There is nothing so beautifully eye-catching as a head full of long, luscious curls. But, those two words, curly and long, often seem to counteract each other.
Anyone with curly hair can tell you the challenges of achieving long hair when it has to first grow around spirals of curls to achieve any length. Some, however, know the secrets of how to make curly hair look longer.
All it takes is some know-how about what techniques to use along with a few important hair care products that help make the process easier.
Why Curly Hair Takes Longer to Grow
It’s not your imagination. Curly hair really does take longer to grow than straight hair. While all hair, regardless of the texture or style, tends to grow at about half an inch every month, curly hair takes more time to look as though it has grown at all.
The reasons for this are:
- When it grows, it is growing in a curl instead of straight out and down.
- Additionally, how much spring your curls have and your curl pattern will play a role in how fast your hair will grow.
Dos and Don’ts for Long Curly Hair
To make your curly head of hair look as though it is long, there are a few things to avoid as well as some things to always do.
Never thin out or try to texturize curls. Thinning out your hair will only make the process of growing your hair take even longer since the ends of the curls will break and frizz.
Do make sure you regularly have your split ends trimmed. If split ends are left uncut, they will split up the strand and break causing your hair to actually become shorter which defeats the goal of having, or looking as though you have long hair.
A few additional hints to making curly hair look longer include:
- Allow your hair to air dry naturally after washings, or know how to use a diffuser properly
- Once your hair is completely dry, use a bristle brush to stretch the curls without straightening them out
- Use a large barrel curling iron
- Properly use Hair gels and finishing creams applying a quarter-sized dollop using your fingers all over your hair
- Allow your hair to completely cool down and dry before arranging it with your fingers by pulling the ends downwards.
Dealing with Shrinkage and Curly Hair
Making curly hair appear longer will only last until your hair gets wet again, and the spiraled strands start to shrink once more. When curly hair is wet, the curls straighten out a bit making it look longer. However, once the hair dries, the length shrinks as the hair curls back up. Depending on what type of curls you have, your curls could shrink up as much as 30% to 75% of their actual length.
Thankfully, there are ways to elongate these curls to make your hair look longer and tackle shrinkage. One way is to use hair styling products, like Kinky Curly Curling Custard, that help elongate the curls while keeping them intact and not straightening them out.
Methods to Make Curly Hair Look Longer
Stop fighting the shrinkage, and avoid frizz by using these helpful tips and methods to make your curly hair appear as though your entire head is covered in long locks of curls.
Plopping v. No Plopping
Plopping is a method that takes a little extra time and patience, but the end result is not only the illusion of longer hair but also a healthier, softer, and fuller head full of curls. Basically, after washing or getting the hair wet, you plop your hair up onto your head with a towel wrapped around it to let it rest before styling it.
Follow these plopping steps:
- Use a microfiber towel or a cotton hair repair towel or even a T-shirt. A flat-weave cotton towel works great to prevent frizz and is super absorbent.
- Apply curl cream to moisturize.
- Gently blot the hair after applying the curl cream.
- Scrunch the hair with water and gel.
- Leave the hair in the towel for about 20 minutes before removing the towel and letting your hair down.
- Follow up with diffusing the entire head of hair.
Some prefer light or no plopping where you leave the conditioner in your hair and lightly squeeze out the water without seriously scrunching your hair. Instead of plopping and diffusing, allow your hair to air dry.
Instead of combing out your hair, use your fingers to stretch the curls down and separate them to give them a more extended appearance. Once the hair has dried and completely cooled, tousle it with your fingers being sure to pull the ends down.
Stretch out curls to make them look longer by using a blow-dryer with a diffuser, styling gel, and olive or coconut oil.
- Start by parting out your hair to work with small sections at a time.
- Put the blow-dryer diffuser on the hot setting and high power.
- Start gently blow-drying your hair as you pull on the ends of one section of the hair as you blow the hot air onto it.
- Be careful not to get too close to your scalp so you don’t burn your skin.
- Focus on the roots and not as much as the ends to make the hair look more natural and not flat.
- Start at the root and move the blow-dryer further away from the hair strands as you get closer to the ends.
- To finish off, tip your head over and fluff out your entire head of hair to give it volume.
- Finally, add the oil by first pouring a small amount into the palm of your hand and running the oil through the hair without raking your fingers through the strands.
- Avoid brushing it through so your hair doesn’t frizz.
Use a Large Barreled Curling Iron
While using excessive heat on curly hair is not ever recommended, knowing how to use heat and hair care products to your benefit will make those curls look longer. The heat actually relaxes the keratin in the hair strands which loosens the curls and makes them seem as though they hang down with extended length.
- Wrap 1-inch pieces of hair around a large barreled curling iron.
- Hold the curl for at least 15 seconds each.
The heat will help to make the curls relax and looser giving your hair a longer appearance.
Braid The Ends
Another trick to make curly hair look longer is to braid the ends while the hair is still wet. This method avoids using heat on the ends of the hair that tends to get frizzy and works best on wavy curls.
- When your hair is damp and still drying, braid the bottom 3 inches of hair. If you braid your entire head of hair, your hair will wind up looking too curly on top and too kinky on the ends, defeating the purpose of elongating it.
- Once you have braided the ends, use a small scrunchie to secure the braid.
- Keep the braid secured with the scrunchie until your hair is completely dry.
Some people prefer to do this before bedtime to wake up to beautifully curly hair that looks long.
Growing long, curly hair takes time and a lot of effort since the curls will naturally shrink up or ends break off and frizz. Knowing how to make curly hair look longer requires understanding how to use some helpful tips and tricks and a few helpful hair-care products that make the process easier. Give the appearance of long curly locks with the right hair products and these helpful know-how secrets.