Curly hair is most definitely an art form, even if you were born with natural bounce and ringlets. If you’re not using products that help heal and define your curls, you could very well be sabotaging them, because a haircare routine for naturally curly hair should absolutely differ from the haircare routine of someone with pin-straight hair or beach waves. Odds are, if you’re using shampoos, gels, and serums fit for straight hair, you’re not getting the moisture and definition that you need to keep your curls looking their best all day.
That’s why I reached out to Nicole Perteet, a hair stylist at Marie Robinson Salon. She had tons of interesting things to say about the best haircare routine for curly hair. Her top suggestion? Moisture, moisture, moisture. “Because the natural oils from your scalp have to travel further down the hair shaft, curly hair tends to be drier than straight hair,” Perteet says. She was also generous enough to give me a few of her top product picks for her curly-haired clients, and all of them are super well-rounded options that provide shine, moisture, hold, and definition without weighing down your ringlets. Check out Perteet’s top curly hair tips, as well as her favorite products.
Skip The Sulfates In Your Shampoo
According to Perteet, “It is very important not to rob curly hair of its natural oils when shampooing. Using a sulfate-free shampoo is a must. I love Aquage silkening shampoo for curly hair types; it gently cleanses the scalp without stripping the necessary oils.” The luxurious lather feels great and actually leaves your hair clean without having to compromise on moisture.
Leave Your Natural Oils Intact
Another great option for curly hair is Hair One cleansing conditioner. It’s free of sulfates, like Perteet recommends, and it also cleanses the scalp without removing any natural oils. Argan oil and other natural extracts add moisture back into the hair, providing the necessary definition and volume for beautiful curls.
Curly Hair Needs More Moisture
“You want to make sure you are providing enough moisture for your curls to look their best,” Perteet says. “Making sure to choose a moisture-rich conditioner, such as Wella Brilliance conditioner, can help achieve a healthy look and feel.” It’s especially great for color or heat-treated hair, too, because it provides tons of healing hydration without weighing your hair down.
Diffuse Hair For Bouncy, Voluminous Curls
“Depending on the look you are going for, you should decide between using a diffuser or letting your curls air dry. Using a diffuser will give you bouncy curls. The combination of the diffuser teeth and the warm air will allow your curls to dry with more volume, therefore providing more bounce.” The Curly Co's collapsible hair diffuser is a number one best-seller because it fits almost every model of hair dryer, collapses for easy storage and travel, and seriously cuts down on frizz and drying time.
Use A Great Hairspray, But Use It Sparingly
“Because curly hair tends to be dry, I only recommend hairspray to contain fly-always on the hair part and the hairline,” Perteet says. “L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin hairspray is always a favorite.” It provides an extra long-lasting hold while still keeping hair shiny and healthy-looking, so it’s great for lifting roots and taming frizz.
Choose A Mousse That’s Not Too Drying
“Mousse is a good alternative to a gel,” Perteet says. “However, you must make sure to choose a mousse that is not too drying. ORIBE's curl shaping mousse helps define curls without weighing them down.” Reviewers with curly hair say that it works better than just about any other product they’ve used because it defines, shapes, and enhances curls without looking greasy or crunchy. It also smells amazing and the bottle lasts a very, very long time.
Find A Combination Of Hold And Moisture
According to Perteet, “Finding products for curly hair that have hold can be tricky. You need a combination of hold and moisture. I love ORIBE Hair Care curl gloss mixed with a crème for hold and definition.” Since this one’s a combination of a gloss and a gel, it gives you equal parts shine and hold for ultra-hydrated and healthy curls that last all day. It’s also great for overcoming humidity, and some use apply it the night before for gorgeous curls in the morning.
Add Beautiful Shine With No Flaking
Another holding recommendation from the stylist, “Aquage Defining Gel; it provides beautiful shine and hold with no flaking.” This flexible gel gives you all-day hold and shine, and it can be used on naturally curly hair or straight-haired girls who need help keeping their style. It totally overcomes frizz, and because it’s got a very liquid-like consistency, you don’t have issues with clumping.
Add In Extra Moisture With A Serum
“Serums are great to use in combination with your current styling products, when straightening curly hair, or on the ends of hair for added moisture,” Perteet says. The 4 Naturals curly wave serum defines both curls and waves while moisturizing, taming frizz, and adding shine. It also makes hair crazy soft — especially when applied to the ends, and it’s not too heavy or greasy.
If You Don’t Have Curls But Want Them, Try This Tool
For girls who are looking for more curl than they have, Perteet says, “Curling irons are a great way to achieve or enhance texture in the hair. I would recommend the BaBylissPRO's Nano Titanium spring curling iron. [It glides] through the hair and provides beautiful shine and bounce.” It has up to 50 heat settings, as well as a swivel cord and a Nano ceramic barrel. “For those wanting to achieve curly hair, I would recommend a 1" curling iron. For those wanting more of a wave, I recommend a 1 1/4" curling iron,” Perteet says, and this one is available in both sizes.
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