When Yara Shahidi captioned a gorgeous Instagram selfie video with "minor adjustments," we immediately noticed that her glorious curls appeared to be a tiny bit shorter. At first, we assumed it was a trim — given, after all, that Shahidi is the queen of mini-makeovers. (We're still talking about her curly bangs from the BET Awards this summer.) But, it turns out, it's all just an optical illusion, thanks to her hairstylist Nai'vasha Johnson.
"I actually didn't change anything!" Johnson tells Refinery29. "It only appeared to be a little shorter, because I diffused it." Yes, yes, y'all: Shahidi faked a haircut... by drying her hair. Johnson says that Shahidi showed up on-set with her hair already shampooed and conditioned. So, to define her ringlets, Johnson spread a cocktail of Oribe Curl By Definition Crème and Phyto Specific Curl Legend Energizing Spray all over, then massaged it through her strands for even coverage before hitting it with a diffuser. "Because she doesn’t use much heat in her hair at all, it’s fairly easy to define her curls," Johnson says.
For most curly girls, wash-and-gos are an easy way for shrinkage to rear its ugly head. "To be honest, if you suffer from major shrinkage, I wouldn't recommend diffusing," she notes. "But, if you do [choose to dry it], don't let the dryer touch your hair. You need to keep it like an inch or an inch-and-a-half distance between your hair and the dryer. The whole idea is for it to dry in place, not to smash it or burn your hair with direct heat."
After you diffuse, give your hair a good shake to activate that natural curl pattern. And don't worry about finishing products. "If you diffuse your hair properly, all of the oils and emollients in the cream are going to shine," she notes.
So, mystery solved — until Shahidi's next fake-out, that is.
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