It's such a wonderful time to be a curly girl. We are all the rage. If you've been reading the fashion magazines and visiting your beauty store, you will notice there now are hundreds of products on the market for curly girls. It's awesome! The beauty industry has finally caught up with us. Did you know that 75 percent of women have curly or wavy hair, according to some estimates? That's more than half of the population. We have truly arrived. So embrace your tresses: live and love it!

Q: I've been straightening my hair with an iron almost every day for the past few years, and I've kind of decided enough is enough. I actually really like my curls, and I get complimented on them almost every time I wear my hair curly. But I have a problem in that my curls are kind of frizzy and undefined. I've found from past experience that sprays do almost nothing for definition, and I absolutely hate the sticky, crunchy way gels make my hair feel. Are there any products that you would recommend that help define curls while keeping my hair looking and feeling like there's nothing in it at all?

Da Costa: Welcome to our curly world. First, if you have been straightening with an iron every day, you probably have some curly hair and straight hair. Ironing your hair too often may straighten some hair permanently. Sometimes, if you use a cleansing shampoo or detoxifying shampoo, you can regain those curls. But not necessarily. To hold your curls and define them, use a little leave-in conditioner. I also recommend you trying molding pomades and gels that are botanical in nature. Some to try include AG Re:coil, Aveda Be Curly, MOP Pomade Spray, Redken Ringlet 06, Jane Carter Solutions Wrap & Roll. These products are great, and do not make the hair feel hard or sticky.

Q: I wish so much that I had naturally curly hair (I am a black women). I've had everything from straight styles to braids. Right now, I have an in-between nothing 'do of some kind. My hair was short, and I put in some curls and waves with a kit. It was good for me for a while because my hair curled the way I wanted it to, and it was easy to manage. Now that it has grow out more, I can't seem to get it to curl nicely like it did before. Do you have any suggestions about how I can get the curly natural look I love?

Da Costa: By applying the perm product yourself, you probably over-processed your hair. Because of that, you probably have permanently straightened some of your hair. I would recommend you see a stylist to correct this situation or you'll have to start from scratch. In the meantime, you can wear beautiful curly weaves and hair accessories to attain the look you want while you hair grows back healthy and strong.

Q: I am a curly-haired woman who has only recently embraced her curly hair. I have very tight curls that I think would be best described as a 3C (sort-of Shirley Temple-like, but a bit tighter). I've been blow-drying my hair straight since I was 15, and I am now 25. I do love my hair (finally!), but must admit that it’s hard to work with. Part of me just feels prettier and more like “me” when my hair is straight. When I say straight, I don't actually mean straight. I like it with a lot of volume and with big curls, which happens naturally when I blow-dry it. My question for you is whether there are any products out there that I can use to loosen up my curl a bit?

Da Costa: There are a couple of great products by Phyto, including Phyto Defrissant -- a great botanical-based ingredient that will help to loosen your curl if you use a blow-dryer and apply heat. PhtyoSpecific makes a great relaxer -- a wonderful non-chemical product made from soy and eggs. It can soften, texturize and straighten the hair, leaving it smooth, manageable and voluminous. It's absolutely beautiful, and I use it on all my clients with superb results. Please have a professional apply it for the best results.

Q:: I’m 15, and I have extremely curly and somewhat coarse hair. I have been relaxing my hair for almost two years, and it’s helped somewhat with the chaos of my curls and frizz. But I’m a swimmer, and I swim everyday. So on top of straightening and swimming, my hair is a dry mess. I've tried waiting longer between relaxing it. But the longer I wait, the frizzier and more uncontrollable it gets. I know it's bad for my hair. But I like to have the versatility. Also, I would feel better about my hair if it was longer so it weighed down my curls. But it's impossible to grow it because my dry ends need to be cut off every couple of months. Do you have any suggestions about what I should do for styling or for growing it long? I want to proudly wear my curls in more then just a ponytail!

Da Costa: Are your relaxing or texturizing your hair? This will make a difference in how you achieve your curl pattern. Try softening or texturizing your hair to achieve a softer curl pattern -- not straightening it. And conditioning your hair is the best remedy to improve its condition. Because you are in chlorine all the time, this damages your hair by drying it out. Giving yourself a deep conditioning treatment once a week, and a botanical oil treatment under a steamer ,will really help dramatically. Try TAI Botanical Treatment, either under a steamer or with a hot towel around the head, for 15-20 minutes. And before you go in any water, apply a leave-in conditioner to protect your tresses. Rinse out the chlorine after every swimming session. You don't have to shampoo every time, but you should rinse it. And if you decide to have your hair softened or texturized, it will be easy to have wash-and-go hair. Your hair obviously does grow, but you keep cutting it because it is dry and brittle. Conditioners -- leave-in, deep penetrating and hot oil treatments -- are your best friend. Read "Textured Tresses" to catch up on all the latest styles, and read the "Chemically Speaking" chapter on softeners, texturizers and relaxers to educate yourself about the differences should you choose to take that route.

Q:: . I would like to know the best way to trim 4a/b hair. Wet/dry/natural/straight? How often do you recommend a trim?

Da Costa: Tight, curly hair should always be cut dry. Blow dry the hair out with a wide-tooth comb -- not completely straight -- and leave a little elasticity. You should trim the hair about every two months. If you want to maintain a short cut, it should be cut every three weeks.

Q: What is the best way to elongate curls to form spirals? I am about to get the big chop. I have 4a hair, and between four and five inches of new growth. Also, I'm pretty lazy about long routines and prefer to wash and wear. Any suggestions?

Da Costa: With tight, coily hair, you probably will have to have to start some sort of routine to achieve this curl pattern. With four to five inches, you have more than enough natural hair to create a spiral curl with rods or Nubian knot sets. If you don't have time for that, you might consider a softener that will release the curl pattern and elongate the curl. Be sure to have this done by a professional to make sure your hair is not over-processed and to achieve the desired curl pattern.

Q: What is the best way to work with multiple textures of hair on one head -- from curly to kinky -- without working against either type?

Da Costa: Your first step is to receive a moisturizing conditioning treatment that will soften the tight curls and define the curly tresses. The next step is to get a great cut that will define all your curls and will give you a consistent shape with which to work. In terms of styles, any natural set will enhance the curls. Pick up "Textured Tresses" to get tips on natural styles such as twist-outs, coily twists, flat-twist sets, etc. And try TAI Texture Botanical Treatment for a herbal steam conditioning treatment. For styling, try products by Jane Carter Solution, such as Nourish & Shine. You also can choose to soften the hair for a permanently looser curl pattern. But one has to be very careful when rearranging different curl patterns on one head of hair. Please consult a stylist who specializes in texturizing and softening.