Curly-Hair Hacks That Will Completely Change Your Life
Having curly hair is an experience like no other. The springy ringlets seemingly have a personality of their own and the hairstyles that you can create with curly hair feel endless. Still, having curly and coily hair hasn't always been as celebrated as it is today, so it's not uncommon to hear someone say that they're not exactly sure how to care for their hair texture.
Unwritten curly-hair rules like the types of specific shampoo to use based on your hair's porosity, why brushing curly hair is bad, or even that certain towels can disrupt your curl pattern, feel like secrets that only a select few are privy to — and that's not even all of them. Not to mention, the commandments vary by curl type, too. Wavy-hair styling tips are very different from those for coily and curly textures.
That's why we've called in curly-hair expert Eladia Lebron to create a beginner's bible to curls. The stylist divulged her best tips for taking care of each hair type. This comprehensive guide explains everything from how to apply conditioner properly to how to plop your curls, which is a game-changing drying technique. And best of all, these hair tips will help you get the best hair of your life without a curling iron in sight.
To learn how to style your curly hair once and for all, select your hair type from the list below or keep scrolling to read all of the professional tips and tricks.
How to Style:
— Additional reporting by Jessica Harrington and Ariel Baker
How to Style Wavy Hair 101
Waves are categorized by their loose S-shape and include those with 2A, 2B, and 2C hair. Some people may mistake their wavy hair for straight without the proper hair-care routine. To learn wavy-hair styling tips from a pro, keep reading.
Wavy Hair Tip #1: Tweak How You Apply Conditioner
We know it's tempting to rake conditioner through your freshly shampooed hair, but the right way to apply moisturizer to your curls is a press and smooth strategy. Squeeze the conditioner from midshaft to ends. Then, run your fingers through to detangle. "The cuticle for curly hair isn't a smooth cuticle, so you have to smooth it in yourself," says Lebron. Once the product is distributed, rinse with cool water to close the hair cuticle completely and lock in the moisture.
Wavy Hair Tip #2: Try the Twirl Technique
It can be hard for waves to take shape, but it's all in the twirl. When your strands are dripping wet (even before you blot dry), coax hair into waves by twisting sections away from the face. Add a product like Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Gel Stronger Hold ($26) to cut down on frizz and help with definition.
Wavy Hair Tip #3: Scrunch For Curl Definition
We hate to break it to you, but you've been scrunching your waves all wrong. This technique helps each curl separate into gorgeous ringlets. Here's the right way: cup the ends and push curls upward. Squeeze just around the ears, release, then slowly move hands away. Go section by section so that every area gets scrunched equally.
Wavy Hair Tip #4: Use a Microfiber Towel
Rubbing your head with a terry towel is the quickest way to ruin any natural curl definition. The Aquis Wrap Hair Drying Towel ($13, Originally $25) is a better solution, but don't put it in the dryer. "The ridges open up more and create frizz when you put it in the dryer," says Lebron. Since the fibers are smooth, a t-shirt is an even better alternative to blot your mane dry.
Wavy Hair Tip #5: Diffuse Your Waves
That bowl-like contraption that comes with your blowdryer is a diffuser, and it's one way to dry your curly hair fast. First, spritz wet hair with a hairspray like the Amika Fluxus Touchable Hairspray ($26), that way all the frizz that is lurking will stay put. When you use a diffuser like the Drybar The Bouncer Diffuser ($34), cup your curls between the attachment and your hand so you can feel when your hair gets too hot. Once your hair is completely dry, hit strands with a cool blast to add even more shine.
Wavy Hair Tip #6: Create Volume With a Chopstick
While those with extra coily hair have the Afro pick, wavy and curly textures can use a chopstick to tease hair. Just push hair from midshaft to roots to get more volume (never tease the ends where your want to preserve the curl pattern). You can also use this unusual tool to separate ringlets with without frizzing the hair up.
Wavy Hair Tip #7: Sleep With a Topknot
Waves tend to get crushed after eight hours rolling around in the sheets. You can save your amazing waves by wearing a ballerina bun to bed. Don't run your fingers through the hair. Just grip strands, twist, and pin up with bobby pins. In the morning, you can refresh the ends with water and a shine serum.
How to Style Curly Hair 101
Curly hair includes those with 3A-, 3B-, and 3C-type curls. Styling curly hair takes a little bit of extra love and care. Keep scrolling to learn more about styling curly hair.
Curly Hair Tip #1: Use Clips to Get Big, Voluminous Hair
Getting amazing volume starts when hair is dripping wet. Apply Curly Girl 50 Double Prong Root Lifting Curl Clips ($13) at the roots before drying hair to get lifted roots.
"The clip needs to be on scalp to not make an indentation on the curl," says Lebron. "Lift the hair off scalp with fingers and follow the scalp in and release." When the hair is 75 percent dry, take out the clips in the same direction you put them in — very slowly.
Curly Hair Tip #2: Try Pineapple While You Sleep
Eladia believes that everyone with curls should own a satin pillowcase, like the Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase ($89), because cotton absorbs all the natural oils and moisture from your hair as you sleep. To avoid, after wetting your ringlets every day, pineapple your ends every night. You can use a loose hair tie to pull hair up to the top of the head. Try to get the hair as close to the hairline as possible. In the morning, just take down and shake.
Curly Hair Tip #3: Moisturize Dry Ends
Curly hair has the tendency to get super dry at the ends. That's because it's nearly impossible for the natural oils at the scalp to make it all the way down the hair shaft, especially when you're not combing and brushing your curls. First, spritz the ends with warm water to open up the cuticle. Then, massage in some Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil ($57).
How to Style Coily Hair 101
Coily hair differs from curly hair thanks to its tighter curl pattern. 4A, 4B, and 4C are all coily hair textures. Keep reading to learn how to style coily hair from a pro.
Coily Hair Tip #1: DIY a Stocking Cap to Stretch Curls
Got an old pair of ripped tights? Then you have everything you need to stretch your curls out overnight. Cut off the legs and use the control top as a DIY bonnet. Place the pantyhose over your neck then pull up over ears and hair. This style will help you get more volume on day two.
Coily Hair Tip #2: Pineapple In Four Sections
If your short hair won't stretch into one pineapple ponytail, split the strands into four sections. Loosely layer two rubber elastics (yes, this is one time it's OK to use these particular hair ties) around the hair only once, and place them closer to the ends. "If you put it too tight, you'll have an indent of the rubber-band on the hair," says Lebron. "Leave it sort of loose so there is less damage."