Top 10 Tips For Beautiful Curly Hair

I spent most of my life in a heated battle with my curls. Born into a family of women with long blonde slinky straight locks (think California beach babes in the 70’s), I stuck out like a sore thumb. While I watched my older sisters rock Dorothy Hamill style bobs, and Farah Fawcett feathered wings in the 70’s and evolve into the ultimately high hair sprayed bangs of the 80’s and 90’s…. I suffered through the challenges of attempting to tame my uncontrollable mane of curls and frizz. I tried fruitlessly to minimize, flatten and stretch my curls through a variety of homegrown techniques that mostly ended with me hiding it under countless scarfs and bandanas.

As I grew older, I experimented with way too many chemical straighteners and hot irons. The results were less than satisfying and many times I was left with massive tangles, frizz and irreparable damage. Panic and tears usually ensued and necessitated emergency haircuts.

Then in my mid 20’s I moved to New York City. A melting pot of culture and ethnicities provided a glorious mix of hair textures. I quickly learned to embrace my individuality and started to feel comfortable for the first time in my own skin hair.  I began to frequent hair salons that specialized in curly hair and didn’t visibly recoil when I walked through the door. The professional advice and experienced styling techniques I quickly grew to appreciate my thick curls and learned how to bring out the best in them.

Here are my top tips to help you maximize the beauty of your curls…

  1. Identify your type of curls- wavy (loose or defined), curly, or coils. Knowing what kind of curls you have, and what your individual hair needs are will help you pick the correct products. Dry, frizzy locks will need moisturizing oil or butter-based products. Thin, flyaway waves will need volumizing products and light -shine oils.
  2. Wash your hair as minimally as possible to enhance your natural oils. The frequency of how often you need to wash will depend on how often you exercise and how much product you use on a daily basis.
  3. Comb conditioner through while in the shower with a wide tooth comb to detangle and evenly distribute.
  4. Treat wet hair gently. Pat dry with a super-absorbent microfiber towel and scrunch your hair dry (vs. rubbing vigorously) in order to limit hair breakage.
  5. Add styling products to damp hair using fingers or wide tooth comb to create well defined coils.
  6. Mousses and hair gels can minimize frizz. Use sparingly as the alcohol content in mousses can exacerbate dryness. The overuse of gels can create sticky, stiff, crunchy curls.
  7. If you are going to use a blow dryer- apply a heat protecting product first. And be sure to use a diffuser to distribute hot air evenly while manually scrunching curls into place.
  8. Sleep with a hair mask or serum (paying special attention to ends) wrapped in a towel and wake up to shiny, healthy curls.
  9. Blast your hair with cold air after styling or cold water in the shower for extra gloss. The cold air and water seal the cuticle for a shinier appearance.
  10. Keep a small tube of hair oil on hand for last minute touch ups throughout the day. Keratin, coconut and argan oil-based products seem to have the best results.