Top 10 Curly Hair Tips and Styles for Girls on School Days

By Vanessa Bell

Curly hair is gorgeous. That’s what I tell my biracial daughter (and what I was told in my youth) on days she begs for straight locks. The truth is, though, that curly hair is fragile and needs a hair care routine that creates moisture to avoid breakage.

And the curlier hair gets, the more prone to breakage it becomes!

As our kids head back to school, here are 10 curly hair tips and styles that promote healthy curls that can sustain through long, busy days:

1. Start with a moisture-rich routine. Since she was a toddler, creating a curly hair routine that added moisture to my daughter’s hair was a priority. Curly hair becomes dry and brittle — and requires much more conditioning that straight hair.

2. Use the right curl-locking tools. There are two camps in the curly hair world: those who use brushes, and those who do not. I choose not to use brushes of any kind on my or my mixed daughter’s curly hair because they break a natural curl pattern. Instead, we opt for various size combs and parting tools.

3. Review your curly hair night routine. With kids back in school, mornings are hectic. Sending your little one to school with a head full of defined curls is going to require an overnight routine that protects from frizz. Sleeping on satin pillowcases, keeping hair in protected banded ponytails, buns, braids or twists, and using an adequate amount of leave-in conditioner will ensure a healthy head of curls for long school days. Here’s the mixed hair care nighttime routine that we follow.

And then…create a styling routine for back-to-school mornings. When you maintain a healthy nighttime routine, styling curly hair in the morning should be quick and easy. With a bit of water and styling cream, you’re ready to create a beautiful back-to-school curly hairstyle! But first…

4. Use bands that tie, but don’t break. Using proper hair ties that won’t break curly hair is imperative! Avoid elastic bands that create breakage. Instead, use silicone, spiral ties (we use the ones made by Mixed Chicks), satin-covered scrunchies or various-sized plastic bands that you can easily cut with scissors to remove. When in doubt, cut the band out! Don’t rip the hair.

5. Choose the right conditioner (they’re like curl-gold!). While shampoos shouldn’t strip the hair, using great conditioners that add moisture to starved curls is hugely important to creating a look that’s healthy and buoyant. We use a combination of conditioners for different functions — like comb-though conditioners, deep conditioners, leave-in and various conditioning styling agents.

6. Decide if you’ll style her hair up or down. If your kid is anything like my daughter, keeping her locks free from fuss is a regular request. With curls, sometimes the state of the hair will determine the day’s style. Whatever you use, have a plan before you get started! Once you begin to break apart curls, you begin to create frizz.

7. Experiment with protective styles. For long school days, consider protective styles for curly hair. My daughter loves this pretty side-banded ponytail because it gives her length — and she loves the colorful hair ties.

8. Try braids and twists. Especially helpful to keep hair out of the face during school, braids or twists are easy ways to style curly hair. French braids or two-strand twists around the hairline are favorite styles of ours and create an ethereal look.

9. Remember that elasticity means health. Curly hair is going to appear much shorter than it actually is. And that’s OK! Keep your little one’s tresses hydrated because, even with a bunch of shrinkage, healthy hair is always in style.

10. Raise confident curly hair kids. While we all agree that healthy, curly hair is gorgeous, it’s still not as common on certain playgrounds. Be mindful of the words you use when describing your child’s curl — bad hair, difficult and hard-to-manage are not the sentiments that raise confident curly hair kids. Instead, focus on teaching your child proper care of her unique tresses!

During back to school or all year long, if curly hair is part of their identities, raising kids to understand how to manage their hair is part of raising them to love who they are.
More from Vanessa Bell

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About the Author

Vanessa Bell is building a legacy through an exploration of multiracial identity, documentation of food culture and mixed family travels on her blog "De Su Mama" (desumama.com), which is Spanish and means “from your mother."