What are Fractal or Zigzag Curls?
Fractal and zigzag curls can be the driest of all the hair types as the many twists and turns make it very hard to get moisture to the scalp and into the hair. This is the most fragile hair type due to having fewer cuticle layers, meaning that it has less natural protection from damage.
This hair type has the highest density of all hair types, which means lots of strands tightly packed together. The hair is also prone to shrink down, making it very hard to determine the actual length of the strands.
Lorraine Massey describes Fractal and Zigzag curls as:
- Curls that might be described as twizzles, micro-spirals or fractal corkscrews
- Hair that is relentlessly dry
- Hair that’s hypersensitive to rough handling
- Curls that don’t change with the season
- A spring factor of 9-16 inches
How to look after Fractal and Zigzag Curls
The porosity of fractal and zigzag curls is generally low which means it is difficult to get moisture into the hair. See more on porosity here. Use plenty of conditioner and ensure every strand is well coated, this will also make it easier to detangle.
- Use a gentle cleanser that is sulphate free.
- Co-washing will benefit fractal and zigzag curls. A moisturising, gentle co-wash will give the strands the extra moisture they need while not stripping the hair. Because of the high density it is best to section the hair while you cleanse. This will ensure all strands are coated.
- Wash your hair once per week. Do not wash it very often as it will dry the hair out.
- Comb your hair only when it is wet while conditioner is still in it. This is to minimise damage.
- Make time for regular deep conditioning, This is a great way to get extra moisture into your hair.
- Wear a satin cap or bonnet to protect your hair from tangles while you sleep
Because fractal and zigzag curls are so coily, it is easily prone to dryness. Hydrated curls are more manageable and less susceptible to splitting and breaking. Keeping your hair moisturised is a necessary part of a healthy hair regimen and key step in gaining and retaining length.
- Leave-in conditioners, oils and butters are good for fractal and zigzag curls to seal in moisture.
- Add some butter to your coils before styling to minimise breakage and retain moisture.
- A protein treatment will be needed. Protein treatments temporarily repair and strengthen hair by filling up gaps in the cuticle that has been damaged.
- Try a conditioner that does not contain cationic conditioning ingredients. Cationic conditioning ingredients are likely to build up.
- Avoid high-heat styling tools.
- Give your hair some hydration every day. Mix distilled water and small amount of conditioner in a spray bottle to refresh your curls.
- Use a moisturiser during the day to maintain the moisture.