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When Good Curls go Bad: The 3 Biggest Risk Factors

September 3, 2021
image showing a healthy curly hair shaft vs damamged curly hair shaft
Blog Complete Guide To Curly Hair

Curls can get a bad rap, especially on men. But it’s not hard to understand why; there is far too much poorly taken care of curly hair walking the streets. And spoiler, it’s giving everyone else a bad rap!

Curly hair can give you both a professional and sexy look if it’s been given proper care. Straight hair? Good luck. Still, straight hair has one advantage--you can all but set fire to it--and it’ll still look passible. 

This article will discuss the three most significant risk factors that turn good hair bad: 1) lack of moisture, 2) bond damage, and 3) follicle health. Plus, a bonus to look out for at the end. 

Lack of Moisture

dried out and cracked land

Lack of moisture is one of the most prominent issues curls face. Although the oils produced by your scalp typically provide hair with moisture, the curl pattern makes it hard for the oils to move down each strand.

If you have porous hair, things can get even worse—your hair will naturally try to soak up whatever moisture it can find, including any humidity in the atmosphere.

High porosity hair can be incredibly drying in the winter. Since the dry air contains little moisture, your hair will absorb even more natural oils and hair care products.

Washing your hair too frequently or with too harsh of a product can also lead to incredibly dry hair. Most shampoos contain sulfates, which are harsh detergents that strip away natural moisture.

While these shampoos are very effective at removing grime, they also damage your hair’s health. Over time, your curl pattern may suffer too. Fortunately, since curly hair doesn’t get as greasy as straight hair, it doesn’t have to be washed as frequently.

When you do wash your curls, you should always avoid shampoos with sulfates and other harsh detergents.

What’s the issue with dry hair?

Dry hair can feel rough, look lifeless, frizz everywhere, and become brittle. End result? An endless cycle of bad hair days. 

Another potential issue? Split ends. These quickly compromise your hair's condition and length, adding to the bad hair cycle.

How can I increase my hair’s moisture level?

The key question. Fortunately, there are several avenues worth pursuing to achieve healthy and moisturized hair.

Hair care products that work for you

If you’re looking to combat dryness, one of the best options is to invest in hair care products formulated with curly hair’s needs in mind!

Our shampoo is gentle, sulfate-free, and contains moisturizing coconut oil, so you can be sure that it won’t damage or dry out your curls. Our keratin conditioner is free of silicone (a popular conditioner add-in that coats your hair in plastic, leaving it shiny but keeping moisture out). It’s also loaded with keratin—the protein that makes up your hair—so it can repair damage while keeping your hair silky smooth.

Styling products are another opportunity to nourish your hair! Our styling cream and defining gel are free of harsh, drying alcohols and feature an organic aloe vera base to ensure that your hair stays moisturized all day long!

Adjust your wash frequency

Since the tightness of your curls affects how easily oils travel down the strands, different curl patterns have different shampoo needs. If your curls are…

  • loose, wavy, fine, or oily:  shampoo every 1-3 days
  • classic, not too tight or loose, neither dry nor greasy:  shampoo every 2-4 days
  • coarse, dry, or tight: co-wash every 3-4 days

Co-Washing: You can clean off any grime without removing the oils by washing your hair with a conditioner rather than shampoo. The method is beneficial for tight curls, particularly for dry hair, since it keeps moisture from being stripped away, but it should not be used on waves or looser curls as the hair will quickly become greasy. Some people who co-wash use a gentle curl-formulated shampoo once per month to clear out any build-up, while others skip the shampoo altogether—it all depends on your hair care needs.

Don’t worry if you find that your hair is slightly greasy when you first cut back on shampoo. When your scalp is used to frequent shampooing, it produces more oils to keep your hair hydrated.

If you keep up with your new wash routine, your scalp will soon adjust, leaving your hair looking healthier than ever.

Swapping habits 

There are a couple of everyday swaps that you can make to further combat dry hair. While extremely hot showers can be relaxing, the heat draws moisture from your hair.

To encourage softer, healthier hair, try decreasing the water temperature—it may not be as soothing, but your hair will thank you!

Another surprising moisture thief? Your cotton pillowcase. 

Although the fabric is excellent for clothing or bed sheets, cotton pillowcases pull moisture from your hair, leaving it dull and dry. Unfortunately, other fabrics like linen and polyester are just as bad. If you’re looking for a pillowcase that encourages your hair to shine, keep an eye out for satin or silk.

The fabrics will leave your hair’s moisture alone & since they create friction, they will minimize any frizz.

Bond Damage

image of rope breaking

Since your hair is made of keratin, the bonds that hold the keratin together determine your hair’s texture—while some people’s bonds are relatively straight (leading to straight hair), other bond patterns lead to waves or curls. Unfortunately, these bonds can be weakened or broken when they come into contact with harmful substances.

How are hair bonds damaged?

Heat tools and chemical processes are frequently criticized for damaging hair, but even seemingly harmless substances can cause problems. Some of the most common culprits of damaged hair bonds are:

  • Heat tools
  • Chemical treatments
  • Harsh hair care products
  • Air pollution
  • UV light
  • Chlorinated water
  • Saltwater

Once bonds become weakened or damaged, curls turn into a limp, frizzy mess. Weak bonds cannot keep hair flexible, so elasticity is reduced, and breakage occurs more easily.

Since hair bonds are responsible for texture, damaged bonds result in less volume and a weaker curl pattern. In extreme cases, the bonds may become so weak that your curl pattern all but disappears.

Repairing and minimizing bond damage

Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent and repair damage to your hair’s bonds.

Haircare products that feature hydrolyzed keratin are especially effective at repairing the damage. These chunks of keratin are small enough to get in between cracks in the hair, filling gaps and providing essential nutrients. 

Regular hydrolyzed keratin products lead to less frizz and breakage and healthier hair!

Using styling products that protect against potential threats is also a great idea. For example, aloe vera can absorb harmful UV rays, so creams and gels that contain a high aloe concentration (like our Styling Cream and Defining Gel) will protect against harmful sun rays. Similarly, green tea extract (found in all of our products) defends against UV rays and air pollutants.

To further minimize damage, you should avoid using regular towels to dry your hair—since the fabric is rough, it can easily cause micro-tears. Instead, reach for a microfibre towel or a soft, old t-shirt, both of which are gentle enough for daily use.

Follicle health

image showing follicles in real life

You can't grow great hair if your follicle health is suffering. Your curls can fall flat, lack strength, or, worst case, start falling out.

Lack of Blood Flow to Hair Follicles

One of the most significant problems plaguing men is the lack of blood flow to the scalp. Unfortunately, this is not touched on enough & can make the difference between a beautiful flowing mane or a barren, bald wasteland.

Why is adequate blood flow so important?

Since blood delivers nutrients throughout the body, inadequate blood flow to the scalp leads to malnourished hair follicles. The hair follicles don’t have enough resources to produce strong, healthy hair, leading to slow growth and thin strands.

Natural hair loss becomes more apparent when your hair’s growth slows. It can also become more severe, and any hair that does regrow may appear dull.

When does blood flow decrease?

Unfortunately, age is one of the biggest causes of inadequate blood supply for hair follicles.

As men get older, their hair follicles begin to shrink. This leads to less blood flowing towards the scalp, encouraging follicles to shrink again. Regardless of age or gender, poor scalp health can result in less blood flow to hair follicles.

How can I increase blood flow to my scalp?

1) Massage your problems away

If you suspect your hair follicles aren’t getting enough blood flow, you may want to try a scalp massage.

Another popular at-home option is inverting your hair, in which you sit on a chair, flip your head upside down, and massage your scalp with diluted essential oils for about 4 minutes. 

If you feel dizzy at any point, you should immediately sit up. Similarly, you shouldn’t try inverting your hair if you have high blood pressure, vertigo, back pain, or heart disease. Pregnant women should also avoid the technique.

2) High-performance hair care products

Certain hair care products may also increase blood flow to your scalp. Green tea extract, biotin, coconut oil, and aloe vera help soothe the skin, resulting in higher blood flow.

Similarly, coffee extract and safflower oil encourage blood vessels to dilate, making it easier for your scalp to get nutrients.

All of our products contain a variety of these ingredients; our shampoo contains green tea extract, coconut oil, and coffee extract, while our keratin conditioner contains green tea extract, coconut oil, aloe vera, and safflower oil. Our styling cream and defining gel contain green tea extract, aloe vera, and coffee extract, but the defining gel also includes biotin. No matter which products you pick, you can rest assured that your hair follicles will see an increase in blood flow!

The Missing Key: Scalp Health

Think of your scalp as the soil for your hair. This environment will dictate whether your curls flourish or die on the vine. It’s also hidden from view, meaning your scalp often gets neglected due to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind principle. Unfortunately, the results are something you can see, ugly curls or thinning hair.

Signs to look out for:
  • dandruff
  • thinning hair
  • itchiness
  • scalp acne

If you are struggling with a combination of the above issues and are also not happy with the look of your curls, it’s likely scalp health is the culprit.

How to keep hair healthy:

There are several ways to revitalize your scalp and get it back to an optimal environment for hair growth.

Reduce Shower Temperature: Hot water loves to dry out the skin, and it’s no different for your scalp. It’s best to keep water warm, not scolding, and limit the total time in the shower. Long, hot showers might be great for de-stressing, but they also cause scalp dryness.

Harsh Products: It’s intuitive when you think about it; if you put harsh chemicals on your skin, it will get irritated. Still, many guys use products containing sulfates, drying alcohols, DEA, or even formaldehyde. All cheap ingredients that do their job (foaming, PH balanced, and detergents) but at the expense of irritating your scalp.

It’s best to find instead find products with high-quality foaming agents, PH balancers & detergents that clean the scalp without irritating.

As an added bonus, look for products that contain aloe, green tea extract, or sesame seed oil to help moisturize and soothe the scalp.

At Formula F=kx, we’ve created products that check off all the above parameters. If you’d like to take the guesswork out, take our quiz to find the system right for you.  

Bonus: Lack of Protein (aka Hygral Fatigue)

image showing waterfall
What is hygral fatigue?

If you frequently moisturize your hair, but your hair care products do not contain an adequate balance of moisture and protein, you’ll likely fall victim to hygral fatigue.

If your hair does not receive enough protein, it can become fatigued from swelling and unswelling due to encountering high moisture levels. This results in curls that are very soft but lack volume and are undefined. 

Eliminating hygral fatigue

Fortunately, hygral fatigue can be quickly resolved by incorporating products utilizing proteins like keratin into your hair care routine. Our hydrating conditioner contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and keratin to ensure that your curls are soft and well-defined.


These dark horsemen of curly hair can cause you to run to the barber for a buzz real quick. Fortunately, knowing is the first step to fixing. Next is doing something about it. We created the Formula F=kx system to address each of these issues. Think of it as the shortcut button for great-looking hair.

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