“The most common misconception about curly hair is that it’s high maintenance. It doesn’t have to be,” says Karyn Rudance, a curly hair and colour specialist at Style Lab Yaletown and founder of Curly Hair Vancouver. She offers two simple-but-crucial pieces of coily advice: “Make sure the hair product is put in when the hair is still soaking wet, and try not to touch it while it dries.”
Celebrity stylist Cindy Duplantis agrees it’s vital to apply product “when your hair is soaking wet—straight out of the shower, before you dry it,” and adds, “Avoid using your terrycloth towel, as this may break up your curl pattern and create frizz.” Instead, scrunch wet hair with a microfibre towel.
Crystal Morgan, textured hair module instructor at Blanche Macdonald Centre, doesn’t think managing curly hair has to be hard: “With the right products and some TLC, enhancing your curls can be a breeze.” Her top tip: apply a pre-shampoo treatment before cleansing “to add moisture, shine and hydration.”
In celebrity hairstylist Aaron O’Bryan’s experience, textured hair does require more effort and attention. “[It] tends to lack moisture, and curls sit differently on a daily basis, which takes constant work—adding moisture and repositioning your hair to look good.” Keeping hair hydrated, he says, is key—the best way to achieve beautiful curls. “Using a leave-in conditioner that controls frizz and has anti-humidity properties can revive and keep your locks luscious.”
Luscious locks are the trademark of Sahar Saidi, founder and CEO of Lus Brands. Her best piece of advice is to shampoo hair only as often as it actually needs to be washed: “This is truly a very individual thing, and there is no right answer. It’s not dependent on hair type or length or texture. There are so many factors that impact how often one should wash their hair—our individual hormone levels, sebum secretion, oiliness of our scalps.” She continues, “Our scalps and hair need to be properly cleansed with a product that contains actual cleansing ingredients—not conditioner.”
All of the experts agree that shampooing curly hair less often is a good idea in general. Rudance says, “Try to wash it as seldom as possible.” Duplantis adds, “Washing your hair every day can create a lot of dryness, which is already a common issue for us curly-haired queens!”
While curls and coils might require a little extra TLC, most wouldn’t trade their texture. “I can’t tell you how many times in my life strangers have come up to me and said something like, ‘Your hair is beautiful, but I bet you wish it were straight,’” says Saidi. “Yes, that’s true for some curly-haired people, but many actually do love their curls, and no, they don’t wish it were straight.” And that’s the straight truth. —Sheri Radford
14 Top Products for Controlling Curls
Live Clean Super Fruit Waters Quenching Curls Shampoo & Conditioner ($8 each at well.ca): Organic ingredients such as watermelon, papaya and aloe hydrate curls while taming frizz.
Lush Super Milk Conditioning Hair Primer ($20): Sarah Sango, Lush Hair Lab’s R&D stylist and Black hair-care specialist, drew upon her own family recipes to create five new hair products specifically for the Black community, including this light leave-in conditioner.
LUS Brands All-in-One: Curly ($23): Sahar Saidi, founder and CEO of LUS Brands, calls this product “the curly hair holy grail” because it repairs, hydrates and styles, all in one simple step.
Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Detangling Heat Spray ($34 at Chatters): This detangling spray contains a UV filter to protect against both heat and environmental pollutants.
Authentic Beauty Concept Hydrate Mask ($38): Use this lightweight mask to restore elasticity, bounciness and shine.
Joico Zero Heat Air Dry Styling Crème ($12 at Chatters): Crunchy curls? No thank you. This air-dry formula won’t leave hair feeling stiff.
Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Smoothing Anti-Frizz Dry Oil Mist ($45 at Sephora): This lightweight mist leaves hair looking shiny and frizz-free.
AG Hair Re:coil Curl Activator ($22): This powerhouse product moisturizes and fights frizz, even in high humidity.
Dippity-Do Girls with Curls Leave-in Detangling Conditioner ($7 at Walmart): Honey, coconut oil and macadamia oil are just a few of the botanicals in this leave-in spray that conditions and protects curls and coils.
L’Oréal Paris Dream Lengths Super Curls Cream ($9.50 at Shoppers Drug Mart): Long curls and waves look shiny and defined with this crunch-free cream.
DevaCurl DevaTowel Anti-Frizz Microfiber Towel ($27 at Sephora): Curls get dry without getting frizzy thanks to this smooth, soft, lint-free towel.
Hairitage Curly not only has a huge range of award-winning products, it arranges them on its website by curl type, so you know you’re getting just the right potions for your coils.
Kérastase Crème De Jour Fondamentale leave-in conditioner provides intense hydration and heat protection and comes infused with manuka honey and ceramide, suitable for all types of curly hair.
The Body Shop Banana Truly Nourishing Hair Mask ($16) helps to reduce frizziness and lift levels of shine to new heights, sans the weight of product in dragging down your curls.