Super sleek hair? So boring. Natural curls, whether loose and wavy or tight and bouncy, can be tamed and look fabulously frizz-free.
And the days of battling tangles with a brush or straightening every single strand? Done. Nowadays, celebrity stylists say it's easier than ever to celebrate your coils and let them shine, day and night.
Sounds too good to be true, right? We get it, curly hair is prone to dandelion-like puffiness, and pulling out the scissors can lead the haircut of your nightmares. Fortunately, keeping your curls in tip-top shape is possible with a few simple tips and tricks.
To make the most out of your tresses, here are some major do's and don’ts for your best curls ever:
Contrary to popular belief, scrunching your hair won’t make those curls manageable. Instead, this only promotes unwanted frizz and dryness. Beverly Hills-based celebrity stylist Nelson Chan believes the secret to soft, touchable tresses starts with the products you use before styling. “Use a non-foaming shampoo,” says Chan. “This is the best for curls because it cleans without stripping out any moisture or open hair cuticles.” Don't forget to use a wide-tooth comb over a frizz-inducing brush to smooth away knots. “The more you scrunch or touch your hair, the frizzier it will become,” he says.
Skip excess shampooing
Since curly hair is prone to dryness, excess shampooing will strip away your mane’s natural oils, causing it to appear dry and brittle, leading to breakage and damage. Stylists believe that 1–2 shampooing sessions a week — at most — are sufficient. “If you opt for a leave-in treatment, stay away from heavy oils … they might temporarily remove frizz and add shine, but eventually after continued use, they will coat the hair, causing brittle-looking curls,” warns celebrity stylist David Babaii. “Instead, opt for a water soluble leave-in treatment, one that can be easily removed with a shampoo.”
You’ve just washed and conditioned your hair. Now what? “After you get out of the shower, stay in the bathroom to let the steam soak into your hair,” says Whitney Green, stylist at Ted Gibson Salon in New York City. “This will rejuvenate your hair and help your strands curl up. Apply your desired product to you right after you get out of the shower. Make sure your hair is really wet when applying your product.”
Try a topknot
The gravity-defying topknot, or a bun worn right on top of the head, is versatile enough to wear at the gym or a glitzy gala. Fortunately, even curly haired ladies can get in on this hot Hollywood trend. Take a cue from actress AnnaLynne McCord, who opted to show off her curls with a topknot. Finish the look by adding pins that match the color of your hair (wherever needed) to tidy up any loose strands.
Don't go too short
While a super short ‘do may sound like a stylish idea, be warned. Those with super curly hair should stay away from shorter cuts to avoid that dreaded triangular look. “Don’t cut it too short,” says Chan. “Curls work better when hair is longer, so it forms a nicer shape where there is more length.” Having your hair mimic a Christmas tree is never on-trend.
Get proper heating tools
While it’s advised to stay away from drying heating products, every girl wants to change up their look from time to time. And let's be real, sometimes those tools are all we need to make magic happen. When asked which heating tool he prefers for his curly haired clients, Babaii recommended the GHD Eclipse Iron — and not just for a slick, straight style. “I turn to my iron to not only smooth curls into silky spirals, but to help variations in the diameter of the curls,” he says. “No curl should be identical. Instead, take various sized sections in a ‘v’ shape so you avoid any lines of demarcation. Next, ribbon-curl some sections. For others, wrap your finger into a curl and then clamp down with the iron. To finish, loosen curls with your fingers instead of a comb to give it that soft, natural look.” When it comes to how hot your iron should be, if it burns your fingers, chances are it’s too high for your hair. Avoid breakage and damage by taking it down a notch or two.
Befriend an expert
Looking for a hairdresser? Make sure he/she specializes in curly hair to meet your needs completely. “Make sure you have a good hairdresser who knows the proper techniques of slicing, angling the layers down to reduce bulk, and cutting at the end of each ‘s’ shape,” says Green. “Don’t let anyone cut your hair with a razor because this technique roughens up the hair shaft, causing frizziness.”
Condition, condition, condition
While you shouldn’t be shampooing your tresses on a daily basis, if you feel those strands are in dire need of a pick me up, consider “co-washing” or applying conditioner, followed by generous rinsing to ensure your mane is getting as much moisture as possible. “Do use conditioner,” says Chan. “Curly hair always needs moisture. Dry curly hair never looks good!” To further minimize frizz, Green suggests trimming your hair every three months, which will remove split ends and promote growth. If your hair is looking dull, a color gloss will make your hue appear richer and brighter with loads of shine, minus the damage that comes with a standard hair dye.
Use your diffuser
Forget those standard blowouts. Instead, make use of the diffuser attachment with your blower to define your natural curls or waves. “The diffuser spreads the heat so your curls dry evenly,” says Green. “Try not to touch your hair with your hands while diffusing. Instead, use a comb or towel to lift the hair into the diffuser — your hands cause more frizz when manipulating your hair. Then, air dry your hair [at least] 50 percent whenever you can after using your diffuser attachment.”
Sleep on it
A tight hair band can put your mane in place when getting your beauty rest, but this will also cause knots and breakage. Instead, set your hair the proper way for bedtime. “Sleep with your hair in a pineapple or in a silk bonnet,” says Green. “This will help to keep your hair saturated. You should also sleep with a satin pillow to stop your hair from tangling too much at night.”
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