Have the right tools:
Great curls start with having the right styling tools for your hair type. Make sure you always have a strong flat brush with widely dispersed plastic or metal bristles. This is the ideal tool for working through stubborn knots and tangles. Be certain that the ends of the bristles are coated to protect your scalp. Most combs are too week for curly hair unless you hair particularly thin or fine hair. Generally, curls come with thick heads of hair, and the hairs themselves tend to be thicker and often coarser. Round brushes are only necessary if you will be straightening your curls. If you have especially tangled hair, try working through the ends first instead of starting at your scalp. Brushing from the top can worsen knots by bunching them together.
The second most important tool for handling curly hair is a quality hair dryer and diffuser. A diffuser is a plastic attachment that snaps on to the end of your hair dryer. Usually, the larger the diffuser the better. What this tool does is maintain the high heat needed to try and style your hair while “diffusing” the force of the air coming out of the dryer. This keeps the air from whipping your curls around and ruining them before they can fully form. Use your dryer on high heat, as most newer hair products are heat activated. With a diffuser on, you should be able to get the dryer fairly close to your scalp to dry the curls at the crown of your head.
It’s all in the Handling:
The majority of problems associated with curly hair come from improper styling techniques rather than a problem with the hair itself. Never ever brush curls once they have begun to dry, and never pick through your curls with your fingers. Also, never shake out curls. Well meaning stylists try this one all the time, but all it will do is turn beautiful chunky curls into skinny sticky strings. As a rule, touch your curls as little as possible during the styling process. When you do touch your hair, think of lifting the hair onto the diffuser rather than scrunching. The term “scrunching” has to do with the misconception that curly hair had to be forced into curly by squeezing it into place with sticky products. In the eighties, this look was fine, but today’s curls are loose and flowing.
Only brush your hair when it is very wet or just barely towel dried. Keeping your hair wet like this will allow the hair to form back into natural clusters that will become your curls. Brushing hair when it is too dry will either frizz it out or cause the curls to separate which leads to the fro look. Always start drying your hair with your head flipped completely over. While drying your own hair, you may want to remain standing and bend completely over at the waste. This will keep curls on the top of your head from flattening out, which can create the flat on top curly at the bottom look of the seventies. If the curls at the top still seem too flat, experiment with brushing your hair in different directions before the drying process. For example, try brushing your hair straight back rather than parting it down the middle. This will allow your hair to flip around more as you move, a’ la Sarah Jessica.
Some curls can be air-dried and still look great, while others will need to be bone dry to look good. You will have to play around to see what works best with your hair. This issue will also come up when you travel. Moist climates can be very challenging for curly hair, and while visiting Florida updos may be the only reasonable option. Try going straight to the hair dryer while your hair is still soaking. This will give you fat chunky curls, while allowing the hair to separate a little can sometimes give body to thinner heads of hair.
The Right Potions Put Curls in Motion:
If there’s one thing that’s worth the splurge, it’s your hair products. Curly hair needs a lot of product, especially if it’s long and thick, so buy the economy size. Be prepared that curly hair adapts to certain products after a few weeks, so you will want to have a variety of products on hand to rejuvenate tired ringlets. Hair products don’t have to be super-expensive to be effective; in fact, many of the best products for curls can be found at any local drugstore.
Any type of hair that is being heat styled every day with get damaged and dry out. Always have a hair repair product in your shower to give your hair a quick pick me up. The top of the line here would be something like the Kerastase line, which has a series of hair repair products for different hair types. Kpak would be a little more affordable, but even Pantene has a hair reconstructor that is very effective.
Now that your hair is healthy, keep it that way by using a leave-in conditioner. Some hair can be weighed down by these products, especially if they are creamy, so consider using a spray-in conditioner or damage control product with a watery consistency. Aveda makes one called “Damage Control” from the Brilliant line, and the Frizz Ease “Five Minute Manager” can speed up the drying process while maintaining shine. Brush leave-in conditioner into your hair while it is still very damp. This will help curls clump together and naturally spring up. Consider finding a product with curl boosting ingredients, but be aware that hair adapts to these products more quickly than to others.
Before applying heat add one more layer with a slightly sticky or syrupy product. For some hair types, a product such as Frizz Ease “Hair Serum” will be perfect. Other curls will need the spring that a light hold gel product will give. Aveda makes one called “Retexturizing Gel” and Nolita’s “Thickening Serum” is incredibly light and shiny with just enough hold. Start drying still moist or even wet hair with these two layers brushed through. Allow your hair to dry half way. Flip your head over and look in the mirror. If curls are starting to separate or severely frizz up, you probably need more gel product. Apply the gel to your hands and spread it over your hair, but don’t break the curls with your fingers. Keep you hands flat. Don’t put too much product at the top of your head as this will weigh down your face-framing curls. Pay special attention to ends and the underside of your hair, as these areas will frizz up first. Flip back over and start drying again. Lift the curls onto the diffuser plate or cup them in your hand while you blow hot air between your fingers. Frizzy areas should be calming down, and your curls should be beginning to look springy. Always prioritize the top of your head and the curls around your face. These areas have the greatest effect on how your finished style will look.
Finally, when your hair is 80-90% dry, apply a creamy finishing product that will add weight and keep your style from expanding as the day goes on. Kerastase offers “Elasto-Curl” for this purpose, and Aveda’s “Universal Styling CrÃ?Â¨me” will leave your hair glassy and fragranced. For hair that needs a lot of weight, Sebastian’s “Molding Mud” is excellent, but a very small amount of this product will go a long way. CrÃ?Â¨me products need a lot of heat, so only use them if you have the time to stay under the dryer for a while. Also, make sure hair is pretty dry before applying crÃ?Â¨mes. This kind of product on wet hair will create a frizzy mess; that is, if you are lucky enough to get your hair dry through the thick moist layer of product.
If you are using these cream products every day as part of your styling process, hair will probably develop build up. You can tell this has happened when hair lies flatter than usual, or it starts to adapt to the product, or it seems dirty right after a washing. If this occurs, you will want to use a shampoo designed for residue removal.