5 Steps to Defined Curls for Curly Hair by Kristina

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Frizzy hair--it is what it is. 
Frustrating. Annoying. Unmanageable and unruly.
Except when it isn't. 
I've been through every curly hair stage you can possibly imagine. I treated it the same as you would glossy, straight hair for years before I realized I probably should NOT brush it out dry...before I discovered what a world of difference a dab of mousse could make. I tried to deny its existence along with every other curly girl in the early 1990's. I've worn it so crunchy with product you could hear it crackle if you touched it. But all that came before I learned how absolutely fun and low-maintenance a head full of curls could make a girl's life.
I'm not one to mourn about how much I wish I had straight hair. I don't. But take it from me--great curls don't just happen (and I've got the bad yearbook pictures to prove it).
This is the regimen that works for me.

Oh. And one more thing. This only works on curly hair. I'm pretty sure you won't get the same results with beautiful, stick-straight hair...unless you get happy with a curling iron. HA.

I'm cheap, I know. But I use the generic brands for these products and whatever shampoo and conditioner left in the shower that my kids haven't emptied into the bath to create bubbles. 

Step 1: Start with clean, towel-dried hair. 

Step 2: Apply the gel into hair. I sorta press the product into my hair as opposed to full-on scrunching.  Focus on getting product on the roots since that's where you get the lift. I love the Biolage gelee product because it makes curls smooth but doesn't leave my hair sticky. 

Step 3:  Lightly coat all layers of hair with Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine spray--not just the top. You don't want the bottom layer to look limp.  Let air dry for 10 -15 minutes.

Step 4:  Use a hair dryer with a diffuser until hair is almost dry. I always use the cold air for a minute or two towards the end to reduce frizz and set curls. They should be soft to the touch, though maybe not as bouncy as they will be once completely dry.

Secret Tip: If you have air vents in your home, crank the heat up a bit and lie so your hair is spread out over the vent. You'll get the biggest and best curls ever by doing this. The power of all that diffused air makes my curls turn crazy awesome. I only use my hair dryer if it's absolutely too hot to turn on the heat for a few minutes. I promise, it works. Best curly girl secret...until now. 

Step 5:  When hair is completely dry, use your fingers to gently separate the curls and get a fuller look so they aren't matted together. Spray another light layer of Paul Mitchell Freeze and Shine to hold. Enjoy the uniqueness that is you!

If you're still frustrated with your curly hair, read this post on why you should love it and how to care for it.


  1. seriously in love with your curls. somewhere in my freshman year of highschool, my hair went from just fluffy, to actually curly, and i hated it. flat ironed and blew dry those curls for years until one day i went "wait, i actually should love this." and let them be. then a few years of really having no clue of how to get them to be their most awesome, and then one day, i figured it out. approximately, 4 months later i was pregnant with my first, enter crazy hormones, and voila. my hair is just fluffy again with nary an actual curl. i am a curly girl at heart with merely fluffy, slightly bendy hair. i live vicariously through curly and proud ladies like you!

  2. This post made me want curly hair, unfortunately my hair is bone straight. Embrace those luscious curls lovely lady!

  3. This is great!! I really need this. Where do you get your off-brand products?

    1. I go Sally's Beauty supply. Not sure if that's only a local chain or national store. I've never seen them in Target or Walmart. A hairdresser could also

    2. let you know where to get good generic brands in your town.

  4. Those are some gorgeous curls!


  5. I love your curls! I used to try to wear my hair like that when I was younger, and it never worked out for me. My hair has a variety of textures in different areas. I remember once some girl said to me when I was having a bad day, "cheer up! At least part of your perm is still holding up." :)

  6. ummm this post is fantastic. i will definitely be trying this! i still maintain that after 30 years i am STILL not positive how do to my curly hair. i mostly use a cocktail of products that makes my hair a little too crunchy.

    and where do you buy generic hair stuff like this?! love that!

    1. (sorry, just saw the sallly beauty comment!)

  7. I've had long curly hair my whole life and just got it chopped (big time) I'm super sad how it turned out, but trying to make the best of it. I feel like if I just let it air dry I don't get the volume that you have. You have my ideal curls. Any tips on the volume?