Having curly hair is a lot of fun. You get to have all the volume you want and show off bouncy spirals that everyone is envious of. But while some women love their huge, bodied curls, others secretly wish their hair was tamer and less poofy as it grows.
See, curly hair tends to grow outward over time instead of the usual downward direction you see in those with straight or wavy hair.
That’s because when your hair is coarse and curly, gravity’s not always on your side, especially if your hair is quite short.
It becomes a huge problem when your hair grows into a big and frizzy lion’s mane instead of a soft Rapunzel-like one.
For many curly girls growing out their hair, it may feel like their hair will never stop growing in an outward direction. Luckily, that’s not always true.
There are many things you can do to control your curls’ volume and steer them in the right direction – literally.
Here’s how to make curly hair grow down instead of out.
What Makes Curly Hair Grow Poofy Instead Of Long?
Does it often feel like your friends with straight hair grow an inch or two of their locks every week?
But your hair doesn’t retain any length for months but instead gets…bigger?
Maybe you’re worried that your hair doesn’t seem to be reaching your waist, or that it’s going to look like a big, frizzy triangle forever.
Getting poofy hair that grows outward into a ‘fro instead of a long mane is common for curly hair.
This is because of a little something called shrinkage.
Shrinkage is when your curls are so tight and coily that they become compressed and look short and poofy.
But when you pull on your curl, they’re actually quite long – the bounciness of the curls just makes them spring up into puffs.
That’s why many curly people think their hair doesn’t grow that fast, and that’s a total myth!
It only feels like that because of shrinkage.
Instead of hair that grows longer, the curls simply grow outward into a bigger and bigger puff.
But there’s a point where your hair grows so long that it will start to weigh itself down.
No matter how frizzy and kinky your curly hair is, it’s possible for it to get so long that gravity will just one day pull it down.
Patience is key to this.
However, not everyone is that patient.
Some of us want our curls to grow in a downward direction today, not months from now.
How To Make Curly Hair Grow Down Instead Of Out
Luckily, there are things you can do to help your curls grow downwards.
Here are some of them:
Get a flattering cut with textured layers
Having thick hair is one of the blessings that often come with being born with naturally curly locks.
But sometimes, this blessing turns out to be a curse, especially when that thickness makes it look like your hair is huge and only grows out, never down.
One way around this dilemma is to get a haircut with layers.
The layers can help texturize and thin out the hair, making it tamer and less poofy.
That’s a sharp contrast to curly hair with one length only.
It tends to look like either a round afro or a triangle-shaped mess when all the frizzy puffs up at your ends.
When you book an appointment with your stylist at the salon, make sure you ask for blended layers that are appropriate for curly hair.
A professional stylist that is used to cutting curly hair should know how to create layers that don’t add any weight to the hair or make it look chunky.
You should also make sure to note that you want long layers, nothing too short as this can make your hair look loose and poofy, and grow outward again.
Your goal is to have your hair thinned out so that it’s not so puffed up and chunky, but still shows off your natural curl pattern beautifully.
Use moisturizing products that can help weigh your hair down
Although those with fine, low-density hair crave volume and hate having their hair weighed down, people with curly or coily hair should strive for this extra weight.
And how do you add that weight to your locks?
Simple: with moisture.
Intensely moisturizing products are a great way to tame curly hair and guide it to grow in a downward direction.
They help to nourish and add shine to your hair.
They can also weigh your locks down and keep them tamed and in place.
Plus, kinky, coily hair is naturally drier and more thirsty than other hair types, so deep moisture is an innate need for curly hair.
The right kind of nourishment and TLC will also encourage your hair to grow long and strong – and when hair grows longer, downward growth inevitably follows.
When choosing products to moisturize your curls, make sure to look for heavy oils and butters that are meant to seal the hair cuticles and tame them.
These include the likes of coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, mango butter, olive oil, and other thick emollients.
You can incorporate moisturizing products into any step of your hair care routine, even in your shampoo.
For an ultra-nourishing wash day, try out the OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls Shampoo.
In this shampoo, coconut oil, honey, and fruit extracts work together to provide deep hydration and moisture to curls that need it.
The ingredients also add a glossy shine to the hair, making it look lively and bouncy.
The warm scent of coconut milk, vanilla, and tangerine is another plus as well!
Another way to moisturize and weigh down your hair with the help of products is by being religious with your deep conditioning routine.
Make sure to treat your curls to a hair mask once a week to make sure it’s nourished properly.
For that, use the Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Hair Mask.
This deep conditioner is formulated with shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil, macadamia oil, and other immensely moisturizing natural ingredients.
All these are known to be oils that provide heavy-duty moisture, so it’s perfect if you want to weigh down your hair and encourage downward growth.
The formula is also free of silicons and sulfates, which is terrific for curly hair.
You’ll also want to switch over to more moisturizing styling products.
This is the most important part of your routine – to have something very nourishing since these are the products you don’t wash off.
A curl cream I highly recommend is the cult favorite SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie.
It’s made with so many moisturizing oils, such as shea butter, coconut oil, and neem oil.
These are all great at strengthening your hair, defining your curls, and most importantly, weighing them down.
Diffuse your hair in a downward direction
Any curly girl who uses a diffuser was probably taught to place the blow dryer at the ends of your curls and push upward to the root.
But for super coily hair that puffs up, this kind of volume will simply emphasize how your hair shrinks and grows out, not down.
So next time you wash your hair, try diffusing in a downward direction instead.
You always want to blow-dry in the direction you want the hair to stay.
So when drying your hair downwards, you can flatten the roots of your hair, allowing it to fall in a tamer, looser, more relaxed way down your back all day.
If you have insanely coily, 4C hair, you can also do this technique simultaneously with the “tension method”.
This method is when you pull your curls out gently to make them as long as possible, and then blow-dry the hair with those locks stretched out.
How to do it
Always start by using a moisturizing product to protect your hair from the heat.
Then, when your hair is all smooth and detangled, take a section of your hair and pull it down.
Glide the hairdryer up and down your stretched-out strands.
When it’s all dry, you’ll have a looser curl that will fall downward, not outward.
When you’re done drying and styling your curly hair the way you want, give it a blast of air on the cool setting.
This helps seal your hair cuticles, forcing them to lie even flatter.
You’ll notice throughout the day that your usually poofy hair will stay tame and frizz-free.
That’s basically a miracle for kinky hair.
And one last thing: avoid shaking your roots out after blow-drying.
This tends to be a habit for many of us, but fluffing your roots will make your hair puff up even more.
Blow dry your hair while it’s in braids to stretch them out
This is a temporary way to keep your hair looking like it’s grown down instead of out.
It entails styling it so that the curls are looser and more elongated.
Simple braids are a great way to do that.
Keeping your hair in braids for a couple of hours can help soften your curls, making them look more relaxed.
Consequently, your hair will be a little more weighed down since braids hold the hair downward.
This is a great way to smoothen coily hair and minimize poofiness for a day or two.
Of course, not everyone has the luxury of time.
So if you can’t keep your hair in braids overnight or even just an hour or two, you can always go to your trusty blow-dryer to get the job done.
Apply a bit of heat protectant to your curls while they’re damp and freshly cleaned from the shower.
While the hair is damp (but not sopping wet), divide it into 4-6 sections, depending on how thick your hair is.
Braid each section, pulling them down so they point to the floor.
When they’re all woven in simple braids, loosen them up by pulling at them with light tension.
This is to make the curl look more natural and tame.
Then, blow-dry your braids from root to top.
When the hair is dry, leave it to cool completely.
You can even use your hairdryer’s cool shot button as a final touch.
After that, unravel your braids to reveal smooth, tame curls that flow downward.
Comb through the curls with your fingers to loosen them up even more.
You can also spritz on your favorite moisturizing hairspray to keep the more relaxed shape of the curls in place all day.
Air dry your hair instead of using complicated heat stylers
The less you fuss over your hair with heat-styling appliances, the flatter and more weighed down it will be.
Following that principle, you can opt not to style with heat.
Air-drying is actually wonderful for keeping your curly locks tame and look like they’re growing downward.
This is especially true for long hair that naturally has a bit of extra weight already from the sheer volume and density of hair.
But if you have shorter hair, don’t forget to use a rich styling cream or mousse before airdrying your curls.
Put your curls in a protective style
Protective styles like locs, twist-outs box braids, and cornrows are popular among those with coarse and coily curls because they help tame unruly hair.
It also keeps your hair protected from the elements that can disturb it, like wind and humidity.
If you want to make sure your hair grows downward, install a protective style on it.
It’s a terrific way to grow out your hair without it looking poofy and frizzy, and you’ll do so in a beautiful, eye-catching statement hairstyle too.
And because protective styles help with moisture retention in the hair, you’ll be keeping your hair strong and less prone to breakage.
That means hair growth will be fast!
Growing out super curly hair can be frustrating if it’s growing outward instead of down your back.
You might even start feeling like your hair will always just puff up and grow to the side instead of downward.
While a lot of that has to do with hair length, there are techniques you can use to guide your curls into growing down.
You can go for a fresh, new, texturized haircut or rely on heavyweight moisturizing products to tame and elongate your curls.
You’ll always find a way to go from triangle-shaped hair to long, silky hair flowing down to your waist (while still showing off your curls!).
So, if you’ve been wondering how to make curly hair grow down instead of out, try any of the tips listed above.
It’ll encourage hair growth that goes downwards and elongates your curls.
No more tolerating shrinkage or poofy afros when all you’ve ever wanted is tamed, long, beautiful ringlets.