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Best Curly Hairstyles

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Curly hair can be a challenge to work with. Generally speaking, the curlier the hair, the more fragile the hair shaft and the more prone to breakage. Since the sebum (the natural oil produced in the scalp) can't easily work its way down the hair shaft, this type of hair is usually drier and requires moisturizing regularly.

Here is one classification system for hair based on the amount of curl:

  • Type 1 hair is straight, hard to curl hair. It usually has the most sheen, and since the natural oils can move along the shaft easiest, is often the most oily hair.
  • Type 2 hair is wavy hair with a bit of a bend or spiral. It is usually easier to style, holds curl well, and is less likely to break than curly hair. Wavy hair can frizz in humidity.
  • Type 3 hair is curly hair that has an "s" pattern repeated down the hair shaft. This hair is generally drier and prone to breaking, and temperamental to style. Both very dry climates and high humidity can cause problems.
  • Type 4 hair is kinky or kinky/curly hair that has a "z" pattern. Usually kinky hair is most prone to breakage--it is drier and the sharp bends in the hair shaft make it less forgiving.

There are sub-classes of these categories such as Type 3A being less curly than Type 3C, etc., but in general terms, Type 3 and 4 are best suited for curly hair styles. These styles don't fight with your curls--they enhance them.

Ideas for Curly Hairstyles

Bouncy curls are easier for less curly hair, the soft bouncy curls can be achieved by rolling the hair with rollers, in pin curls, or with the use of a curling iron. Length is not as important, as any length hair can be curled into soft curls. Generally, a blunter cut will allow for curls that are more uniform from top to bottom.

Spiral curls are great for curlier hair. When the hair is wet, apply a good moisturizing conditioner, segment the hair into small segments (about a square inch of scalp) and twist the hair around and around a finger from top to bottom. Allow the segment to hang and dry in place without disturbing it. Once it is dry, you can gently pull your fingers through the hair to break the segments up, and you'll have nice spiral curls.

The messy bun is great on a day when you are short of time, try twisting the hair up into a loose, casual bun without brushing or combing. Uncombed curly hair will have volume and give the style a flattering shape. Use a few bobby pins to secure the hair. Pull a few strands out around the face to soften the look.

Curly Hairstyles Dos and Don'ts

  • Curly hair can be fragile, so don't wash it more than absolutely necessary.
  • Don't brush it--use a wide-toothed comb, pick or vent brush to gently detangle.
  • Use conditioner to soften and moisturizer to hydrate--there are products that do either of these things...or both.
  • Silicone based de-frizzers can help tame the wild locks, but they can be drying, too. Moisturize the hair often.
  • Sleep on a silk pillowcase, rather than a cotton one. Not only is it smoother and less abrasive to the hair, cotton will wick away moisture that should stay in the hair to keep it elastic.

When searching for a stylist, be sure to ask the salon receptionist if there is anyone particularly skilled in cutting and coloring curly hair. A skilled technician can help you keep your hair its healthy and shiny best.

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