@Suzanne originally requested HOW TO HAVE CURLY HAIR THAT LOOKS CHIC but since there are many people and types of hair for whom and for which I cannot speak on the matter, I decided to go specific. I suspect @Suzanne wanted my expertise primarily because I once was cast as the Hairy Man in a middle school production of Wiley & the Hairy Man. Oui?
  1. Know what you're working with: Curl? Wave? Frizz? Fine? Thick? Tame? Wild like the wildest stallion on the western frontier?
    Accept it. Love it. Stop fighting it. AND DEFINITELY STOP BRUSHING IT. Seriously. Back away from the brush. Finger comb when conditioner is in in the shower. Throw away your hairbrush.
  2. Know your target curl and shape: Tight? Loose? Relaxed? I suggest securing your target via some combination of realistic time spent reckoning with your hair in the mirror and daydream Googling your fave celebrity hair styles.
    This will determine how you shape your hair. With your own two hands, that is, no devices needed.
  3. Know your face shape.
    And consider your hair style accordingly. Is your face super narrow or super wide? Think about how the shape of your hair may accentuate or balance this. You will be (a few steps down) deciding to curl your hair away from or toward your face, depending on this.
  4. Find a stylist who knows how to layer curly hair. Develop a significant relationship with him/her.
    Single-length mass of curls = terror. Find a stylist who knows how to layer appropriately. This single (or I guess double) handedly changed my hair life. It will liberate your curls. I can recommend a genius (mega legit, and TRULY AFFORDABLE) stylist in LA if need be. I used to text my old stylist in San Francisco with SOSs prior to meeting my new one—she got used to swooping in for the rescue.
  5. Use good shampoo and conditioner, so your hair shaft doesn't become a disgusting build-up of waxes and oils.
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    I used to use store bought stuff because I couldn't imagine it would make a difference. One time I even stopped shampooing and was just using that Wen conditioner bizness. But both of those options cause crazy build-up. Now I use Label.M products bought on Amazon. They're organic, free of everything they should be free of, AND salon-formulated. And don't break my bank.
    I use a light shea butter leave in conditioner for curly hair (I use Beautiful Curls), a sea salt hairspray I make (see below), and a glossing serum for a shine pick-me-up. No waxes or molds. Don't go heavy or oily. It's never worked for me, not even when I was a sixteen year old girl with slicked back curls 😳😳😳.
  7. Make your own sea salt hair spray.
    Buy a spray bottle at your favorite drugstore. In it, combine 1 cup water + 1 teaspoon non-iodized sea salt + 1/2 teaspoon leave-in conditioner + 1/4 teaspoon glossing/shine serum + 3 drops lavender essential oil (antibacterial plus smells yummy) + other essential oils of your choice (I generally use jasmine and rose geranium). Screw on the top and shake thoroughly. Use after washing hair and whenever you need a pick me up.
  8. Lightly shape hair in small sections while it's still wet. Shape loosely for waves and tightly for more pronounced curls/ringlets. Curl in or out depending on the shape of your face (see notes below). If you have very curly hair, this shaping may not be necessary.
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    After washing and conditioning hair, towel dry. Apply a small amount of leave-in conditioner throughout. Spray sea-salt spray throughout. Then begin shaping hair: take small sections starting at crown of head and working your way down and back, and curl hair around finger to mold. Re curling in or out: If you have a narrower face, curl outward, away from your face. If you have a wider face, you may want to try curling inward, toward your face. I curl out, just FYI.
  9. I prefer to air dry, but this does require me to have 3 hours prior to being seen anywhere. Blow dry if you like.
    I'm slightly scared of beauty gadgets, but I'm sure blow dryers were invented for a reason. 💁
  10. Unwind the curls.
    Once it's dry, unwind and separate your curls, et voila! You're done! You can gloss with some extra shine serum if you like. I use the Grapeseed Glossing Serum from The Body Shop.
  11. I couldn't decide which picture to use to show you my hair, so here are a few to show possibility. To start: Loose curls.
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    Sidebar: I feel awk just posting pics of myself so hopefully this is in some way helpful.
  12. Relaxed (aka I prob was lazy while shaping), and a bit grown out (fewer layers = more wave, less curl).
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    Yup, this was totes a pre-going out bathroom selfie 😁.
  13. Bouncy curl.
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    Equally bouncy facial expresh.
  14. Recap: Throw out your hairbrush, find a stylist who knows how to layer curly hair, use minimal but salon-quality product, make your own sea salt hair spray, shape to frame your face, EMBRACE YOUR CURLS!