While we love so many things about summer, there's no arguing that it can be the most challenging time for curly girls. We had the opportunity to talk with celebrity stylist Cynthia Alvarez.
Alvarez, Dove Hair curl expert expert, grew up watching the curly women in her family color and style their hair. "These women served as my inspiration and I quickly began styling their hair while I was growing up," says Alvarez.
She provided some advice on how to deal with summer's challenges as well as some summer styling tips.
What do you like about working with curly hair?
I love the versatility of curly hair. You can switch up your style on any given day depending on your mood. You can wear it straight, put waves in it or wear it naturally curly. The plus is that your hair naturally holds curls really well.
For those who fight frizz, what are your top tips to deal with it?
I think that when dealing with frizz, it is all about layering the right product. Start in the shower with a really moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and be sure to use a wide tooth comb while there is conditioner in your hair. After the shower, dry your hair with a micro fiber towel because it dries your hair in half the time and prevents adding frizz and entanglement.
Once it’s dry, apply a leave-in crème serum. Adding this to your hair first will really help protect your curls and add extra hydration for more manageability. You want to be sure to apply it in a raking motion from roots to end.
If you have medium to coarse hair, you are going to absolutely want to use a styling product. For fine to medium hair, use a mouse or a gel. For medium to coarse hair, use a cream or a butter. Also, try to avoid applying heat to your hair whenever possible.
What are the biggest hair care challenges in working with curly hair, especially during the summer months?
I find that frizz and manageability in the summer months are two of the main concerns that women with curly hair have.
Dryness is another big challenge among curly haired women. It can become a huge issue, especially if you often expose your hair to sunlight. Curly hair is naturally drier compared to other types of hair so you need to incorporate products that are really moisturizing and hydrating. Try to also regularly incorporate natural oils into your hair regimen. Using coconut oil is great for the summer months because it is used as a natural sunscreen.
How do you protect curls from the elements of sun/chlorine/etc.
If you are out on the beach, where there is direct sunlight, apply extra product such as a leave-in conditioner. Another tip is to mix your leave-in with sunscreen and apply it directly to your hair.
To protect your curly hair from chlorine or salt water, you should apply a hair mask because it acts as a barrier to prevent dryness. I would suggest applying a mask before and after a swim.
What are some styles that you recommend for curly girls during the summer? If you have step-by-step details and photos, that would be great.
I would recommend styles that are quick and easy and work with your natural texture. Two styles that I would suggest are the braided headband (braided crown) and the top knot.
- Step 1: Prep your hair as you would normally. Shampoo, conditioner and apply a leave-in serum. If you use mousse and gel as part of your normal routine, you would apply that as well.
- Step 2: Use a diffuser to dry your hair. Once dry, section the front piece from ear to ear and create a braided plait on the scalp. From this, you are essentially creating a braided headband.
- Braid all the way to the end and tuck the remaining hair underneath and secure with bobby pins.
- Step 3: Smooth the edges of the braid with a pomade if necessary.
- Step 1: Prep your hair as you would normally. Shampoo, conditioner and apply a leave-in serum. If you use mouse and gel as part of your normal routine, you would apply that in this step.
- Step 2: Use a diffuser to dry your hair.
- Step 3: Gather your hair into a high ponytail and instead of using a brush to smooth your hair, use your finger tips to smooth any bumps away and align hair. Use a hair tie or hair bungee to tie back your hair.
If your hair is on the thinner side, you can use a hair donut to add volume, by placing it at the base of your ponytail. To cover your donut, fan out your hair and continue to twist your hair around the donut. Tuck the remaining hair underneath and pin the donut in place with bobby pins. Apply hair spray if you want more hold.
If you have thick curls, twist your hair into a knot and coil it around the base. Pin it place with a bobby pin and use hair spray as needed.