If you’ve been struggling for years, trying to make your curly hair behave, take heart . . . this is how to style curly hair without the frizz.  Gone are the days of big, fluffy, 80s-looking curls. Watch any TV show, read any celebrity magazine and what you’ll see is fat, sculpted curls that look like they were set with rollers or a curling iron, rather than scrunched in with a pair of hands. And for good reason: they were. But who wants to spend what seems like an eternity iron-curling your hair every morning? Can you cheat and still get a beautiful result? First, it may be necessary for you to forget everything you think you know about drying curly hair. Standard procedure used to be to scrunch, scrunch, scrunch. But it’s important to understand that every time you touch the hair you break the curls apart, not only resulting in smaller curls but also smaller numbers of hairs in those curls which looks a lot like frizz. The following steps take a little thought and patience, but are very easy and with some practice, will become second nature. Here is your NEW routine:

DETANGLE

Freshly out of the shower, while your hair is still sopping wet, use a wide-tooth comb or pick to detangle your hair.

APPLY THE PRODUCT

While your hair is STILL sopping wet, distribute a liberal amount of gel or cream evenly through your hair. Use perhaps a little more than you think you need. Some product will be removed in the next step. Be sure to get some product at your roots for volume. Make sure you have your part where you want it. This is the ONLY TIME scrunching is allowed… and you’re not even going to do that much of it. You are attempting to get the product to stick to itself and in the process form fat, clumpy curls. You should literally hear the water squishing in your hands as you scrunch. Bend your head to whichever area you are working on. For the top of your hair, bend upside down. As you practice this routine, you’ll get better at judging how much product to use. And, of course, all products are NOT created equally. I’ve experimented with many products  and I’m a big fan of these: DevaCurl Light Defining Gel (lightweight, light-hold gel for fine or thin hair) DevaCurl Arc AnGEL (medium weight, firm-hold gel that has a clean feel when it’s dry) Sexy Hair Curling Cream (lightweight, medium hold cream/gel with no stickiness or residue and a fantastic smell!) A good piece of advice is to pick a product with a stronger hold if you have a loose curl, but be very careful with fine or thinning hair or it will be weighed down. For those of you with a decent amount of natural curl that has some frizz, a thick styling cream may be better. Pureology Anti-Breakage Twist is a good choice.

REMOVE THE WATER

You have to be very careful moving the water out of your hair. You now have a sticky product holding your curls together. The more you manipulate your curls at this point, the more likely they are to break up, leaving you with frizz. Also, one of the reasons I say to apply a good amount of gel or cream, is that a bit will get removed during this step. Bend your head to whichever side you are working on. This will create more lift from the scalp and give you more volume. With preferably a paper towel or a micro fiber towel (the tiny loops on a regular towel can catch the hairs and pull them apart just enough to be seen as frizz), gather up an area of your hair and PRESS it into your head and hold it there for 20 or 30 seconds. Don’t move the towel or scrunch with your hands. Think of this step as gently wicking the water out of your hair. If you do a thorough enough job at this, blowdrying will take a lot less time. Spend a good amount of time on this step; I consider it the most important one.

DIFFUSE

If you don’t have a diffuser that fits on your blowdryer, PLEASE go out and get one immediately. It’s indispensable. Why can’t you just let your hair dry on its own? Because there is still water in it, and even a little water is heavy. It takes very little gravity to pull the hair at your scalp flat. If you’ve done the other steps and quit at this point, you will have an unfinished look. Trust me, we’re almost done! In the same way you held the towel against your head without moving it, gather up an area of your hair in the diffuser and hold it right up to your scalp and WAIT. You want to think of this step as evaporating the water out of your hair, still without any manipulation of the curls. Go through each area of the head until you can feel little or no moisture in your hair.

SMOOTH AND FINISH

There will almost always be a few frizzies here and there in the finished style. You can either gently squeeze a cream or shine serum into your top curls, or you can go for the gusto and pick a few curls from the very top of your head and twist them around a curling iron, just to give your style some extra volume and structure. If you decide to use a product to tame the frizzies, DO NOT choose a sticky one like a gel or mousse! The product will stick to your hands and will pull the curls apart. Be sure to check out two more Curly Hair articles, What Curl Type Are You? and the DevaCurl Video Tutorial