I used to be willing to spend up to an hour blazing my curly hair into submission with a blow-dryer set to the earth’s core temperature. Now? I’m flat-iron lazy and proud.

Wearing your hair in a style that works with your natural texture not only saves time, it can also be quite flattering. “Soft waves or curls can actually appear more youthful,” says Susan Konkin, a hairstylist at Delineation Hair & Skin Essentials in Toronto. “It’s a less severe look than dead-straight hair.”

Konkin says no two heads of wavy hair are alike and that curly girls should embrace their uniqueness. I’m definitely ready to embrace some extra sleep in the mornings. So where to begin?

Readers with waves or curls will be familiar with the typical challenges (random flat spots, frizz, Christmas tree-shaped salon mishaps), so it’s important to start with the right cut. Find an experienced stylist and ask for a do that works with your lifestyle and hair texture. Layers are a must, as they can take the bulk out of tight curls and give shape to loose waves, and get your hair cut dry, so the stylist can see your natural curl pattern.

A few tips:

  • Konkin recommends a bit of colour for curly hair. “Unlike straight hair, which reflects light, curly hair absorbs it, making it dull and not as shiny. A semi-permanent shade or gloss can be great for shine and radiance.”
  • It’s harder for moisture to travel down a curly hair shaft. Use curl-formulated moisturizing shampoos and fortifying conditioners.
  • Be prepared to try a few different products or “cocktail” several ones together to find what works best.
  • Apply product with your fingers when your hair is very wet — don’t brush it through or you’ll separate the curls.
  • Have straight hair? Try hot rollers or a texturizing product for extra body.

The shelves are bursting with great options for all types of waves and curls. Here are a few I’ve tried and loved.

DevaCurl‘s ergonomically designed DevaFuser ($41 with adapter) dries curls quickly with zero frizz.

Hair & Skin Essentials Just Great Curls Curl Definer ($20) promises up to 90 per cent humidity protection and creates soft, shiny curls that last.

Re:Coil Curl Activator ($19) by AG is a non-sticky cream that creates a textured, tousled look for wavy hair.

DevaCurl Low-Poo Cleanser ($21) has less lather-making detergents, which can dry hair out.

Thick, rich and conditioning, Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding ($41) turns coarse hair into beautifully bouncy spirals.

Sunsilk Waves of Envy Gel & Cream Twist ($5) uses a blend of gel and cream to help define and control waves without crunch.

The vitamin B1 in Tresemme‘s Flawless Curls Curl Moisturizing Conditioner ($7) helps to detangle, smooth and soften curly or wavy hair.