How to Resuscitate Natural Curls 101: From Quick Trims to Leave-In Conditioners

As of October 2023, I will have eventually rocked by all-natural 4c curls for 3 years after going through the big cut during my final year of college. I had chemically treated hair from the time I was 11, majorly preferring straight, fuss-free relaxed strands over my ultra-tight hair pattern. While my hair was relaxed, it suffered from major breakage, thinness, and worst of all, it didn't move. By 21, I was completely over it and underwent the big chop; finally allowing the hair to grow as it wanted to from my scalp. Cutting my hair was the easy part. Learning how to take care of it, however, was what made the entire process difficult. Yes, there's a learning curve to figuring out how to work with your natural curls after having not touched them with anything other than chemical treatments for the entirety of your childhood, but at some point, I couldn't throw the idea of maintaining healthy curls to the wind.


(Image credit: @amaka.hamelijnck)

Like any hair type, there are tried-and-true ways to prevent your natural curls from losing their hair pattern. Larry Sims, hairstylist, television, personality, and co-founder of Flawless by Gabrielle Union, shares with me his tips and tricks for keeping your natural curls looking and feeling their best. "Excessive amounts of thermal heat styling, chemical over-processing, and medication can alter the state of your natural hair pattern," explains Sims. That's right, even excessive use of your most trusted hot hair tools (including hair dryers), can contribute to your curls' untimely demise. While certain products such as thermal protectant spray and shampoos/conditioners are formulated to protect color-treated or heat-damaged hair; taking the time to give your hair the TLC it needs can make a major difference.

So what should you be doing to revive and refresh your curls after they've been damaged? According to Sims, the best things you can do for your hair are to give it a break from any thermal heat styling tools, allow your hair to air dry, and to give your curls proper trims (shoot for roughly every 4-6 weeks). You'll know when it's time for a trip to the salon for a trim when your hair begins to knot easily or you notice the presence of pesky split ends. "It’s important to keep your curls hydrated with masque treatments, leave-in conditioners, curl defining products," adds Sims. If you're not sure where you should start, consider shopping from the aforementioned haircare line Sims founded with his close friend, Gabrielle Union.

Ready to see what other curly hair saving products we've been loving lately? Keep reading.

Sims' Top Picks For Healthy Curls

Discover Our Favorite Products For Curly Hair


(Image credit: @aysha.sow)

Next up, Celebs With Sensitive Skin Love These 12 Foundations, According to Makeup Artists

Maya Thomas
Assistant Beauty Editor
Maya Thomas is Who What Wear's assistant beauty editor based just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her strong love for all things beauty and fashion stems from a strong childhood interest in the fine arts. During a gap year spent in Paris studying the history of French fashion, she shifted her focus to English literature and journalism as a student at Loyola Marymount University with the goal of one day pursuing a career in fashion. After graduating in May 2021, Maya began freelancing for as a contributing commerce writer while also building a following on her lifestyle blog, When she's not writing, Maya spends her free time catching up on reading, perusing art galleries, and enjoying a night out at the ballet every now and then.