How to Style Curly Hair

Hi gal pals, this post is a little different but I get quite a few questions about how to style curly hair and I wanted to put all of those answers in one place and give anyone interested a guide to styling curly hair, from my perspective. I am absolutely no hair expert but I’ve been a curly girl all my life and have tried dozens of products, styles, and hair cuts over the years. Since moving to Florida and finding a stylist that I trust, I’ve just recently (in the last five years) gained confidence in styling my curls and have really learned to embrace my curly hair.

Curly girls unite - this is the best guide on how to style curly hair that I've seen. A real curly girl explains her products, routine, and more.

A Complete Guide: How to Style Curly Hair

I mentioned in my 15 Tidbits About Me that it took me a long time to embrace my curls. As a little girl I wished for straight hair. I just wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to wear foam rollers like the girls in my dance class. I was so silly to not realize how lucky I was to have natural curly hair that didn’t require all that effort. As I got older, I wished to have beach waves not spiral curls with a touch of frizz. It’s taken a lot of reflection and time to realize all the perks of having curly hair. I love how low maintenance curly hair styling can be. I’m able to spend just a few minutes a day getting my hair ready for the day. These days my hair feels like my signature in many ways but more than that. I’m the girl with the curly hair and I kind of love that. Beyond it being my signature, it’s a little secret that it’s so easy to style. I can be ready in 15 minutes most days because I don’t have to blow dry, straighten, curl, then style my hair. I simply wash my curls, put some product in them, and allow them air dry. If I’m in a rush I might run a blow dryer with a diffuser on it through my hair for a few minutes to spead the drying process. But with that low maintenance work, my hair is able to stay super healthy without the heat elements and I’m really happy with the way my curly hair looks these days.

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Here are my best tips for keeping your curls healthy and happy and how to style curly hair.

Tip #1: You need a good stylist. Not every stylist can cut curly hair. Read that again. Not every stylist can (or should) cut curly hair. A good stylist makes all the difference when it comes to cutting curly hair. Here are some questions to ask of your potential stylist:
Do you have experience with textured hair?
Do you straighten curly hair before cutting? (that’s an immediate no, thank you)
Do you have knowledge or experience of the dry cutting method?

The game was changed for my curly hair about five years ago when I discovered a local salon that is certified by Devacurl. The brand has a method of hair cutting called the “Devacut.” This technique doesn’t just cut your hair straight across making sure it’s even when straight, like typical hair cuts, but it treats each curl separately and will cut each of your curls according to their individual curl pattern. This technique is magic. A lot of curly hair styles end up looking a little triangular, not flattering. The devacut gives you a haircut that you’ll wake up the next day loving because your curls are cut according to how they fall naturally.

Additionally, if you cut curls the same way you cut straight hair, then you’re not taking into account the way the curls fall naturally so your cut can appear uneven even though it’s absolutely straight. Once you commit to a devacut, you really can’t wear your hair straight. Since your curls are cut according to their specific curl pattern, when straightened your hair cut would appear rather uneven. I’ve always been okay with that because I never, ever straighten my hair.

Since I became aware of the Devacut technique, it’s opened my eyes to an entire world of curly hair styling methods. There is an entire technique of stying curly hair called “the curly girl method” I don’t strictly subscribe to that method but if you are looking to get started in styling your curls, it’s a great place to start. If you’re looking for a stylist that is Devacut certified you can find one here. If you’re local to Jacksonville, I have an amazing stylist I can recommend! If there isn’t a salon certified by Devacurl in your area, finding a stylist with experience with curly hair is the next best thing. By the way, this is not sponsored in any way, I just genuinely love the devacut process. 

Tip #2: Don’t use a comb or brush on your hair.
Okay, that sounds odd, doesn’t it? It goes against everything we know about caring for our hair. Wash, condition, comb/brush. I think it’s also a misconception that curly hair is inherently tangly. It’s not. Brushing your curly hair, even when wet breaks up your natural curl pattern making your hair frizz more easily. Instead of brushing your hair, use your fingers while you’re in the shower to break up any tangles, this is called finger combing.
On hair washing days, I wash my hair as normal, condition, and finger comb my curly hair as I’m rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. With the products I use, my curly hair is never tangly. Simply conditioning it, then running through it with my fingers easily gets any tangles out.

Tip #3: Find the right products for your curly hair.
I’ve used dozens of products on my hair over the years. Most recently I switched from Devacurl products to MorrocanOil Curl Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner, and the Curl Defining Cream. Previously, I had used all Devacurl products which are paraben and sulfate free but I do like to change up my product line up every so often.

Tip #4: How I style my curly hair
On hair washing days, I wash and condition my curls with my MoracconOil shampoo and conditioner and fully rinse while I’m finger combing my hair until smooth. Then, with my hands, I ring out as much water as I can. I get out of the shower with soaking wet hair making sure that I never dry it with a towel. It’s really important that you handle your hair as little as possible at this point and that you allow it to retain as much moisture as you can. This will reduce frizz. With soaking wet hair, I squirt about a quarter sized amount of MoroccanOil Curl Defining Cream into my hands and massage it into my hair. At this point, my hair is quite wet, so I will very lightly scrunch my hair with a t-shirt. I try not to break up the curls during this application. After the products have been applied and I’m scrunched out just enough moisture to be comfortable, I will go through my curls and finger coil any that are looking off. I do this by simply wrapping a curl around my finger and then letting it go.

Once I’m done with this, I go about my typical morning routine and allow my hair to air dry. It should be pretty wet but not sopping. My hair usually dries within 45 minutes to 1-hour. At this point, my hair will look a little flat around my head. Once it’s dry, I take my fingers and break up the curls a little bit to give them a little space and bounce. I’ll push it up around the crown of my head to give my hair some volume. That’s it, my curly hair styling is done! If I have to get out of the house sooner than the 45 minutes it takes for my hair to dry, I’ll go out with wet hair then break up my curls a little once it’s dry while I’m out and about. Since I never apply any hairspray or anything, that’s not a problem. I will often go out with wet hair. It’s not ideal but it’s necessary a lot of times!

Curly girls unite - this is the best guide on how to style curly hair that I've seen. A real curly girl explains her products, routine, and more.Other curly hair products I’ve used and liked. There are other products I’ve used and liked in the past although, none compare quite to the Devacurl products. If you’re interested in some other options, here are a few I feel are worth trying:

Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer

Bumble and Bumble Curl Cream

Garnier Fructis Curl Sculpt

Okay, I know that was a lot but I feel passionate about styling curly hair. If you have curls and haven’t quite learned to love them, give my curly hair styling routine a try and let me know what you think! Or if you have curly hair and use other products, I’d love to hear what works for you! Let me know in the comments!

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  1. I’m seriously envious of your hair every time I open IG and watch your stories!! Your hair is perfection every single day.

  2. I have curly hair too – not as beautiful as yours, but it’s curly. Thanks for sharing the products you use. Like you, for years I’ve straightened my hair and that takes a lot of time each morning. A few years ago I just decided to go with the curls – mainly because I am not a morning person and leaving my hair curly was just too easy. I’m in St. Augustine and I would love it if you would share who your hair stylist is. Thanks so much! Love your blog!

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