By nature, curly hair is dry because the oils in your scalp aren't able to move down the hair shaft. Curls, to put it simply, inhibit this from happening. Also, curly hair is full of weak spots, each curl is a potential break point. By taking certain measures when working with my hair, I've found that I've been able to reduce breakage and even the amounts of hair I shed has lessened considerably.
Shampoo less often. I shampoo my hair once a week. I make sure the shampoo I use is pH balanced to not only cleanse and remove all the products I've used during the week. If I don't use shampoo, I do an apple cider vinegar rinse. Yes, my hair smells like a salad for a few minutes, but the smell goes away and the conditioner leaves a pleasant odour.
Deep condition. I try to deep condition my hair when I cleanse it with shampoo or the rinse. Deep conditioning treatments penetrates the hair and makes it smoother. This also makes detangling easier.
The last time I used a comb was last month. Before you get grossed out, I detangle my hair when I condition it with my fingers and again when I work the products through. Combs can snag, creating more breakage and tangles. Your fingers are gentler.
I also make sure each product I use serves a function.
First I add a leave in conditioner. See my post on Philip B, http://wondercurl.blogspot.com/2009/03/lovin-leave-in-conditioner-by-philip-b.html, it's one of the better ones I've found. It softens and reduces the frizz.
Second I use virgin organic coconut oil. It's very important to make sure it is virgin organic. Only this kind has been scientifically proven to penetrate the hair and make it stronger. For more information: http://wondercurl.com/Hair_tips/Entries/2009/2/2_Coo_Coo_for_Coconuts!.html
Third is aloe vera gel. Aloe is a best friend of curly hair, especially kinky hair. Its water properties works to moisturize without weighing down and also smooths away any frizz and works as the ultimate antihumectant. This is a product I don't think one can ever overuse,I know, I've tried.
You can stop there and get perfect curly locks, but as an added sealant for my hair I use Curlisto's Structura Lotion. This should be called miracle in a bottle. It adds extra shine and smoothness to hair as well as works as an antihumectant.
I usually let my hair air dry or I sit under the hair dryer if I'm in a rush.
The result is great curly hair every time.