How Do You Care For Your Curls? 6 People With Luscious, Curly Locks Share Their Game-Changing Tips

By Lucy Slight
Stylist Chloe Hill. Photo / @Chloechill

If there’s one thing that people with curly hair have in common (at least the ones we spoke to for this story) it’s that there’s no gatekeeping when it comes to tips and tricks for curl care.

To bring you a range of detailed descriptions, and clear and concise CliffsNotes,

Dan Ahwa. Photo / Supplied
Dan Ahwa. Photo / Supplied

Dan Ahwa, Viva fashion and creative director, focuses on hydration

If there’s one piece of advice I would offer my teenage self, it’s to put the can of Dax hair wax down immediately. Why teenage boys were obsessed with this I’ll never know, but now I’m a little older and wiser, embracing my natural waves has been a lesson in patience.

Thanks to Benjamin James from Ryder Salon, who cuts my hair a couple of times a year, he’s encouraged me to let my curls grow and to ensure I keep my hair hydrated and taken care of with some sage advice, including how to work my way around a diffuser if I need to.

For a little natural control, I like to use a pliable pomade that’s not too greasy and not too intense, like R + Co’s Hyperlink Fibre Stretch Pomade, which helps reduce frizz. For something even less intense, Ouai has a really good hair cream that supports the natural wave of my hair without drying it out.

On the weekends I like to have a leave-in hair mask and my cousin Lofa introduced me to the wonderful world of Garnier’s line of repairing Hair Food. It’s great for hair that teeters between wavy and curly my go-to is the papaya.

The best thing for hair like mine is to also wash it a couple of times a week max. I’ve tried hair oils and they are good when I need a little TLC, like Gisou’s Honey Infused Hair Oil, but only sparingly hair oil tends to make me look inadvertently sleazy.

Zoe Norton. Photo / Supplied
Zoe Norton. Photo / Supplied

Zoe Norton, Flava breakfast audio producer, swears by a micro-fibre towel

My hair is a 3B curl pattern. Knowing this makes it easy to target products and certain styling tips for my curls.

The most important hack I have learned is to use a micro-fibre towel turban. A cotton T-shirt works wonders too, it just takes a lot longer to dry your hair. DO NOT USE A TOWEL. A towel adds friction to your hair and makes it a lot frizzier throughout the day or until your next wash.

Ending your shower with a cold rinse through your hair will bring definition and moisture to your curls; the cold-water locks in moisture and, as curly hair can be quite dry, this will help your curl pattern not to frizz (as long as you use a towel turban to dry). Cold water, in general, is good for your hair and body; it resets your nervous system and gives amazing defined curls at the same time. It’s a win-win, unless you hate the cold.

Do not brush your curls when they are dry, unless you are dressing up as Hagrid for Halloween. There is no excuse for dry hair brushing, it’s a crime and will make your curls disappear into a ball of frizz. Always apply water or brush in the shower.

This brings me on to my next tip, and that is, a spray bottle filled with water will save your life. If it isn’t a hair-wash day, a spray bottle will help you add a touch of moisture to refresh your curls.

This applies to everyone, but always do a double shampoo. The first shampoo cleanses your scalp and the second shampoo restores the moisture. I’m unsure how it works, but I am told it’s chemistry, and I’ve been doing it for some time now and do notice a difference in the health of my hair after a shower.

Scrunching conditioner to the ends of your hair after you brush will help bring your curls back after being brushed out, the upward scrunch will lift them to then release them back to the bounce. Argan oils are also great to apply when your hair is damp after a shower.

If you are defusing your hair with a hair dryer, use a low speed with a low heat (almost cold) with a gentle toss back and forward. The Dyson hair dryer is a dream, but it also breaks the bank account, so any hair dryer with a diffuser top will do the job. My friend has the one from Kmart and it works just as well as any.

Obviously, we can’t control the weather and the humidity, which, if you have curls, is not a vibe. A moose or a curl cream to add in for style will help harden your curl pattern to stay in its shape and will help with the humidity bringing in the frizz.

My favourite hair cream is Cantu, not only does it smell amazing but it also locks your curls in and hardens them enough without making them feel like they’re stiff. It also makes them look shiny and kind of wet. Apply a generous amount and make sure you are applying everywhere, and scrunch it through from ends to scalp.

Chloe Hill. Photo / Supplied
Chloe Hill. Photo / Supplied

Chloe Hill, stylist and Viva fashion contributor, reaches for the mousse

While I’m almost completely package-free for my hair routine, I haven’t been able to kick a bottled styling product.

I pulled out an old bottle of Evo’s Macgyver Mousse earlier this year that I had been hanging onto for years and scrunched some into my fringe when wet and found it gave a nice wavy curl, so now it’s part of my daily routine and I’m loving it. I just ordered another bottle from Colleen (along with my favourite Davines Shampoo Bar).

Atutahi Potaka-Dewes. Photo / Supplied
Atutahi Potaka-Dewes. Photo / Supplied

Atutahi Potaka-Dewes, newsreader and journalist, styles from dripping wet

After I wash my hair, I don’t completely rinse out the conditioner my hair needs hydration. I split my hair into four sections, then, with curl creme on my hands, I curl small clumps with my fingers, then re-drench my hair with a spray bottle. This has helped me understand my curl pattern, as just ‘scrunching’ doesn’t give the definition of curl I see now.

After the curl creme and when my hair is still wet, I smooth gel onto big sections of hair, gently sliding the hair between praying hands. Gel has probably given you PTSD from the slicked-hair school pics we all had to take, but trust we’ve learned. It has been a lifesaver for taming frizz and giving me long-lasting curls, as when the hair is dry the gel forms a hard cast around the curl.

This is when I scrunch with coconut oil, flipping my hair upside down for volume and scrunching the crunchy gel out. Personally, I prefer a strong-hold gel and Helena or Shock Waves have been a staple for me. For the last month, I’ve been using John Freida curl gel (it’s not my favourite but I’m stubborn so I will use it all up, then I’ll try something different).

My curls are thirsty girls too! So, using good old H2O and gel between washes to refresh dried and wonky curls is so much better than chucking it all up in a bun all the time. I think gel has a negative stigma around it, but it’s a curly girl’s secret weapon. Yes, it takes time. Yes, I do this every wash day. But yes, we slay!

Roanne Jacobson. Photo / Supplied
Roanne Jacobson. Photo / Supplied

Roanne Jacobson, founder and creative director of Saben, loves her diffuser

My top hack is to towel dry your hair gently, don’t smoosh or squeeze it patience is key. My favourite products are Davines Curl Building Serum and R + Co Jackpot, and, of course, my Dyson diffuser.

This is my routine in a nutshell: I comb out my curls when they are wet, in the shower, then towel dry gently. I apply both or either the Davines and R + Co products while my hair is damp, then use my Dyson Supersonic with the diffuser attachment to dry.

If I want more volume up high, I’ll dry my hair with my head upside down. The trick is to be patient while drying don’t play with it. When my hair is dry, I’ll scrunch it at the roots to give it more volume.

Viva deputy editor Johanna Thornton. Photo / Babiche Martens
Viva deputy editor Johanna Thornton. Photo / Babiche Martens

Johanna Thornton, Viva deputy editor, uses a brush

It’s taken me many, many years to learn how to work with my natural curl, after a lifetime straightening it. I haven’t met a hairdresser who’s known what to do with me and have always walked out of the salon with straight, blow-waved hair. Most of the tricks I’ve learnt have come from Instagram tutorials, number one of which is brush styling. This is where you brush product through soaking wet hair in sections after washing (have a look at @sohiemariecurly for a demo, and for lots of other hair tips). It helps to define curls and distribute product evenly. The outcome is different every time, one of the joys of having curls (lol), but for me it means less frizz.

Once I’ve styled my hair I wrap it in a turban or an old T-shirt to soak up moisture before blow drying it with a diffuser attachment.

I was recently introduced to Ghd’s Curve Thin Curling Wand, which I test-drove for Viva and which is quite good for touching up dry hair when you have wayward curls that could do with definition.

Product-wise, I’ve been enjoying Living Proof’s range of curly products, both the shampoo and conditioner and especially the Curl Definer cream and the Curl Defining Gel (yes, gel!). I rake the curl cream through my hair, brush style, then apply gel and scrunch it through, which keeps curls intact for a lot longer than without gel. For a local, natural and organic hairline, Reina Haircare’s Moisturising Leave In Curl Defining Custard is nice for adding extra moisture (I apply it to wet hair after washing) and the Cupuacacu Butter & Moringa Oil Moisturising and Detangling Conditioner really is so moisturising, and smells good. I also swear by this Bumble & Bumble spritz for refreshing curls, but water in a spray bottle works too.

And finally, if you just can’t win at styling that day, long live the slicked-back bun.

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