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Whether you're blessed with ringlets, waves, or something in between, stop fighting your natural texture. Curls will shine when you embrace them—and these tips.
Moisture RichQuick hair lesson: Light reflects naturally off flat surfaces (like the closed cuticle of straight locks), so to get your curls to catch light you need to give your hair what it's lacking—essential oils, proteins, and amino acids. In other words, lots of moisture to smooth the surface, says Michael Dueñas, a celebrity stylist and founder of Hair Room Service in NYC.
Skip a Shampoo—or Two Sudsing can strip your strands, so don't do it every day—just rinse with water and use conditioner. "Your hair will still take in the moisture it needs without losing any essential oils," says Dueñas. For an even creamier conditioner, do like the pros and add a pinch of baking soda to the mix. And when lathering up is a must, choose a sulfate-free shampoo, which is less harsh.
Get in Condition Bet you never thought working with your curly texture could mean using fewer products. While hair is soaking wet, finger-comb conditioner through strands so they're soft and slippery, says Dueñas. Don't rinse. Afterward, scrunch hair with a cotton T-shirt, paper towel, or microfiber—never terry cloth, which can create frizz. Then air-dry.
Fuse It For more defined curls, rely on the trusty diffuser. Aim the prongs upward from underneath to keep the curls intact and give them lift, says NYC stylist Jeanie Syfu. Hair will fall into its natural curl formation.
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That perfect TV-commercial hair isn't just something to envy—it's what you deserve. Treat straight tresses to TLC for your own enviable sleekness.
Cool Down Finish your rinse in the shower with a quick spray of cold water. There's a reason salons do it: The chilly temp helps to close the cuticle, resulting in increased shine and softness.
Smooth Move Get your strands almost dry by moving hair around the head and rotating your blow-dryer in all directions, says Syfu. Doing so adds volume, plus you'll spend less time later smoothing hair out with a round brush or flat iron.
Brush Up To make hair really shine, you need the tension of a combo nylon-and-boar-bristle brush, says Syfu. Nylon bristles help the brush glide through strands, while boar bristles add polish by distributing hair's natural oils. A good test: Take your brush and twist it about halfway through a section of hair—it should stay put, not slip out.
Dry Spell Blow-dryers can be damaging if not used the right way. For maximum gloss, the best possible way to dry is on a high-speed, high-heat setting. To keep hair healthy, reduce your blow-drying time and finish with either a flat iron to seal in silkiness, or a curling iron to add some movement, says Tom DeRosa, a hairstylist in NYC. Avoid frying strands by upgrading to a ceramic iron, like the Sedu Ionic Ceramic Pro Flat Iron (folica.com, $130), which eliminates frizz with less damage.
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Perfect Your Blow-Out Skills
The Perfect Blow Out for Your Hair
Watch our video to learn how you can blow out your hair perfectly.
Originally published in the October 1, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.