In my very humble opinion, curls are there because they are there. You can obviously style straight hair into curls but you cannot take damaged curls that are now straight to curly. Depending on the amount of damage you may be able to make curls look better but once a curl has been killed off by a chemical or heat there is no coming back without a scissor. Just a note to keep in mind.
So for example if you have dyed your hair and its now frizzy then curl creams will help give a very smooth appearance. But without it your hair will poof up high. If you have a looser curl pattern then it will smooth it out as well and will give a more manicured look. most of the time when you see a natural curly afro those curls are there regardless. They may not always be neat and perfect but they are in the structure of the hair. You can style straight hair say with a straw set or flexi rods but those would be temporary. You can perm it and it may look good for a few weeks until the chemicals start eating away at your hair.
Hair products CAN enhance the way your hair looks. It can improve what is already there. Products CANNOT make curls appear. Styling can create curls temporarily but these will revert over time into whatever your natural hair is. While many curly girls spend their lives fighting to get rid of their ringlets some of us spend a our lives getting it into the best shape. I love my curls and I want them around forever!
I have said this before- most (not all) naturals of African descent hair will have some curl to their hair. For other groups of people such as Caucasian and South Asians curls are a particular type of hair. So you get the full spectrum of straight to wavy, curly and tightly curly. To my surprise once my hair was in its best condition I realised the several different curl patterns I have on my head. Some curls are as tiny as a toothpick. Which is why a comb or brush is not a good idea for my hair as these tiny rings once separated can cause a big football on top of my head.
Curls weigh down a lot better with product in the hair. So even with a leave in conditioner a curl cream can work wonders for making sure the hair stays moisturised and in place. A big bush of hair can soak up a significant amount of product. Which is why I often recommend you water down the products so you don’t end up wasting. Alternatively you could also apply products to the roots of completely water soaked hair and let it slowly run off working it into the hair as it does.
Here’s a handy tip with leave in products. Apply the product to the front and top sections of your hair first. That way the excess product can run down your head and onto the parts you are working on. I found that when out of habit I start at the nape of my neck and up by the time i reach the mid section of my head the product at the base of my neck is on my back. With an upright posture the product runs off fairly quickly. So do the top first and then the bottom. I also like to cover my hair with a shower cap while I’m busy in the bath or shower to make sure it does not get washed out. When I’m done I tilt my head and fold forward to give the product a chance to run up my head and back down again.
This is also why using a shampoo is not a bad idea at all. With leave in hair products including conditioners, curl creams, oils and anything else you put on your hair you do have to completely clean your scalp in between. If you don’t you run the risk of build up and ashy hair. You can also cause scalp imbalances. As the left over product on your skin just sits there as more oil from your scalp pushes out. Even dry flaky residues may actually be residual product and or dead skin cells which needs to be removed. Do be friends with a shampoo.