Naturals know that no two curls are created equal. That’s why finding the perfect product cocktail and styling technique is so crucial. Summer is around the corner, and the last thing you want to do is be caught with limp, dry, undefined curls. Ahead, a list of tips informed by three real curly girls, who explain how they keep their curls popping and how TWIST (a new, moisture-focused line from the makers of Ouidad that is formulated with the needs of waves, curls, and coils in mind) falls perfectly into their routines.
Use your shampoo and conditioner simultaneously.
Deputy Beauty Director Chloe Metzger, who has a loose, wavy hair texture, has unlocked the code to proper cleansing and proper definition. Every other week while in the shower, she coats her ends in a conditioner to keep them from drying out. Then, without rinsing out the conditioner, she massages her roots with the Hit Reset Light Clarifying Shampoo. “It’s filled with aloe juice and jojoba oil to keep curls moisturized, along with a dose of mild cleansers that dissolve build-up to leave my curls soft and frizz-free,” Metzger says.
Add some gel. Then, add some more.
The key to successfully using gel on curly hair, according to Metzger, is to use way, way more gel than what feels natural. Metzger uses about half a palmful of the argan oil-spiked Weather Up Weightless Curl Defining Gel on her shoulder-length hair. “Sounds like a lot, but the formula is so lightweight that it doesn’t leave my fine hair even a tiny bit greasy or flakey—so please trust the process,” she says.
She’s well-aware of the gel-cast that can occur with using a ton of product, so once her hair is completely dry and, as she describes it, looks like “a middle-school nightmare,” she finger-combs a few drops of Curl Reign Multi-Use Miracle Oil (which combines six hyper-moisturizing oils) throughout the lengths of her hair—gently scrunching until the cast vanishes. Talk about a curl magician.
Style stubborn pieces without hot tools.
Metzger, like so many other curly girls, struggles with those random wavy pieces of hair that refuse to curl up like the rest of ‘em. But according to her, the trick to making them bend to her will is this: she takes the wavy piece, liberally mists it with the Feelin’ Thirsty Curl Refresh & Conditioning Spray, coils it around her finger up to her scalp, then clips it in place.
When it dries, she unwraps it and separates the curl so it looks less “perfect.” The spray, while super hydrating, has a lightweight formula so it doesn’t feel greasy or crunchy on Metzger’s fine hair.
Skip the comb when detangling.
3C girl and Cosmo producer Meghan Allen knows a thing or two about stress-free detangling. She conditions her hair with the Gimme It All 4-in-1 Hydrating Conditioner and uses her fingers to separate it in the shower while the hair is still completely drenched. “I love this stuff because it leaves my hair feeling soft and looking shiny,” she says. Using her fingers—as opposed to a brush or comb—helps prevent breakage, which is important when dealing with finer curls.
Apply your leave-in while your hair is wet—but not too wet.
According to Allen, it’s best to use the Curl Goals Moisture-Locking Leave-In Conditioner when your hair is a little wet, but not sopping. Allen parts her hair in four sections and uses a boar brush only on her ends. Then, she sprays the product on each section really focusing on the bottom of the curl shaft and her “kitchen” a.k.a. the hair that resides at the nape of the neck.
Curl Goals is her leave-in of choice because it’s lightweight yet incredibly moisturizing. She also loves the scent, and she’s not the only one. “After spraying it my boyfriend came in and was like what is that?” she says. “Smells awesome!”
Apply two layers of conditioner for a truly hydrated finish.
Dryness is one of beauty writer Blake Newby’s biggest curl woes, so she conditions her hair with the Weather or Not Element Defying Conditioner not just once, but twice. She first coats her curls with a generous amount of product, fully detangling from root to end. Then she applies yet another layer to the hair and edges, pulling everything up into a bun for 15 minutes before rinsing with cold water. The result is optimal hydration, serious curl definition, and a luster that’s undefeated.
When in doubt, section it out.
Newby has low-porosity hair, meaning moisture is not easily absorbed by the curl shaft. Understanding that means she can’t apply styling cream in one sweep. She instead separates the hair into six sections. Yes, six, cause that hair is thick.
She applies a generous coating of the Boss Bounce Light As Air Buildable Styling Cream and shingles the curls until the proper amount of definition is achieved. She swears by this lightweight formula because it dishes out the right amount of hydration.
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