Whether you have waves, curls or coils, here’s what everyone with textured hair needs to know

From wavy hair to curls and coils, chances are that if you have textured hair, you know what it’s like to take care of your strands. But do you know if you’re using the right products for your hair’s needs? Learning about the ins and outs of your hair type can be the key to unlocking your healthiest strands yet, but there’s a wealth of information out there to sift through before finding what works best for you.

If, like us, you’re suffering from a case of information overwhelm, we’ve got you. Here, we speak to Kashif Bishop, textured hair specialist at top hair salon, Neville Hair and Beauty, to seek out the answers to our most searched-for questions.

From his top tips for tailoring a haircare routine that celebrates our unique curls to our round-up of the best products around for textured hair, here’s how to build on the basics and take your natural haircare game to the next level.

What is textured hair and what are the different types?

Textured hair is the umbrella term used to describe the shape of our hair’s natural hair pattern, whether that’s waves, curls, coils or kinks (or a mix). This can range anywhere between an S shape to a Z shape, generally speaking.

If you’re already familiar with the natural haircare world, you’ll also know that waves, curls and coils can be categorised as types. Type 2  is waves, type 3 is curls and type 4 is coils. These can be further broken down into subcategories for each, ranging from A to C, depending on how loose or tight your natural curl pattern is.

How can you identify your curl pattern?

It’s super simple. “The most accurate way to identify your texture and curl type is by spraying a small section of your hair with water from the roots to the ends and allowing it to air dry,” says Kashif.

“You’ll see your hair taking shape and whether it’s wavy, curly or coily.”

Can you have more than one curl type? Absolutely. Each head of hair is beautifully unique.

What’s the best way to adapt your haircare routine to best care for each curl pattern’s needs? “Using smaller sections when applying your products can help to define all curls,” says Kashif. “Try coiling the sections with your fingers to enhance your natural curl pattern.”

How do you take care of textured hair?

Building a routine around your hair’s main needs is key, whether that’s dry ends, damage caused by heat or chemical processing, a flaky scalp or greasy roots.

This will look different to everybody, but often textured hair (particularly those with tight curls or coily hair types) can especially benefit from focussing on hydration and moisture, as it can be harder for oils produced by the scalp to reach the ends of the hair.

Dryness can be further fuelled by the use of excess heat. “The most common issue that I see with clients with textured hair is heat damage, from blow-drying or straightening,” says Kashif. “Adding a conditioning mask to your weekly routine can help prevent hair from tangling easily, as well as help replenish moisture,” he adds. “This is really important for healthy wavy, curly or coily hair.”

Product choice and, importantly, application can make a huge difference, as well as making some healthy haircare habits the base of your routine. While no two heads of hair are the same, there are some foundations that we all may benefit from.

“There’s a myth that textured hair shouldn’t be washed very often,” says Kashif. “I’d recommend washing your hair at least once or twice a week with moisture-rich products,” he suggests.

Factors like how quickly your hair gets greasy, how often you exercise and whether you use a lot of styling products, can influence how often your strands could do with a wash. It all depends on your individual scalp needs.

When it comes to how to wash your hair, proceed gently, focussing on the scalp and using lukewarm water to avoid stripping hair of valuable moisture.

Our top shampoo picks for textured hair

Try: Wakati Sulfate-Free Shampoo

• Size: 235ml

• Sulphate-free

• Vegan-friendly

Cleanse hair and prep it for the rest of your routine with this gentle shampoo. Designed to lift away impurities without leaving lengths stripped, use it with the conditioner in the range for soft and supple strands. 

Try: SheaMoisture Strengthen & Restore Shampoo

• Size: 473ml

• Sulphate-free

Shea butter, peppermint oil and Jamaican black castor oil help provide a scalp-tingling treat from roots to ends. Reviewers are all about its ability to leave dry and coloured hair looking shinier and feeling softer and healthier. 

Try: Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo

• Size: 354ml

• Sulphate-free

If you love a luxe lather, try this. The suds help disperse weekly dirt and grime, while its blend of avocado and coconut oils help give dry ends some extra love.

Top tips everyone with textured hair should know – and our top product picks

Haircare for textured hair needn’t be complicated – it all comes down to focussing on your hair’s needs and going from there.

From haircare must-haves formulated with common curl concerns in mind to top application techniques, we break down the need-to-knows for hydrated, healthy-looking hair.

Wavy hair (type 2)

Top tip: “My advice for building a routine for type 2 curls? Water is your best friend when styling,” says Kashif, particularly when it comes to applying products, such as a light leave-in conditioner for hydration or curl cream for definition. This can help prevent lengths from feeling weighed down and, for some, “might include spraying the hair with water even once you’re out of the shower”, says Kashif. This depends on how quickly your hair absorbs water.

To prevent damage from heat styling, try air drying. For greater shape, make use of hair dryer attachments to help dry your hair. “Use your diffuser on a low heat to achieve a defined curl,” recommends Kashif. “And apply serum once the hair is dry to add shine.”

Our top hair products for wavy hair
For lightweight moisture and definition

 Cantu Moisturising Curl Activator Cream

• Size: 355ml

• Cruelty-free

“Wavy hair can often look frizzy, because it sometimes lacks definition,” explains Kashif. “This product’s cream-like consistency moisturises, while establishing your curl pattern.”

For shine

Arkive The Good Habit Hybrid Oil

• Size: 50ml

• Vegan

Apply this oil-serum hybrid, enriched with baobab and jojoba oils, to damp hair and work in for ultra-light moisture and shine. The perfect salve for parched ends.

For an at-home blow-dry

 Tresemmé 2200 5543U Diffuser Hair Dryer

• Soft finger diffuser and concentrator nozzle

• 3 heat/speed settings

• Cool shot button

• Ionic technology

Give textured hair extra bounce with this hard-working hair dryer. Complete with a diffuser attachment, it has all the tools you need for a volume-boosting, at-home blow-dry. Spritz on some heat protector spray for a layer of defence.

Curly hair (type 3)

Top tip: “As well as ensuring hair is wet when applying products, don’t be afraid to use products with more hold, such as mousse,” recommends Kashif. “Scrunch hair after applying the mousse with a microfibre towel to absorb any excess water for light, frizz-free curls. Again, adding a lightweight serum to mid-lengths and ends can help add shine.”

Our top hair products for curly hair
For hydration

Sheamoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

• Size: 326ml

• Cruelty-free

Curly hair can often experience dryness at the ends and so a more intensive moisturising treatment, such as this hydrating leave-in conditioner can be a worthwhile addition to your routine. “Coconut oil is super hydrating for curly to coily hair types and can add shine to your curls,” says Kashif. “This is a slightly heavier product, so I recommend using it sparingly and only on the areas that feel dryer and less defined.”

For hold

 Umberto Giannini Curl Whip Curl Activating Mousse

• Size: 200ml

• Medium hold

• Vegan

• Cruelty-free

Give strands hold and definition with this texture-enhancing mousse. Simply scrunch into damp hair before air or blow-drying for voluminous curls with zero crunch.

For shine

Pattern Jojoba Oil Blend

• Size: 115.3ml

• Cruelty-free

Formulated for low-porosity hair (hair that doesn’t easily allow for moisture to be absorbed into the hair shaft), this lightweight cocktail of nourishing oils helps maintain hydration levels and promote elasticity. Expect stronger-looking, more supple hair from root to tip.

Coily hair (type 4)

Top tip: “My recommendation for type 4 curls would be to make sure that a leave-in conditioner is part of your haircare routine,” says Kashif. “Coily hair can often be dry, so products with a creamy consistency can help prolong the life of curls between washes.

“I’d also recommend using a deep hydration mask once a week to keep hair moisturised and curls defined, particularly in the coldest months of the year.”

Our top hair products for coily hair
For a leave-in conditioner

 Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk

• Size: 240ml

Enjoy the detangling benefits of this strand-softening cream, thanks to a blend of rice milk, macadamia seed oil and other moisturising ingredients. Dry hair will drink it up.

For a deep-conditioning mask

John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls Ultra Nourishing Deep Conditioner for Coils & Kinks

• Size: 230ml

• Vegan

Enriched with shea butter, avocado oil and rosehip oil, this deep conditioner is a top pick of Kashif’s. “Applying this to wet hair from roots to ends and leaving it on for around 30 minutes helps provide long-lasting hydration,” he says. Sounds like a new staple to us.

For a deep-conditioning treatment

 Bouclème Intensive Moisture Treatment

• Size: 250ml

As well as a rinse-out mask, this concentrated multitasker can be used as a leave-in or pre-shampoo treatment. Its moisture-rich formula cocoons and conditions to help coils and kinks look and feel their best.