, as well.
This is probably the quickest indicator you can catch.
So, once you feel like your hair isn’t getting the love and care it needs, you may want to start doing something to hydrate it.
In the process, perhaps, you might be able to restore your hair to its naturally curly state, which you miss!
How to get a curl pattern for natural hair
The question now is, is there any way to save the curly hair from the damage it has sustained?
If you are a victim of this kind of damage, you must be wondering how to get a curl pattern for natural hair.
Well, it’s possible to get back your natural curl pattern but not in all cases.
In the event that it’s possible to reverse the damage, you have to be prepared because it takes a long, long time.
The truth is, some types of damage are honestly irreversible.
But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to make your hair healthy again!
After all, your hair is still constantly growing… so you can still grow out your curls if you turn away from your previous habits that caused it damage in the first place.
You just need to embrace new (and better) to take care of your hair.
It’s a long process, but once you see your beautiful natural curls begin to flourish once again, you’ll realize it’s worth all the work.
Here’s what you have to do:
Say goodbye to heat
This is the first thing you have to do if you don’t want to go on damaging your hair anymore.
You cannot restore your hair to full health if you get rid of the cause of damage – the heat styling appliances.
At this point, it’s paramount that you discontinue the use of the hot tools that subject the hair to more heat than it can handle.
Air-drying the hair, rather than using blow dryers, is also something you have to embrace as early as possible.
Remember that avoiding the use of heat on the hair is something you have to do for a long period of time.
This means months, possibly years, of getting rid of heat treatment, coupled with active efforts to make the hair healthier.
I have previously talked about my heat damage ordeal.
Although I didn’t stop using heat on my hair completely, I only use the heat styling appliances twice or thrice a year.
I also set the blow dryer to medium heat and use low speed during the straightening process.
And most importantly, I always use a heat protectant.
Moisturize and rehydrate the hair
Damaged hair is severely lacking in moisture.
Therefore, another way to restore it back to health is to keep the hair hydrated.
Another tip is to reduce the use of shampoo.
Constant use of shampoo strips the hair’s natural oils, making it dry and frizzy.
In fact, hair experts advise against shampooing the hair on a daily basis.
You may also want to consider using more nourishing shampoos, such as organic shampoos that contain essential ingredients like coconut or olive oil.
Finally, deep conditioning treatments are also your friend!
A weekly deep conditioning treatment can do wonders for heat-damaged hair.
You can opt to do it at home or book one with a trusted hairdresser as soon as possible!
Reconstruct the hair with proteins
Constantly using heat on the hair, as established earlier, denatures the proteins in it.
This means that there’s a lack of protein in it which you’ll need to address.
You are in a situation where you’ve depleted your hair’s protein store as you battered it with heat.
A good protein treatment can thus help restore your hair to its previous state.
Protein treatments work by attaching fibrous protein – known as keratin – to your hair cuticles.
They replenish the stripped proteins to restore your hair back to health.
Besides, reconstructing damaged hair, protein treatments also prevent breakage and help to increase the hair volume.
Wear protective styles
You may consider trying out protective hairstyles for the duration of your hair restoration process.
These hairstyles help protect against damage by decreasing the stress that environmental factors can do to the hair.
As the hair is tucked in, it gets protected from things that can ultimately harm it.
This allows your hair to grow out without unnecessary manipulation.
It also eliminates the need to worry about regular styling and just let the hair be.
Protective styles such as braiding or wearing wigs help your hair to take a break from all the constant tugging that it’s subjected to.
Cut off the damaged hair
Once the ends of your hair are damaged, there’s virtually nothing you can do to save them… except to cut them off.
After my heat damage ordeal, I simply did the “big chop” and literary re-started my natural hair journey from scratch.
Getting rid of damaged hair serves two main purposes.
First, it removes the damaged hair which has straightened out and lost its natural curl pattern.
This allows for a neater look, as you get rid of the hair that visibly looks dry, dull, and well… different.
Second, cutting off damaged hair allows new hair to grow from the roots in a healthy environment.
Additionally, getting rid of your split ends early ensures that they don’t travel further up the hair shaft – from the ends towards the roots.
They just end up damaging the healthier part of the hair shaft.
Just as the hair weathers years of damage before it gets to the point that it loses its natural curls, so does its restoration process take time.
Restoring your curls isn’t something you can decide to do one moment, and suddenly see visible results right away.
It’s an arduous journey of learning to take care of your hair again, and of keeping it away from habits that damage it.
At the heart of this restorative process is protecting the hair that still grows out from the roots, and making sure it grows out well enough to return to its original state and shape.
If the new hair grows healthy without sustaining any damage, then you might just be on your way to seeing your old, natural curls again.
But, as you know, growing out your hair takes time, so patience is a must!
We’ve discussed what damages the hair and causes it to lose its original curl pattern.
We’ve also looked at common indicators of damage to the hair that may warn you that your curls are slowly loosening.
Also, if you’ve been losing sleep wondering how to get a curl pattern for natural hair, we’ve got you covered.
We have looked at some of the things you can do to restore your curls to their previous state.
The most important thing is to avoid the things that damage the hair.
Follow the tips on how you can keep the hair healthy and protect it against breakage.
As you embark on this journey of restoring your hair’s natural curl pattern, you can only wait patiently as your hair recovers on its own.