How To Preserve Your Curl Memory


Guys! Curl memory – it’s a real thing.

In order to repair my damaged, half-hearted curls, I’ve been living according to the curly girl method for almost two years now. And while I’ve written a number of posts on the topic, I have to say I only half-believed in the idea of curl memory. If you aren’t familiar with the term it is basically the idea that your curls crave to twirl in the same direction all the time but you can force your curls to forget that twisting method, which leads to less than stellar curls.



My doubts came from previous experience that showed my curls tended to look better the day I washed them after they were pulled back or not allowed to curl after the previous washing. And that might have been true of my college curls, but it isn’t so any more. When I got my hair cut and colored almost 4 weeks ago, my stylist blow dried and straightened my hair. I love the occasional change like that, so I didn’t say anything as she worked to flatten out my crazy curls. But then a couple days later when I cleansed my hair and threw my usual styling product in my curls were blah, to put it mildly. My hair had lost its curl memory from three days of being straight.


It took almost two weeks and 5 cleansing moments in order to get my curls back to their usual wave. In the interim my curls were all over the place, zigging and zagging instead of spiraling as usual. So… that got me thinking about curl memory and how a single moment can ruin all the hair goodness I’ve worked hard at creating over the previous years.

How To Preserve Your Curl Memory:

Avoid Blow Drying Your Hair – If you need to diffuse your curls a little in the winter months, that’s fine, but don’t negate your curls by blow drying your hair.

Ditch the Flatiron – Even for the occasional event, a flatiron will make your curls forget all their springy goodness. Just say now to the sleek smoothness that comes with a flatiron and own the curls.

Let it Curl After Every Cleanse – Don’t immediately pull your hair back, twist it in a bun or tug it back in a braid. Let your hair dry and curl as usual and then style it as desired. I’ve started leaving it curly on day one and then styling it as wanted on days two and three.

Hydrate, Hydrate, oh and HYDRATE – I can’t say it enough, but your curls need moisture and a lot of it. Condition in the shower, condition out of the shower, condition some more while styling. You’re not likely to overdo the conditioning of a curly hair. (If needed stay away from the scalp area if that tends to get a little greasy.)

If Needed, Only Use Shampoo on the Scalp – Shampoo dries your curls out and can work to damage them. They need moisture and hydration, not agents that dry your hair out. So avoid shampoos whenever possible. (Need a list of curly girl method approved products? Here are some of my favorite Curly Girl Products.)

Use Hair Dye Sparingly – I stopped coloring my whole head of hair. I now have my stylist give me highlights and lowlights every 6-8 months and then only color my roots when needed every 4-5 weeks. By taking the extra time to focus on the roots, I’m helping preserve the health and curl memory of my hair.

Katy Rose
Filed In: Beauty