CURLS ARE IN! So skip taming your texture. Big, loose, tight, wavy -- they're all good. As long as you keep your hair hydrated and healthy, anything goes. Of course, getting your curls in top form may be challenging (especially if you've opted to wear it straight in the past).
Here's the deal: Curly strands are naturally dry and fragile, so it takes extra TLC and plenty of moisture to avoid frizziness, dullness, and lack of definition. A routine of gentle cleansing and regular conditioning ensures the best look. You also need to choose the right styles and products for your unique curl pattern. Happily, the days of greasy serums and crunchy gels are over, replaced by a multitude of options. Our quickie guide will get you started.
Coat hair with a curl cream for hydration and a gel for hold (DevaCurl's Styling Cream does the best of both worlds, $25, birchbox.com). Dry using a diffuser. Want to break up larger curls? Coat palms with an oil, and gently separate into spirals.
Layer in oil (Macadamia Natural Healing Oil Spray, $30, belk.com), leave-in cream (Goldwell Dual Senses Rich Repair Leave-In Treatment, $16, beautyplussalon.com), and either curl gel or butter (Cantu Shea Butter Curling Cream, $6, walmart.com). Twist hair into sections and diffuse. Switch to a nozzle and stretch your curls as you finish drying; release twists.
Nothing strips moisture from your curls faster than washing them every day or using regular shampoo. But different methods and formulas can protect them during cleansing. Learn the lingo and find out which will work best for you.
Low-poo: Use a sulfate-free or low-lathering shampoo (try Bumble and Bumble's Invisible Oil Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $12, birchbox.com). Best if you wash your hair two to three times per week.
Pre-poo: Coat your curls with an oil or conditioner (Dove Daily Moisture Conditioner, $5, jet.com) before shampooing to protect your hair during cleansing and/or detangling. Best for damaged, breakage-prone strands.
Co-wash: Replace your shampoo with co-wash, a rinse-out conditioner containing low levels of cleansers (try Redken Curvaceious Co Wash Foam Shampoo, $20, jcpenny.com) -- best for the driest of curls and coils. You'll still need to use a clarifying shampoo (Ion Clarifying Shampoo, $7, sallybeauty.com) once a month to remove oil, dirt, and dead skin.
Dry shampoo: Apply sprays or powder (Verb Dry Shampoo, $14, sephora.com) with oil-absorbing ingredients to clean greasy roots. These are best for nonwash days or after a midday workout.