The first day of the school year rushes in like a breath of fresh air. Everything feels so new, from meeting new friends to plunging into new subjects. Before you know it, your calendar fills up and you wonder how you're going to manage your curly mane.
No worries! Here, ringlet rules to swear by from homeroom until the bell rings at the end of the day.
Rule #1 — Keep a secret stash of hair helpers.
Transform your hip handbag and school locker into mini vanities to make superfast fixes throughout the day.
In your purse or backpack, tuck away an ouch-free elastic, a barrette or clip, and a half-dozen bobby pins (just in case you want to randomly pin back a few curls and twist-up your style). Also, remember to make room for a travel-size, curl-rejuvenating spritz to perk up your curls and smooth out frizz in a pinch.
As for what to lay away in your locker, Cozy Friedman, stylist and owner of New York's Cozy's Cuts for Kids Salon, suggests a special corner for your curl supplies.
Accessories are also critical. Lock away an extra ouch-free elastic, another barrette, a clip, a headband, and a hat for a last resort.
"There are also magnetic mirrors that you can put on the inside of your locker, so you can do a quick hair check," Friedman says.
Rule #2 — Less is more. Seriously.
Now that you've squirreled away products to pull out at a moment's notice, you'll be tempted to use them — a lot. But, stylists say, be mindful to only use what you need.
"I wouldn't be putting all this product in your hair so early in the day because it will weigh it down," Friedman says.
In other words, don't gunk up your curls on a whim.
And when you head to P.E. class, protect your tresses from the sweaty heat during sports.
"You should definitely put your hair up in P.E.," Friedman says. "It will prevent tangles, prevent frizz and save your hairstyle. After the gym, release the ponytail and add a touch of spritz."
Again, not too much or you risk suffocating your textured tresses.
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Cute accessories can complete your back-to-school look.
Rule #3 — Don't wait to play. Do it now.
Waiting until you wake up to decide on a new style for the day can frazzle even the mellowest curlyheads.
"You don't want to try and find a new hairstyle in the morning before school. It could really put you in a bad mood," says Friedman, noting that fussing with your hair too much can leave you flustered and frizzy. Then, you're really stuck.
Instead, Friedman recommends coming up with a few quick, go-to styles that you're comfortable with so that when you're in a rush, you know what you can count on.
For example, she suggests using a simple elastic to gather your hair back, like you're going to put it in a ponytail, but only pull it through halfway so it looks like a fan.
"It's a really cute, easy and casual style," Friedman says. "I also like to pull back just the front of my hair in a loose ponytail and then take out a few tendrils on the sides. It works in a pinch and looks a little dressier and different."
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Rule #4 — Think ahead, and sleep on it.
For the days when you know you'll have zero time in the morning to style your curls, Friedman says, think ahead and keep it simple.
If your curls have held up all day and you want them to stay that way, take care not to ruffle them at night. One surefire strategy is to pile your curls on top of your head and secure them loosely in one high ponytail.
"This will prevent knots and help to maintain your curls, without the frizz," Friedman explains.
You can also prep your pillow by covering it in a satin pillowcase, which reduces friction to fight frizz.
Then, rest easy. In the morning, gently remove the ponytail, scrunch in a small amount of your favorite styling gel, curl cream, or spritz, and you're off!
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Rule #5 — Find your cutting edge.
Even if you have all the right products, you know what curly styles you can manage and you've invested in the coolest accessories, stylists say you'll still be frustrated if you haven't got the right cut.
"The haircut is the foundation," Friedman says. "You can do everything, but if you don't have a cut that's going to really embrace your curls and help them grow out properly, it doesn't matter what you put in your hair."
If you're still searching for the right cut and don't know how to find a curl-savvy stylist, check out these tips.
Rule #6 — Let go, and let it be.
We all know the most simple rules are often the hardest to follow. And this one is tough, but stylists say you have to do it.
"The most important thing about getting good curls is learning not to brush and comb your hair after a shower," Friedman says. "The hair looks frizzy when the cuticle is ruffled, and that's what happens when you comb your hair. You should only use a wide-tooth comb in the shower while you're conditioning or detangling."
Once you've applied your favorite product, you want to leave it alone and let it dry naturally or use a diffuser in the winter, Friedman says.
Yes, you really, really need to leave your curls alone! And that means absolutely no touching. If you set your curls free, stylists say you'll see them blossom — all school-year long.