5 Styling Mistakes Standing Between You and the Curly Hair of Your Dreams
Ah, curls. Most of us have and appreciate them, but it seems that only a lucky few Latinas know how to really wear them. En serio, how many times haven’t we looked at a throwback picture of Shakira and said, “If my hair looked like that, then I would definitely wear it curly!” (Guilty, right here.) Well, we had an inkling that a lot of our curl frustrations were based on how we tend to them, day by day. So we did what we do best: poke around for answers. Here, hairstylists reveal the biggest mistakes curly girls make—and ways to fix them.
1. You’re Co-Washing All Wrong
Doing away with shampoo may seem like an unhygienic misstep—and what would mami think!—but cleansing with conditioner, instead, is an easy way to avoid stripping hair of its natural oils. Ana Paula Cota, a senior stylist at Devachan Salon in New York City, says the key is to follow the same routine as you would with traditional shampoo. “Not cleansing well enough can lead to product buildup, leaving your hair looking and feeling dirty,” says Cota. “So start by scrubbing your scalp with a generous amount of moisture-rich conditioner. Rinse, repeat, then hydrate with the same conditioner.” She recommends DevaCurl One Condition Decadence ($22 for 12 oz., devacurl.com). Finish by detangling as usual.2. You’re Fighting an Oil War
In an attempt to hydrate hair, you’re piling on moisture-rich oils after cleansing but ending up with flat, greasy strands. “When applied to wet hair, oil can’t penetrate the cuticle, so you don’t get the beneficial nutrients,” says Shai Amiel, celeb hairstylist and owner of Capella Salon in Los Angeles. Instead, apply the aceite to dry hair—concentrating on the tips—as a precleanse conditioner. “You can also let it sit overnight, and wash it out thoroughly in the morning,” he adds. Try Creme of Nature Straight From Eden Repairing Oil ($7.16, walmart.com).
3. You’re Parching Your Pelo
“Frizz is the result of your hair literally reaching out to draw moisture from the air,” says New York City celebrity hairstylist and Dove curl expert Cynthia Alvarez. After cleansing and conditioning, Alvarez recommends applying a nourishing leave-in potion like Dove Quench Absolute Crème Serum ($6, target.com) to damp hair. “This will create a barrier between your hair and potentially drying ingredients in styling products. Yes, they provide hold but can sometimes aggravate frizz.”
4. You’re Not Conditioning Enough
Cold temperatures can do a number on hair. “For the really dry winter months, use a conditioning mask every two weeks,” says Alvarez. Apply the mask after co-washing, top with a shower cap, and sit under a dryer (or in a steamy bathroom) to allow the conditioner to work its magic. “For an occasional burst of intense hydration, try a mask with a moisturizing ingredient, like coconut oil, which better penetrates the shaft,” says Cota. We like SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($13, walgreens.com).
5. Your Cut Isn’t Cutting It
“A good haircut will change your life,” says Alvarez. Just be sure to head to an expert who specializes in dry cutting. “Because rizos are unpredictable, a trained stylist will want to see what your curls are doing in their natural state. This will help determine where they’re going to fall, how to frame your face, and how to work with the different textures throughout your head.” If your stylist asks to wash or wet your hair before cutting—corre!
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