By Tiffany Walker
Naturally curly hair is known for being “difficult”—from dryness and breakage to the dreaded halo of frizz, the wrong hair care regimen and styling tools can turn any curly mane unmanageable.
But let’s turn the narrative around, shall we? Instead of difficult, how about we say “deserving of only the best the world has to offer.” Now your hair sounds like the elite and pseudo-divine beauty icon it can be!
If you’re just starting to embrace your natural curly or coily hair texture, you may be unsure how to get the best results. While there are a hundred stunning ways to wear your curly hair, knowing the right method to nourish your natural texture is the first step to unlocking a new level of confidence and a new array of options.
In this guide, we’ll go over our favorite tips and tricks on how to enhance natural curls.
When it comes to achieving well-defined curls, there’s no one-size-fits-all rulebook. After all, there is a wide range of curl types. That’s why it pays to get familiar with your hair’s specific texture so that you can find the styling products perfect for your unique locks.
There are four major hair types, with subcategories under each type:
(Dive into our guide on different hair textures to learn more.)
Someone with Type 2 hair might need to use rollers and texturizing spray to coax their hair into curls. In contrast, someone with Type 4 hair will need to add moisture and curl cream to help clump her coils together into defined curls. Read more on the best products for 4c hair.
But why do different hair types have such different needs? Here are just a few reasons:
Despite the differences between individual locks, there are a few tricks that can help nourish just about any curl type. In the rest of our guide, we’ll go over our best tips for curly girls of every stripe.
Have you ever gone to the salon, gotten your hair washed, and then watched with concern (or horror) as the stylist leveled your locks in a uniform linewhile it’s still wet?
If you have naturally curly hair, you know better than anybody that the shape will change significantly as your hair dries.
Many women with curls and coils prefer stylists trained in dry-cutting—a process where all or most of the cut is done on dry hair so that you and your hairdresser canboth see what the shape will look like when your curls are out in full force.
Look for salons that explicitly offer “curly haircuts,” “natural curl haircuts,” and “dry haircuts.” These signs point to a staff that understands how to bring out natural curls.
Whether you’re looking to sport long curly tresses, a short springy faux-hawk, or coils and bangs, you’ll be glad you went to a stylist who helped give your curls shape and texture.
The next step for curls that pop? Make sure to avoid products that contain artificial ingredients, harsh chemicals, and/or sulfates.
Why? Artificial ingredients, harsh chemicals, and sulfates are the enemy of juicy curls.
Here’s the breakdown: Curly hair usually has less sebum—or natural oil from the scalp—since the oil struggles to travel down the hair shaft. This tends to make strands dry and fragile. Sulfates and chemicals strip your hair of its natural oils leaving your hair sad and broken—that is, vulnerable to breakage and undernourished.
That’s why it’s so important to look for organic, natural hair products that contain naturally nourishing ingredients like the following:
Shop by Type 3 and Type 4 hair to find the best products for your specific curl shape.
Now that you’ve found the organic shampoo and conditioner that are right for your hair type, it’s time to finetune your washing routine.
First of all, consider how often you wash your hair.
When youdo wash your hair, take the time to give your tresses some extra TLC. Wash and condition as follows:
With your hair fresh, clean, and hydrated, you’re ready to start curling.
Whenever your hair is wet, you have an opportunity to encourage strands to dry in a curly pattern.
Our most important tip? Give up towel-drying, which adds friction to your mane and can result in unwanted frizz. Instead, use a microfiber towel or turban to “plop” your hair.
What is plopping?
To plop, flip your mane over your head and swaddle it in a microfiber towel to absorb excess moisture. You can also use a cotton t-shirt or a silk scarf.
By placing your hair fibers in this gravity-defying position, you can create volume while gently wicking away moisture.
Leave the towel on for 15-20 minutes. After plopping, your hair will still be damp and ready for the additional steps needed to reinforce your natural curl pattern.
Be sure to check out our guide on how to coil natural Black hair for in-depth instructions on encouraging ringlets in Type 4 hair!
You don’t want to head out on the town with a wet head of hair. Take advantage of your drying time to boost the wow-factor of your curls.
After reinforcing your natural curl pattern, you have several options for drying:
The key is to be gentle. Excess heat can damage your hair and lead to frizz.
Remember never to use a brush or comb on dry hair, unless you’re looking for a puffed-out, frizzy effect. Learn everything you need to know about how to blow dry curly hair here.
Speaking of air drying— whether your curls are still damp at bedtime or you’ve already been sporting them for a few days, the way you take care of your hair while sleeping can affect its health and happiness.
Sleeping on a cotton or synthetic pillowcase can lead to frizz, breakage, and other unwanted side effects. For best results, try sleeping in a silk hair turban or on a silk pillowcase. Silk is gentle on your strands—plus, you’ll feel like you’re getting the royal treatment every night.
Now that you know how to enhance curls, the trick is maintaining your look until the next wash.
After a few nights’ sleep, your curls may start to lose definition and stretch out. Sometimes, this is actually desirable—your tight curls are finally starting to relax, letting you show off your natural length!
Other times, you might feel like your hair looks a little flat or undefined.
It’s easy to refresh your curls whenever you need to achieve 4c natural hairstyles. As we learned earlier, it’s best to encourage damp hair to curl. Just spritz a curl refreshing product (like our Pomegranate & Honey Curl Refreshing Spray) into your locks and use your fingers to retwist your curls.
You can also try out fun styles to adjust your look before your next wash:
Once you’ve enhanced your natural curl shape, you’ll be amazed by the ease in your day-to-day routine—and the versatility of looks you can rock.
To get the bounciest, healthiest curls possible, it’s key to nourish your locks with the natural products best suited to your hair type.
At MIELLE, we make it easy to shop for products by hair type or porosity so that your curls and coils sport maximum spring and shine.
Formulated from organic ingredients, our sulfate-free shampoos, hydrating conditioners, and dandruff-proof styling products will help you feel confident with your hair’s natural texture.
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