Tips to Style Curly Hair

by Melissa Luznicky Garrett

Nothing says sexy like a head full of ultra-feminine curls. Whether super-tight and kinky or loose and flowing, curls are hot. It's no wonder there are so many products available to either enhance the naturally curly hair you've got or give straight hair more volume and bounce. And if you start with a good foundation, styling curly hair doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming.

Work It

One perk of having curly hair is that it doesn't require as frequent a washing as straight hair. Natural emollients from the scalp actually work to keep curly hair soft and manageable, so washing two to three times per week with a hydrating shampoo is enough to keep it clean and healthy. Because curly hair tends to be drier and more brittle than straight hair, moisturizing is essential to keeping curls frizz-free and supple looking. Meredith Gray, beauty editor for Seventeen Magazine, suggests deep conditioning curly hair once a week. Work a quarter-size dollop of conditioning cream into damp hair, concentrating on the ends where hair tends to be the driest. Let the conditioner soak into your hair for 15 minutes and then rinse clean. When drying hair, use a 100-percent-cotton towel to blot, not rub. Vigorous rubbing can damage your hair and promote frizzing. Use a wide-tooth comb to work out tangles starting at the ends. Coat hair with an anti-frizz serum and rake it through with your fingers.

Go Natural

Another benefit of curly hair is the virtually instant, low-maintenance style regimen. However, don't underestimate the importance of a good cut to maximize your curls. According to Redbook magazine, people with curly hair should work with a stylist to determine how their cut and curls naturally complement each other. Flattering cuts make styling curly a cinch. While hair is damp, lightly coat hair with a mixture of gel and leave-in conditioner. Scrunch the ends and let air dry, or use an air diffuser until hair is almost dry. A diffuser is an attachment that fits to the end of a hair dryer and evenly distributes heat while minimizing damage to your hair. Avoid brushing curly hair to cut down on frizz, and instead use your fingers to style. Wear curly hair fastened loosely behind your head with a clip, or secure it in a low ponytail. Pull several strands of hair out of the clip so they frame your face and give the hairstyle a more natural appearance.

Turn Up The Heat

If your curls tend to look frizzy or need a little boost, try heat styling. To soften tight curls, wrap hair in hot rollers and spritz with a setting spray. Once the rollers have cooled, remove them and use your fingers to separate the curls. A big-barreled curling iron will give you the same effect while allowing you to control the amount of curl. Simply wrap hair in one- to two-inch sections around the curling iron at various points about your head. To give your curls a more tousled look, rake mousse through dry hair with your fingers. The key with curly hair is to make it look not too overdone.

About the Author

Melissa Luznicky Garrett is a graduate of The Children’s Institute of Literature, as well as a published author of adult and young adult novels. With six years of experience as a professional writer and editor, her work has appeared in both online and local print publications.

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