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Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to Control Curly Hair in Summer

First of all, understand that if you were born with curly hair, 90 percent (if not more) women with straight hair have been jealous of your hair at some point. Women with limp, stick-straight hair spend hours of their lives with curling irons trying to mimic what comes naturally to you. How do I know this? I have straight hair. I own four curling irons.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, there are pros and cons to having curly hair. The pros include body and the fact you don't suffer from Oily Hair Syndrome and therefore have to wash your hair every day. The cons include frizz and Puffy Hair Syndrome, which tends to happen in high humidity and when the hairdresser gets too snip-happy. But there are secrets to living with curly hair and I've discovered every single one of them.Secret #1:

Thou Shalt Not Fight Your Natural Curl on Humid Days
If you're in a hot, humid climate, you might as well put away your flat iron. You might spend hours straightening your hair, only to step outside and ... POOF!

So what to do in humid climes? Embrace the curl. We'll get more into that in a bit.

Secret #2:

If You Want to Go Straight, You Can One of the great benefits to curly hair is with a little bit of muscle or chemicals, you can go straight. Nicole Kidman has been sporting stick straight hair on the red carpet for years now, but the truth is, she has super curly hair. There are several types of professional hair straightening available, it's just a matter of finding one that fits into your budget and your hair texture. The solution used is much like a perm, only instead of curly hair, it straightens it.

Even after a professional straightening, you'll likely need to iron hair. Invest in a great ionic flat iron --it's much less time-consuming and a great iron won't fry your hair.

Secret #3:
No, You are Not Destined for a Life Full of Frizz
As you likely well know by now, humidity can wreak havoc on curly hair. Curly hair tends to be dry and therefore vulnerable to humid air -- it simply wants to soak up moisture. This causes cuticles to expand, which causes frizz.
The secret to keeping frizz at bay involves a few products: a leave-in conditioner, a deep conditioner and a styling product involving silicone. If you have curly hair, these should be staples in your bathroom cabinet. All either keep the hair moisturized or protects the cuticle from moisture.

Preventing frizz is basically a four-step process: deep condition once a week. Apply a leave-in conditioner to ends after a shower. When styling hair, apply a serum that contains silicone (look for "dimethicone" on the bottle) to wet hair, coating every curl.
Secret #4:
There are Right Ways & Wrong Ways to Use a Blow Dryer
The blow dryer can be a curly girl's nightmare if used improperly. To avoid poof, let hair airdry as long as possible, then blow dry hair with a diffuser. If you don't use a diffuser, aim the blow dryer nozzle downward, in the direction hair grows.
How to use a diffuser: Hold the dryer under hair, squeezing curls in your palm as you dry hair.

Secret #5:
Throw Out That Brush & Invest in a Comb
A comb is your best friend, a brush is not. Some women swear off even the comb, preferring finger-combing (I know of one woman who swears she's never, ever combed or brushed her hair).
Combing hair is great, because it ensures you're coating locks with that silicone serum you have dutifully purchased.

Secret #6:
Curly Hair Looks Best Long-ish
Remember when actress Kerri Russell cut off her famous long, curly locks and the public went ballistic? Turns out her long hair was beloved and she just didn't look so great with short hair.
The problem with short hair on curly women is that short hair doesn't look good. That's all a matter of face shape. The fact is short hair tends to be poofy. Curls need length to weigh them down, so women with curly hair tend look best with hair that grows below the shoulders. When I say "below the shoulders" I mean when hair is dry.

Secret #7:
The Most Flattering Type of Haircuts
Curly hair tends to look best with layers cut into it. Without layers, long curly hair tends to resemble a Christmas tree.
I almost always advise women to seek out stylists who are experienced in cutting curly hair. This can be daunting, I know, because if you call a salon and ask for such a thing you'll likely be assured that all the stylists can cut curly hair. If you admire another curly woman's hair, get her stylist's number. It could be the most coveted seven digits in your cell phone.

Extra tip: Stylists with curly probably know how to cut curly hair.

Secret #8:
Some Styles Look Better on You Than Anyone Else
Personally, I think ballerina bands, which are utterly hot right now, look best on women with curly hair. There are some romantic updos that I covet and that look good only on naturally curly hair. After all, when one thinks "romantic updo," the image conjured up in the mind is not a sleek chignon. It is curly hair pulled back and up. Just be careful with the tendrils, which are too '80s.
The half-up, half-down hairstyle is also very romantic and looks great on curly hair.

Also headbands. Headbands look fabulous with curly hair, which leads me to ...

Secret #9:
Headbands are an Excellent Choice When You're Short on Time
For curly-haired women short on time, a headband can be a lifesaver. If you pull hair back in a band while it's damp, it's a great way to "flatten" hair at the crown, leaving the curls at your hair's ends. Later you can pull off the hairband and you'll have gorgeous body.

Secret #10:
Loose Buns are Utterly Sexy
Because you abide by secret #5, chances are you have long hair and long hair looks fabulous pulled back in a loose bun. To get this look, simply pull hair back, then twist at the nape of the neck into a bun. Secure with a rubber band. Loose and messy is good, tendrils are not.

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