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Picture the scene: A young woman sits on a park bench, her long straight hair glistening in the sun like a river of gold. Clouds appear in the sky, and she starts to cry. Unfortunately, the poor girl was cursed by an evil witch to have frizzy hair. The rain's about to start, and she has a twenty-minute walk home. She'll be a walking frizz ball by then. Tragedy.
We've all been that girl—curly hair can be a hassle to deal with—but it's time to change that outlook. Curls are fabulous and unique—they make you who you are, so don't put them to waste. Even the frizziest duckling can become a beautiful swan with a little love, so here are a few tips from a fellow curly girl who's tried it all.
Start with the right cut.
I've been to a million and one stylists who claimed to be experts in curls and very few of them did my hair any justice. It's always worth going to someone who knows what they're doing, so do your research, but remember that even the best artist needs a model; go into your session knowing exactly what you want—bringing pictures from magazines helps illustrate the look you're going for. I've always found that "dry cuts" work best. In a "dry cut" session, the stylist will ask you to turn up with freshly washed, unstyled hair so that they can cut it to look good straight out of the shower. One important tip: Make sure that the upper layers are shorter than the lower ones, no matter what your hair is like—curls need room to form while drying and the best and easiest way to give them that space is with proper layers.
Curls get frizzier as they get drier, so make sure you do all you can to lock moisture in. Washing is the first stage of looking after your hair, and the most important. First tip: Wash your hair infrequently. I'm not suggesting you let your hygiene go completely, but leaving a few days between washes is essential as the chemicals in shampoos strip your hair of its natural moisture. If this still isn't doing enough for you, or if you can't bear the thought of going more than two days without a shower, try a con-wash. Con-washes are just what they sound like—a hair wash using only conditioner, no shampoo. This gets the dirt out without removing the precious moisture which curls need so much.
Next step: Make sure you don't spoil the curls before they're even there. Leave the straighteners, curlers, and even the hair dryers in their boxes—just scrunch! If you've got a centre parting and want to keep everything symmetrical, pop a hairpin in to hold the front two locks together, otherwise leave it to dry however it wants. Everyone has their favourite products for smooth curls, but oil (especially coconut oil) is always a failsafe. Brush a large amount into your hair while it's damp, and then scrunch some more in once it's dry to keep the curls as smooth as possible.
Fixing Your Curls up the Morning After
You can give yourself the most beautiful head of curls, but once you've slept on it, it can end up flat as a pancake again. To counteract this, you can try the pineapple trick: Before you go to bed, flip your head over and give yourself a ponytail right there on the very top of your head—not a fashion statement, but I promise you it does protect your curls from being crushed while you sleep. No matter how hard we try, sometimes hair doesn't turn out perfectly, or it just needs to go back. Ponytails can turn out bumpy and uneven with curls, so try sticking to the front locks—these tend to be the ones which cause the most hassle. The easiest way to sort these bits is to twirl or braid the most troublesome locks back. Scrunch a little extra oil (or your favourite product) into the curls at the back, and you're sorted!