It pains me to think of the hours and hours I spent trying to straighten my hair when I was younger. As an 80s child, I desperately wanted the super sleek hair that I saw in the Pantene commercials, or better yet the TV-show hairstyle. It's that perfectly frizz-free yet curled hairdo that nearly all female actors used to have on screen. When I was envying that look as a teen, I didn't realize it takes a lot of styling to get that kind of hair...a very lengthy routine involving straightening then curling, ironically.
So I'd spend hours...yes literally hours straightening my naturally curly hair then curling it with a curling iron. I even used several chemical relaxers during college to try and permanently straighten my hair. Like most things in my life, the real magic happened when I quit fighting the nature of things and just swam with the current. It has saved me so much time, and now my hair is usually the first thing people compliment me on when it comes to looks,
Now I know there have since been many new hair styling tools to come out which cut this styling time down considerably and with less heat damage, but I'm pressed for time as it is and quite frankly lazy when it comes to my hair. The beauty community meme about having a 10-step skincare routine yet not having washed your hair in days...well, that is me. I live on dry shampoo, and in my personal life, my hair is almost always in a messy bun or ponytail. But whenever I have a photoshoot, vlog, or event coming up; I have a go-to regimen for making my naturally wavy hair look like I've spent way more time on it than I actually have.
It really starts with the right cut. No products nor any amount of styling will get the look I want if I don't have the right length and layering for waves.
It always looks best whenever it has layers throughout, to create more wavy texture; and when the longest length falls a few inches past my shoulders, to create more volume and to allow just enough length for the shortest layers in front to frame my face. To be honest I've been cutting my own hair since college, because I don't like spending money on a haircut, but if you're not experienced, leave it to the pro's!
But go in with a desired overall look and styling routine in mind vs. just a specific cut. If you tell a stylist, for example, that you want layers because you want to spend less time styling and also want your natural waves to show, they should know the best way to apply that to your hair cut. Even better, they'll likely offer some helpful styling tips and can let you know which products are best for your specific hair type. That being said, my hair type is "natural wavy" and it's thick and soft with what I would consider mild frizz. If that's the kind of hair type you have too, then you should be able to follow this tutorial step-by-step without modifications.
I do put some time into caring for my hair before I style it and even before washing it, for example when I do my weekly DIY hair mask pre-shower. I start with lighter oils like coconut oil and almond oil all over my scalp and hair. Then I add a heavier oil like olive oil, concentrating the coconut and almond oils on my scalp and using much more olive oil on the ends and almost up to the scalp.
I try to avoid putting heavy oils all over the scalp, as it can cause breakouts along the hairline. I do this once or twice a week, and I leave it on for a few hours (or at least 30 minutes) before showering. It's important to use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner so you don't dry out your scalp. Just like I always say with skin, dryness can actually cause a viscous cycle of dryness followed by an over-production of oil. You want your scalp to be nourished and balanced and your strands to be clean without getting stripped. For naturally wavy and/or dry hair, I love the Kavella Moisturizing Shampoo and conditioner.
Post shower, I use a gentle microfiber hair towel to gently pat and squeeze sections of hair, because the worst thing you can do to your hair after washing is to rub it dry with a terry cloth towel then twist your hair up into it. The nicer you are to your hair, the nicer it will be to you. Whatever your hair texture is when it's wet, that is the shape each strand will retain as it air dries. So if it's a frizzy tangled mess, letting it air dry in that condition will only reinforce that texture. On the other hand, if you brush and smooth your hair as straight as possible when it's wet, hoping to tame the frizz, what you'll actually do is diminish your natural waves.
What you really want to do before it starts to air dry is to detangle, moisturize, protect, and encourage your natural waves. Though water creates both more volume and weakness in the hair strands, so while it's so important to brush your hair before it dries, it's equally important to prevent breakage that can occur during brushing. The best way to do that is with a detangling spray, so you don't have to manually work it through your hair, followed by brushing it gently from the ends up with a wide-tooth comb.
This is when I also like to use a nice texture and shine spray or a smoothing leave-in conditioner, but the Kavella All-In-One Primer really is all-in-one. For me it takes the place of all of those products, and it's a great refresher in between washes as well. I like to gently scrunch my hair to encourage the natural waves before it finishes up air drying, If your hair is lacking in curl pattern, and you'd like to add more waves, try using a beachy waves salt texturizing spray then let it air dry while in a loose braid. Just be gentle and loose with any braiding: You want to be careful not to create too much pull on the roots when it's wet.
When my hair has air-dried, I do still have some frizz at this point in my hair care routine, which I tame quite well with a little extra spritzing of the Kavella Primer. Then I use my fingers to gently work through a styling cream. My hair works well with mild hold, so the Kavella Defining Cream is perfect for my hair. If your hair requires a little more control, you may need to top it off with hair spray, but this defining cream is an excellent place to start regardless. With avocado and camellia oils to nourish and moisturize and rice protein to volumize and strengthen, this natural styling cream can help make your hair more soft and manageable with each use.
I hope you've found my tutorial for frizz-free waves helpful. Please leave any questions in the comment section below.