If you were born with naturally curly hair, most women with straight hair have been jealous of your hair at some point. Women with limp, stick-straight hair spend hours of their lives with curling irons trying to mimic what comes naturally to you. How do I know this? I have straight hair. I own four curling irons.
Secret #1: Embrace Your Natural CurlIf you're in a hot, humid climate, you might as well put away your flat iron. You might spend hours straightening your hair, only to step outside and ... POOF!
So what to do in humid climes? Embrace the curl. In fact, many women are foregoing the flat iron and going natural. Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook" says in Glamour magazine, "The freedom is just ridiculous." If you go natural, your hair will be healthier, you'll save time not drying or straightening hair and you'll stand out in a sea of straight hair women.
Secret #2: If You Want to Go Straight, You CanOne of the great benefits to curly hair is with a little bit of muscle or chemicals, you can go straight. Nicole Kidman has been sporting stick straight hair on the red carpet for years now, but the truth is, she has super curly hair and I think she looks better curly. Judge for yourself.
There are several types of professional hair straightening available including the controversial Brazilian keratin treatments which removes frizz from curly hair leaving you with more manageable curls that are more easily straightened with a flat iron. There's also the Japanese hair straightening methods, which really make your hair stick straight. It's just a matter of finding one that fits into your budget and your hair texture. The solutions used are much like the solutions for a perm, only instead of curly hair, they straighten it.
Secret #3: Invest in a Ceramic Flat IronIf you want to go straight on occasion, invest in a great ceramic flat iron -- it's much less time-consuming and a great iron won't fry your hair.
See my favorite flat irons.
Secret #4: No, You are Not Destined for a Life Full of FrizzAs you likely well know by now, humidity can wreak havoc on curly hair. Curly hair tends to be dry and therefore vulnerable to humid air -- it simply wants to soak up moisture. This causes cuticles to expand, which causes frizz.
The secret to keeping frizz at bay involves moisture, moisture, moisture. To keep hair properly moisturized, you need a few hair products including: non-sulfate shampoo, a leave-in conditioner, a deep conditioner and a styling product involving silicone. If you have curly hair, these should be staples in your bathroom cabinet. All either keep the hair moisturized or protect the cuticle from moisture (see a list of the best products for frizzy hair).
Secret #5: Deep Condition at Least Once a WeekIf your hair is susceptible to dryness, frizz or dandruff, keep away from products with alcohol and treat hair to a deep conditioning hair mask at least once a week. Consider natural oils as well. Stylist Eva Scrivo recommends in her book "Eva Scrivo On Beauty" to take a few drops of neem oil or amla oil (olive oil or jojoba oil also works) in your palm and massage with your fingers into your scalp and hair. Brush the oil through the hair with a natural bristle hair brush, then put a shower cap on and sleep in it, washing the oil out in the morning.
For much more information on frizzy hair, see Frizzy Hair Fixes: 7 Rules to Live By.
Secret #6: There are Right Ways & Wrong Ways to Use a Blow DryerThe blow dryer can be a curly girl's nightmare if used improperly. To avoid poof, let hair air dry as long as possible, then blow dry hair with a diffuser like this amazing one from Deva. Hold the blow dryer under hair, cupping (not squeezing) curls in your palm up folding the hair accordion-style as you dry hair.
If you don't use a diffuser, aim the blow dryer nozzle downward, in the direction hair grows.
Get more tips on how to care for curly hair.
Secret #7: Don't Throw Out Your BrushIt's actually a myth that you can't brush curly hair. While some women swear off even a comb, preferring finger-combing (I know of one woman who swears she's never, ever combed or brushed her hair), Scrivo writes in her book that brushing your hair can be a miracle maker. Brushing hair for 2 minutes a night helps distribute natural oils from scalp to hair, Scrivo writes, making it "smoother, more manageable, less frizzy, softer and shinier."
Yes, your hair will likely pouf up into a mass of curls after brushing, but Scrivo says this is OK. Simply wait until just before bed to brush and rinse hair in the morning. The benefits, she insists, are worth it.
"Whether you are plagued by frizz, dryness, split ends or even hair thinning, nightly brushing with a natural-bristle brush will help to alleviate if not completely cure the condition," Scrivo writes.
Secret #8: How to Distribute Product Through HairMost women apply product to the top of their heads which can weigh hair down, Scrivo writes in her book. The best way to apply product is to start in the back where hair is thicker. You can then work the product through the sides and at the top of the head. Add small amounts of product as you make your way through sections of hair.
You can comb the product through or massage it into hair with your fingers.