How to Style Curly Hair

4 Styling Tricks Curly Girls Swear By

Those of us with naturally wavy, curly, or coily texture know that our hair is full of surprises: One day, it will fall into perfect, glossy ringlets; the next, it will look like a fuzzy mess. But it’s possible to improve the odds of a good hair day by pinpointing the tricks—and the holy grail products—that are most likely to bring out your best curls. Our brand new Perfect Curl Collection has everything you need to experiment with these tried-and-tested hacks that define and de-frizz for the best hair of your life.

You Want: A Better Way to Air Dry | Try: Plopping

A video posted by Sara. (@cachosdesara) on

Search for #plopping on Instagram and you’ll turn up pages of selfies from turban-clad curly girls. The trick has gone viral in recent months thanks to its knack for creating effortless, frizz-free curves. Instagram user cachosdesara has perfected the method: Simply prep wet hair with a spiral-sculpting product like Living Proof’s Curl Defining Styling Cream, flip your curls upside down onto a microfiber towel or T-shirt (avoid terrycloth towels, which can create a roughed up finish), and tie it up so your hair rests, covered, on top of your head. If your curls are prone to going limp, cocktail your styling cream with a dollop of Ouidad’s Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel, a wheat protein-infused formula that offers shape, hold, and protection from the elements.

You Want: Defined, Spiraling Texture | Try: A Twist Out

There’s no rule that says you have to stick with the curl pattern you’re born with. Create cascading corkscrews with the twist out technique, seen here on vlogger Alexandra of AlexandrasGirlyTalk. Prep hair with a leave-in conditioner or curl cream (Living Proof’s version moisturizes hair and provides frizz-free hold), then wrap sections into two-strand twists all over your head—larger twists create looser waves, while smaller ropes will give you tighter coils. Let the texture set overnight while you sleep, and apply a hair oil like Macadamia Professional’s Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment to control frizz before removing the twists. (If your hair type is more tightly coiled, check out another version of the twist out for natural hair.)

You Want: To Cleanse Without Drying Out Your Curls | Try: Co-Washing

Curly hair tends to be drier than straight strands, and too-frequent shampooing can leave ringlets both brittle and prone to frizz. To keep curls hydrated without swearing off showers, skip the suds and wash your hair with a cleansing conditioner like DevaCurl’s No Poo Cleanse instead. The technique is known as “co-washing” among the natural hair community, and vlogger Chevysway shows how it’s done in this video. To combat product buildup, lather up with a curl-friendly, moisturizing shampoo like Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo for an occasional deep cleanse.

You Want: To Preserve Your Curls Overnight | Try: Pineappling

Now that you’ve scored the perfect curly style, make it last by “pineappling” your hair before you hit the pillow. This technique has nothing to do with tropical fruit—its name describes the shape created by pulling your curls into a loose, high ponytail just above your forehead, as YouTuber Alyssa Forever demos here. Piling your hair high keeps it from flattening as you rest your head, so your day two texture looks as good as it did when you first washed it—no surprises here.

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