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Those days of curly girls hiding their natural assets are long gone. Put away those clippers, hair irons, chemicals and hats, and let your curls make a statement. Hot ideas for curls can have you rocking major loops like Minnie Driver on the red carpet or making a big statement with an Afro like singer Macy Gray.
Hairstylist Andre Walker revolutionized the way we look at curls when he developed the curl classification system. His work recognizes the fact that no curl is created equally, and that curls respond differently to various cuts, styles and products. Before you decide to change up your look, classify your tresses. The overall categories, which then have sub-categories, help you choose what types of cuts, styles and products work best on your curls. Type 2 is wavy hair, the kind that lacks bounce and sticks close to your head. Type 3 covers springs, spirals, coils and corkscrews. Type 3c describes kinky, dense hair, often surprisingly fine in texture. Type 4 curls have the kinkiest shape;these tight curls have the circumference of a crochet needle or smaller.
Join the crowds of curly girls who swear by "no poo," short for no shampoo. The philosophy behind this approach is that shampoos, particularly those containing sulfates, have a drying, frizzing effect on hair, particularly curly and kinky hair. Reduce your number of shampoos per week, or replace shampoo with a very light, lotion-based conditioner, massaging it into your scalp and rinsing it. Some people skip the product altogether and just depend on the friction of fingers to scalp to get clean. Others opt for a quick rinse with apple cider vinegar.
Once you have cleaned your scalp, you need to choose appropriate product. People with thinner, wavy tresses can stick with a lighter, lotion-based conditioner. Those with thicker or kinkier curls need to step up the moisturizing power. After cleaning, gently squeeze excess water from your hair. Be thorough in this process by dividing your hair into sections. Finger-comb thick conditioner through your mane. A cream-based conditioner may be enough for less curly hair, while kinkier hair may require a pudding or mud. If you want a mix of products, stir up a curl cocktail that blends your conditioner with a de-frizzing lotion. Do not comb or brush your hair once you have added product. At most, scrunch curls as they dry, or gently stretch curls out one at a time.
No, you cannot feather it or give it a wedge. Still, you have many options for curly hair. While it's still damp, pin it back to train the curls to lay more flat against your head and to allow the underlying layers to get some volume as they dry. For shorter curls, encourage each curl to stand out on its own by scrunching through some styling lotion and then allowing them to dry naturally. Women with long curly hair can try a loose upsweep that allows tendrils to frame their faces.