Dear Jonathan: Could you please give me a tip on a new curly hairstyle? I just retired from the Army; my hair is shoulder length and curly. I also had to put it up tight and weighed down with gel for 22 years so I am ready for a new me. I am getting ready to look like a lady again and would like to define my curls.

Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper

A: Deciding on a style is quite a challenge as there are so many options. The research that you are doing is a really positive step, as a bad decision can be very damaging. As no two people have the same type of curl, it is just as unique how to approach even a basic haircut. Where to start: First, identify your face shape. Is it round, square, diamond-shaped, oval or a combination? Second, learn how to control your frizz. Learn how to use Curl Keeper, which will bring out your natural curl patterns. We have so many videos to teach you how to get your curls to be the best they can be. You will learn how to achieve extra volume, fix flat spots and even control uncontrollable wiry dry patches. Only when you have learned how to achieve curl management and frizz control can you begin deciding on the perfect design to cut your curls. Analyze and understand your bulky sections and soon it will be easy to identify where you need to add volume (bulk) and were you need to reduce bulk. Deciding on the best length is critical. You have to consider that on your plan “B” style day you might need extra length in order to pull your hair back into pony tails. Remember that short hairstyles are not necessary easier to manage. I recommend starting a collection of pictures of curl styles that you like. Try matching the model’s curl type to your own. You have to be as realistic as possible. You don’t have to book for your haircut right away. The consultation is the first step. Arrive at the salon prepared. Have lots of photos and have your hair styled as well as you possibly can. Your hairstylist will be able to visualize easier once they see exactly what kind of curls you have and what your ability is to style them. You could also book first for a shampoo and blow dry (curly style). There is no commitment involved and you will know immediately if the stylist has a passion for curly hair.

Dear Jonathan: About 2 weeks ago I got my hair cut and styled. She flat-ironed my hair, which she has done many times in the past. I washed my hair out the next day and the curls didn't come back. I've never had this happen before. I'm not sure what to do because I've always had curly hair and now it's mostly straight (but it doesn't look nice). I absolutely HATE it!! What should I do? Everyone is telling me that she fried it and I just have to cut it and grow it out...but it doesn't look fried and I don't want to cut it if I don't have to. In the meantime, I'm just wearing it in a ponytail everyday. I appreciate any advice you can give.

A: I am assuming that you have fine curls. Because of new technology, flat irons and other high heat appliances are reaching extremely high temperatures. Your experience has become quite common especially on finer, more fragile curls. Now your problem has to do with the elasticity of your over-heated hair. Improving the elasticity will increase your hair’s ability to stretch without breaking. When repairing damaged hair, there is a difference in the ingredients that are used for moisturizing and strengthening. The ingredients I use in Curly Hair Solutions Treatment Shampoo will deposit generous amounts of minerals that add tensile strength and restore the “S” formation of curly hair. It is so effective that people with looser curls rely on it for added bounce during the dry and cold seasons when there is a lack of moisture in the air. I strongly recommend that you stop flat ironing and learn how to use CHS Curl Keeper. You should squish the straight hair sections as much as you can to achieve even the slightest bend--even if you have to pin curl to set your style until, over time, the CHS Treatment shampoo restores your curls.

Dear Jonathan: As a young girl I had slightly curly hair, and until about 2 1/2 years ago, my hair would form pretty large curls when I put curling product in it and let it air dry. I don't know what I've done differently within the last 2 1/2 years (from stress to hair products or hormones) with the exception of moving to a different state (which I don't think should have this kind of effect), but my hair has become increasingly straight. I used to treat my hair poorly but when I noticed my hair wasn't curling as much, I started to use lower heat on the flat iron (it is a higher-end model), heat protector, and protein sprays. Even still, the only hair that comes out wavy is at the nape of my neck and sometimes my bangs. Is there anything I can do to get my curls back? What could be causing this change?

A: There are many creative techniques for styling curls back into your hair. Start by squishing Curl Keeper in your hair when your hair is very wet, then clipping and securing your curls with our Roller Clamps. Allowing your hair to dry as much as possible on its own will set your hair in a tighter bouncier curl formation. There are so many things that cause curly hair to loosen and lose their curls. Hormonal changes do have a huge influence on curl changes. Every seven years curl patterns can shift. Puberty, pregnancy and menopause are known to cause hormonal changes to hair and sometimes they can be quite drastic. Another reason could be stress. That one is tough to prove, but several curly heads have told me that "Curly Hair Is Moody". Climate and seasonal change affect the moisture balance in the atmosphere and can play havoc with curl styling. One of the biggest culprits that take the most explaining is a buildup of ingredients that cause a barrier and add unwanted weight which prevents curls from forming.

Dear Jonathan: I have naturally fine curly hair. my curly hair is more loose. Is getting very long I would love to cut it but, I'm afraid to. I'm 35 years old have 3 kids and I do not have time for long hair. My long hair is weighing my curls down. I need your help please!

I must tell you that short hair styles are not always faster and easier to manage than long hair styles, so don’t be in a rush to cut your curls short until you understand all the challenges. This is true especially as you stated that your curls are loosening up. It is true that longer hair lengths can loosen curls as the weight of the hair does factor in. However, styling techniques using Roller Clamps that support the curls on top of the head will prevent the weight of your hair from loosening the curls during the drying process. Shorter hair styles can be fun and an upbeat change as long as you allow your curls enough length to form a ringlet and enough length to pull your hair back so you can wear it in a pony tail. This will let you manage your busy schedule on plan “B” styling days.