6 Techniques To Make Your Curls Look Better

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Healthy, juicy curls are on every curly girl’s wish list, but anyone with naturally curly hair knows that achieving this glory is easier said than done. When it comes to choosing products for your hair, there is a lot of trial and error to be sure, but try one (or all!) of the six tried-and-true curly-hair techniques and take all the guesswork out of your styling regimen.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
The Scrunch
If you have wavy or curly hair, you know about scrunching. The technique is perfect for two reasons: setting your curls in place (wet hair) and softening crunchy curls (dry curls).

Post-wash, after applying your leave-in conditioner and curl cream, you should part your hair the way you want it to fall when it dries. Once you have positioned your hair appropriately, lean your head toward one side and then the next, taking a section of hair each time and scrunching it by pushing the section towards the root. This will not only enhance your curl, but it will also set your curls.

If you’ve used gel and your hair is almost dry, scrunching it will help to soften any curls that look hard and crunchy. Apply oil to your hands and scrunch from the ends to the root. This gives your curls a soft and full look.

Related: What You Need To Know About Protective Styling
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
The Praying Hands
The praying hands method, also known as the clapping method, is used to smooth and reduce frizz for curly and coily hair. After washing your hair, apply your leave-in conditioner and then use the praying hands method to apply a styling product like gel or curl cream.

First, rub your styler between your hands. Then, take a section of hair and clap hands together like the praying hands emoji at the root of the hair, pulling them all the way down to the ends and evenly coating your hair in the product. For tighter curls and coils, this can also elongate the curls, if that is something you are looking for.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
The Steam Refresh
Shower steam is a great way to reactivate curls and refresh them in the morning. Rewetting the entire head can be timely and it isn’t good for our hair as it reopens and expands the cuticle. However, shower steam provides just enough moisture to help loosen the hair after sleeping on it. I also suggest applying some leave-in conditioner or styling crème after exiting the shower, then twisting or finger coiling some sections for a little definition. Once the hair is dry, shake it out and fluff until it looks just the way you like it.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Start At The Bottom
If the thought of detangling fills you with fear and loathing, this tip is for you. Incorrect detangling methods can wreak havoc on our curls and make the job much harder than it has to be. The best way to fully detangle your hair is to start from the bottom (the ends) and work your way up to the root. Detangling from the bottom up helps to eliminate tangles so your comb can easily pass through, and it also helps to release shed hairs along the way.

Detangling improperly (from root to tip) can cause more tangles (as you have not eliminated the original tangles), cause breakage (that explains the snapping sound you’ve been hearing), and rip your hair out (ouch). Make sure you section off your hair and be liberal in your conditioner application. There's no reason to have a torturous detangling session.

Related: How To Sleep Without Ruining Your Hair
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
The Pineapple
The pineapple method is a popular way to preserve your favorite styles for great second, third, and even fourth-day hair. The first step to healthier hair, of course, is to wash it less, and this technique will make it easy for you to avoid daily shampooing.

To create the pineapple, gather your hair at the top of your head, and secure it with a scrunchie. Avoid wrapping the hair band too tightly, as you do not want it to leave a crease or dent in your hair. You can also throw on a hair bonnet for added security. You can leave your hair like this for a few hours or overnight. When you're ready to take it down, just shake it all out, fluff with fingers, and go!
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Twist Out
The twist out is a fan favorite among the curly community and a handy tool to keep in your hair styling game plan. A twist out is a form of curl manipulation where two sections of hair are manipulated to create a rope-like pattern. You do this on wet hair and once it dries, you unravel the "ropes" and separate hair depending on the desired look.

One helpful thing to do is apply some oil to your hands before you unravel your twists. This will keep frizz at bay and also add some shine to the hair. If you want super-defined curls, you need to reflect this in your twists, which should be small to medium in size. When you undo the twists, don't fuss a lot or forcefully separate the strands. For less curl definition and a fuller look, create larger twists and separate as much as you want.

Pay attention to the size of your twists as you get to the ends of the hair. If your twists begin to shrink on the way down, you may be in need of a trim. Your twists should generally be the same size from the start to the very end.

Next: Help For Your Sun-Damaged Locks
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