Whether you are just starting to embrace your waves, or if you notice that your definition isn't what it used to be due to damage, the good news is there are things you can do to help get the most out of your hair!
I'm here to offer some suggestions on techniques and products that may help based on my own past experience from reviving my waves after heat and chemical damage.
I am a big believer in following the Curly Girl Method.
The method, which originated as a book by Lorraine Massey, has the two biggest components in this method that myself and a lot of others find to be successful are to avoid products with any sulfates or silicones. Sulfates are harsh detergents that strip the hair of moisture and natural oils which cleansing. There are a ton of more gentle formulas to cleanse your hair with. Silicones may temporarily hide frizz and add shine but they are like a band-aid. The cause a lot of build up and over time can actually dry the hair out. Devacurl and Raw Curls both have specific cleansers and conditioners that are sulfate and silicone free and are designed to help define type 2 waves.
Although my hair personally requires heavier and richer products, so many type 2A and 2B wavies love both of these sets. The longer I go without using sulfates or silicones, the better my curl definition has gotten; I also believe my hair is growing longer thanks to healthy ingredients at my roots and less breakage due to inferior ingredients such as heavy silicones. Some curly girls do find water-soluble silicones to be okay to use, but that is a whole different discussion.
If you notice your waves disappeared and are damaged from too much straightening and heat abuse, there are three things you can do to help fix it:
1. Have patience. Your hair was not damaged overnight, it will not be magically repaired overnight either, unfortunately.
2. Quit using all kinds of heat immediately. Laying off the blow dryers and flat irons for the foreseeable future will make a world of a difference!
3. Make deep conditioners your new best friends. To help add hydration to dry hair which can increase the definition and add strength to repair the damage, one with a good moisture-protein ratio is ideal. My favorites are Briogeo's Don't Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Mask, CURLS Blueberry Bliss Reparative Hair Mask and mixing Devacurl Melt Into Moisture and Deep Sea Repair masks together.
Product application also plays a huge part in how your hair looks!
One thing most curlies do agree on is applying styling products to soaking wet hair after the shower instead of squeezing out excess water first or putting the hair in a towel before applying products. Doing this results in hair that is less frizzy. Now for technique, it varies person to person and you can go by trial and error to see which ways work and do not work for you. Two popular application methods include scrunching the products into your hair which really helps to encourage curl formation and also raking product through the hair and shaking at the bottom (known as Ouidad's Rake and Shake Method.
For more, check out my recent article on how I got my own hair to become curlier and longer here.
I also recommend checking out NaturallyCurly Co-Founder, Michelle Breyer, and her book, The Curl Revolution, which has a ton of fantastic information for all types of hair including techniques, applications, and even a curl glossary at the end.