Beating curly hair blues

Jul 6, 2010 at 5:05 a.m. ET

Kinks. Corkscrews. Frizz. Ringlets. Whatever the shape of their hair, curly-haired girls know that it can take on a life of its own. Taming the beast can be a lifelong battle, and a futile one at that. Images of smooth, straight tresses and perfectly tousled waves are everywhere, often leaving those of us with natural curls asking, "Why me?" Humidity, dry ends and uncontrolled styles define the curly hair blues. But fear not, curly-haired friend. You can beat these blues.

Bad hair day

Weather or not

The weather greatly affects the quality of your curls. If you live in a dry climate, your curls probably look a little dull and thirsty. And we all know what humidity does to curls (can you say, "Poof"?). Deep conditioning treatments and leave-in conditioners will keep parched strands moisturized, while curl-specific products with a bit more hold will dissuade humidity-fueled puffiness.

Find your match

When it comes to curly hair, all stylists are not created equal. Delicate curls can be temperamental when mistreated by unskilled hands. Stylists who are trained to work with kinky tresses rely on specific techniques to bring out the bouncy, beautiful curls you want. A bad cut can lead to the dreaded triangular shape that makes so many of us dread our natural hair texture.

Professional treatments

Sometimes, at-home and over-the-counter treatments just don't do enough to bring out the true beauty of curls. Fortunately, a wide range of professional treatments can take your style to the next level. Talk to your stylist about straightening and smoothing treatments like the Brazilian blow out, Brazilian straightening treatment and the Japanese smoothing treatment. Results range from permanently straight hair (as in, it has to grow out) to temporarily calmer, shiny hair. Some of these treatments can be damaging, so be sure to get all of your questions answered before you commit.

curl-friendly styles

One of the most common complaints of curly-haired girls is that they can't pull off most of the hairstyles found in magazines or in the movies. Rather than set yourself up for disappointment, stick with the styles that work best for curly hair. Unless you want to go pixie-short (and stay that way forever), avoid super-short styles. Yes, they are adorable, but curly hair usually becomes curlier (and more uncontrollable) the shorter it gets. A little length provides some much needed weight, which can help make your hair look a little tamer.

Tricks of the trade

Curly or not, many women resort to sloppy ponytails when a bad hair day seems unavoidable. When you're working around the house, this minimalistic look is fine. It's a good idea to learn how to create at least one sophisticated up do that will complement your curls, however. Next time you are getting a cut or color, ask your stylist to show you some quick and easy looks so that you can upgrade the ponytail look. That way, when a bout of hair blues hits, you will be prepared.

Don't fight it

We've all heard that the grass is greener, but sometimes the grass is just a different texture, which doesn't make it any less beautiful... just different. Rather than trying to force your hair to be something that it isn't, embrace your reality and celebrate the curly life.

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