How to style curly hair, depending on your type of curls
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One of our favorite trends right now is celebrating natural hair textures. From everyone trying out the curly girls method at home to Megan Thee Stallion sharing updates to her #HotGirlHairJourney, more and more people are ditching straighteners to embrace their naturally wavy, curly, and curly hair. While we love to see this trend develop, we also know that achieving Instagram-worthy curls isn’t always as easy as some people have it online.
Between fighting frizz, struggling for long-lasting definition, and finding the right hair products, styling curls can seem like an extremely complicated science. Before you can learn how to style curly hair, however, a celebrity hairstylist Irinel de Léon says it’s important that you learn your curl type first and foremost. Curl types is a curl classification system divided into type 2 (wavy), type 3 (curly), and type 4 (coiled) hair, and then further divided into types A, B, and C, to categorize models of specific loops. (Learn more about the types of curls and identify your type here.)
Once you know your type of curls, you can start styling your hair with the products and techniques that are best suited for your specific type. Read on for expert tips on styling wavy, curly, and curly hair.
Type 2 hair can range from minimal curls and S-waves in the hair to almost loose curls, so finding a way to achieve maximum definition is essential. “Type 2 curls often seek to control frizz while maintaining the integrity of the curl,” explains Jamila powell, hairdresser, founder of Naturally soaked, and owner of Maggie Rose Salon. “It’s important to avoid using heavy natural oils that can make this type of hair greasy, or creams and gels that weigh down curls and make them crisp.
Before styling type 2 waves, the celebrity hairstylist Sabrina porsche recommends starting with a detangling spray, such as Detangling Unite 7Seconds, to hydrate and detangle hair. Next, Powell recommends finger combing the Ouidad Curl Quencher Moisturizing Gel through the hair. “[This product] leaves the hair soft and shiny, but also enhances the natural body of the hair, which is ideal for those whose hair lies flat on the head, ”she says. Finally, to amplify the volume and texture, she suggests adding a texture spray all over (we love this winner of the Beauty Crush Award 2021) and then put everything in place with a light hairspray.
To style type 2B waves, de Léon recommends preparing the hair with Ouidad Curl Shaper Memory Maker 3-in-One Conditioning Milk, the finger painting through the strands. “This milk helps infuse hydration and encourages curl definition by applying it as a pre-styling base,” she says, explaining how the product helps other products adhere better to hair. For super thick hair in need of extra hydration, she recommends following the Curl Shaper Take Shape Plumping and Defining Cream and rake the product through hair from root to tip. For fine hair, go for the Volumizing Curl Shaper Jelly instead of. “This jelly adds an incredible amount of hold, without weighing down the hair,” she says. (de Leon says she sometimes overlays the three products, depending on the level of dryness of the hair.)
Finally, scrunch the product all over the hair, making sure to do all the steps while the hair is still sufficiently damp, then diffuse for volume.
For type 2C waves, repeat the first step above preparing the hair with the pre-styling base. Next, Porsche recommends adding a light oil, such as U Oil, to the hair for shine. For definition, she suggests using a curl cream, such as Unite Boing Moisture Curl Cream, while doing the finger coil technique (twisting the hair, strand by strand, around the fingers). Finger curling will work great for 2C hair, says Powell, because this type of hair has more open waves. Finish by diffusing to improve texture and volume.
For all types of type 2 curls, de Léon also recommends avoiding touching the hair too much once the product is set, as this will cause excess frizz.
To get the most out of styling type 3 curls, it is important to keep the hair hydrated at all times. “To define those curls, you’ll need products that are really hydrating and hydrating, like light oils and frequent deep conditioning treatments,” says Powell, adding that “creams and gels are great for creating definition rather than rely on heated tools. “
If you have 3A curls, says Powell, “it’s best to start styling your hair while it’s still damp, this will minimize frizz and help the product cover the hair properly.” While the hair is wet, apply a curl defining cream, such as Bumble and bumble Curl Defining Cream, using a wide tooth comb to distribute it evenly over the strands. Next, Powell says 3A curls can benefit from a wrinkle for definition if done while the hair is wet. Or, you can either drop the hair in a microfiber towel or diffuse curls until it’s about 80% dry, letting it air dry the rest of the way.
With 3B hair, Powell explains that the curls can tend to be a bit drier and more tangled. To address these concerns, she recommends starting with a mild leave-in conditioner, like Uncle Funky’s Daughter Midnite Train Freezing, right out of the shower. “[This product] is super hydrating and minimizes breakage, ”she says. Brush the hair with a detangling brush (her favorite is the Brush with the best detangling brush) to distribute the product without rinsing evenly. Next, finger-comb light oil over hair to minimize frizz and add shine. “I would recommend dropping the hair out afterwards and then letting it air dry to really reduce the chance of frizz,” she says.
To style 3C curls, Powell recommends applying the Ouidad advanced climate control gel to soak wet hair. “[This product] is great for type 3 hair because it shapes and defines curls without weighing them down, ”she says, adding that it will also fix curls without creating frizz. When applying the gel, de Léon recommends raking the product section by section and then shaking the strands to “activate the natural pattern of the hair”. Then, after the product is applied evenly, use a microfiber towel to wick away any extra moisture. Finish by diffusing over low heat and low speed to begin to dry the roots. “Follow by flipping your hair to one side and cutting it from the bottom up and holding it in place for several seconds,” Leon says. Repeat this process on the other side until the hair is 80 percent dry.
If the hair has a crunchy texture when dry, Powell suggests using a light oil, such as Olaplex binding oil n ° 7, on the fingers while crushing the crackle.
As Leon explains, Type 4 hair isn’t as porous as other textures, which means it doesn’t absorb product and water as easily as some other hair types. This means that careful technique is very important when applying the product to ensure that the hair can achieve maximum hydration and shine. “The products need to be massaged into the strands so that they can be really absorbed, which helps clump and define coils,” she says.
Starting with soaking wet hair, de Léon recommends applying Coil Infusion de Ouidad Give A Boost Styling + Shaping Gel Cream from roots to tips in a raking motion. “This product hydrates in zero gravity while enhancing and maintaining the natural coil pattern without any sort of crackle,” she says. After applying the product with your fingers, follow with Denman brush to help define the coils.
For 4B curls, Powell recommends applying a super hydrating leave-in conditioner, such as Smith Curl Oil Conditioning Cream, section by section. To make sure the curls don’t start to dry out in the process, she recommends cutting sections up to the head with bobby pins. “After you’ve applied the leave-in on all sections, you should use your fingers or a detangling brush to evenly distribute the leave-in,” she says. Then use a combination of gel and mousse to define the coils and finish by diffusing the hair for volume.
Since Type 4C hair needs ultimate hydration, Powell stresses the importance of incorporating a deep conditioning treatment, such as Naturally Drenched Rebalance Pre-Conditioner Treatment, in your daily washing routine. “The blend of almond, aloe vera, calendula and papaya oil makes it ultra-hydrating and restores your scalp’s pH,” she says. After washing, she says to follow the same no-rinse, gel, mousse and oil method from above to style and define curls. To preserve curls longer, be sure to sleep in a satin cap or on a silk pillowcase to maintain hair health and shine. “Cotton will absorb your natural oils and rob your hair of the moisture it desperately needs,” says Powell.
Now that you know how to achieve stunning curls on wash day, head over here to learn how to refresh them on the following days and treat yourself to endless days of styling.