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Reader Question: Can you please recommend a hair regimen with products for naturally air-drying curly hair?
I'm not going to lie and say that having curls isn't work. It absolutely is. Curls have a mind of their own, and when you're styling them, sometimes all you can do is say a silent prayer and hope they come out looking the way you want them to. The key to doing that is finding the right products and perfecting your styling technique. That technique includes air-drying. Yes, it takes some time, but anyone with curls can tell you when you allow your hair to air-dry, you get far less frizz.
But before you attempt to style and dry, the first thing you should do is try to figure out your curl type. The 2A-4C classifying system, though it's not perfect, is rather helpful when you're trying to pinpoint which kinds of products your hair might like. Then, comes the experimentation. Listen to your hair. Does coconut oil make it feel overcooked turkey-level parched? Do your curls feel extra soft when you apply argan oil? Take note, because these helpful hints will serve you well once you start shopping to replenish your stash.
Though every head of hair is different, in my time as a beauty editor, I've found that there are a few products that work for several textures. I was shaken to the core when I found out digital reporter Nicola Dall'Asen also loves the Cake Beauty The Curl Friend Defining Curl Cream on her 2B texture as much as I do on my 3C/4A 'fro. I love it to bits and it has the range!
Product choices aside, there is a basic routine that anyone trying to air-dry curls should follow, regardless of their texture. I've found it works for me personally, and it's a method other folks with highly textured crowns use. Feel free to substitute products, but here's a short rundown of what you should do once you're out of the shower.
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Use a Microfiber Towel
Terrycloth is cute and all on your body, but it is not too kind to curls or kinks — its fluffy texture is prone to making your hair frizz up, and many of us don't want to start off styling with that kind of base. Instead, make the switch a microfiber towel like this one from Aquis. It's much gentler on your texture and dries your hair faster without sucking out moisture. Don't wanna spend the coins on an extra towel or two (or three)? An old T-shirt also works, though note that it's far less absorbent.
Get Yourself a Good Leave-In Conditioner
Curls and coils are thirsty little buggers and they need moisture in order to look good. So starting your styling session off with a leave-in conditioner is an absolute must. The Alterna Caviar Replenishing Moisture CC Cream works beautifully on my texture, and it's got fans all over the hair spectrum. Even folks with straight, coarse strands love it. Now I'm a mix of type 3 and 4 hair, so if you're a 4C side-eyeing me right now, I would say give this one a try before you judge. Get a sample at Sephora or something. But, if you want something less, um, "universal," the Cantu Leave-in Conditioning Cream is a beautiful choice for type 4s and the 3s as well.
Then, Use a Defining Styler
Defining my curls has to be my favorite part of the styling process, whether I'm doing a wash-and-go, braid-out, Bantu knots, whatever. As I said, my mouth hit the floor when I found out the Cake Beauty Curl Cream was a go for Nicola's 2B texture. It just works so well on my hair, I thought it would weigh down her hers, but she says it's perfect. Just rake this or your styling cream of choice through your strands, then style as usual. If you're more of a gel person (or you like to use both), the Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel is just glorious and won't leave your hair super crunchy. Type 4 textures should try the Extra Hold version of this gel.
Finish off with an oil
This is totally optional for curl textures that tend to get oilier (as opposed to perpetually-dry kinky curls like mine), but I just love finishing off my hair with an oil. It just smooths out any extra frizz, which you are bound to get with curls because, well, that's how God made 'em. My favorite right now is the Beleza Natural Humectant Oil Nutri Shine. This oil has saved me many a time when I put too much gel on my ends and they get crunchy. Just apply this, and your hair is soft again, without mussing up your coiled ends. If something packed with coconut, mango, and avocado oils sounds a little too heavy for you, try something lighter like the Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil or the Verb Ghost Oil.
When you're done — let that baby dry and enjoy a few day's worth of amazing hair, honey.
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Originally Appeared on Allure