How to Style Curly Hair, According to a Celeb Stylist

Augusta Falletta
How to Style Curly Hair, According to a Celeb Stylist
Photo: Getty Images

Any girl with curly hair can attest to the fact that curls have a mind of their own. You can wake up with shampoo-ad-worthy curls (which, let’s be honest, very rarely happens), and by noon, your hair can look like a snarled, tangled, fluffy mess. It’s frustrating, it’s not fair, and it’s, well, the life of a curly-haired girl.

And though you’ve probably mastered your own routine by now, it doesn’t mean you can’t add a few more tips to your arsenal. So we asked celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak, who has worked with Kate Mara, Lily Collins, and Emma Stone, to tell us exactly how to style curly hair. Read on to find out!

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Start with an excellent curl cream.

For Roszak, that means L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Curve It Curl Taming Cream (editor’s note: Roszak is a brand ambassador for L’Oreal Paris). “It’s lightweight, but still tames frizz and adds definition to the curls,” she says. “I like to apply curl products to damp hair, after it has been washed and towel-dried.” For anyone with super-thick or coarse curls, though, try a richer, heavier formula, like Kinky-Curly Curling Custard or Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie.

Master the diffuser.

“After you’ve applied your curl products to damp hair, diffuse your curls until they’re about 50-percent dry, then let your hair air-dry the rest of the way,” says Roszak, who notes that this helps prevent frizz and damage, especially if you’re using heat tools every single day.

Befriend a hair oil.

Unless your hair is superfine and flat, a hair oil is almost always an excellent addition to your curl routine, especially if you’re doing a blowout. “Before you blow-dry, it’s best to start with a great oil or serum on the ends and mid-lengths of your hair when it’s still damp,” says Roszak. Our favorite: OGX Weightless Hydration Coconut Oil. “Next, use a round brush to pull the hair as smooth as possible as you blow-dry it. Remember that having a nozzle on your dryer is key for taming frizz while blow drying. Then touch up any wavy patches with a flat iron.”

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Learn to spot-treat.

Sometimes, your curls simply won’t turn out the way you want them to. But you don’t need to throw it in a ponytail and call it a bad hair day. Instead, “keep a spray bottle with water in it,” says Roszak. “Just lightly spritzing the curls can help them snap back into shape without you having to start all over.” Then, once the section of wonky curls is slightly damp, rub a dollop of curl cream between your fingers and massage it through your hair to re-define it.

Load up on moisture.

“Curly hair tends to be more coarse than straight hair, so it tends to be drier,” says Roszak. “Which means that color-treated curls that are styled with heat tools on a daily basis makes for incredibly dry hair.” Her remedy? Deep-conditioning masks, like Ouidad Curl Recovery Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask or DevaCurl Heaven in Hair mask. To make the conditioner more potent, rake it through your dry hair and clip it up for 15 mins before rinsing it out.

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