Curly hair: 6 rules to live by
Expert tips on how to cut, tame and style curly and wavy hair.
Women with naturally wavy hair—we feel your pain. “When I see a woman with curly hair, most of the time I feel sorry for her because she can’t quite get it together,” says Kevin Murphy, celebrity hair stylist. “Curly hair is really hard to maintain, which is unfortunate.” But we still love a head of
shiny, wavy curls anyway. So we chatted up the pros for their expert rules for curly hair, from cut to style and the products used in between, to get your best waves yet.
CURLY HAIR RULES
1. Make peace with your curls
The trick to accepting the woes known only to curly-haired women is to work
with your delicate tresses—not fight them. “Curly hair is very temperamental and the type of product is really as important as how much or how little of it you put in,” says Murphy. This is especially true for perfecting the science of
achieving a natural-looking curl. “It’s a bit more of an effort, because it’s never foolproof. It’s different every time you do your hair and a lot of it relies on humidity, what shampoo you’ve used, what product you put in and how long you waited to put it in for.”
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2. Keep curls soft
Even when piling on texturizing wax and
beach sprays, the goal is always to achieve naturally wavy hair. “You don’t want hair to feel scrunched,” explains Brennen Demelo, a Toronto-based stylist and owner of Brennen Demelo Studios. This season, waves are interpreted as more organic and disheveled than their perfectly styled curly counterparts. “Layer on cream texture and wax to get moldability and movement in the wave.”
And avoid mousse—go for a lotion or cream instead. “I think a cream is better than a spray. A spray goes too all over, and you need to massage the product into curls,” says Murphy. “I would also recommend leaving a bit of conditioner in the hair and to not fully rinse it out.” This also helps to prevent flyaways and retain moisture when hair is towel dried.
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Read on to the next page for more rules on taming wavy hair…
3. Use curl-friendly products
Use shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for curly hair—depending on the weight and thickness of the curls. “I’d go for a volumizing shampoo and then a conditioner that contains Shea butter or cocoa butter, because they’re really nice on curly hair,” says Murphy. Try Kevin Murphy Luxury Wash Shampoo to moisturize and add sheen to
thick, coarse hair. And look for products that revive elasticity. “Curls need elasticity to bounce,” says Murphy.
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4. Make friends with humidity
This may seem counterintuitive but hear us out—humidity is actually good for curly hair. “And the more humid it is, the better,” says Murphy. “When you want to put your product in, make sure the bathroom is all steamy; it’ll
help the curls bounce up again.” And look for humectant products –not anti-humectant—because they contain elasticity in them. But be careful: “The thing that makes frizzy hair curly, is almost too much moisture as well, so it’s really hard to get that right balance. Humidity is really good but you probably want to use less product when it’s humid if you’re using a curl enhancer.” Case in point: the halo of frizz that envelops women with curly hair because of too much moisture. “It’s about getting the mix right. And in humid weather I’d use less product.”
More ways to minimize damage on curly hair on the next page…
5. Avoid washing hair—seriously
Develop a hair-washing schedule: “I would wash one day and the next I would just wet hair and put conditioner on it,” says Murphy, who would repeat this trick on third-day hair before finally washing on day four. But even the practice of washing curly hair is subjective: “Running conditioner through the hair is enough to get rid of any dust and grime, and it’s also a good way of building up conditioning and
strengthening the hair,” he adds. “It’s always good to add something extra to curly hair because the cuticle tends to be a bit more open so it can be more tangly.” Run Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Smoothing Conditioner through curls to
freshen up day-old tresses.
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6. Minimize damage
Because hair grows approximately half an inch every month, the strands—from mid-length to ends— are about six-years-old on long hair. “Imagine all the abuse it’s had!” says Roch LeMay, Matrix lead educator. (Especially if you’re
using a flat iron on top of your fresh ombré look.) To safely play with the look of longer, wavy hair, “adjust the heat and curl formation with your curling iron or hot rollers,” says LeMay.
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7. Go for regular haircuts
This one’s a non-negotiable, especially when it comes to
maintaining healthy locks. “Every time I see a woman with curly hair I’m like, you’re brave, for one, and two, you need a haircut,” says Murphy. Sagely advice that just so happens to be on-trend this season and the next few to come. “I think there’s a bit of a short ‘70s shag—hair that’s off the shoulder but it’s rounder, shorter curls. That one’s going to be in fashion when you least expect it, because
all the models have cut their hair off.” And when that happens, the rest of us with natural curls will likely follow suit.
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