Ask the Experts: Curly Hair Do's and Dont's

If you have natural curls, you know how challenging it is keeping them bouncy, glossy, and fabulously frizz-free (and yet Alicia Keys always seems to get it right!). Here's the thing: Caring for and styling your natural curls, coils and kinks is easy, once you know the insider secrets. Here, we chatted with Anthony Dickey, celeb hairstylist and owner of NYC's Hair Rules salon and product line, to find out his top ten curly hair do's and dont's--and check out our curly girl gallery for style inspiration!
ESSENCE.COM Jun, 24, 2010

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DO: RE-WET HAIR EVERY THREE DAYS. “For curlier textures, I usually recommend a three-day limit between rinsing and conditioning,” says Dickey. “If you wait longer than that, your curls will shrink up or dry out.”

Here, Alicia Keys rocks a pretty, half-up/half-down curly coif.

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DON’T: TOUCH YOUR HAIR UNTIL IT’S COMPLETELY DRY. “If you fuss too much with your wet hair, you’ll disturb the curl pattern,” says Dickey. “And the curls won’t have a chance to set properly.”

Here, Tanika Ray flaunts her amber-streaked spirals at the Gramy Awards.

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DO: TUCK CURLS INTO A BONNET OR SILK SCARF AT NIGHT. “You have to protect your curls at bedtime!” says Dickey. “And if it’s long, first gather your hair into a high ponytail, using a loose scrunchy.”

Here, Jill Scott flaunts an asymmetric, cornrowed ’do at the premiere of “Why Did I Get Married Too.”

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DON’T: SHAMPOO YOUR HAIR EVERY TIME IT GETS WET. "You"ll dry out your curls if you shampoo too much," says Dickey, who recommends using Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream Moisture-Rich No Suds Shampoo ($22). “I suggest a ‘big shampoo’ once a week. And don’t worry about it not getting clean—when you wet your hair and rinse it, you’re cleaning it!”

Here, ‘Dreamgirls’ star Syesha Mercado sports a adorable, tousled look with one side pinned back.

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DO: GET A TRIM EVERY THREE MONTHS. “This is key for curly hair,” says Dickey. “You gain a quarter of an inch or so a month, so you’ll want to snip off dead ends to keep your curls looking and feeling fresh.”

This year, Solange started a whole new trend with her super-short spirals.

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DO: USE STEAM TO HELP REFRESH 2ND AND 3RD DAY CURLS. “To redefine your curls, stand in the shower and let the steam seep into your hair,” says Dickey. “It adds moisture, which is so key for bouncy curls. After the shower, apply a finishing cream.”

Here, model-turned-actress Noemie Lenoir rocks a tumble of rumpled ringlets on the red carpet at Cannes.

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DO: TRY A PORTABLE HOOD DRYER INSTEAD OF A DIFFUSER. “After applying your styling product to sopping wet hair, sit under a pre-heated hood dryer,” says Dickey. “Stop when your hair’s almost dry, and then let the rest air dry. Your curls will have great definition!”

Here, “Community” star Yvette Nicole Brown flaunts her glossy shoulder-length curls.

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DON’T: USE TOO MUCH STYLING PRODUCT. “This leads to crunchy curls,” says Dickey. “Your product should be lite enough that you can saturate your hair with it, and your curls don’t get crunchy or weighted down.”

Here, Tracee Ellis Ross creates a casual, loose updo by piling her curls on top of her head.

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