When it comes to our hair, a grass-is-always-greener kind of attitude is all too common — women with luscious curly hair typically yearn for smooth waves, while those that have been graced with a wavy texture dream of bouncy curls. And while there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to zhush things up and try something new every now and again, we're all for working with what your mama gave you and embracing your coils (frizz and all), too. But in order to keep your curls — whether they're twisted by nature or tools — looking their best, just know: You can't slack on the TLC. “To create healthy curls, find formulas — like the products from the Sebastian Professional Twisted Collection — that have nourishing ingredients in them,” says Sebastian Professional top artist Anthony Cress.
Sure, nowadays, getting the scoop on new beauty tricks is as easy as swiping through your Insta feed, but there's nothing quite like firsthand advice from the women who know best — those who do their curly 'do every. single. day. Ahead, eight women share the hair techniques they swear by (think: working in a mousse to achieve next-level texture) as well as their personal anecdotes on how embracing their wavy, curly, or coily hair has majorly boosted their self-confidence. If you’re looking for curly-girl inspo, you’ve come to the right place.
The Shortcut To Confidence
“Showing off my neckline and facial features makes me feel super confident. Now that my hair is short, I can do just that.”
Au Naturale, Always
“I’m from the Dominican Republic where curly hair is frowned upon. My school used to make me put my hair up because they would say it looked dirty. I just recently got over that and, as of a year ago, decided to keep it natural and curly.”
Pro tip: To amp up the volume of your soft curls, start by diffusing at the root, and then slowly work your way down to the ends.
Blondes Have More Fun
“I first dyed my hair four years ago when I was getting ready for college and needing a change. The light color makes me feel brighter and happier, and I love that the hue accentuates my curl pattern. Oh, and when they say blondes have more fun, they’re not lying.”
Day Two Is Key
“Freshly washed hair — otherwise known as day-one hair — is always a hit or miss for me. Day-two hair, on the other hand, always looks so much better. I just wake up, use Sebastian Professional Twisted Curl Reviver Spray, and diffuse it while using my fingers to pull out and stretch my curls.”
One (Accessory) & Done
“Growing up, I didn’t really have my own style. But as soon as I dyed my hair blonde, I started gravitating towards an urban, street-style look — it has really impacted my sense of fashion. Plus, since my hair is an accessory all on its own, I can keep the rest of my look fairly simple.”
Pro tip: For a style that's super easy to create, twist or braid the sections on both sides of your head, and then secure the back with bobby pins.
“My hair is fairly low-maintenance — kind of like my personality. All I do is shampoo and condition it, let it air dry with my part down the middle, and then — depending on the day — either straighten it or enhance my natural waves with a curling wand.”
Play With Patterns
“I love that my natural hair texture is a mix of a ton of different curl patterns. It has its days when it’s easy to deal with and others when it’s not.”
Pro tip: To create soft waves, use a flat iron to bend your hair in alternating directions. Starting at your roots and working your way down towards your ends, rotate the iron half a turn up towards the sky and then down towards the floor every couple of inches.
The Bigger, The Better
“I’m the most confident when my hair is really big and completely natural and I’m wearing an outfit that’s gender non-specific. That’s when I feel the most like myself.”
Comb It Out
“It takes me three hours to completely comb through my hair. Sure, it’s a while, but it’s the most important thing to do if you have curly hair and want to keep it healthy and strong.”
“When I was a kid, I begged my mom to let me chemically straighten my hair. I did it for two years and it completely fried my hair — so much so that I had to cut it all off. From then on, I knew I wanted to grow it out as long as I could.”
Pro tip: It may seem counterintuitive, but if you're trying to grow out your hair, make sure to get regular trims. It'll get rid of split ends and prevent breakage in the long run.
A Long Road To Acceptance
“Growing up, I was taught that straight hair was the only type of beautiful hair — it’s an ideal that’s deeply rooted in my hispanic ancestry. It took me a while to accept my hair for what it is, but now I can’t see myself with anything other than voluminous, bouncy curls.”
The 3-Step Method
“I use a method called LCO, which stands for leave in, cream, and oil. First, I towel-dry my hair with a T-shirt, and then I section my hair out and do the three-step process all over to keep my curls moisturized.”
Bring On The Frizz
“Most people don’t like frizz, but I say bring it on — the bigger, the better. My wild and carefree hair embodies me perfectly.”
Pro tip: Those with coily hair textures typically have drier hair, so don't be afraid to liberally spray on a leave-in conditioner or oil multiple times throughout the day.
Leave Your Comfort Zone Behind
“Two years ago, I cut off 10 inches all at once and dyed my hair blonde; I’ve never felt more like myself. I used to have super long and straight hair, but in retrospect, I realize that I was just hiding behind my length to feel girly and pretty — it was my security blanket.”
“My hair naturally falls into beachy waves, but I also love using a curling wand to get it even bouncier. First, I apply an oil to moisturize my hair, and then I apply a mousse — like Sebastian Professional Twisted Curl Lifter Foam — for volume. I quickly dry it, curl it, and finish the look with a spritz of texturizing spray at my roots for even more volume.”
Embrace Your Natural Texture
“If you don’t have naturally curly hair and want to get it super coily, first you need to work with what you’ve got — don’t start by blowdrying it completely straight. Begin the process from your natural texture and then go from there.”
Pro tip: Don't start curling with hot tools until your hair is completely dry, so your hard work doesn't fall flat.
“I like to have fun with my hair color and am not afraid to experiment. I first decided to go blonde because I wanted to feel golden inside — and out. It’s warm, it’s bright, and I love it — though, it does require extra maintenance to keep it healthy and hydrated. I use a hair mask every single day.”
Change Is Always An Option
“My mom taught me to live life with few regrets: If you don’t like something, you can change it. I think the same advice goes for hair. You can always change it up.”
Pro tip: Use a wide-tooth comb when combing out wet hair to avoid damage and frizz (unless that's what you're going for, of course).
Go With The Flow
“I love that my curls are very easy to work with, yet they have a mind of their own. I never know what they’re going to look like, so I make a point to be open-minded.”
Pure & Simple
“I only wash my hair one time per week, and I like to keep my routine pretty simple. I just use a water-based cream and then top it off with a bit of oil to seal in the moisture. I always let my hair air dry to minimize heat damage.”
Pro tip: For smoother, more defined curls, pick and choose a few outer sections, and go over them with a curling wand that matches your natural curl diameter.
Check out the entire Sebastian Professional Twisted Collection at Ulta.com.
On Genesis: PRISCAVera dress and shirt, stylist's own earrings. On M'Heri: Sacai dress, Luz Ortiz earrings, Lady Grey ring. On Kia: Versus Versace jacket, Annelise Michelson earrings, Bonheur ear cuff, stylist's own rings. On Janibell: Maryam Nassir Zadeh coat, A.P.C. turtleneck. On Sara: Frame jacket, Luz Ortiz earring, Ariana Boussard-Reifel ring. On Chinae: Jill Sander jacket, Zara shirt, Ellery earrings. On Sunita: Theory dress, Annelise Michelson necklace, Bonheur earrings. On Yasmin: Versus Versace dress, Annelise Michelson earrings.