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6 Fascinating Reasons People Like Glycolic Acid for Curly Hair

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This is a continuation from my original post on Glycolic Acid being a budget alternative for Olaplex! I did some more research and found so many studies proving how this skincare product doubles as bond repair treatment for hair too! Here’s what I found from this source, among others.

Benefits of Glycolic Acid for Hair

  1. Reduces tangles by reducing friction!
  2. Resilient to heat/sun/bleach.
  3. Reflective shine after treatment.
  4. Rough hair softens immediately.
  5. Restores elasticity, flexibility.
  6. Resistant to humidity, less swelling.
  7. Reduced breakage
    …making it easy to style and maintain curly hair!

The primary function of glycolic acid is exfoliation. When applied to scalp, it removes dead skin cells providing a better, cleaner environment for hair growth.

FAQ – Glycolic Acid for curly hair

How long to keep it on your hair and scalp? 10 to 20 minutes

How often must one do this? As with any bonding repair treatments, the frequency depends on your hair damage. I have healthy hair so I can get away with once a month treatment. If you have heat damage, color damage, sun damage even, do this weekly. Then slow down once your hair starts feeling healthier.

Which glycolic acid is good for curly hair? Choose one with 5-7% concentration. I prefer using the Ordinary Glycolic Acid (buy here)

How long does the bottle last? Depending on your hair length, density and frequency the Ordinary Glycolic Acid can last 6 months up to a year (or more!)

How to apply glycolic acid on hair? Here’s my tutorial. I use it both on my scalp and curly hair.

Video Tutorial FOR GLYCOLIC ACID here.

Post-Glycolic Acid Application Hair Care for Curly Hair

After applying Glycolic Acid to your curly hair, it’s important to follow a few steps to ensure optimal results and maintain the health of your curls:

  1. Rinse thoroughly: Start by rinsing your hair with lukewarm water to remove any excess Glycolic Acid and residue. Ensure that your hair is completely rinsed before moving on to the next step.
  2. Shampoo, and Moisturize with a conditioner: Apply a rich, moisturizing conditioner from mid-length to ends. Leave it on for a few minutes to allow the conditioner to penetrate the hair shaft and provide hydration.
  3. Detangle gently: Use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to gently detangle your hair while it is still coated with conditioner. Start at the ends and work your way up to the roots, being careful not to pull or tug on your curls.
  4. Rinse with cool water: Rinse out the conditioner with cool water. This helps to seal the hair cuticle and lock in moisture, leaving your curls with added shine.
  5. Apply a leave-in conditioner: After rinsing, apply a leave-in conditioner to provide additional moisture and protection. Focus on the ends of your hair and any areas that tend to be drier or more damaged.
  6. Style as desired: Once your hair is properly moisturized, you can proceed with your regular styling routine. Whether you prefer to air-dry or use heat styling tools, make sure to use products that are suitable for curly hair and provide heat protection.

Note: Before using Glycolic Acid or any new product on your hair, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test and consult with a professional stylist if you have any concerns or specific hair conditions.

Pro Tips

Here’s what to do after applying glycolic acid, according to your hair type:

  • Healthy Coarse Thick Colored Hair: Just shampoo+conditioner+style (leave-in & gel)
  • Damaged Colored/Bleached Hair: Deep Condition after shampoo to lock in moisture.
  • Fine Hair/ Low Density Hair: Use strong shampoo+style with protein products!

These are suggestions based on my experienced working with different textures. You’ll still have to try and see what works better for you ❤️ Let me know if you do! Thank you for watching & reading.

Where to Buy Glycolic Acid

I purchased mine last year for my acne-prone skin. A holy grail for my skin, I couldn’t empty this giant bottle in so long! So pleased we can repurpose it for our hair now. Thanks to story responses from my Instagram fam, here is a quick list of places you can buy The Ordinary Glycolic Acid. (That’s what I use).

? If you have a trustworthy source for your country, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add it here. Contact me!

Deciem Ordinary Glycolic Acid Alternatives

In case you can’t find the Ordinary Glycolic Acid anywhere in India. Please note, I have not tried these following products (yet). Studies recommend using 5-7% glycolic acid. So use your own discretion to consider these.

  • Eclat
  • Derma Co
  • Different concentrations at local pharmacy 
  • Pixie Toner 
  • Minimalist 
  • Neemli 

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to caring for your curly hair after Glycolic Acid application. Follow these steps regularly to keep your curls looking healthy, bouncy, and well-nourished.

Thank you for watching & reading!

Need more Help? BOOK 1:1 Curl Coaching Here

17 thoughts on “6 Fascinating Reasons People Like Glycolic Acid for Curly Hair”

  1. Loved this comprehensive guide on not just how to use it but also where we can purchase it. Only wish it was available in India from more sites and better prices 😭♥️

    1. Let me know if you find it! Insta sellers have it but after hearing stories about how some of these pages have taken money and not sent products, makes me second guess other platforms. At least on AMAZON you can complain or get your money back.

      1. Hi Liz, on Amazon India, there are multiple sellers of the ordinary’s glycolic acid and not sure which one is trusted as sometimes there are duplicates too

  2. Extremely informative post, loved it!
    If we try out another brand’s glycolic acid, we’ll need to use ‘toners’ only, right?
    Many brands have them as serums/oils as well.

    1. The idea here is to use “face acid” like Glycolic acid with a concentration of 5-7% – oils/serums will other ingredients which may not serve the same purpose or offer the same results as using a facial acid like this.

  3. Lovely! Thank you so much for this! I’ve ordered mine on I’ve mostly received genuine products from there. Will let you know when it arrives though

  4. Studies say Glycolic acid between 5-7% concentration is ideal for this activity. Does this OTC cream have other ingredients though? What if it hinders the real goal of exfoliation/hydration? Use your discretion that way.

  5. Hi Liz! I tried your glycolic acid tutorial and it worked wonders for my hair! Even though I did a lazy wash, the fact that a dime sized amount of clarifying shampoo followed by styling with protein leave in caused shrinkage is shocking! My low density, fine curls look much better than most wash days that take more effort! Thank you for all that you do!

    1. The way I see it, there will be no adverse side effects or the worst it will feel is a clean scalp and moisturised hair, whats wrong with that 🙂 Let me know if you try.

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