How to Find a Great Curly Hairstyle

Black woman with natural hair standing in front of taxis in times square
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Naturally curly hair means that you have likely suffered not only frizzy days, but a few bad haircuts. You've tried to straighten your hair with a flat iron or attempted to go short, and you wished you hadn't. Curly hair is tricky to deal with, but with the right tips, products, and style, anyone can embrace those curls! There are a few tricks to a great, natural, curly hairstyle. You can wear your hair short if you like, or get a few bangs cut in, and you don't always have to go to a curl specialist. The secret to all of this lies in getting a great haircut.

For years, women with curly hair have had to find a stylist who specializes in cutting curly hair. And it's pretty easy to know who to go to: if a stylist has naturally curly hair, she's likely going to know better than a straight-haired stylist how to cut curly hair, right? That's not true of the best stylists; a good one should be be adept at cutting all textures and hair types. 

Before the Cut

Curly hair almost universally tends to behave better if it's allowed to grow longer. That's because longer hair weighs down the curls resulting in less "pouf." But curly hair can actually look amazing short, provided you get the right cut. The trick is cutting or razoring in lots of layers, and thinning out the hair so it doesn't become a huge fluff ball. If you want to go shorter, you can. In fact, you will find plenty of inspiration from people who have beautiful short, curly hair.

If you want to have straight hair, you have a few options. You can get a professional blow-out for super straight hair or waves, or you can dry your hair straight and then flat iron it. But what about something a bit more permanent? You could try the Japanese or Brazilian Keratin treatment for hair straightening. And, if you're really daring, a do-it-yourselfer, and tight on cash, you can even straighten your own hair at home using perm solution. Be sure to research this thoroughly before you try it, though.

It's also a common misconception that when you have curls, you can't also enjoy bangs. With few exceptions, almost anyone can wear bangs. While short curly bangs may look a bit dated, a few face-framing bangs can't hurt. Layers can also make a huge difference with curly hair. Because it's so important to "shape" curly hair, stylists often razor or scissor cut curly hair when it's dry. There's definitely a technique to shaping curly hair. Stylist Nick Arrojo suggests cutting in long layers to allow your curls to move. "You want the curls to be full of spring and life," he says.

If your stylist is pulling too much on your hair, ask them to shape with a little less tension. If you wear your hair curly and let it air dry, you should inform your stylist so she can keep the layers on top of your head longer. This is because curly hair air dries tighter than it would if you blow dry it daily using a diffuser. This small adaptation to your hairstyle can make a big impact.

Post-Cut Styling

With the right cut, styling curly hair can be easy. If you dry your hair, be sure to use a diffuser. But still, keep in mind that the best thing you can do is to let those curls air dry. Simply cup and squeeze curls in the palm of your hand every 15 minutes until your hair has dried. While you're doing this, remember that all curly hair needs intense moisturizing. Avoid products that contain alcohol, which can dry out your curls, and deep condition once a week. If you pay attention to these little things, you'll see big improvements and won't be bothered by the extra fuss (or frizz).

Women with curly hair can revel in the fact that some hairstyles simply look better with curls than they do on anyone else. The half-up, half-down hairstyle is romantic, and looks great with curly hair. You can also always enjoy big, bouncy curls, though you may still need a large-barreled curling iron to pull it off.

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