Back in the dark ages of hair care, you needed fat rollers and a giant hair dryer to rock a head of curls. These days, thanks to a bevvy of leave-in conditioners and styling products, it is easier than ever to be a curly girl. Whether your hair is flat or frizzy, curly hair is within your reach.
Prepare your hair. If you have straight hair, shampooing is OK. If you have wavy, kinky or frizzy hair, drop the shampoo habit, which treats fragile curls like laundry detergent. You can massage a lotion-style conditioner into your scalp to cleanse it, or use a shampoo-replacement product like NoPoo.
Wring out excess moisture. Water is the enemy of perfectly formed curls, so gently squeeze out water by grabbing your hair in sections. People with thick or frizzy hair should avoid towel drying, but blotting with a towel is fine.
Apply a leave-in conditioner. If your hair is straight or barely wavy, a light, lotion-based conditioner suffices. However, if you have thicker, kinkier hair, lotion conditioners are a waste of time. You need thick formulations, like muds or puddings. Some favorite brands on the Naturally Curly website (see Resources) include Hot Buttered Curls, Blended Beauty Happy Nappy Styles, Mixed Chicks Leave-in Conditioner and Long Lovely Locks Coco Light.
Style your hair. If you have straight hair or wavy hair, you can scrunch in gel to help give your hair some bounce. If you have kinky or frizzy hair, work gel or another styling product through your hair in sections, but be careful not to brush or comb your hair. Place clips in your hair to let the different layers dry.
Finish the look. People with straight or wavy hair can use hot rollers for big, bouncy curls. They can use a crimping iron, but only on dry hair, to get the bedhead look. People with kinky or frizzy hair can let their curls dry naturally or use a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment. People of all hair types can apply a finishing spray to give their hairstyle some sheen.
- Avoid alcohol-based products if your hair is dry or damaged.