How to Make Your Hair Look Naturally Curly
How to Make Your Hair Look Naturally Curly
Whether you have straight or wavy hair, there are lots of ways you can achieve natural looking ringlets. Heat styling tools like curling irons and diffusers can help you create and lock in curls. If you’re trying to avoid damaging heat, try braiding freshly washed hair and letting it dry overnight. Avoid hair products with sulfates and get regular trims to remove weight and create bounce.

Drying and Styling Wet Hair

Avoid brushing out your freshly washed hair. Brushing or combing out your hair after washing it will encourage your hair to look straighter. Instead, apply conditioner in the shower, then use a wide-toothed comb to detangle and distribute it. Rinse as usual, and avoid brushing it out after that.

Towel-dry gently using the “twist and press” technique. Roughly towel-drying your hair can cause tangles and frizz. Instead, wrap your wet hair in a fluffy towel, then press and twist it gently to get rid of excess moisture. Do this a few times, then release your hair and shake it out. Run your fingers through it to get rid of any tangles.

Apply curl cream or curl enhancing mousse. A good curl cream or mousse will help you get bouncier curls. Apply it to the length of your hair, but avoid the roots. Too much product at the roots can weigh down your hair and discourage curls.

Scrunch your damp hair. Once the product is in, lean your head to one side. Grab the ends in one hand and make a fist as you press the hair toward your scalp. This creates an accordion-effect that adds body and curl. Scrunch liberally, then lean to the other side and scrunch some more. Scrunching will make your curls bouncier and help them set.

Apply a heat protectant product. Over-heating your strands can cause them to become dry and frizzy, and can lead to split ends. Give your hair a good spritz with a heat protectant spray or rub a small amount of protectant cream throughout the length of your locks before you start using heat tools.

Blow-dry your hair with a diffuser. Set your hair dryer to “low.” As you dry your hair, continue to scrunch liberally. Dry your hair completely before moving on, since you don’t want to use heat styling tools on damp hair. Many blow-dryers come with a diffuser attachment. If you don’t have one, purchase a separate attachment – they are typically universal and will fit most hair dryers.

Using Heat Styling Tools

Wrap sections of hair around a curling iron with a ½ to 1 inch (1.2 to 2.5 cm) barrel. This barrel size will create natural-looking ringlets with staying power. Work with small sections of your hair at a time – somewhere between 1 and 2 inches (2.5 and 5 cm) is a good option. Instead of clamping your hair into the barrel, wrap each section of hair around it like a spiral. Hold for 3-4 seconds, then release. Be sure to towel-dry and then blow dry your hair completely before using heat styling tools.

Vary the size of the curls. Natural curls aren’t uniform in size. The longest, thickest parts of your hair should have the loosest curls, whereas the shorter pieces – your layers and the face-framing strands – should be slightly tighter. The bigger the section of hair, the looser the curl. Smaller sections will look tighter. Avoid doing a full head of super-tight curls. Usually, this won’t look natural.

Leave the ends out for a natural look. As you wrap the sections of your hair around your heating instrument, leave about half an inch of hair uncurled at the ends. This can give you a more natural look.

Vary the direction of the curls. Natural curls don’t all curl in the same direction. To create the same effect, alternate which direction you wrap the hair around the barrel. Pull some pieces back toward the wall behind you before twisting the section around the barrel. Pull others forward first, then wrap them around the barrel.

Apply more curl cream to define and set your curls. Once you’ve curled all of your hair, put a dime-sized amount of curl cream in your palms and rub them together to evenly coat them. Then, scrunch your hair liberally to set and define your curls. If the curls start to loosen by mid-day, blast them with the diffuser for a minute or two, scrunching as you do so. This will refresh and restore the spring in your curls.

Creating Curls without Heat

Towel-dry freshly washed hair gently. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual. Use the twist and press technique to gently remove excess moisture from your hair. Run your fingers through it to remove tangles, but avoid brushing or combing it out. Let it air-dry until it’s damp.

Apply a curl cream. Put a dime-sized amount in your palm, then rub your hands together to coat them. Scrunch the curl cream into your hair gently. Focus on the length of your hair, but avoid applying the product to your roots. Too much product will weigh down your hair and result in limp curls.

Separate your hair into sections and braid each one. For big curls, braid larger sections of your hair loosely. For smaller ringlets, tightly braid smaller sections of hair. Regardless of the look you’re aiming for, vary the size of the braids a little so your curls won’t look uniform when you unravel your braids. Secure each braid with a fabric-covered hair tie (rather than a rubber one) to avoid crimps.

Sleep on the braids and allow them to dry overnight. You can put on a shower cap before you do so, especially if you toss and turn a lot. This will protect the braids from friction against your pillow, which will unfortunately cause frizzy curls.

Release the braids the next morning. When you wake up, remove the fabric hair ties one by one. Loosen each braid with your fingers, then shake the hair loose. Don’t brush or comb it! Instead, use your fingers to gently comb and move the ringlets into place.

Scrunch more curl cream into your hair to set the curls. Put a little more curl cream in your palm, then rub your hands together to distribute it evenly. Scrunch your hair liberally to set and define your curls. If you want extra staying power, mist some light-hold hairspray onto your curls before you leave the house.

Using Effective Products and Tools

Use sulfate-free products to keep hair healthy. No matter what your hair looks like naturally, avoid hair products with sulfates. These chemicals are damaging and strip out your natural oils, leaving you with dry and brittle strands that won’t hold curls well. If you have some natural curl to your hair, sulfates can also cause tangling.

Use curl-enhancing hair products. If you have some natural wave or curl to your hair, use curl-enhancing shampoos and conditioners before you style your hair. You'll achieve bouncier curls and the curls will hold longer. If your hair is naturally straight, use your regular products.

Invest in a wide-toothed comb. Avoid brushing your hair as much as possible, since this encourages your hair to straighten. Detangle with a wide-toothed comb either in the shower or right after. If you need to detangle throughout the day, use the wide-toothed comb to gently work through your curls without pulling them out.

Try a salt spray for beachy waves. Pick up a salt spray product and give it a try if you’d like to create loose, beachy waves. Apply it to damp hair post-shower, then detangle with your wide-toothed comb. Scrunch liberally until your waves look the way you want. Let it air-dry the rest of the way. Apply a little more salt spray for added texture before you head out the door.

Get your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks to encourage curls. Regular trims will get rid of split ends and remove extra weight from your hair, making it easier to create bouncy curls. For extra volume and to encourage curls, ask your hairstylist to feather the ends of your hair with a razor tool.

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