The pressure to use heat on your curls to tame them is immense nowadays, but if you have natural waves or curls, we say embrace them! Your hair will thank you for it, looking much healthier and voluminous than if you try to conform it with those GHDs into something it will always rebel against. Always go with your hair texture, not against it, as the professionals say! And now, here are 25 epic tips to make the most of those curls!
#1 Shampoo, Rinse, Condition, Rinse and Repeat
Your first stop is a great shampoo and conditioner duo as this is what you will be using constantly, so it better be good. As naturally curly hair is drier by nature, sulphate-free shampoos are the best for it, as they won’t remove the natural oils like the others can. The Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Range is a godsend, and the heavenly smell lasts for ages, which is obviously a bonus.
#2 Teeze Those Tangles
Now, how are you even going to tackle that mane during the washing and right after? With a Tangle Teezer, that’s how! Right after you get your hair wet and before you start in with the shampoo, comb out those curls to get rid of hair that has fallen out but has got caught up. Everyone loses a certain amount of hair daily, but curly hair is susceptible to getting caught in the surrounding curls instead of falling away. It will also de-knot the hair overall and make it easier to wash and restyle. Always start from the bottom, as brushing from root to tip first will pull too hard on the hair and cause damage and hair loss.
#3 Creamy Hair is Good Hair
Get yourself a good hair cream! We suggest Keracare Natural Textures Butter Cream (€11.45), as this will give your curls longer lasting definition with only a grape-sized amount for half the hair if your locks are long and thick.
#4 Masks aren’t only for your face
Invest in some hair masks that make a visible difference after one or a few washes. The Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (€23) is pricey but it lasts forever as you only need a tiny amount and it makes a visible difference after just one use!
#5 Coconut oil to the rescue
A more affordable alternative to the above Philip Kingsley Elasticizer is good aul coconut oil! Slather this on as a deep conditioner for as long as possible before washing it out to reveal super hydrated and silky soft curls.
#6 OGX Sulphate Free
Another highly effective range for curls that is sulphate free is OGX. Any of these are hits, but especially those suited to dry and curly hair. The Quenched Sea Mineral Moisture Shampoo (€10.49) is our top pick!
#7 Micro Towels
High street & department stores have microfibre towels in their sport section that should become your new hair best friend! The difference in using one of these versus a normal towel will shock you if you haven’t tried it before. Cutting out heat is probably the biggest game changer in terms of your hair health, but this really eliminates frizz and helps hair retain moisture. If you can’t be bothered going out and getting one, an old t-shirt will do the same job!
#8 Invest in the oils of the high street
To promote hair health and shine, using an oil will boost your hair tremendously. Don’t worry, there are plenty on the market that don’t weigh your hair down or make it greasy. L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil (€12.79) or the Matrix Oil Wonders Amazonian Controlling Oil (€11.60) are two options that cater to specific hair needs. Argan and Moroccan oils are also two more options, which will really turn around your hair health, and you only need a small drop!
#9 Milk, but for your hair!
Another styling product that will define your curls is a curl styling milk, which is essentially a thinner, creamier version of the curl creams mentioned. The OGX Quenching + Coconut Curls Frizz Defying Curl Styling Milk (€10.49) is one of the best examples of this, and may be a better option for those with slightly thinner hair than the Keracare Natural Textures Defining Custard (€11.45). You only need a grape-sized amount per wash, applying while damp or wet as usual.
#10 Always Use Protection
Now if you really cannot put down the heat tools, at least make sure you are giving your hair the best protection you can with a good heat protectant. Most haircare brands have a version, but we recommend either the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Heat Protect Spray (€8.95) or Tresemmé Colour Revitalise Heat Protect Mist (€7.34). For UV protection in sunny climates, the NUXE Sun Moisturising Protective Milky Oil For Hair (€17) smells incredible. If you don’t like applying mists or want a quality product that covers UV and heat styling, look no further than the Bumble and bumble BB Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer (€24.45). As this is an oil, don’t mix it with other styling oils, but instead use with a curl cream or curl milk.
#11 Don’t be afraid to diffuse
Following the last tip, make sure you use a diffuser when opting for the hairdryer. This will mean the curl pattern won’t be disturbed, as a normal hairdryer will otherwise create frizz and make them less defined. Amazon has a few universal diffusers than will attach to your hairdryer.
#12 Twist and Define
So you have all the products, but are there any techniques that will make the most of them without using heat? If you find your hair still isn’t defined even after you put in your styling products, curly girls should all try the twist and define technique at least once. It could just be a game changer! When wet or still damp, after you apply your products, grab small sections of hair and twist in the direction your hair curls. This is basically just encouraging the curls to stay more perfected, defined and bouncy. Don’t touch them until they are totally dry. Once dry, you can separate the coils into smaller curls as desired.
#13 Scrunch and Curl
A quicker way to get bouncier, slightly tighter curls is to simply grab the ends of your hair while still damp just after product application and scrunch upwards. Leave to dry completely without interference and you will have more voluminous curls.
#14 Leave the Frizz Alone
Another important tip is to avoid running a brush through it once it’s dry, unless you are about to wash it. If you do, goodbye curls and hello flyaway frizz and (Kate) bushy hair. To refresh your hair and keep it neat looking, simply brush the roots and part it if desired, brushing down the first few inches to have it fall the way you wish. Leave the ends alone or meet your follicle peril.
#15 Hello Little Bun
To achieve smooth, loose curls overnight, before going to bed have you hair freshly washed and let it dry naturally after applying whatever products you want. Gather your hair by the nape of your neck and twist it all in the same direction until the ends, then twirling it into a low bun. Release the next day for some GHD-like loose curls. Spray with hairspray to set.
#16 A high bun for high volume
If you prefer volume over sleekness, opt for a high bun instead. Similar to the last tip, gather your hair and flip it upside down. Collect it at the very top of your head and twist into a bun that lies higher than the crown. When you left it down, the roots will be very voluminous and the mid to end lengths will have been slightly stretched out into big, soft waves.
#17 Fake the Fringe
Clip the front pieces of your hair on one side behind your ear for an angelic look that balances perfectly between messy and being nonchalantly styled. Audrey Tatou is the queen of this, and since we saw her rock that natural hair we want those mediterranean, lively curls.
#18 Curly Sue
If you just want to maintain your natural curl pattern, not stretching it out at all, but want some extra volume and no flat bed head, then follow the tip above until the point of twisting the hair. In other words, gather it all at the very top of your hair and fold it into a bun with no twist, securing loosely. This protects the curl pattern while your sleep and lifts the hair for more oomph. This is known as the pineapple technique!
#19 Spray Away
Whether you’re putting your hair up or just want extra hold, hairspray quality vastly ranges from the lifesavers to the hair cement. We have all experienced at least one time of hairspray that moments later reveals crunchy, tacky feeling hair. The one classic which will never do this to you is L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Lumiére Hairspray (€9.99). An alternative is the OUAI Haircare Medium Hairspray (€25.39). It’s already won awards for its soft formula, long lasting hold and enchanting smell.
#20 Holla at your dry shampoo bestie
For those days when you don’t have time for the whole ordeal of washing, styling and waiting for it to dry, dry shampoo is your BFF. Does the fear of having a white cast along your roots put you off reaching for it? Well, model and YouTube star Ruth Crilly’s popular and affordable COLAB dry shampoos are colour-free and foolproof, so you will never leave the house with some questionable white bits in your hair!
#21 Stock up on the spirals
If you just want to get your hair out of your face when sleeping, going to the gym or working, then get some spiral hairbands like the Invisibobble (€4.99). If you don’t want to spend too much on one hairband, pharmacies and high street stores will do value packs. They stretch out and won’t last as long, but they pretty much do the same job otherwise. Same price though for a smaller pack, the Toni & Guy Spiral Ponybands (€5.99) are middle of the road but worth trying if you want reliable backups.
#22 Sleep Like a Princess
There are two ways to protect your hair from frizz while sleeping. One of these is to get a silk or satin pillowcase. I know that may seem a bit Princess and the Pea to suggest, but it does improve the overall health of your hair in the long run as it doesn’t fray it like an ordinary pillowcase will. Zara stock a variety of beautiful silk & satin styles that may seem expensive but will last and it makes such a big difference for your hair, face and sleep. So really, it’s worth it.
#23 Headscarves For All
Another way to look after your curls while you sleep is to wrap it in a headscarf if you have particularly coarse or frizzy hair. Etsy has a plethora of scarves to choose from, but really any soft one will do the job!
If you have very coarse curls, tight curls or afro hair, you should try the co-wash method instead of the average wash and go. This simply means don’t use shampoo, only water and conditioner when washing the hair. This maintains the moisture levels in the hair if you feel it freaks out from too much washing or feels in any stripped of its natural oils. You could do this every second wash if you wanted to use shampoo regularly but not as much.
#25 H2O For Life
Lastly, if you want to refresh your curls when you wake, if they somehow feel less fresh a day or two in, they take a bottle with a spray nozzle and fill it with water. Give a light spritz all over the hair, brushing the top inches to neaten the parting. Voila, freshly washed looking hair without starting from scratch again. (Via Naturally Curly)