Tips and tricks you need to know to manage your thick hair

5 Must-try products and tips for thick hair care

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I always thought I had thick hair. I do. My hair is naturally curly and sort of has its own plan for how it should go when I let it roam free. I’ve learned how to manage it throughout the years.

And then, about 11 years ago my daughter was born. She spent the first two years of her life without a lot of hair, but it was worth the wait. It came in a beautiful red that was first a crown of spiral curls. By the time she was 7, her curl loosened as her hair got heavier and heavier.

Her hair is thick beyond what I knew thick hair could be. I have often teased her that she — like our Lhasa Apso pooch — has a double fur coat. We have to make sure we get through the top, middle and bottom layers when managing her hair.

I once said every mother of a daughter with curly hair deserves an extra jewel in her crown. I still concur with that statement. Even though her hair isn’t as curly as it once was, it’s now its own beast thanks to its thickness. She prefers her hair long, so we have a lot of hair to manage!

Along the way, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks to make managing thick hair easier.

1. Use a Wet Brush.

A few years ago, I was chatting about my daughter’s hair with the hair stylist trimming my hair. She asked if we’d tried a Wet Brush. She told me it works well on both dry and wet hair. I was dubious, but I decided to buy one and give it a try.

In spite of having extra thick hair, my daughter also has a sensitive scalp. Getting out her tangles was rough in so many ways. It was to the point that I was going to make her get her hair cut so there was less to manage. She didn’t like that idea, but I was at a loss.

The Wet Brush made a huge difference. It was dramatic beyond what I expected. Hands-down, the Wet Brush is the best purchase I’ve made for managing my daughter’s extra thick hair.

Suddenly, it wasn’t a fight as I brushed her hair. She could brush her hair and get tangles out, too! It made our lives so much easier. We’ve used it with her hair wet and dry and it works great both ways.

As someone with curly hair, I don’t use hair brushes and had no idea that some are better than others. I use a hair pick, which I had used on my daughter as well when her hair was so curly, but it was so small compared to all the luscious locks on my daughter’s head.

The Wet Brush made a huge difference. She now owns two and my mom even bought one to keep at her house for my daughter. It was a game changer!

2. Don’t wash your hair every day.

Though my hair isn’t as thick as my daughter’s, it is still thick and curly to boot. So that means we’re dealing with hair that doesn’t get greasy easily or quickly. In order to keep your thick hair from drying out, washing every other day just does better.

Though I use products on my hair to counteract frizz and such, my hair can easily get into cotton candy texture if I wash it too often. It sounds weird, but it’s true!

My daughter doesn’t have the cotton candy texture problem, but her scalp can get really dry if she washes her hair daily because she doesn’t have as much oil right by her scalp. Since thick hair tends to be dryer, washing it too often only makes it more dry and harder to manage.

3. Try a leave-in conditioner.

While I use a wash-out conditioner in the shower and then a leave-in conditioner thanks to my curls and hair texture, my daughter’s thick hair doesn’t need as much conditioning. L’Oreal Paris Elvive Leave In Conditioning Treatment and Heat Protectant works super well of all the leave-in conditioners we’ve tried.

Because thick hair isn’t as oily, we use a dollop about the size of a quarter and work it through her hair while it’s wet and brushed after a shower. We pay particular attention to the underside of her hair and make sure it gets covered with the leave-in conditioner. I use it the same way, but a little less since my hair isn’t as long or quite as thick as hers.

The leave-in conditioner helps my thick hair combat frizz. It helps my daughter’s extra thick hair combat tangles, frizz and fly-aways.

4. Dry with a diffuser.

I first got a diffuser attachment for my hair dryer to help combat frizz and manage my curls. I then used it for my daughter with her curls. Now that her hair is more wavy, we continue to use the diffuser when we need to dry her hair.

Curly and wavy hair do well to air dry, but it’s not feasible much of the time to let it air dry. First, if you washed your hair in the evening then go to bed with wet or damp hair that’s curly, you won’t know what you’ll wake up to!

Second, since we live in a climate that is frigid part of the year, having wet hair for a while is chilly, even if you don’t have to go outside! So, using a hair dryer is sometimes necessary.

Adding the diffuser was another one of those game changers. It makes such a difference that any time I travel, I bring along my own hair dryer and diffuser! You can buy hair dryers that come with diffusers, but you can also just buy the diffuser attachment alone.

Use the diffuser by gently pushing the hair up toward your scalp and then hold it for 20 to 30 seconds at a time before moving on. Move around until you’ve gotten your hair dry enough all over.

5. Buy the right hair accessories.

My daughter and I recently cleaned out her hair accessories. Being nearly 11, she’s tried all sorts of things in her hair. We got rid of many things that no longer work and determined what she needed: ponytail holders. She has plenty of scrunchies but needed something heftier for ponytails.

We’ve struggled with ponytails. I thought we had tried every style of ponytail holder available. Some are way too lose. Others are so small they can only go around her thick ponytail only once or twice. None of them would keep her ponytail in place for long at all — and definitely not all day.

I’ve had many ponytail holders snap in my hands as I tried to get them around her hair.

Then I came across these Revlon maximum hold ponytail holders. They work so well. I can wrap them around her ponytail three times and the ponytail stays in place for the entire day until she is ready to take it down. She doesn’t have to keep redoing it — and it survives her being active as well.

I’ve only found them in black right now, but it’s easy enough to use them to hold the ponytail and then put a more decorative scrunchie or other accessory over top of it.

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Tips and tricks you need to know to manage your thick hairTips and tricks you need to know to manage your thick hair