Curls are no ordinary hair type. Careful styling, some trusty products, and a willingness to not grow instantly weary when a strand goes out of place are all required in maintaining your own version of perfect curls, and with multiple curl types out there, the task of caring for your hair can prove especially difficult. Although some TikTok users have found seriously ingenious curl hacks, others on the Internet rely on a tried and true method — the Curly Girl.
The Curly Girl method is based on a book by Lorraine Massey, and within its precious pages is a complete guide to getting your best curls ever. The handbook contains styling tips for multiple curl types, and begins with advice on truly getting to know your curl type, texture, and appearance.
3A to 4A type curls are often featured in these guides, and are the namesake of the method, but as multiple hair experts explained to NYLON, those with wavy hair can see similar benefits from doing their curl research. In case you're new to the curly hair method, the experts are here to help, with a complete guide on how to follow the curly girl method if you have wavy hair.
Know Your Hair Type
Before beginning any type of curly hair regimen, it's important to know which curl category best fits your hair. Celebrity hairstylist, Matilde Campos, pointed to hairstylist Andre Walker's hair typing system as a reference point, noting that wavy hair generally falls under Type 2 hair.
Once you've settled on a specific hair type, it's easier to understand and incorporate products. However, Campos noted that not all hair types, even those that are properly categorized, will benefit from styling products or care methods specifically catered to them. "In regards to following a particular regimen of products, and washing and styling schedules, it all depends on trial and error and finding what fits your lifestyle best. Hair doesn't play by any rules, what may work for one person, may not work for another," she said.
Don't Be Afraid To Experiment
As with any new element in your beauty routine, it's best to embrace the idea of experimenting. "Each and every person should experiment and create a customized schedule or regimen," Christian Awesome, evo International Creative Team Member and stylist at The Hair Loft Ltd in Chicago told NYLON. "The type of curl or wave, density, style preference, maintenance level, product choice, oil production, activity level and how fine or coarse the hair is are just some of the variables that play into your washing and styling schedule."
Regina Janvier, Maggie Rose Salon texture expert, told NYLON that trying out different products will enable you to see what your hair reacts best to. When it comes to styling the hair, she suggested further experimenting, saying that diffusing and pin curling are two popular looks for wavy hair. "Diffusing can help with volume, enhancing your wavy pattern and sealing in product, while promoting long-lasting definition," she said. "Pin curls can help mold the hair into beautiful ringlets and train it to stay curly. Another alternative is to do a simple twist or braid out as a way to enhance your waves."
How To Find The Right Products For You
Now that you're ready to experiment and hit the store for some new product, it's important to know where to start. Janvier pointed out that products labeled for curls can be used on wavy hair, but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll see the results you're hoping for. "When it comes to product choice, you want to make sure you are not only basing your decisions on your curl pattern, but also the texture and density of your hair. You want products that won’t weigh down your hair, but still give you adequate moisture. As long as your hair is moisturized, you won’t have unhealthy frizz," she said.
Take a careful look at your waves and note how they feel, Brittney Ogike, BeautyBeez founder and CEO suggested. "For fine soft waves, I would recommend using light products" she said. "Mousse and gels work great on that texture. For thick wavy hair, heavy styling creams and cream gels work best to enhance waves. Deep conditioners are also essential in protecting strands."
Give a careful read to the ingredients on any product you're considering, Janvier said. "Emollients like almond oil and ceteryl alcohol are great for wavy hair since they are light, hydrating and help to thicken hair," she said. "Sulfates and silicones are also helpful when not overused. Sulfates will help remove any buildup that is non-water soluble promoting a clean, healthy scalp and weightless hair. Silicones can also be beneficial since they give a nice slip and shine to hair and are found in many hair products. Just be mindful of your use of both."
Campos pointed out that the styling process begins immediately upon stepping out of the shower. "Hair that is wet is at its most vulnerable, so untangling hair with the proper brush will be a tremendous help," she said. "For fine hair, I recommend using a great leave-in conditioner and a sea salt spray, this may be all you need to rock your waves. For thick, highlighted or damaged hair, using a curl cream can make all the difference."
Maintain Curl Care In Between Haircuts
You can keep up the look of your waves with regular haircuts, and curl-enhancing products that include silk pillowcases, microfiber towels, and treatment products. "Wavy hair will fall differently to straight hair. If you like the hair to hold a certain shape without falling too heavy or flat, a good regular haircut is necessary," Awesome said.
Campos further noted that maintenance is the key to wavy hair, saying, "When it comes to wavy hair, everyone should maintain their gorgeous locks by scheduling regular trims. Having dry ends weigh the hair down, and in turn, your hair can feel drab, lose its bounce and sometimes you feel like your hair is not doing what it used to do. Trims, used to cut off dry ends, will help your hair keep growing, remain thick, or sometimes adding a few layers, will add the extra body and volume you are looking for."
If All Else Fails, Ask Your Hairstylist For Help
Waves and curls require work, and If you find yourself feeling totally confused by it all, you may want to speak with a professional. All hair will react differently to products, treatments, and care, and the experts interviewed by NYLON all suggested turning to a hair professional if you have further questions or concern regarding your waves.