Most of us would prefer not to wash our curly locks every day. But second-day hair can be a challenge to achieve.
Don't despair, say curl experts. With the right tools and curly hair tips, your curls can look good on the second, and even the third, day.
There are numerous reasons why we strive for second-day hair. Many of us would like to save time in the morning rather than washing and styling our hair from scratch every day. Second-day hair also can be healthier because the natural oils help keep the hair moisturized, making it softer and shinier.
But many of us wake up with a head full of frizzy, out-of-control curls. So what's the secret?
On one thing, most everyone agrees: "Good second-day hair is only going to happen if you have good first day hair," says Amie Zimmerman of Dirty Little Secret Salon in Portland, Ore. "Take care of it with the proper products to begin with."
1. Comb, condition and dry
Sheila Head of Head Designs in Oakland, Calif., suggests cleansing and conditioning with your favorite product, combing the conditioner through the ends with a wide-tooth comb or with your fingers. The comb flattens your cuticle layers, which helps control the frizz and begins the creation of a uniform curl pattern.
To blot excess water, use a microfiber towel, paper towel or a t-shirt rather than a terrycloth towel.
"They take out the excess moisture, yet the fibers are more gentle," says Betty Di Salvo of The Curl Ambassadors in Toronto, Ont.
When applying your styling product, make sure to put it on in sections, making sure the entire section is coated. Then, let it either air dry or use a hair diffuser -- and don't touch it as it dries.
"The drying process is the setting process," Head says. "Fluffing, touching and shaking curly hair as it dries will cause it to frizz and will make the texture inconsistent."
2. Put your hair to bed
Your night-time routine can make or break your chance at getting good second-day hair.
"It's easy to make your curls last longer as long as you protect your chair the night before," says Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue in New York.
Invest in a satin pillowcase which will reduce frizz-causing friction.
"At bedtime, pull your hair up in a high ponytail with a scrunchie," suggests Mia Fanali of D. Sabrina Salon in Westport, Conn. "Don't use an elastic band because that will leave more of an indentation."
Christo tells his clients to put their hair into a loose French twist at night, letting the steam from the hot shower revitalize the curls while they're up in the twist. Then undo the twist and spray on some leave-in conditioner, finishing off with a little pomade (rub a little in the palm of your hands and smooth over curls.)
Many people swear by "the pineapple"-- gathering the hair on top of the head with a scrunchie.
"It gives my 3b shoulder-length hair the best second-day hair," says CurlTalker Laney1. "I've even gotten third-day hair with it. I might have to spritz a little water here and there, but that's it."
3. Create a good morning routine
Zimmerman suggests wrapping up the hair in at least four buns so it doesn't flatten or break up the curls. She uses a no-tangle hair band to secure the buns, and then spritzes them lightly with water or a detangler in the morning.
"Let the curls air dry a bit and then apply some styling cream to your fingertips and twist any ringlets that have gotten puffy, separated or frizzy," Zimmerman says.
Invest in a good refresher or curl revitalizer, such as Jessicurl Awe Inspiraling Gel, DevaCurl Set it Free or CurlFriends Rejuvenate.
"To cure bed head, mist with your favorite product, fluff with your fingertips, scrunch in a little leave-in and go!" Head says.
If the ends have separated, scrunch water into the hair before reapplying product, says Titi Branch of Miss Jessie's Salon in Brooklyn, NY.
"I spritz it with water before I apply product each morning," says CurlTalker Wild-Hair, who regularly gets second-, third-, fourth- and even fifth-day hair. "I then spray my hands with water too before I rub a small amount of product into them. All of these steps make it easier for the product to distribute easily. I flip over and scrunch it in, then re-wet my hands, rub in some more product, flip upright and smooth it over the canopy and scrunch some more--the "plink" method."
If the hair has flattened during the night, turn your head upside down, place your fingers just above the ears at the headline and gently massage the scalp in short side-to-side motion until your fingers meet at the top of the head.
"This separates the curls at the root while keeping the ends together for shiny and bouncy frizz-free curls," Branch says.
If your hair tends to look flat in the morning, Di Salvo suggests gathering your locks at the top of the head with a jaw clip while getting reading in the morning.
"Once you're ready to leave, gently unclip and voila, you have some height back," Di Salvo says.
4. Accessorize your hair
Hair accessories are also a handy tool in the quest for second-day hair. Invest in some pretty headbands and clips.
"My hair is very curly, so I try to wash it as little as possible," says Allyson Velasquez, assistant manager at Marco Two Union Square, a Seattle salon. "Headbands help keep that second-day hair in place."
Suburbanbushbabe says it has take some time develop a good second-day routine. Even then, good second-day hair is hardly a guarantee, she says.
"Some days produce better results than others," she says. "If curls clump well the first day and stay that way morning to night, next-day hair is almost a given. Other days are disasters. It's still evolving for me, and I still have a lot to learn."
Curly hair tips from Curl Stylists and CurlTalkers
- Titi Branch, MIss Jessie's Salon, Brooklyn, NY: "When the hair is dry, or there is no product being put in, you must not manipulate the ends unless you want frizz!! Keep hands, combs, and brushes away from the ends while hair is dry!"
- Mia Fanali, D. Sabrina Salon, Westport, Conn: "Less is more. People tend to use too much product on Day 2, and this could create too much weight and stickiness. Use some type of smoothing serum or gel - or a mix of the two - gently coating the outer layer of the hair with it - but just a little bit."
- Christo, Christo Fifth Avenue, New York: "If you need an extra boost, use a spray gel like Curlisto's Curl Replay to touch up your curls."
- Mindi Hedges, Akada Salon, Columbus, Ohio: "Flip your head over under running water and, with fingertips, lightly massage the scalp. Allow the water to saturate the hair completely. Turn off the water and with the head upside down, scrunch and squeeze the water into the hair. Lightly blot, then flip the head up and allow to air dry or lightly diffuse."
- Betty Di Salvo, The Curl Ambassadors, Toronto, Ont.: "All curls really benefit from using a deep conditioner. This will help locks feel and look more moisturized, allowing them to go the 'extra mile' on the second and third day!""
- Lazykerri, CurlTalker: "The key is to keep the frizz at bay because once it sets in, it's here to stay."
- Suburbanbushbabe, CurlTalker: "A real silk charmeuse pillowcase reduced hairline frizz as soon as I started using it. It mad e a big difference in how my hairline looked the next day."
- CurlyJenn, CurlTalker: "The key for me is to put in plenty of strong-hold product on wash day, air dry and then sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase. If there's any frizz the first day, then the second day doesn't happen so easily."
- Ladydancng, CurlTalker: "I can't add any products or wet my hair the next day. For some reason, this disturbs my curls and gives me frizz."
- Dancingbadger: "I really must fight the urge to touch my hair on wash day. I have to let it alone for at least five hours, but it's better if I don't touch it other than putting it up in a pineapple. I even wear my hair in a pineapple around the house and for dance class. I think my classmates think I am weird."
- 2bforme, CurlTalker: "I have been experimenting with my own concoction which consists of water, gel and a touch of Curl Keeper."
Ouidad, NYC Curl Expert "Since curly hair is more dehydrated, since it's very thin, it is essential to use deep treatments on a regular basis (every two weeks.) When you use a deep treatment, the internal molecular layers all connect, giving your hair its own pulse and pliability."
- Wild-Hair, CurlTalker. "I don't touch my hair at all until it's completely dry. There are many wash days where I wait five or six hours for it to dry. But I don't mind because I know it'll mean a whole week of good hair if I don't mess it up!"
- Banjocurl, Curltalker: "I generally do my hair at night so I always have second-day hair. I find that sleeping with my hair plopped when it is slightly damp gives me amazing curls in the morning."
- Miacurl, CurlTalker; "I always lay the length of my hair over the back of the pillow so it does not get messed up so much during the night."
- DominicanaHeat, CurlTalker: "My trick is using extra gel the day I wash my hair, and I do not scrunch out the crunch. I leave my hair alone, sleep on satin with my hair spread above me, and by morning the crunch is gone and my curls are still intact."