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As Heidi Klum says so often in her popular design show "Project Runway," “One day you’re in, the next, you’re out.”

While fashion comes and goes, when it comes to the ins and outs of curly hair, a few things will always be “in.” Gleaned from this website and lots of personal experience, here’s my “it list” of three awesome hair-care items, along with what I think they should replace.M

In: Wide-toothed combs
Out: Brushes

I’ve confessed this before, but I’ll admit it again: I used to brush my hair. A lot. In elementary school I had a black plastic brush that I’d drag through from root to tip until my hair was “detangled.” Brushing dry, curly hair is a nightmare, but the real damage is caused when you brush your hair when its wet. Although I use my fingers to detangle my hair in the shower, another option is a wide-toothed comb. The teeth should be more then a quarter-inch apart so you can work out knots gradually. I can stick my pinky finger between the teeth on the comb my sister uses! \

In: T-shirt
Out: Bath towel

Almost all of us have a pile sitting in one of bottom drawers: old t-shirts. Too big, too small, or just plain embarrassing, we can’t seem to get rid of them. While they may not be useful as a part of your wardrobe, soft cotton t-shirts are a curl-friendly alternative to towel-drying your hair. The fibers on traditional terrycloth towels are designed to absorb the maximum amount of water, but they also encourage frizz. A t-shirt is smoother but still absorbent. If nothing else, I enjoy the funny looks my family gives me when I sit down at the breakfast table with a neon-colored t-shirt wrapped around my head!

In: Diffuser
Out: Traditional hairdryer

It’s February, and in my part of the U.S., that means it’s cold. In the summer I can get away with letting my hair air dry. But when you have to leave for school and it’s 15 degrees outside, leaving the house with a wet head isn’t exactly an appealing option. Traditional hairdryers can leave us looking like we stuck our heads out of the car window. And since curly girls can’t brush their hair as it dries like our straight-haired peers, a traditional dryer can leave us with a tangled, unruly mop of hair. If you want dry hair but don’t want it to expand to several times its normal size, I highly recommend a diffuser. This bowl-shaped attachment fits on the head of your hairdryer and spreads out the air flow, making it gentler. Most diffusers have “fingers”— thin, plastic protrusions that lift your curls and encourage even airflow. You can buy a diffuser that fits your existing hairdryer (your best bet is to get one from the same company), or buy a hairdryer with the diffuser built in.

These three strategies work for me, but I’d love to hear from you. Do you swear by something different? Do you have a favorite tip or trick? E-mail me!

Stay Curly

Julia

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