Sometimes, curly hair can be an absolute b*tch.
Curls need a ton of TLC to not only look beautiful, but stay healthy. Regardless of where you fall on the curl spectrum, everyone’s curls need their own type of care. However, many of us curly people face similar issues despite our differences. Frizz, extreme dryness, and the uncontrollable nature of curly hair plague all curly-haired queens. Celebrity hairstylist and self-proclaimed “feel-good expert” David Lopez knows a thing or two about curl dilemmas.
David has worked with some of the biggest celebs out there — think Hailey Bieber, Ashley Graham, and Chrissy Teigen, among others — but it took him a long time to love the hair on his own head.
“Hair, for me, has always been a source of equal parts love and frustration,” says David. “I do have very, very curly hair, and I hated it growing up. In the Latino community, the straighter your hair is the more desirable it is. So it took me a long time and a long journey to embrace the curls.”
Today, this “curl-ista” is working to help as many people as possible feel great about themselves and build their self-confidence —starting with their hair. With a little help from David, we have all the best advice for keeping your curls in check, starting with the most frequently asked curl queries. Read on for answers to your most-asked curly hair questions and to find out what products the curly girlies and guys at Team VGL swear by!
I’m tired of products and practices, and I just want to toss my hair in a bun every day so I don’t have to deal with my curls. Why is it so important to take care of curly hair?
In the fewest of words, neglecting your hair just ain’t it. If you don’t treat the hair that you were given properly, you’ll be dealing with hair loss, breakage, split ends and eternal dryness. Your body is a temple, and your hair is an important extension.
But beyond that, David believes that curls are “very much a social and political statement that goes against the status norm of ‘straight hair is beautiful.’ Curls are a way for you to amplify your voice and show off [the fact that] there are all types of textures.”
I would rather straighten my hair than wear it natural. Is that an unhealthy practice?
“The reason why the flat iron is the most sold tool in the world is because everyone has texture in their hair. There are no straight lines in nature,” says David. “But we’re taught to believe that the straight line in hair is how it should be.”
David encourages everyone not to discount the beauty of their natural hair, and learning about your hair is the first step. “I think learning about your texture and how to take care of this really precious fabric is re-teaching your brain to look at something differently,” says David.
“A lot of times people wear their hair curly and they look like a different person. You have to get used to that image because that’s actually what YOU look like. That’s really important to me, for people to see it and learn to embrace and love it. Learning about your hair allows you the versatility of knowing what your hair can and can’t do. Once you know your parameters, your hair will be so healthy, and you can make it do what you would like it to do.”
Is there a magic product out there that will make any curls look amazing?
Although we may all wish it, the short answer is no. David agrees: “I don’t think there are any ‘magic products.’ Curly people are very product-hungry, and they love to cocktail — curly people have at least ten products for their hair on their shelf.”
Don’t concern yourself as much with what products are working for others. Identify your own hair type so that you are able to cater to your product needs more precisely and successfully.
It’s so daunting to figure out which products are best for my curls. How should I choose which products to use?
David says that the most important thing when choosing a product is not the marketing, but the actual ingredients in the formula. Products filled with low-quality ingredients can act as a band-aid for curls, providing a quick fix for the day but lacking long-lasting impact.
“A lot of products that are designed for curly hair, especially on the lower end of the price spectrum, are going to give you something very surface level,” says David. “It will provide you slip, it will provide shine, but really they’re just utilizing very inexpensive ingredients that are not allowing moisture to really penetrate into the hair. You’ll notice on the days that you’re not using any product that your hair’s not really looking right. You’re like, ‘I’m using hair masks, I’m using oils, but my hair’s so dry still.’”
However, that doesn’t mean that products with high-quality ingredients have to be expensive. David loves brands like Shea Moisture, which offers cost-friendly products with impactful ingredients like saponified coconut and sugar beet.
There are so many tools and techniques for curly hair all over social media. What’s the best technique for healthy hair?
There are countless methods, approaches, and resources out there, with many claiming to be the golden key to perfect curls. However, for an every day foolproof process, David swears by the Curly Girl Method (CGM). Below, he explains the basics of CGM.
“Once you rinse out your conditioner, don’t run your hands through your hair anymore,” David says. “Just give your hair a really good shake and then apply your products. If you have very frizzy hair, I always say apply your product when your hair is still soaking, dripping wet. You want to keep all that water in it to make sure it’s trapping in any frizzies.”
After applying your products, be sure to utilize an essential tool: the microfiber towel. By squeezing the hair gently with a microfiber towel, you will be getting rid of any excess water that’s all up in your hair, but reduces your chances of dryness and frizziness.
And the most important technique of them all? After washing, product-ing, and microfiber-toweling, don’t touch it!
“I see so much touching when people are drying their hair, like fussing with it, and I’m like ‘Don’t touch it!’ At all! Like, just leave it alone and your hair is going to be so perfect,” says David. “I’ve tried all the methods, but every time I just use my fingers, don’t touch it while it’s drying, it’s the most perfect curls – so defined and no frizz.”
When air drying curls, is there any way to speed up the process?
“For anyone that wants their hair to dry faster, a diffuser is going to be the best thing to use,” says David. “I use the diffusers to mimic air drying. I don’t scrunch in with the diffusers.”
David doesn’t recommend scrunching unless your hair is completely dry because you could be unknowingly encouraging frizz
“If you start scrunching right away, all those little curls and frizzies are going to start catching and you’ll end up with a much more frizzy finish than you intended. Start on the outside and canopy around and around to mimic air drying. Once it gets 90% dry, then you can very gently cup it and scrunch if you need to encourage [the curls].”
What is a quick way to revive your curls mid-day if they’re feeling especially off or dry?
The answer to this is the oldest trick in the book: go to the bathroom and wet your hair. David agrees: “If you already have product in your hair that you put on in the morning and it didn’t dry right, just wet it again.”
However, do your best to stay away from a quick mist or spray product. “A spray is going to mimic humid weather,” explains David. “When you spray it around your head, it’s going to make your hair expand. If [you have a curl that is] really frizzy on top, you can take that curl that’s broken up and really frizzy, wet it completely with a spray, curl with your fingers and let it dry.”
If you’re looking for stronger hydration than just good old H2O, use a product in the morning that is specifically hydrating. David recommends a styling milk, like this Miracle Milk by Mizani.
“Mizani is a Black hair brand, but their styling products are great for all hair types, which I love. That’s a great pick-me-up for the middle of the day because it’s heavy enough that if you do end up wanting to spray something on after, it won’t expand too much.”
VGL’s fave products
The team at Very Good Light is incredibly diverse, even when it comes to our curl types and product preferences. Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite products that keep our curls happy and healthy. Shop our faves using the links below!
Jane’s picks (@jparvs):
- Shea Moisture Coconut + Hibiscus Curl Mousse
- OGX Moroccan Curling Perfection Defining Cream
- It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in Spray