A curly-haired product junkie is a redundant term—everyone with corkscrews tends to be a hair specialist because curly hair is an ever-evolving medium.You can walk out the door looking like Felicity and two hours later you’re channeling Jessie from “Saved by the Bell.”Why is that, you ask? The distribution of keratin in curls and the shape of the follicle renders this type of hair prone to dryness and extremely fragile. Natural oils can’t travel down the hair shaft as they do along smooth, symmetrical straight hair follicles, so the No. 1 problem with curls is often lack of moisture, frizz and unruliness.As a result, curly-haired gals tend to have an encyclopedic knowledge of product formulations and ingredients. As one myself, I’ve rounded up my personal favorite products and tips as well as highlighted a few savvy curlies and their routines.My Curly TipsTime spent on hair each day: 20 minsCurl icons: Kerri Russell circa first-season “Felicity,” Susan Sarandon in “Thelma & Louise”How I WashWhen I wear my hair curly, I religiously followed curly-haired salon owner, and pioneer of the “no poo” movement, Lorainne Massey’s Curly Girl routine which involves washing your hair with conditioner to give your hair a rest from the detergents found in many shampoos. This method is also referred to as co-washing.Look for a conditioner free of silcones and rich in proteins and emollients. I often use Avalon Organics Olive and Grape Seed Moisturizing Conditioner. Lorainne also has a line of products called DevaCurl, which offers a few cleansing options, as does Michael Gordon’s new line Purely Perfect. If co-washing isn’t for you, make sure you use a sulfate-free shampoo and limit washing to a few times a week.Curly folks tend to layer on products, leading to dulling buildup. Once a week do an apple cider vinegar rinse to dissolve residue and boost shine. Apple Cider vinegar seals the cuticle, cutting down on volume and frizz. Apply equal parts vinegar with water to damp hair then follow with your favorite conditioner.My Curly ProductsMiss Jessie’s Curly Pudding: This versatile cream-gel gives moisturizing hold without stiffness. Lots of curly girls cocktail products to achieve hydration and hold, but this delivers both.Bumble and bumble Bb. Gel: Hands-down the best soft-hold gel on the market. It never flakes and never delivers the dreaded “crunch” factor.Bumble and bumble Curl Conscious Defining Creme: The patented formula maintains the integrity of curls so they don’t droop.L’Oréal Paris Elnett Hairspray: Hairspray is the only thing that keeps crazy baby hairs in check. Elnett dries quickly and is not sticky at all.
Curly Tips from Tiffany Iaia, Fashion StylistTime spent on hair each day: 20 minsCurl icons: Kate Hudson, Jessica AlbaTiffany’s ProductsLiving Proof Full Thickening MousseBig Sexy Hair Volumizing HairsprayMoroccanoil Treatment to keep frizz at bayJohn Frieda Luxurious Volume All-Day Hold HairsprayTiffany’s Styling TipsA diffuser is your friend—use it on wet hair to dissipate the stream of hot air hitting the hair shaft. To use, gently cup the ends of your curls to encourage curl pattern and hold the blow dryer with the nozzle pointing down so as to not ruffle the hair shaft. If you want to encourage volume, do the opposite and point the nozzle upwards so that you are blasting the air towards your roots.Loosen tight curls curls with a 1.5-inch-barrel curling iron. You are resetting your curls into a looser shape and this is particularly impactful along the hair line when you want a bit more polish.Embrace the texture and shape of the curl—go with it, not against it, and find the product combination that works best for you.
Curly Tips from Martiza Devincente, StudentTime spent on hair each day: 30 mins, but on wash days it’s 30 mins in the shower to detangle, and then 30 mins outside the showerCurl icons: Herself!Maritza’s ProductsKinky-Curly Curling Custard for definitionBiosilk Conditioner to de-frizz—she never uses shampooBumble and bumble Curl Conscious Calming CremeAs I Am Leave-In ConditionerMaritza’s Styling TipsAir dry! My technique is to separate hair into sections and then layer in product. Use a Denman brush, which helps to clump the curls together, not frizz and spiral out. To speed up the process, put a little fan on while doing your makeup.
Curly Tips from Stefanie Seifer, Co-founder DirtyandThirty.comTime spent on hair each day: 20 minsCurl icon: Debra MessingStefanie’s ProductsIt’s a 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus KeratinIt’s a 10 Miracle Moisture ShampooHealthy Sexy Hair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave-In ConditionerFekkai Brilliant Glossing CreamStefanie’s Styling TipsPost-shower, everything is about managing the frizz. Air dry or use a towel as a styling tool to shape the curl in bunches. If there are unruly curls, go in with a 2-inch-barrel iron and smooth out the curl while embracing the natural shape and curve.