What are common misconceptions about curly and Afro hair?
Lesley Buckle: I get asked a lot if I just wake up with my hair the way it is, and often, there’s a lot more work involved. But for those who have curly hair, I’d say a common misconception is that there’s one product that will solve any hair woes or you can copy someone else’s hair routine and expect the same results. Even with the same hair type, every head of curls behaves so differently. Lots of factors like hair thickness, density, length, porosity and your environment, etc., all have a role to play besides curl texture, so figuring curls out can take a lot of experimentation.
What are your top tips for caring for curly and Afro hair?
LB: I don’t want to state the obvious, but being cautious with overusing heat, dye and bleaching is really important, as all of these can affect the amount of protein available in our curls and as a result how strong they are. The way curls naturally bend can make them more susceptible to damage, so we just have to be a bit more conscious and gentler with how we handle them. I still use heat, and I have had my hair coloured, but I’m very aware of still exercising caution and using products to help restore strength. It’s really about finding that balance between caring for your hair but still getting to enjoy it.
Depending on the curl type, deep-conditioning is likely to be needed regularly to hydrate, and it’s good to do styles that are not too tight to avoid any breakage around the hairline. Really getting to know and understand what your hair likes and doesn’t is key, too. For example, mine seems to really like heat because my hair is low-porosity, which means I usually need warmth or humidity when using styling product to actually get my hair to feel moisturised. This means I’ll usually style in the shower, and I diffuse with a blow-dryer quite often to get the best results for me. Someone else might find because their curls are more porous that heat has the opposite impact for them, causing lots of frizz, so maybe they prefer to style out of the shower and then air-dry.
What are your favourite haircare products and why, and how do you factor them into your routine?
LB: My job as a content creator (and because I’ve always been obsessed with haircare) means I’ve tried a lot of products, so it’s really hard for me to pick favourites. There are so many amazing products available, but some solid brands I always go to are Aveda, Dizziak, Bouclème, Kérastase Curl Manifesto and Living Proof, but there are many more I love! My hair is naturally quite dry, so my favourite types of products to use are always moisturising formulas and deep conditioners, as the effect is satisfyingly instant. For me, the key to a good routine is having a gentle, moisturising shampoo for regular cleansing, a clarifying shampoo for removing heavier build-up every now and then, a deep conditioner to hydrate and a styling product that moisturises but also gives my hair enough hold for some curl definition. Oils can be really helpful, too, but I tend to use these on my ends as a final styling touch to lock in moisture.”