Whether you have natural waves or corkscrew ringlets, getting to grips with styling curly hair can be tricky – so much so that a survey by Dove has found that 50% of women with naturally wavy hair are unhappy with it.
But with the emergence of a whole new category of products designed specifically for curly hair, it's time to unplug those straighteners and make the most of what nature gave you. Follow a few cutting and styling rules to give your curls a more flattering twist.
1 Get the perfect curly hair cut
'If curly hair is cut incorrectly, it can take on an unflattering triangular shape, so find a curl specialist,' says Karine Jackson, who runs a curl clinic at her London salon. 'You have to cut the individual curl, as no two are alike. Like topiary, each piece requires attention. We use a dry-cutting technique to get the best shape.'
2 How often to wash curly hair
'Curly hair needs less frequent washing,' says Karine. 'It tends to be drier because the kinks stop the scalp's natural oil from working its way down the shaft. Plus, never brush curls, except to comb through conditioner when wet – you'll just make them frizzy!' To avoid drying them out, use a detergent-free shampoo.
3 Style curly hair right
'Take control of the curl before it takes control of you,'says Karine. 'Apply your styling product when hair is damp, and twist each curl around your finger. Then leave to dry naturally for perfect natural curls.'
4 Try the plopping technique
Not heard of this before? It's the no-heat styling trick for creating defined curls in naturally wavy hair. Literally 'plop' your curls on to a towel – which absorbs more moisture than a traditional towel – then twist both sides, wrapping around your head securely until your hair is dry. By doing this, you ward off frizz and boost volume, plus it prevents you from playing with your curls as they dry, which can make frizz worse.