5 Steps To Defined Curls for Curly Hair

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Frizzy hair--it is what it is. 
Frustrating. Annoying. Unmanageable and unruly.
Except when it isn't. 
I've been through every curly hair stage you can possibly imagine. I treated it the same as you would glossy, straight hair for years before I realized I probably should NOT brush it out dry...before I discovered what a world of difference a dab of mousse could make. 
I tried to deny it's existence along every other curly girl in the early 1990's. I've worn it so crunchy with product you could hear it crackle if you touched it. But all that came before I learned how absolutely fun and low-maintenance a head full of curls could make a girl's life.
I'm not one to mourn about how much I wish I had straight hair. I don't. But take it from me--great curls don't just happen (and I've got the bad yearbook pictures to prove it).
This is the regimen that works for me.

Oh. And one more thing. This only works on curly hair. I'm pretty sure you won't get the same results with beautiful, stick-straight hair...unless you get happy with a curling iron. HA.

I'm cheap, I know. But I use the generic brands for these products from Sally's Beauty Supply and whatever shampoo and conditioner left in the shower that my kids haven't emptied into the bath to create bubbles. 

Step 1: Start with clean, towel-dried hair. Another (not so little) idiosyncracy about my hair is that it's really, really dry. I've probably had greasy hair syndrome like, twice in my life. Shampooing really dries out the hair, so I only shampoo once a week. The rest of the week, I'll only use a conditioner.

Step 2: Apply the gel into hair. I sorta press the product into my hair as opposed to full-on scrunching.  Focus on getting product on the roots since that's where you get the lift. I love the Biolage Gelee product because it makes curls smooth but doesn't leave my hair sticky. 

Step 3:  Lightly coat all layers of hair with Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine spray--not just the top. You don't want the bottom layer to look limp.  Let air dry for 10 -15 minutes.

Step 4:  Use a hair dryer with a diffuser until hair is almost dry. I always use the cold air for a minute or two towards the end to reduce frizz and set curls. They should be soft to the touch, though maybe not as bouncy as they will be once completely dry.

Secret Tip: If you have air vents in your home, crank the heat up a bit and lie so your hair is spread out over the vent. You'll get the biggest and best curls ever by doing this. The power of all that diffused air makes my curls turn crazy awesome. I only use my hair dryer if it's absolutely too hot to turn on the heat for a few minutes. I promise, it works. Best curly girl secret...until now. 

Step 5:  When hair is completely dry, use your fingers to gently separate the curls and get a fuller look so they aren't matted together. Spray another light layer of Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine to hold. Enjoy the uniqueness that is you!

For more inspiration on how to manage your curls, check out this great book titled Curly Girl.


  1. Thanks for your styling tips. I use Alfaparf curling creme, but as a product junkie, I'm always looking for "the next best thing." I'll have to give your method a try. And Curly Girl changed my (hair) life! :)

    1. My mom insisted I read the book as a teenager! :)

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this blog post!!!!! I'm a fellow curly girl with little time to spend on my hair since I'm racing after kiddos. These tips are amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. YAYAYAY! What a great post! Thank you! I'm going to try out that gel asap!

  4. Thank You! When I found your blog almost a year ago, it was your beautiful curly hair that kept me returning here over and over again. I just wanted to know the stylish side of a girl with a hair and a crafty heart just like mine (although I can never make my hair looks so gorgeous like yours). So, thank you for this post and your lovely blog!
    Cheers from Barcelona!

  5. THANK YOU for sharing this! I bought the book and tried the "method" for the first time today. The ringlets I thought had disappeared years ago into a halo of frizz are back after ONE washing (with sulfate-free cleanser, of course). My hair is going need some time to get healthy again, but to know that my curls are still there -- and to actually see them -- is incredible! Thank you again!

  6. Great tips! The photo of the blow dryer doesn't have a diffuser on it, a diffuser spreads the heat, not concentrates it. Like these: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dbeauty&field-keywords=diffuser Just wondering if you have tried those! If I use anything else, my hair is a huge ball of frizz! A diffuser works similar to the air vents. :)

  7. I just tried this on my daughter and did your curly girl secret and her curls turned out amazing!! She hasn't wanted to wear her hair her natural way for years...she straightens it. I showed her this post and she said if her hair looked like yours she would wear it curly. She loved it and I'm so happy to see my curly haired girl back. Thanks for sharing! I'm going to have to look into that book too.

  8. Would this work on wavy hair? It's not quite as curly (I wish it were!) but it's not straight either. Thanks!

  9. Are these products silicone and sulfate free?

  10. John Frieda "Dream Curls" is THE BEST I have ever used...defined curls and no "crunchy hair" lol It really is the best and CVS is always out of it! I spray my hair with that and use the diffuser on cool which sets the curls and scrunch away...

  11. Nice post with great details. I really appreciate your info. Thanks for sharing


  12. Though I've only NOW found this post, I can't wait to try out the method and tips you've suggested! I haven't seen my curls in YEARS! :)

  13. Holy crap!!! You are the first person ever to mention the heater vent trick! I started drying mt hair like this back when I was in middle school, because I was lazy... I'd shower put product in my hair then lay on the floor and dry my hair over the heater vent. It gave me a few more minutes of sleep before I had to leave for school LOL. I had the best curls ever!!! It's a phenomenal way go get the best shape and textured curls! Sooo pumped I found someone else who does this!


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