Curly hair can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how a person looks at it. Many people find it unruly and difficult to style, especially on humid days, but those with stick-straight hair often wish they had curls. For those who are blessed, or cursed, with curly hair, the best way to style it begins with a great haircut and ends by following the path of least resistance.
Because curly hair can range from mildly wavy to very tight and frizzy, it's important to recognize what the hair does naturally and what it won’t do. Hair with a lot of curl, regardless of the texture, is often naturally dry, so a person with curls should keep the hair moisturized with a good conditioner. Similarly, he or she should use styling products that don’t dry out the hair, such as products with alcohol.
Since the foundation of any good hairstyle is the cut, people with curly hair need to find a hair stylist who is comfortable cutting and styling it. People who wear their hair long will typically find that the weight of the hair will pull it downward, causing the curls to be slightly looser than they would be short. Long hair should have some layers cut into it to reduce the bulk, however. When curly hair is cut short, the cuts should be made with the natural curl rather than against it. Individuals may want to consider looking for a stylist who is good with a razor, which may provide a better cut.
One advantage that people with curly hair have over those with straight hair is that the cut marks from scissors tend to not show. What might look like a choppy hair cut on someone with straight hair will not appear the same on someone with curls. Rather than having the hair cut with short layers, it often looks better to “slide cut” longer layers. A good stylist can often recommend a hairstyle for each client's hair type and face shape.
With a good cut, curly hair is best styled by allowing it to do what it does naturally. People with this hair type should use styling products that moisturize and reduce frizz and allow the hair to air dry. Blow drying the hair tends to make it bulkier or bushier than necessary. People who have difficulty shaping and air drying a curly hairstyle may find more success using heat styling options.
If a blow dryer must be used, individuals may find that using a diffuser with the hair dryer provides better results. Sold separately, a diffuser fits on the end of the hair dryer and spreads the air out to dry the hair with minimal frizz. People who want to use a flat iron to straighten the hair should make sure to use a heat-protecting product first. After the hair has been straightened, a moisturizing, frizz-reducing serum or polishing gloss should be used to lock in the finished style.
People should also try to vary their style periodically each week to include at least one or two days of no heat styling. This will give the hair a chance to rest and reduce heat damage and unnecessary drying. Individuals who feel they must chemically straighten their hair should enlist the services of a professional and make sure to avoid other chemical processes, such as coloring, immediately before or after the straightening.