This feature originally appeared in the March 2017 Issue of ESSENCE Magazine.
If the graveyard of products in your bathroom cabinet is any indication, the curly strand struggle is real. The quest for coil perfection is common for pretty much every naturalista.
Keep reading for easy product recommendations, based on your specific curl pattern.
(All styling done by Celebrity Natural Hair Guru Nedjetti Harvey.)
Wavy curls have a more visible S-shape pattern (type 3A to 3C), while tighter curls can range from tiny circles to a Z-shape coil (type 4A to 4C).
If you're on the wavy end, your strands still crave moisture, but for definition without the weight Harvey says to opt for light styling creams. Shampoo and apply a rinse-out conditioner once every three days. To produce volume, start with your stylers, then use a diffuser. An alcohol-free, lightweight gel will help enhance your locks too. Looser curls are also more prone to heat damage, so keep the straightening to a minimum. "Sometimes heat damage can take place toward the root to the middle of the shaft," says Harvey. "When this happens, curl the hair with perm or flexi rods to create the coil instead of using a heated wand."
Layering lineup for 3C hair types: sulfate-free shampoo, rinse-out conditioner, light to medium styling cream or non-alcohol gel and moisturizing spritz.
Layering lineup for 4A to 4C hair types: sulfate-free shampoo, rinse-out conditioner, medium to heavy styling cream, moisturizing spritz, and oil blends with vitamins A and E, coconut, jojoba, olive, avocado, grapeseed, sunflower or almond.