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How to live with curly hair

Filed Under: miscellaneous, beauty and skin care

You know how it is: gals with straight hair envy their curly-haired friends, and ladies with straight hair wish they could have bouncy ringlets. As a member of the curly-hair club, I've always envied the people I know whose stick-straight hair looks terrific first thing in the morning -- and doesn't go frizzy at the first sign of humidity.

After years (and years, and years) of trying to wrestle my locks into submission, I've learned to embrace the corkscrews and go with the flow. With a little patience, you can learn to love your locks, and here are some of the best tips I've found:

Never, ever use a brush on your curls... unless you want a head full of frizz that resembles a feather duster. Instead, use a comb, hair pick, or even your fingers. Ideally, the only time you want to use a comb on your hair at all is when it's wet before you style it.

Condition, condition, condition. I use a conditioner made for curly-girls every day after shampooing, followed by a leave-in conditioner after towel-drying my hair. Plus, once a week, I use a deep conditioner that I leave in for a bit while I soak in the tub. Before rinsing, use a large-tooth comb to detangle, working from the bottom of your hair upwards to the scalp.

Don't even try to use a regular hair dryer on your curls: it won't work. Use a diffuser instead. These specially made dryers for fragile or curly hair blow a gentle stream of warm air on your hair, but don't generate enough air current to move your locks. Of course, the best way to deal with wet hair is to let it air dry.

Use products made just for curly hair. They don't have to be expensive -- I buy mine off the shelf at a local big-box retail store -- but they do have ingredients tailor-made for your hair. Be sure not to overdo it, though: choose either mousse or a lightweight gel, but not both. Too much product can make your hair look lifeless and dull, not to mention the crud that builds up on the hair shaft over time.

I have long hair; alhough it's fairly fine, the length still pulls the curls flat and makes them look limp halfway through the day -- an even bigger problem for women with thicker, heavier hair. To revive curls, bend over at the waist, shake your hair out, then mist lightly with water, followed with a light application of hair spray.

Be careful not to handle your hair too much during the day. Curls quickly turn to frizz if you run your hands through your mane, smoosh it under a hat, or twirl it in your fingers. Even fluffing it to restore body can crush curls or pull them apart. Hands-off is the best policy.

Get a great cut that suits your hair's texture and curl. Face it, ladies: no matter how hard we try, us curly-girls will never have Jennifer Aniston hair... so there's no sense in trying. There are plenty of beautiful, sexy styles out there that will make you look every bit as glamorous as a Hollywood star.

Keep up on what's new for curly-haired girls. Check Web sites like NaturallyCurly.com and EasyCurls.com for ideas on trendy hair styles and reviews of the newest products.

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