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Your Shower To-Dos
Spirals tend to be more dehydrated than sleeker types, so to avoid overdrying ends, shampoo your hair every other day (at most) using a product formulated for curly hair, which contains more emollient ingredients. Comb through a smoothing conditioner, wait for two minutes, and rinse very thoroughly; if you don't, dulling residue can build up, making hair look lifeless. Finish with a lightweight leave-in conditioner to lock in hydration. On days you shower without shampooing, tuck your hair into a terry-lined cap to block out moisture or, if you'd rather wet your head and restyle, rinse with warm water and apply a quarter-size amount of conditioner to help fight flyaways.
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Embrace your to-die-for texture by keeping ringlets springy and soft, not wispy and dry. Apres-shower, apply a leave-in conditioner to towel-tried tresses, slick on a hydrating curling cream, then enhance your natural curl pattern by twisting tendrils in the direction that they spin. Then diffuse your hair on low speed and high heat. After five minutes, your hair will still be a bit damp, but leave the rest to air-dry inside -- curls are more likely to maintain their shape the less they're blown around. At the end of a long day, Eva Scrivo, a New York City hairstylist and author of "Eva Scrivo on Beauty," suggests using a curling iron to reshape any coils that have come undone.
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How to Avoid Frizzy Hair
Roughing up the cuticle can contribute to frizz, so after you shower, show your locks some love by blotting hair with a soft T-shirt instead of wringing it out with a scratchy towel. Anyone who's ever vacationed in the tropics -- or lives there full-time -- knows what humidity can do to curls, so when the dew point climbs, seek solace in a silicone smoothing serum that helps seal the cuticle and defy dampness. When it's super sultry, make sure your hair is 100 percent dry before leaving the house, otherwise it'll go "poof" the second you step outside.
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Get an In-Salon Blowout at Home
Whether you ask for it straight or spiraled, professional blowouts all share one common characteristic: they're totally frizz-free. To re-create a smoother blowout at home, New York City stylist Clyde Elezei says to skip styling in a steamy bathroom. The moisture in the air combined with the balmy temps can induce sweating, which will only egg on fuzz around the hairline. Instead, seek out the driest, coolest spot in the house and set up shop there. To fight flyaways, call upon a blowout buddy brimming with rice oil, such as Garnier Sleek & Shine Blow-Dry Perfector 2-Step Smoothing Kit ($12), which seals the hair shaft and creates a barrier blocking out humidity for up to seven days.
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Safer Straightening Treatments
If you're lusting after straighter strands, a temporary keratin treatment infuses the hair shaft with a vital building-block protein that closes the cuticle and plugs up any fissures that can foster frizz. The effects usually last for three months and the treatment costs upward of $150. Be sure to check that the formulation your salon uses is free of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that can trigger allergic reactions. Bio-Ionic KeraSmooth Anti-Frizz Treatment offers a formaldehyde-free option available in salons across the country.
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Best Cut for Curly Hair
If grappling with your curls makes you want to lop 'em all off, resist the urge! As it turns out, added weight can actually help subdue your waves by stretching out each coil so hair is less fluffy, says New York stylist Luca Blandi. For hair that's polished, not poufy, ask your coiffeur to snip layers that are long and blunt and to avoid overtexturizing the ends, which can rough up the cuticle, creating a wispy halo of fuzz.
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Five-Minute Styling Solution at Work
While silky strands can easily escape from a French twist, this quick and easy style was tailor-made for curls because your built-in texture creates all-day hold. For a nine-to-five-friendly updo, gather towel-dried tresses into a ponytail, lay the tail flat against the back of your head, and roll it into itself, securing with U-pins. Expert tip: the thicker your hair, the bigger your pin should be. Spritz with a flexible-hold working spray, grab your coffee, and you're ready to tackle your to-do list.
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Five-Minute Styling Solution for Play
This twisted chignon keeps spirals structured -- as does the working spray you used to set the look -- so post-5 p.m., practically all you have to do is take out your U-pins and you're ready for date night. To reshape any ringlets that may have fallen flat, use a portable curling iron to add bounce to pieces that frame your face. If you're caught without a hot tool, rake a dollop of curling cream through frizzy spots -- hand lotion also works in a pinch -- then retwist curls following their natural pattern.
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