There is no one-size fits all beauty routine or formula. This is especially true for different hair types. Curly hair is a general term that covers nine types of curls, from loose curls to textured curls.
Irinel de Leon is a celebrity hairstylist who is also an Ouidad ambassador. “Identifying your curl type can feel like cracking a Sci-Fi case,” she says. Type one is straight, type two is curly, type three is straight, and type four, is curly. There are sub-classifications within each type, such as A, C, and B. These are based on how big your curl or wave is. A is the largest curl pattern and C is the tightest.
It’s much easier to identify your curl type and the best ways to maintain your hair. It may seem complicated, but celebrity hairstylists are experts in curl care. Keep reading for their top tips.
- Conditioner is more effective if your curls are tighter
Curly hair is notoriously dry and prone frizz. Your curl type will determine the type of conditioner that you should use. Leon says that Type 4 hair is more susceptible to breaking and less able to absorb moisture. Therefore, it is important to use the right products and care for your hair. This hair type requires deep conditioners and leave in treatments such as Shea Moisture Strengthening and Restore Treatment Masque ($9 at target.com).
Leon says that type 3 curls require similar attention. “It has a coiling structure from the roots to its ends (think, ringslets), and is susceptible to dehydration. Extra care and hydration will be necessary for this type of curl type.” This hair type is best served by a leave-in such as Ouidad Get Hydrated Ultra Moisturizing Splash Masque ($32, ouidad.com). Leon says that the super-concentrated splash masque delivers a quick boost of moisture to dry curls, without the need for a deep conditioning treatment.
Type 2 curls require light hydration because they are more loose and wavy than other types. Anything too heavy will cause it to break down. For wavy hair, we love Briogeo Farewell frizz Rosarco Milk Leave in Conditioning Spray ($24 at dermstore.com).
- Do not apply product to hair that is still damp
Michael Duenas is a celebrity hairstylist who is also a consulting creative director. “It’s important to work with hair when its at its most damp state,” he says. This means that all styling, including detangling, conditioning, or styling, should take place when the hair is wet. This helps to reduce frizz when the hair is dry. Duenas says to use your favorite shampoo and conditioner while you wash your hair. You can then run your fingers through your hair to remove any tangles. Rinse the hair.
When you are ready to style your hair, get out of the shower. Use your products to rake through the hair until it is wet. Then scrunch the curls with your fingers. Duenas says that hair should feel soft and slippery, like seaweed.
- Plop your hair
You have two options after styling your hair: air dry it or diffuse it. Leon suggests the plopping method, which requires only a T-shirt and microfiber towel. She explains that you can either lay a T-shirt, or a microfiber towel, on the bed edge or in a chair. The sleeves of the T shirt should be closest to your body. Gently turn your head towards the side, then bend at your waist and lower your hair towards your T-shirt/towel. Keep bending until your top of the head rests on a chair or bed. Next, flip the fabric over your neck and grab the fabric behind your head. Next, tie the sleeves of your towel or T-shirt over the fabric lying on your neck.
She recommends that you tuck the sleeves into the front of a long-sleeved shirt. Plopping can be a faster way to dry your hair, create defined curls, and reduce frizz.
- It is okay to brush curly hair
Although it can be messy to brush your curls when your hair is dry, you can still make your hair look great. For all types of curls, a comb or paddle brush works best. Leon suggests that you cut your hair into two-inch sections, then scrunch it while styling. She says this method “helps clump curls together to give more definition.”
- Wash it once per week
Duenas recommends that curly hair should be washed at least twice per week, as curly hair is more dry than straight hair. You can wash your hair more often if you are more active. Curly hair is already dry so you need to avoid stripping it of its natural moisture.
- You can sleep with the right hairstyle for overnight
Leon suggests sleeping with your curls in an upside-down pineapple style to protect them overnight. She suggests creating a loose ponytail that is high on the top of your head with a soft scrunchie, or soft hair tie. This style allows the hair to rest on the top of your head, which can reduce frizz and flatten curls. It also protects you from any knots during sleep.
She recommends the Medusa-clipping method for type 2 hair. This allows you to keep your waves looking natural. She advises that you use small claw clips to cut sections of hair. This will keep it from waking you up at night. This technique is sometimes more effective than having your hair in a ponytail. It’s gentler on the hair and doesn’t affect the wave pattern.
- Use a silk pillowcase
Duenas suggests sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase after your curls have been styled overnight. He says that this will prevent your inner curls from becoming frizzy and keep the fabric from drawing out moisture. A great choice is the Slip Silk Pillowcase (90$, nordstrom.com).
- Do not touch your hair
Whatever your curl type, you should not touch your hair after it has dried. Leon explains that the no-touching hair rule applies to curly hair because contact with curls, such as your fingers or a hairbrush, can cause them to unravel and increase frizz.
- Keep the hair detangler spray out of reach
Leon says that a good tip is to store your detangling spray inside the fridge. This will seal the hair cuticle, lock in moisture, and help keep the environment from causing frizz, dryness, or environmental aggressors. It’s also a great way for summer to refresh your hair and scalp.