There is nothing more frustrating than hopping out of the shower, scrunching your hair and hoping for luscious, bouncy ringlets — and instead achieving a sheepdog-ish do that’s frizzy and incredibly disappointing. Well, curly hair girls, straighten no more. We checked in with some fantastic stylists who shared tips to help you maximize curly hair and minimize prep time!
Find the right cut!
The first step to achieving a perfect style is finding the right cut to fit your hair. Suave Celebrity Hairstylist Luke O’Connor suggests keeping hair on the long side.
“Too many short layers will cause the hair to shrink into a round shape—which is something you want to avoid if you have curly hair,” O’Connor explains. An A-line cut framing the face with long, soft layers throughout, works with pretty much any face shape.
If you do plan to keep hair shot, TLC What Not to Wear stylist and owner of Arrojo Salon in New York City, Nick Arrojo, advises curly girls to choose a cut that frames their face in a curved, round fashion.
The right length for these layers depends on the tightness and texture of your personal curls— describe your desired effect to your hairstyle, and they should be able to work accordingly.
What’s the key to transforming limp strands into big, face flattering curls? Starting at the roots. Gels, spray gels and mousse are typically best for pumping hair up. O’Connor suggests Suave Professionals Extra Hold Gel for thick, coarse hair- the product gives extra support for roots, bringing much more volume to the style. Spray gel works better for women with medium curly hair, and scrunching mousse provides a lightweight alternative for girls with fine hair that need added body all over.
Celebrity stylist Guy Guido suggests styling lotions, not gels, for fine hair. “It will shape and defrizz the curl but keep it light enough to get volume out of it as it starts drying,” Guido explained. For thicker hair, however, he suggests a stronger shaping product such as a gel to manage and control it.
“A product I love that is sort of in between a gel and a lotion that works great for thin or thick curly hair is ‘SEXY HAIR CONCEPTS- What a Body’ styling lotion,” Guido said.
Selecting a shampoo
Although it is often encouraged that women don’t wash their hair every day as not to strip it of its natural oils, curly hair should be washed on a day to day basis- after being slept on, hair needs refreshment to get its natural curl back! O’Connor recommended Suave Professionals Healthy Curls Shampoo and Conditioner, a standout product from the line he represents.
Arrojo also advises women to use moisture rich shampoos and conditioners to plump up curls and keep hair healthy.
Guido explained that curly hair, by its physical make-up, is naturally drier than straight hair and consequently requires a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. He cautions against using “volumizing shampoos,” which often have low pH levels that will dry out hair, opening cuticles and giving the appearance of fuller hair but at a damaging price. He suggests Nexxus Therapy shampoo and Humectruss conditioner, as well as SEXY HAIR CONCEPTS “smoothing” shampoo and conditioner.
Fantastic Sams stylist Ashley Orthman also recommends Matrix Curl Life Shampoo and Conditioner, which reduce the chance of dandruff and restores curl.
Spectacular styling products
… And using them right! O’Connor suggests using shampoo and conditioner specifically suited for curly hair.
“Apply Healthy Curls Scrunching Mousse on damp hair,” O’Connor describes, “Flip over and dry hair on a low setting or use a diffuser to keep the warm low of air soft. This will allow the curls to take on their most natural form.”
Keep curls in place without weighing them down with a lightweight spray. O’Connor suggests Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Hairspray and Mist to ensure curls have “minimum frizz and lustrous shine.”
Arrojo even suggests custom-blending two products. For finer hair types, he suggests using a volume-foam first and then a styling crème; for medium to thick hair, he suggests starting with Arrojo styling crème and finishing with Arrojo curl crème.
Arrojo says its best to start with damp hair, and to apply a dime-sized dab of your first product starting at the roots and continuing to the end of the hair. Next, repeat with the second product. Then, cup curls in your hands and squeeze gently, pushing curls back into themselves without applying pressure at the roots.
“When dry, you can use your fingers to gently tussle out and ruffle your roots,” Arrojo said. “This develops the softer, looser curls that are sexy and sophisticated.”
Make it last!
“To touch up your curls mid-day, mist with a little Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine mist, and then lightly scrunch into place,” suggests O’Connor.
Arrojo emphasizes the importance of moisture in keeping up curls. Although the product doesn’t have to be designed specifically for curly hair, the product must have lots of moisture to refresh the style.