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Dandruff in wavy hair

Wavy hair sits somewhere between curls and straight hair. That makes knowing how to care for it tricky. 

Some might say that wavy hair gets the best of both worlds: the body of curls, without the challenge of caring for them. Unfortunately, it’s seldom that simple, and wavy hair can fall prey to dandruff. 

A young woman with long ginger hair throwing forward her hair and looking at the camera.

Sitting happily between straight and curly, wavy hair is versatile and can be styled in many different ways... But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be wary of problems.

Your scalp produces a natural oil called sebum, which works to moisturize both your hair and scalp.

If your hair is wavy, sebum may take longer to travel down the strands, so it may take longer to look “dirty” than in people with straight hair. This means many people with wavy hair can opt for styles that can be worn for multiple days without washing.  

Unfortunately, this can mean that oils build up on your scalp. Which is where dandruff comes in.

What makes hair wavy?

Hair shape is defined largely by the shape of your follicles, where the hair exits the skin on your scalp. 

Curly hair has curved, J-shaped follicles, while straight hair follicles have less curve. Wavy hair sits somewhere in between. 

What this ends up meaning for wavy haired people is that caring for your hair falls somewhere in between as well. 

Like curly hair, wavy hair can mean that crucial scalp oils are unable to travel easily down hair strands, leading to problems including: 

These problems, plus styling and de-tangling your locks, mean that you may find the cuticle becomes damaged. 

Cuticles are the protective layer around the outside of your hair – they cover it like a coat of flexible armour. 

Unfortunately, when these become damaged, hair becomes frizzy and can even break. 

Wavy hair and hair products

People with wavy hair often turn to products to style their hair. Those with hair closer to curls want to tame the associated frizz, while those with straighter waves might be looking for more body (or even straighter locks).

The problem is that these products can and do build up in hair, and when that happens they can break down into potentially irritating substances.

Then there’s the potential damage caused by using hair straighteners.

Read more: The hidden dangers of hair straighteners

A good deep cleaning shampoo can help control some of these problems, clearing away product build up.

But for long-term hair health, and to avoid dandruff, you’ll need a bit more.

Caring for wavy hair

Caring for wavy hair means caring for your scalp, and avoiding build-up and irritation. The best way to do this is with a good anti-dandruff shampoo - this will help protect your scalp from irritants, to prevent itch, flakes, and dryness.

A nourishing shampoo is a good option to help keep the scalp in good condition while deeply conditioning your hair..

Regular brushing is another great way of caring for wavy hair – this distributes the oils through your hair, both avoiding build-up and protecting your hair from damage.

So, with a little bit of care, you really can have the best of both worlds.

More hair care tips and advice

Is wavy hair more prone to dandruff?

Sebum plays a key role in causing dandruff.

A naturally occurring microbe, Malassezia globosa, digests the sebum on your scalp, producing oleic acid, and creating an unpleasant odour.

It’s this oleic acid which causes scalp irritation. The signs of this problem include not just visible dandruff flakes, but also itching and dryness.

So, it follows that with more oil on your scalp, there’s more oleic acid being produced by Malassezia and therefore you’re more at risk of dandruff.

How to fix wavy hair dandruff

Since sebum is constantly produced by our scalps, and Malassezia globosa is on everyone’s scalp, dandruff is a chronic condition that will come back without regular treatment.

Luckily, a good anti dandruff shampoo is designed to protect your scalp from dandruff-causing irritants, to help prevent these symptoms. Head & Shoulders contains zinc pyrithione, making it more than up to the task of returning your waves to their best, and ridding you of dandruff.*

In order to take the best care of your hair, it can be useful to use a moisturising shampoo that’s also designed to fight dandruff.

For best results, use your anti-dandruff shampoo every time you wash your hair.

* visible flakes with regular use

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