Curly hair has a mind of its own. You might like to think you have your routine nailed, but some days, those perfectly defined corkscrews fall flat, the mousse you usually rely on makes your strands feel crunchy and you're followed around by a halo of frizz thanks to curly hair's propensity for dryness. Luckily, top hairstylist and curl pro Larry King is on hand to show us how to get pristine curls every single time – and there is only a handful of steps you really need to master.
How to care for curly hair post-shower
Don't sabotage your curls by making this mistake.
"The way you dry curly hair is so important because the approach is very different to any other hair type," Larry told R29, and it all starts with how you dry it. "Contrary to popular belief, those with curly hair should dry their hair from soaking wet," Larry continued. "Scrunch the dampness out but don’t towel dry it at all. In fact, never towel dry curly hair because it creates frizzing straightaway."
And being gentle goes for all hair types. According to trichologist Guy Parsons, hair stretches to one-third of its length when wet and is easily snappable, so rough drying it will only chip away at the hair cuticle, causing frizz, split ends and visibly broken hairs. "Don't rub it vigorously with a towel as that will only cause damage," said Larry.
How to choose the right products
Before letting loose with a hairdryer, nail your product selection. When it comes to curly hair, Larry opts for a combination of cream and mousse, applied directly to soaking wet hair.
"I'd suggest applying something like Redken Curvaceous Full Swirl Cream Serum, £19.40 (two or three pumps is ample, depending on the thickness of your hair) followed by Redken Full Effect 04 All-Over Nourishing Mousse, £19.55." Once you've raked this through your hair with your hands, Larry advises using your fingers to give your curls extra definition. "Twist certain areas around them and then proceed to diffuse the curls dry." In salon, Larry uses the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, £299.96. If that's out of your budget, try BaByliss Diamond Hairdryer, £54.99.
How to blow-dry curly hair
You can use your hands to distribute product and to twist your curls but the key to achieving perfectly defined lengths is not to touch them at all when heat is applied. First, you'll need to attach a diffuser, which, according to the pros, is non-negotiable when drying curly hair.
"People with curly hair always have a tendency to touch it, and the moment you start touching it is when it goes frizzy," said Larry. Simply tip your head upside down and let your hair fall into the diffuser. "I always suggest putting one hand in your pocket and letting the diffuser do everything," continued Larry. "Put Netflix on your phone, sit there and just keep diffuse drying. You'll get really defined curls." Simple.
How to make your curls glossy
To prevent any featheriness, Larry suggests finishing with a lightweight spray oil. "Apply this to the roots and ends where your hair might get fluffy," he said. It's easier to spritz into the palm of your hands and to concentrate the product where needed, than to spray directly onto hair. Try Kérastase Elixir Ultime Le Voile Hair Oil, £31.05, or OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Weightless Reviving Dry Oil, £7.35.