How to Care For Curly Hair: 7 Tips from Society's Pro Stylists

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et’s finally ditch the myth that curly hair is unmanageable, k? We’re here to reassure you that with the right cut, treatments, styling products, and a few other clever tricks, you can have happy, healthy, frizz-free hair every single day.

Here’s everything the Society team wants you to know about living that curly life. 

1. The right cut is key. 

Snipping curly hair requires special attention to your unique curl pattern, your hair history, your desired length, and your styling routine. 

There’s a good chance your stylist will choose to do a dry cut, since wet curls and dry curls have two totally different lengths and textures. (FYI, some curly-haired people gain as much as 5 inches in length when their hair is wet!) A dry cut will offer your stylist a more realistic view of how the hair moves and falls.

Layers are key. We’ll customize them so they flatter your hair, face, and reach your desired length, then snip a few more individual curls to create lots of movement. 

2. Re-think your shower routine. 

To give yourself the best possible curl canvas, you’re going to need a shampoo and conditioner for curly hair that are hydrating and repairing. Our favorite duo for curls is Shu Uemura’s Ultimate Reset Shampoo and Conditioner. We’ve “fixed” many curly heads thanks to these weightlessly strengthening formulas. 

When shampooing, try to focus the suds mostly on your scalp to avoid potentially drying out your ends. Remember that curly hair doesn’t need to be shampooed as often as straight hair, and frequent shampooing can stretch out, stress out, and dry out thirsty curls, so skip a few shampoos if you can. If your curls need a refresh, opt for a conditioner-only session. You can’t really overdo it on hydration, so feel free to slather on as much conditioner as frequently as you please.

Also: Cold water is your friend. We know it isn’t the comfiest way to rinse out your shampoo and conditioner, but swapping your steamy shower for a chilly one will seal your cuticles, lock in moisture, and make your hair super shiny. 

3. Ditch the towel and lose the paddle brush.  

These everyday items may seem harmless, but they can actually cause frizz and damage. 

Drying your curls with a towel roughs up the cuticle which leads to dull, frizzy curls. Instead, reach for a soft old tee shirt and use it to soak up excess water from your strands. The gentle, cotton fabric will help dry your hair without disturbing your curls, leaving them softer, shinier, and bouncier. 

And instead of using a brush to detangle, which will mess with your curl pattern and can cause breakage, opt for a wide-tooth comb. For optimal results, run your comb through your curls before rinsing out your conditioner. 

4. Curly-approved styling products will make all the difference. 

Avoid alcohol-based products (a lot of hair gels are alcohol based) and if you must use something with alcohol, don’t use more than a dime-sized drop. Your goal here is flexible hold, definition, and shine. 

You might need a cocktail of products to get the best result, so don’t be afraid to mix and match until you find your perfect recipe. Our go-to curly combo is Kaze Wave Curl and Wave Defining Hair Mousse and Shiki Worker Multi-Benefit Hair Primer—both from Shu Uemura. (Yeah, we’re Shu fans if you couldn’t tell.) We’ve seen amazing results when using these two stylers on a range of curly clients. The amount of product you use will depend on your texture, so chat with your stylist for their recommended dosage. 

Shu Uemura Kaze Wave

5. Twist, don’t scrunch. 

Once you’ve applied your styling products, twist your hair in sections to create definition. Then, either leave it alone to air dry, or use a diffuser to speed things along. The less you touch your hair, the better. Avoid scrunching curls, as it can cause frizz and break up your curl pattern. 

Generally it’s best to avoid heat styling when possible. But, if once your hair is dry, you spot a few areas that could use a little help, you can hit them with a curling iron. Choose an iron with a diameter that matches your pattern (slim if you have tight ringlets or fuller if you have loose waves) and only curl the pieces or sections that aren’t cooperating. No need to apply heat all over. 

6. Maximize your beauty sleep. 

If you plan on washing your hair in the morning, slather on a nourishing hair mask, pop on a shower cap (and maybe lay a towel over your pillow case), and repair your curls while you snooze. 

For non-masking nights, consider using a silk or satin pillowcase or head scarf to help keep your curls intact and shiny. 

7. Be patient. 

If you commit to a healthy curl plan, your hair will get better and better and better—promise. But it won’t happen overnight. Don’t expect your curls to heal immediately when you start on the right regimen. Our clients usually see dramatically improved results after about a month, and things keep improving from there. Trust us, it is worth the wait.

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