Being a curly-haired girl in a straight-haired world isn't always easy—your locks need extra love in order to look their best, and finding the best products for your specific hair type can take a lifetime. That's why we reached out to Jacquelyn Walent, senior stylist at Devachan Salon in New York City. Devachan is dedicated to enhancing bold, beautiful curls with specially trained stylists who employ a unique cutting technique. Here, Walent takes the mystery out of styling, and provides guidance on how to buy the best curly hair products for you. See ya never, frizz!
Choose the right shampoo
The styling process for curls starts the moment you step into the shower. Make sure your shampoo is sulfate-free (sulfates are the agents that make shampoo foam, and they can be very drying to curly hair). If your 'poo does lather, the suds should be super-minimal. As Walent points out, you don’t want to have to repair even more damage from a poor shampoo, so your choice does matter. A good one: Briogeo Cleansing Shampoo ($24; dermstore.com), it’s packed with hair loving ingredients like Vitamin B5, aloe and Vitamin E.
Get handsy with your conditioner
Combs and brushes need not apply. You already have the only tools you’ll need— your fingers! After shampooing, it’s time for some serious hydration with something like DevaCurl One Condition Original Daily Cream Conditioner ($22; sephora.com). "I always say to rake the conditioner through with your fingers, first going through with them spread wide to get those tangles out, and then tightening them up so that the hair has no choice but to absorb it the conditioner as your fingers seal it in," says Walent. "This helps to smooth and define the curl before your shower is over."
Mask and moisturize
After you condition, it’s up to you to decide whether your locks are in need of some extra love. Are you concerned about frizz and breakage? Reach for a mask like Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque ($36; birchbox.com). Before you ask why you can't just use straight-up coconut oil or olive oil from the kitchen, know this: natural oils actually have a molecule that’s too big for to penetrate your hair, so while using them won’t hurt your hair, they won't necessarily help, either. When included in a product like this, though, the delivery system comes from other ingredients that can drive the oil deeper into the hair shaft where you want it. The more you know!
Step away from the silicones
Silicone-based hair products are meant to boost shine, but they can end up just weighing down your spirals. The best sheen comes from healthy hair, so a styling cream like Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream ($27; nordstrom.com) is a good option. Walent advises applying it in a way that’s similar to curling a ribbon with a scissor, using a group of wet curls as the ribbon and your fingers as the curling mechanism. Simply pull down on each section, locking in the cream formula and then let go—it’ll spring up and remain defined as it dries.
RELATED: Should You Go No 'Poo?
Refresh throughout the day
If you’ve watched your perfect spirals poof up to a midday frizz-fest, you’re not alone. One culprit may be the amount that you touch and play with your hair. Touching dry curls will break up their patterns, resulting in a messy look. So first, keep your hands off, but also continue to keep curls hydrated. A mist of SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist ($8; target.com) can revive your style and supply moisture to thirsty hair. Quick trick: bend at the waist and scrunch it in so that your roots are more easily accessible, this will help perk up the part that most often falls flat.