Articles By Michele Bender

You already know that curly hair needs to be washed differently than other hair types, but did you know that curls need to be dried differently too? This is important in order to ward off frizz and maintain your curls' beautiful, au natural shape.

What you'll need:

The first rule of drying curly hair, is to give up the terry cloth. “A terry cloth towel will absorb too much moisture, which curly hair needs," explains Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook." "Its harsh fiber will ruffle the hair’s cuticle causing frizz.” So opt for a micro-fiber towel instead! Other great options that have worked to great success for curlies are old t-shirts and paper towels. 

What to do:

Once you've blotted your hair dry with your t-shirt or microfiber towel, apply a generous amount of gel or your favorite styling product and then don’t touch curls as they air dry or you’ll disperse them and cause frizz. Air drying is best for curly hair even though it can take a while. 

Don't turban

A hair turban absorbs too much moisture, opens the cuticle and disturbs the natural shape and pattern of your curls causing frizz. Break your habit of wrapping hair in a towel turban-style when you dry. Instead, dry your hair by cupping it in your hand and gently scrunching upward. Do this around your whole head.

No time to air dry?

If you don’t have time to air dry or the weather is cold, try a hooded dryer, which “creates its own little microclimate for curls so moisture from products locks into hair faster and the cuticle stays closed,” explains Massey. No hooded dryer? Then use a regular hair dryer with a diffuser on a low to medium heat setting. Look for a curly hair diffuser if you can.

Dry while you drive

Use the heater in your car if you commute. “This is what I do,” says Massey. “Because it creates a similar microclimate as the hooded dryer.”

All the things that make summer so appealing – sun, heat, and ocean breezes – can also make life difficult for Type 3 curls. These elements can leave hair dry, rough, and tough to manage. Add humidity to the mix and you’ve got frizz and a few dips in a chlorinated pool and hair gets even more parched (especially the ends). But summer CPR is as close as your kitchen. Just open the pantry and pull out the olive oil, an ingredient that is super hydrating and can revive and nourish your strands. Here, five ways to use it courtesy of Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook.

If you have the pleasure of being curly, then you don’t need a weatherman to tell you when it’s going to rain. Your hair lets you know first with its change in shape and texture, and the halo of frizz that begins to form around your head. But stormy days don't have to rain on your gorgeous curls parade. Here, Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook" answers your top rainy day questions so that you can have a good day hair no matter the weather.

MORE: Get Your Frizz Forecast

It’s better to give than to receive – especially when you’re helping a curly girl have a good hair day. The best part is that you can do all of this for less than $30! Just peruse this gift guide to find the ideal items for all the curly recipients on your list in one place.

When the weather outside is frightful, why can’t your curls be more delightful? “As the weather begins to change and the atmosphere becomes drier, so does our hair,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of Curly Girl: The Handbook. In addition to parched strands, you can also get static and split ends. But a few insider secrets can make any curl-type look gorgeous this season!

GGatsby Pink Products for Breast Cancer

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, many beauty products are doing their part to support the cause this October. We're highlighting hair products that help your curls look gorgeous and also donate some or all of their proceeds to breast cancer organizations and charities. It’s a win-win situation for all!

GG GATSBY Volumizing Hair Care Line

Created by Jerseylicious reality star, Gayle Giacomo, GG GATSBY will give 10% of its sales to the Young Survivor Coalition charity. This collection includes Raise Volume™ Shampoo, Raise Volume™ Conditioner, Over-The-Top™ Root Lift Spray, Ultimate Lift™ Dry Shampoo Powder and Against Gravity™ Hairspray. All products are sulfate-free, which is ideal for curly girls. $14.99-$17.99

MORE: Macadamia Natural Oil Helps Breast Cancer Survivors

Asics Merchandise for Breast Cancer

ASICS Hera 2-pack Headbands

ASICS America will donate $75,000 to $100,000 from the sales of items in a special collection to Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women. This organization helps provide assistance to women who have an increased risk for breast cancer, and you can do your part simply by slipping on one of their Hera Headbands. The pink fabric, which is gentle on your curls, wicks sweat away from hair and skin. It also has a silicone gripper to keep the headband still while you move, and a reflective logo so you can be seen. $16

MORE: Keeping Curls Pretty While You Sweat for the Cause


Streekers temporary hair color

Streekers in Pink

You can show your wild side and your support for a good cause when you give your strands a temporary burst of color. Streekers in Pink will donate 100% of its proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Coalition to help fund research that aims to end breast cancer by the year 2020. This temporary hair color is applied with a sponge-tip applicator to create streaks of crimson and binds to hair until you decide to shampoo it out. or $11.95

MORE: ULTA Beauty Supports Breast Cancer Research

FNS Pink Ribbon Collection from Osmotics for Breast Cancer

Osmotics Cosmeceuticals FNS Pink Ribbon Collection

This special edition set will donate 15% of its proceeds to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a group that provides easy-to-understand information on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and connects women affected by the disease with one another. The Osmotics Cosmeceuticals FNS Pink Ribbon Collection contains a revitalizing shampoo, conditioner and nutrient serum all designed to nourish your hair follicles so hair looks thicker and shinier. $98

MORE: Curls After Chemo Hair Loss

essence milk conditioner

Essence Skin-Saving Hair Volumizing Milk Conditioner

This conditioner is super light to the touch, but also super hydrating which helps halt the frizz and detangle your strands. Even better? You can also use it as a skin-softening, moisturizing body wash. It’s free of fragrances, parabens and preservatives and $1 from the purchase of each bottle will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. $19

MORE: Real Texture Talk: Alisa Kress

Aquage Pink Products for Breast Cancer

Aquage Finishing Hairspray

This humidity resistant spray helps keeps your hair in place and prevents frizz without leaving your curls stiff or rigid to the touch. Its petite size also makes it easy to toss in your purse and tame hair on the go. For the fifth year in a row, Aquage will give a portion of its proceeds to Komen for the Cure and has already given over $489,000 to date! $6 at salons

MORE: Curly Hair Growth Chart

lady with curly hair jogging

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and filled with many wonderful events that let you run, walk, swim or bike to raise awareness and money for breast cancer organizations. But just because you’re getting sweaty for a cause doesn’t mean your curls can’t look their best post-workout. No matter how you exercise to help give breast cancer the boot, these tips will make it a good hair day.

Running or walking for the cause?

Keep curls neat while you sweat.

Before you break a sweat, pull your hair away from your face with a fabric-covered ponytail holder, ribbon or scarf. “These are more gentle so they won’t tear hair and won’t disrupt your curl’s natural shape,” explains Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook." For hair framing your face, especially shorter bangs and curls use, a thin headband or twist curls toward the back of your head and secure them to the rest of your hair with a bobby pin. Another option is what Massey calls the Unicorn ponytail where you simply bend forward at the waist, tilt your head forward and gather all your hair at the crown of your head, then secure it with a fabric-covered ponytail holder. For longer hair, as you loop the holder around the second or third time, don’t pull the entire ponytail through so you it resembles a bun on the top of your head.

MORE: Majoring in Curls: Curly Hair Tips for After the Workout

Lady with wavy hair balancing on a bicycle

Bike riding for the cause?

Avoid a serious case of helmet head.

Helmet hair isn’t pretty. But you can fight back and still stay safe. Keep your helmet from flattening the top of your hair by dipping a hair clip in some silicone-free gel. Then, clip small sections of hair at the top of your head by placing the clip at the roots close to the scalp. This helps strands stay lifted despite the weight of your helmet pressing down on them. For shorter curls that frame your face, gently twist them back toward the crown of your head and secure with a bobby pin. Also, note that taking care of your hair daily using sulfate-free cleansers and lots of conditioning keeps hair healthy. As a result, it will rebound better and faster once you take off your helmet than dry, brittle hair will.

MORE: Curly Hair Care for the Gym

lady with coily hair climbing out of a pool

Swimming for the cause?

Prevent chlorine from leaving hair dry and brittle.

Chlorine is a chemical that can leave your hair super dry and stripped of much needed moisture so you’ve got to do a little prep work to avoid the damage. Before diving in, wet hair with tap water, then cover it with a rich conditioner. “The water and conditioner fill the porous holes in the hair so it’s much harder for chlorine to get in,” says Massey. “You can also apply olive oil to your hair instead of conditioner because it’s hydrating and helps repel the chlorinated water.” You can also slip on a bathing cap for added protection. After your swim, make sure to rinse and condition your hair as soon as you can to remove any cholorine that may have seeped in.

MORE: Curly Hair Products for Your Gym Bag

Do you have plans to support breast cancer awareness this month? 


Lady with curly hair using her hair dryer as a microphone

How you dry your curly hair has a big impact on whether you’ll have a good, great or bad hair day. But like most things curly, the rules are pretty straight-forward and less is more. Here’s how to dry your curls with care.

1. Air dry your curls

If you’ve got the time, letting your hair air dry is your top option. This keeps curls away from a blow dryer’s high heat and allows their natural shape to emerge. Just make sure to apply an alcohol-free gel to hair when you get out of the shower and then don’t touch your strands until they're completely dry. If your hair is dripping wet, toss a microfiber towel over your shoulders or wear a robe to absorb any water.

2. Hop under a hooded dryer

Hooded dryers are fabulous because they dry hair without creating frizz and do it quickly. Plus, since your hands are free, you can read, surf the web or whatever all while making your hair gorgeous. The hooded dryer I got at for around $50 is a table-top version, but you can also find a few styles on wheels either online or at beauty supply stores.

3. Diffuse correctly

Traditional diffusers have always claimed to help curly hair, but they always leave my hair looking more poodle-like than human. Instead, try a diffuser made for curly hair like the hand-shaped DevaFuser. Its unique design allows for 360 degree diffused air flow. I’m not exactly clear how that makes my curls look so soft and beautifully shaped, but it does!

4. Remember the drying don’ts

Don’t apply the heat of a traditional dryer directly to hair. It’s too hot and harsh for curly hair, which is naturally fragile, and can cause breakage as well as frizz. Don’t use a terry cloth towel on hair because its nubby surface causes fly-aways and frizz and never wrap your hair turban style as this stretches your curls and disturbs their natural shape.

How do you dry your curls?


young lady smiling with her hand in her brunette curls

Curly hair is thirsty hair. That’s just the way it was born and the way it will always be. That’s why deep conditioning at least one to two times per week is critical for gorgeous, shiny hair that blows gently in the wind (as opposed to dry, crispy hair that don’t move). It was also one the top things I did when I was growing my chemically straightened hair out to go back to my natural hair. I was religious about it and I swear, once I started deep conditioning as much as possible, my hair grew faster than they had before. Here are my top tips for deep conditioning your hair.

1. Choose a rich conditioner

No lightweight will do here. Find one that’s rich and thick. I’m beyond obsessed with Heaven in Hair. It fills the porous areas on the surface of the hair so it stays super hydrated. This is key especially if you color your hair.

2. Lay it on thick

Apply deep conditioner to wet hair and don’t leave one curl uncovered. In fact, I like it when I can barely see my brown strands through the deep layer of conditioner I’ve applied. And don’t skimp on the ends since they’re the driest part of the hair.

3. Cover it up

To keep the conditioner from getting all over you and let it warm up a bit, slip on a shower cap. (I take them from hotel rooms when I travel.) You can also wrap your hair in plastic wrap or a warm, damp towel. Keep this on for at least 15 minutes.

4. Heat it up

For best results, you need some heat to help open the cuticle of the hair so the conditioner soaks in. Try sitting in a steamy bath or shower or waving a blow dryer over your cap-covered head. My favorite way to deep condition is to sit under my table-top hooded dryer. I use the Gold N Hot Elite 1875 Watt Ionic Full Hood Professional Hair Dryer and I stay as long as I can stand it before getting overheated (about ten minutes).

5. Sleep on it

Once in a while, it’s a great idea to snooze with your deep conditioner in your hair. Not only is the conditioner in longer, but it warms up from your body heat as you sleep. This was another of my top tricks when I was growing out my chemically straightened hair. Just use an old pillow case and sleep on it that night. Note: Some curlies love this and others hate it. Exercise caution; if your hair is thin and easily over-moisturized do not attempt.

6. DIY

For a do it yourself recipe try the Wrapunzel from Curly Girl: The Handbook. Put a ripe avocado in the blender along with three to four teaspoons of honey or agave and three to four teaspoons of olive oil. Blend until combined and spread on hair. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel wrapped turban style. After 20 - 30 minutes, rinse thoroughly.

Total 3 results.

Get the Tension Method Right

Three steps to effectively stretch your natural hair with heat.
April 15, 2014 Read more »

Product Discovery: BB Cream Works for Your Wavy Hair!

Now BB cream is versatile enough to protect both skin AND hair.
April 15, 2014 Read more »

Come Out of the Natural Hair Closet

Focusing your identity on what your hair looks like can be a slippery slope.
April 15, 2014 Read more »