If you’re a curly girl who’s lucky enough to have perfectly defined curls, congratulations! You’re definitely the exception, not the rule. For most of us curly girls, we have to work a little harder to get our curls just the way we want them. Whether you prefer your curls spirally, loose, or fluffy, using the right products and technique is crucial in achieving the right definition.
Choosing the best shampoo for curly hair is an important part of retaining moisture. Your shampoo should thoroughly cleanse your hair without stripping away moisture and shine, which often leads to dry, frizzy curls.
- Recommended Product: SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo. Not only is this shampoo sulfate-free–which makes it super gentle–it’s also color-safe, and packed with all natural and certified organic ingredients; including coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera leaf juice, neem oil, and silk protein. ($10 – In Stores & Online)
- Suggested Technique: The best way to manage curly hair is by dividing it into 4 or 6 workable sections. Wet your hair thoroughly with warm water. Working with one section at a time, apply a generous amount of shampoo to your hair. Concentrate most of the product on the scalp by rubbing with the pads of your fingers, and allow the suds to run down the length of your hair. Continue with each section until your scalp and hair are thoroughly clean. Avoid piling hair on your head as you’re washing it because that causes your curls to become tangled. Instead, divide the hair into 4 or 6 sections once more.
Choose a lightweight, yet hydrating conditioner that provides good slip for detangling your hair. Detangling your hair with conditioner makes it easier to remove tangles and knots without causing breakage. It also allows you to lock in moisture and begin to define your curl pattern.
- Recommended Product: Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. This silicone-free, color-safe conditioner is infused with avocado and aloe vera leaf extracts to strengthen curls and protect against breakage, and also leave curls soft and shiny. ($5 – In Stores & Online)
- Suggested Technique: Once again, working with one section at a time, apply a generous amount of conditioner to your hair. Use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle your curls from ends to roots. Starting with the ends puts the least amount of stress on your hair. As you detangle each section, two strand twist it and allow the conditioner to penetrate your tresses while you move on to the next section. By the time you finish the last section you should be ready to rinse the conditioner from your hair.
Using a leave-in conditioner is not a requirement for defining your curls, but it does serve a great purpose. It’s designed to smooth the cuticle of your hair–leaving curls bouncy and shiny, and add more moisture to prevent frizz.
- Recommended Products: Kinky-Curly Knot Today Conditioner. This is a creamy herbal conditioner, especially designed to smooth curly hair and remove knots and tangles. It’s also a multitasker that can be used as a rinse-out conditioner, leave-in, detangler, or styler. ($12 – In Stores & Online) ; L’Oreal Paris EverCurl Hydracharge Leave-in Cream. This product provides intense hydration for curls that are prone to frizz. It’s also formulated to nourish your curl’s elasticity and define its shape. ($6 to $9 – In Stores & Online)
- Suggested Technique: Apply generously to hair from roots to ends; using fingers to smooth and scrunch hair.
The product you choose to style your hair with depends largely on the way you want your curls to look. I find that creams are better suited for achieving loose or fluffy curls, while gels are perfect for achieving curls that are more spirally and defined. No matter what look you’re going for, all the recommended products will define curls, moisturize hair, reduce frizz, and leave hair soft and shiny.
Recommended Products: [Creams] – Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($10 – In Stores & Online) , Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue ($20 – In Stores & Online) TIGI Catwalk Curlesque Curls Rock Amplifier ($15 – In Stores & Online)
- Recommended Products: [Gels] – Kinky-Curly Curling Custard ($17 – In Stores & Online) EcoStyler Olive Oil Styling Gel ($4 – In Stores & Online) Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel ($22 – Online)
- Suggested Technique: To define your curls while still maintaining your natural curl pattern, try applying a generous amount of product to damp hair and finger-coiling it. You can also sit under a warm dryer to further set your curls. If you’re going for a different curl pattern, after applying your product; try two strand twists, flexi rods, steam rollers, or curlformers for more definition.
Do you have any tips or tricks in getting the perfect curls? Please share them below!