How to Style Naturally Curly Hair: Advice That Actually Works

Follow these simple tips for bouncy waves, smooth curls and zero frizz (promise!)

A model showing how to style naturally curly hair

(Photo: Saty + Pratha)

After years of blowouts, relaxing treatments and battling the humidex, we’re embracing natural curls. Witness the many celebs letting theirs loose, from Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ voluminous waves to Tracee Ellis Ross’ ringlets to Lupita Nyong’o’s TWA (teeny-weeny Afro). Need more convincing to put down the flat iron? Here’s one major perk: healthy hair. “It fills me with joy to see women embracing their natural texture because it makes hair so much stronger and reduces thinning, balding and breakage,” says Janet Jackson (not that Janet Jackson), owner of JouJou Hair Studio in Toronto.

But there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for attaining Solange-level spirals. “It’s very important for a person to understand what their curl type is,” says Jackson. She follows the wisdom of Oprah’s mane man, Andre Walker, who breaks them down into three types: waves, curls and coils.

Once you’ve figured out your curl type, you’ll need the right products. Proper application goes a long way here. “The key to getting a uniform curl and reducing frizz is making sure product gets all the way through the hair,” says Justin German, Pantene consulting stylist and co-owner of Bang Salon in Toronto. “When hair is wet, you have to saturate it root to end,” he says.

As much as possible, leave your hair alone. Air-dry if you can; use a diffuser (on low heat) if you have to. “You don’t want hair blowing all over the place because it’s just going to get frizzy,” says German. Volume on the other hand, is part of the package. “The beauty of having naturally curly hair is that it’s a little bit big and bouncy – just embrace it.”

We’ve rounded up 10 products that are perf for taming your curls:

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