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10 Curly Hair Styling Tips That Might Just Change Your Life

You’ve been waiting your whole life for this advice, curly girls.

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First, know your curl

There are a multitude of hair types when it comes to curly hair and each style can be enhanced and worked with to achieve your best curl. Naturally Curly put together a helpful picture guide to the types of textures, including wavy, curly, and coils. Learning your hair texture and its styling secrets will help your choose the proper hair care products and a haircut best suited to your particular texture.

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Non-negotiable: Find a hair stylist with curl experience

When choosing a hair stylist, ask for one with experience in curly hair. According to Amy Pusateri, co-owner of Fringe Beauty Lounge in Wexford, Pennsylvania, there is a big difference in quality and technique when you choose a stylist specializing in curls. “They should be cutting your hair dry and working with it in its fantastic natural state before wetting,” Pusateri explains. When curly hair is cut wet it’s more likely to appear shorter and lay differently. Here are 38 secrets hair stylists won’t tell you.

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Banish the brush

“A brush is the devil for curly hair,” Pusateri says. No matter how tempted you are to reach for the brush, curly-haired women should never use one. When you brush curly hair, you make the curls frizzier and bigger, disrupting the state of the curls. Instead simply use your hands or a wide-tooth comb. These are the absolute worst things you can do to your hair.

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Moisture is your friend

Don’t skimp on your favorite curly hair products, as they help lock in moisture and keep your hair looking fresh. Pusateri suggests shampoo with a no-foam formula for washing, as its ingredients include a cleansing conditioner that will clear out debris and moisturize the curl. Pusateri recommends Redken’s Curvaceous hair product line, which is suited to an individual’s curl type. Here’s what your hair is desperately trying to tell you about your health.

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Don’t wash too often

Daily bathing and showering might be part of your routine, but that doesn’t mean daily hair washing should be, too. Instead, Pusateri suggests washing two to three times a week using shampoo, and using a conditioning product for the remaining days. Using shampoo too often can dry out hair of its natural moisture, leaving curls looking limp. You might be making these other showering mistakes too.

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Dry hair without drying out

After you step out of the shower or bath, don’t immediately wrap your hair in a towel. Instead be gentle with the curls and use a soft t-shirt to soak up extra moisture, let hair air dry, or if you’re pressed for a time use a diffuser. Diffusers help prevent the frizz of a blowdryer and keep curls looking fresh. These are essential tips if you use heat on your hair every day.

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Limit heat

If you’re using styling tools like a curling iron, hair dryer, or straight iron, limit their usage and watch the temperature. Watch for signs of dry, fraying ends, and curls that lose their luster as this could mean your hair is damaged by excessive temperature.

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Don’t touch

Keep hands off your hair once it’s styled or dry. Hands can spread excess oil to the curl and disrupt the pattern. As tempting as it may be to twirl your ringlets or scrunch your locks throughout the day, this will only wreak havoc on your hair.

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Sleep with satin

To take care of your curls even while you sleep, sleep with a silk or satin pillowcase to avoid tangles and give your curls room to breathe. According to the curl experts at Ouidad, the smoother fabric makes for less frizz and keeps curls feeling smooth. These are other genius ways to manage frizzy hair.

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Embrace your curls

The most important thing curly-haired women can do is to embrace and love their curls. Pusateri recommends giving new hairstyles at least a month before you leave them behind. If you’re new to showing off your curly locks, she recommends a similar timetable, as it will also take time for your curls to form and wipe away any previous years of damage.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest