Shine & Sheen: The Science Behind Eye-Catching Curls

Shine & Sheen: The Science Behind Eye-Catching Curls

Regardless of what your hair type is, we’ve all obsessed over achieving the sought after ‘shiny hair’. Curly girls are no stranger to the promise of glossy, glorious curls. We've been told countless times that healthy hair = shiny hair.

Regardless of what your hair type is, we’ve all obsessed over achieving the sought after ‘shiny hair’.

Curly girls are no stranger to the promise of glossy, glorious curls. We've been told countless times that healthy hair = shiny hair.

But is there really a formula or magic elixir to get miraculous, shiny curls? Or is there more to it? As usual, Team LUS (Love Ur Self) is here to delve deeper into this hair mystery!

What Makes Hair Shiny?

Shiny curls start at the roots! Oils play a big role in the look and lustre of your hair. Your scalp naturally produces an oil called sebum, which nourishes and protects your kinks and curls. The sebum slowly travels down the length of your hair and coats each and every strand.

While this seems pretty straightforward, the reality is every curly girl is made different.

For tighter, kinkier textures it’s more difficult for the oil to travel from the top of your head to the end of each strand. Not to mention, some people naturally produce more sebum, while others produce less.

But that’s not all there is to it. The main ingredient of shiny hair is simply light. Thasss it! 💁🏽✨

Shiny curls are the result of light refracting (bouncing) off the strands and oils in your hair. Texture plays a huge role in this too. Light reflects best off of flat smooth surfaces. Kinks and coils have so many twists and turns, which is why they appear to have more of a soft sheen instead of a hard shine.

Which begs the question:

Does Shiny Hair = Healthy Hair?

This is a common misconception and as you can see so far, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Remember, your hair is shinier if you have smooth hair and a lot of sebum for the light to refract off of. Curly girls with loose waves or ringlets find it pretty easy to get shiny curls because their curl patterns are more stretched.

But, let’s say that you have a kinkier hair type. Because of all of the glorious kinks in your hair, it’s a lot more difficult for sebum to travel down the strands. Less sebum overall means your hair will probably be less shiny but that doesn’t mean your hair isn’t healthy. In fact, your hair probably still has a beautiful sheen. All it really means is that you’ll want to take some extra time to condition and seal moisture into your hair.

But what if your curls have neither shine nor sheen?

It’s likely that your hair may be trying to tell you something, so listen closely!

How-To Deal With Dull Curly Hair

In order to combat dullness, it’s important to take a second to assess the condition of your curls. Chances are, you could be suffering from either one or both of the dreaded D’s of Dullness: Damage and Dryness!


Don’t let the volume fool you, curly hair is fragile! Heat and colour damage can gradually break down the quality of your hair. At a microscopic level, heat stylers and chemicals slowly chip away at the outer layer of your hair and cause gaps in the strands. These gaps can widen with time as well as with consistent styling and manipulation, making it even harder for light to bounce off your curls and create shine.


No matter your curl pattern, we can all fall prey to dryness. Things like heat styling, taking a dip in the pool, and even the change in seasons can suck the moisture right out of our luscious curls. So if your ringlets are looking a little dull and lifeless, it may be time to add some moisture back into the hair to restore its shine/sheen!

How-To Add Shine to Your Naturally Curly Hair

Here are some tips you can use to pump up the shine factor and brighten your curls!


Shiny hair starts from the inside out! Hydrated curls shine, so boost your water intake. It’s a healthy habit that is not only good for your hair, but for your entire body as well.

Introducing foods high in nutrients, omegas and good fats can also give you an added shine boost. Your curls will thrive if you are nourishing them with nutrient-dense food that is high in vitamins.

Hot Oil Treatments

Hot oil treatments are a quick and easy way to nurture your curls and add some extra shine. You’ll be surprised just how simple and satisfying it can be to give your curls a little TLC.

Our favourite oil to use is Moringa Oil because of all its amazing natural properties. Check out this blog to learn more about the healing benefits of Moringa and how to use it for your own at-home hot oil treatment.

Love Ur Curls

At the end of the day, your curls are a part of what make you uniquely you. We can't stress enough how important it is to love what you've got

A lot of curlies start their journey vowing to rock their natural hair, but too often fall into the trap of wanting what they don’t have. Whether that is a looser or tighter curl pattern, less or more volume, or even more shine, there are always going to be different struggles attached to each unique texture!

So take some time to find out how amazing your own kinks and curls can be. The quickest way to find happiness with your hair is to truly love and embrace what you've got! There is beauty in all patterns and textures just waiting to be discovered. 💕


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