When it comes to curly hair, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. Variations in curl pattern, density, porosity, and even the climate where you live all have an impact on how to best care for and style your curls.

Curl pattern or type is the most popular identifier in the curly hair community using the range of 2a to 4c to describe hair textures ranging from loose and wavy to curly and kinky. Type 2 hair is generally regarded as wavy, while type 3 hair is labeled as curly/coily, and type 4 hair is kinky. The A – C designation in each type symbolizes the progression from loose to tight in that category. For example, 3A curls are looser than 3C curls, and 4C kinks are tighter than 4B – and so on. Curl typing isn’t an exact science, and it’s absolutely normal to have more than one curl pattern. In fact, I’ve got about four. Yes, four!

Thickness and density are often confused for each other. Thickness refers to the individual strand of hair, while density refers to how many of those strands are compacted into a square inch. It is commonly believed that curly hair is always thick, which is not the case. In fact, many curlies will find they have fairly thin strands, but plenty of them packed into a single area. Low density curlies often opt for lightweight moisturizing and styling products, so as to not weigh the hair down and create more volume. Medium and high density curlies may gravitate toward heavier products for more style control.

Porosity is related to your hair’s ability to take up and retain water, primarily determined by the health and structure of your cuticles along the strand. Think of the cuticle layer as shingles on a roof. Low porosity curls have difficulty absorbing water because the shingles are so tightly compacted and lay flat along the hair. But once effectively hydrated, they retain water quite well. On the other end of the spectrum is high porosity hair. Those shingles are super spaced apart, chipped, cracked, lifted, or otherwise damaged. High porosity hair takes up water easily, but loses it just as fast, because those shingles aren’t in place to trap the water in. And in the middle is normal or medium porosity, which is the ideal balance of both.

While these different factors create unique styling and care needs for each head of hair, there is one truth that applies, no matter the type, density, or porosity – curly hair is structurally more fragile than straight hair. Each bend along the strand represents a weak point that is more prone to breakage and damage. For this reason, curly hair must be extra care along each step during washing and styling.

This is exactly why my curly hair faves from the Zotos Professional 180PRO line are the Intense Reconstruct Shampoo, Intense Reconstruct Conditioner, Rapid Restorer Rinse-Out Balm, and the Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator. With each 180PRO product, my curls grow progressively stronger, healthier, and more resilient from the inside out.

Here’s how I use my favorites on wash day (and you can too!):

Step 1: Pre-Poo with Intense Reconstruct Conditioner
Pre-shampoo (or pre-poo) treatments are absolute gold for curly hair. The right pre-poo treatment will moisturize, soften, detangle, and help prevent mechanical damage to your curls on wash day. To pre-poo with 180PRO, I wet my hair, apply a generous amount of Intense Reconstruct Conditioner, and begin detangling with a wide tooth comb. Intense Reconstruct Conditioner has tons of slip, which makes removing tangles a breeze. After my hair is fully detangled, I twist it in sections, clip it up, and allow the conditioner to “marinate” for 15-20 minutes. Then it’s time to rinse!

Step 2: Shampoo with Intense Reconstruct Shampoo
After I’ve rinsed the Intense Reconstruct Conditioner from my hair completely, it’s time to follow up with the Intense Reconstruct Shampoo. Shampooing is an often skipped, but super important step for curlies. Shampooing gives you a clean scalp, and a clean scalp means healthy hair that grows. To get my bubble on, I apply a quarter-sized amount of shampoo per half of my hair, concentrating on the scalp and allowing the suds to make their way down the strands. If you’re afraid your hair will tangle back up, you can always shampoo in sections.

Step 3: Deep Condition with Rapid Restorer Rinse-Out Balm
Following a shampoo, it’s important that curly hair is deep conditioned to restore hydration, strength, and elasticity. I apply a generous amount of Rapid Restorer throughout my hair, concentrating on the ends (because the ends are the oldest and most damaged part of the hair). Although the jar says to leave it on for 3-5 minutes, curly hair needs a little more time. I cover my curls with a plastic cap, and use a thermal heating cap or hooded dryer to infuse gentle heat, allowing for better penetration of ingredients and deeper conditioning. After 15-20 minutes, it’s time to rinse!

Step 4: Prime with Miracle Damage Eliminator
Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator is a godsend for curly hair, considering how prone to breakage and damage it is. Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator is the perfect remedy for curls that suffer from excessive split ends, breakage, or just appear limp. I highly recommend it for color treated curls! Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator penetrates the hair and builds strength from within, while targeting breaking points along the strand and reinforcing them with much needed protein. To keep my curls healthy, springy, and ward off damage, I scrunch a few pumps of Miracle Repair Damage Eliminator into the ends of my hair, just before styling. It’s super lightweight and non-drying, so don’t worry about rinsing it out!

Step 5: Style!
It’s your hair – there are no rules! Style it up, down, with a wash and go, or even braided! Just know that with steps 1-4 in place, your curls are healthy, protected, and strong.

Christina Patrice is the founder of The Mane Objective, a blog dedicated to growing and maintaining healthy curls by creating a healthy lifestyle. When she’s not blogging, you can find her in the gym lifting weights, at the mall hunting for sneakers, or in the kitchen creating tasty recipes.

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