How to Achieve Shiny Curls: Adding Shine to Dull Curly Hair

One of the most common challenges of curly hair is a lack of shine. While the natural structure of curly hair sometimes makes it less shiny than straight hair, it is still possible to achieve shiny curls.

Curly Hair and Shine

Curly hair forms ringlets that vary from loose waves and sausage curls to extremely tight curls and coils. Curly expert Ouidad says that curly hair has a tendency to toward dryness because the cuticle remains open. The open cuticle and the looping form of the curl shape may make hair appear dull. The cuticle is also one of the reasons straight hair sometimes appears shinier than curly hair.

Healthy straight hair cuticles are generally closed and hang straight, which reflects light better than the open cuticles on spiraling curls. The lack of shine does not always reflect the health of the hair. Healthy tightly curled hair may have an attractive sheen but does not always have the same amount of shine like straighter textures. However, curly hair cuticles can be sealed with hair care products which can help curls shine.

Hair Products That Encourage Shine in Curly Hair

The first way to encourage shine in curly hair is to ensure that hair is properly moisturized and that the cuticle is sealed. Using a conditioner after every shampoo followed by a leave-in conditioner can help moisturize dry hair and seal cuticles. The use of a natural oil, hairdressing, pomade or silicone serum over a leave-in conditioner can also increase shine and seals moisture in the hair.

Many styling products such as gels, curling creams and mousses also have ingredients that can add shine to curly hair. Look for ingredients such as silk amino acids, peg-12 dimethicone or glycerin. The styling products add more shine if the hair is already well-moisturized.

Be careful to periodically use a clarifying shampoo when using silicone serums that contain non-water soluable silicones such as amethicone or dimethiconol because these ingredients can build up and create dry, dull curls.

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Natural Products to Add Shine to Curls

People interested in finding natural products to add shine have many options. Many natural oils and butters such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil and shea butter are excellent sources for both conditioning hair and adding some shine. It is important to note that oils and butters cannot add moisture but they can seal in moisture, improve manageability and add shine. People can use the oils and butters alone or create their own hair care recipes.

There are also many organic hair care products that utilize more natural ingredients for people who prefer prepackaged products. Many of these organic hair care lines include leave-in conditioners, styling products and finishing products that add shine.

Glazes for Shine

A glaze is a salon process that deposits a clear semi-permanent solution over hair that adds shine. The treatment does not damage hair like permanent dye because it only stains the outside of the hair cuticle.

Unlike many silicone serums that build up with repeated use and can cause dryness without appropriate removal, a glaze treatment does not interfere with moisture absorption. In fact, glazes can be used as a protective coating against environmental damage. The glaze treatment typically lasts for six to 12 weeks.

A glaze is one way to ensure shine but healthy hair care habits and quality hair products can add shine without any chemical processes.

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