4 Chic Hairstyles for Curly Hair
Curly hair is, without a doubt, statement making, eye-catching, and enviable (just ask anyone with straight hair). But it also poses a unique set of styling problems. Or so these four Real Simple readers thought. “Curly hair is actually easier to handle than straight,” says Denis DaSilva, co-owner of the curly hair specializing Devachan Salon in New York City and the stylist who engineered the transformations here. “You just need to get past the stage of fighting it.” To that end, he helped the women embrace their natural texture, head-on, with pro cutting and styling tips.In this story: Makeup by Melissa Silver and Tanya Rae. T-shirts by American Apparel and Splendid.
Before: Shameka Brown Barbosa, 36
Her goal: a polished look that doesn’t take hours to style.
After: Shameka Brown Barbosa
•Trimmed the back and sides with regular haircutting scissors—thinning shears are not recommended on curls as they can induce fuzz—to reduce the width of her grown-out cut.
• Taught Shameka to hydrate her hair properly: She now uses a sulfate-free shampoo (it’s less drying to curls), and a deep conditioner in place of her regular conditioner once or twice a week. She also rinses her hair leaning forward in the shower so that the water hits the nape of her neck rather than her roots, where it could strip naturally hydrating scalp oils. Last, she works a moisturizing, curl-defining serum into her wet hair and allows it to air-dry—no twisting necessary.
Her reaction: “My hands-on time is now 20 minutes, compared to two hours! I think I’m officially done with relaxers.”
Products used at the salon: DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser ($19), which cleans and conditions hair with no lather; DevaCurl Heaven in Hair ($25), a deep moisturizing treatment; and DevaCurl MirrorCurls ($25), a shine serum; all available at devachansalon.com. Others to try: Aveeno Active Naturals Pure Renewal Shampoo, $7.50, walgreens.com; Pantene Pro-V Curly Hair Series 2-Minute Deep Conditioner, $17.50 for a pack of three, amazon.com; Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smooth & Shine Serum, $3.50, soap.com.
Before: Sharene Jones, 49
Her goal: Something “different.” Sharene feels like curls are limiting, style-wise.
After: Sharene Jones
• Sharene’s hair needed more “verticality” (stylist-speak for height) and less width, so he gave it a wedge shape in back to build height.
• He incorporated her gray streak into her style by cutting graduated angles around her face.
• Sharene had a regular conditioning routine, but because her hair was extra-dry, Denis encouraged her to use a styling cream in place of the usual serum step in his hydrating regimen (see: Shameka).
Her reaction: “I thought I wanted all-over color, but I love the way Denis used my gray streak. I’ll stick with this style. It’s fun and I can do things with it.”
Products used at the salon: DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser ($19); DevaCurl One Condition ($19), a highly moisturizing conditioner; and DevaCurl Styling Cream ($25), to define her curls; all available at devachansalon.com. Others to try: Ouidad Curl Quencher, $26, ouidad.com.
Before: Selene Rosenberg, 25
Her goal: a low-maintenance style with a nice shape and defined curls.
After: Selene Rosenberg
• Layered the hair at her crown to create more verticality and less width. He also trimmed the back significantly into a wedge shape, which gave the hair more lift. He left some longer pieces in front to frame her face.
• Added highlights throughout the sides of her hair to brighten her face.
• Adapted his hydrating routine for curls: Since her hair is not quite as thick as, say, Shameka’s, Denis advised she use a daily conditioner, not a deep conditioner, after shampooing.
Her reaction: “It’s not puffy anymore! I’m happy because I still feel like I have some length—the long pieces in front—even though it was cut.”
Products used at the salon: DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser ($19); DevaCurl One Condition ($19); and DevaCurl MirrorCurls ($25); all available at devachansalon.com. Others to try: BlowPro Hydraquench Daily Hydrating Conditioner, $17, ulta.com.
Before: Erin Texeira, 41
Her goal: a cut that she can wear curly daily.
After: Erin Texeira
• Layered around her crown to give her very fine hair extra body.
• Added face-framing highlights to add luminosity to her skin.
• Taught her to mix (or “cocktail,” as stylists say) her styling products so she’ll use a bit less of each and they won’t weigh down her curls.
Her reaction: “It’s fuller and curlier. It’s by far the best cut I’ve ever had.”
Products used at the salon: DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser ($19); DevaCurl One Condition ($19); and DevaCurl MirrorCurls ($25), along with DevaCurl Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam ($25), which adds volume while taming frizz; all available at devachansalon.com. Others to try: Alterna Bamboo Weightless Whipped Mousse, $22, sephora.com.
Denis DaSilva’s Tips for Curly Hair
• Curly hair is naturally drier than straight (the oils from your scalp have a more circuitous path to travel down the hair shaft). That’s why conditioner is so crucial. Use it from mid-shaft to ends after every shampoo.
• Stay away from harsh detergent (high suds) shampoos, which dry out your hair. Look for SLS-free (or “no-sulfate”) products.
• Let hot water hit your nape first, not your roots (in other words, lean forward when you rinse out shampoo). Hot water is drying to all those natural oils produced at your roots.
• Apply hairstyling product while hair is soaking wet. This helps “set” the curl pattern, which is most pronounced when hair is wet. Squeeze dry gently with a towel after and then air-dry.