If you have wavy or curly hair, you know that achieving your best texture isn’t wash-and-go. Ringlets require careful styling that straight haired people just don’t understand.
“I am huge fan of curly hair,” says celebrity hair stylist Tommy Buckett. “When done right, it can speak so much about your personality and beauty outlook. But textured hair requires the right care and styling products. You need the perfect amount of hydration, frizz-control and styling, otherwise hair just falls flat.” (Buckett works with Garnier Fructis, which has named August 14th Wear Your Hair Curly Day. Pledge to rock your waves or curls at style.garnierusa.com and Garnier Fructis will make a donation to Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in support of music education for young girls.You can also win a trip for two to NYC for a makeover!)
To make the most of your curly hair, try these tips we’ve picked up from top stylists.
1. “Invest in a silk pillow or wrap your hair in a silk scarf before going to bed. Silk is very gently on the hair cuticle and won’t roughen hair fibers. You’ll wake up with great-looking hair every time.” — Tommy Buckett
2. Dry curly hair by pressing gently with a microfiber towel, T-shirt or paper towels. Rubbing hair with a terrycloth towel can rough up the cuticle and cause hair to frizz.
3. To air dry curly hair, apply a hair gel or curl cream and wrap one- to two-inch sections around your finger to create perfectly defined ringlets. Lift hair off the scalp with duckbill clips placed vertically at the crown of your head.
4. “As curly hair undulates, small cracks and crevices develop. If those cracks and crevices are not properly moisturized, they can increase in size and an uninformed curl pattern develops. So add moisture and then a product such as Oribe Curl Shaping Mousse [$36, oribe.com] that is light enough to penetrate deep into the cracks and crevices,” says hair stylist Steven Schmidt of Oribe Salon in Miami. “Moisture plus hold equals beautiful curls.”
5. Curly hair seems to grow slower than straight hair because its length is all coiled up. But that doesn’t mean you should skip trims; see your stylist for split end maintenance every two months.
6. The one thing all curly and wavy hair needs is moisture. Shampoo and condition with sulfate-free hydrating products (we like Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Condition, pureology.com), and use a moisturizing mask on your hair once a week.
7. If your hair is very curly and dry, try skipping shampoo altogether. Cleanse with a non-foaming conditioner, such as L’Oréal Paris EverCrème Cleansing Conditioner ($6.99, lorealparisusa.com).
8. Apply styling products to curly hair when it’s sopping wet. This will lock in smooth texture and prevent frizz.
9. Choose a layered haircut to avoid the dreaded “triangle” shape. We love these curly hairstyles for all textures and lengths.
10. “Curly hair tends to get tangled easily. To avoid stubborn knots and tangles always use a wide tooth comb to brush hair. Start with at the ends working upwards and spray hair lightly with Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil [$5.99, garnierusa.com]. It gives instant smoothness and shine.” — T.B.
11. For some types of curly or wavy hair, blow drying with a diffuser attachment can help define texture better than air drying. Prep hair with product and blow dry on a low heat setting to protect fragile curls. When you’re finished, smooth hair with a few drops of oil to eliminate flyaways and lock in moisture.
12. Never brush curly hair, since friction can lead to breakage and frizz. Instead, use your fingers to gently comb conditioner through your hair in the shower and remove any tangles.
13. ”For those who have a few stray pieces that don’t seem to curl as nicely as the rest — usually frustrating to curly girls — I recommend going over those few pieces with a curling iron to make the curl look more consistent.” — Hair stylist Leah Sugrue, Salon Mario Russon, Boston
14. Don’t limit yourself to products designed for curly hair. Some of our favorites are designed for all hair types, but still work wonders for waves and coils.
15. Curls are fun to touch, but resist the urge to play with your hair. The more friction you create with your fingers, the frizzier and fuzzier your hair will get.
16. To revive second-day spirals, flip your head upside down and rough up your roots to add volume. Then mist hair with water or a light hold spray to reactivate the products that are already in your hair.
17. Avoid products with sulfates, alcohol and salt, which can dry out and damage curls.
18. Between washes, wear a plastic shower cap when you shower to keep your style frizz-free.
19. “With each new season, switch your hair routine just like you do with your skincare. The summer months call for lighter products which can be used on wet or dry hair to boost and define natural curls or give added definition and shine. Try Garnier Fructis Style Curl Shaping Spray Gel [$4.29, garnierusa.com] – it gives the perfect amount of light control for soft waves and curls.” — T.B.
20. If all else fails, try a braided hairstyle. Curly or wavy texture makes hair easier to style.