Surf's up girls! Curls are back and are looking to stay. Rita Amartey reveals the latest styling tools with products that work wonders on natural, relaxed and human hair extensions to maximise your curls.
Spring into action this season with some fantastic curling styles, from natural curls to the revived big hair barrelled curls to sassy "s-shaped" curls to wavy wet looks! Curls can be achieved easily with the right tools and products in hand. To create va va voom curls, stylists use a combination of heat with products for preparation, setting and styling.
Preparation starts with cleansing to remove product build-up, moisturising hair with conditioner and protection by using thermo protectants such as Mizani's Thermastrength. Setting is all about curl aids such as Elasta QP curl wax and pre-fixants like Sofn'Free Spritz Spray or Tress Tranzitions Maximum Hold Setting Lotion. Heated appliances come in varied formats from ceramic tongs, iron tongs, hooded dryers and even heated straightening irons. 'When it comes to curling with straighteners, success is all in the wrist action,' says Hype Coiffure Battersea director and celebrity stylist Michelle Louise Sultan. 'Ceramics will give a wavier look rather than defined curls, but to create those waves, you'll need to learn how to twist and turn your ceramics.' It looks easier than it is, so use the smallest irons for easier manageability and ask your salon stylist for some step-by- step lessons before attempting this technique to avoid damage to your hair or skin. After you're clued up, spray a liberal amount of ghd's Sea Spray on your tresses armed with ghd straighteners (£119) to see if you can pull it off. Finish off with a light spray fixant and a "wave" you go.
Don't think you can master the wrist action with the straighteners? Try out UltraGliss Ceramic barrel (£30, available from Boots and Argos) with Style Works from Boots (£3.69) or Braun's Smoothstyler with Ceramic Moisture Care Technology (£24.99, available from leading electrical retailers). When you're ready, make sure your hair is washed and free from product build-up and any oils, particularly on your scalp before you begin. Oil combined with heat can cause burning to scalps and damage to hair. Try Mizani's PuripHying Shampoo followed by Mizani Moisturfuse Conditioner, blow-dry using a heat protectant such as Keracare's Silken Seal, then after the hair is completely dried, section your hair depending on the size of the curls you are after, it will be easier to work systematically.
'Apply a heat protectant spray and light holding spritz on each section,' says Michelle, 'then either twist hair around the tongs or clamp hair and twist the tong itself. Hold tongs in place for around five to 10 seconds to allow the curl to form, then unwind or unclamp. Repeat throughout the whole head (or required section) but don't disturb any curls until the area has been completed.' After a specific curl style? For Christina's barrel shaped bob in Ain't no other man, try TRESemme Salon Proceramic Rollers (£30) or have a wash and set under the hooded-dryer at your salon; get Beyonce's "s-shaped" curls Bonnie & Clyde pt II style using Remmington's Protect & Shine 19mm barrel tongs; loving Tyra Banks sassy wave locks, you must have Toni & Guy's 38mm Wave & Curl tong (£19.99). Take a picture to your stylist and ask them to recreate your style and don't be shy in asking them how to achieve your look at home with your products.
Drop Zone Moisture
Moisture is key in defining your curls. You do not want too much as you'll end up with that nightmare frizz look and you do not want too little causing brittleness and "crispy" hair. Natural Afro curls especially need definition so get defined with Ferm's fantastic range to bring equilibrium to your hair including Ferm Moisture Retainer Creme which moisturises and adds instant shine. Need extra manageability? Try Ferm Moisturising Aqualiser which conditions and enhances and maintains hydration within the hair and scalp or finish off with Ferm Stylox Finishing Gel to activate your curls or to add body to fine textured hair (contact Avlon Europe on 0121 544 2252 for stockists).
Don't want the hassle? Hair's too short? Worried you'll damage your hair? Cheat! Use hair extensions, which frees your hair from heat appliances plus, adds volume and length. Sleek's Swiss weave (from £14.99) has a great curl set or Sleek's Yaki One (from £8/8") is easy to curl and will return back to its original form if you feel like swapping between straight and curly styles.
Bounce with me
'If you want your curls to go the distance, don't overweigh the hair with product,' says Tony Hegarty from Shoreditch salon Identity UK. 'Anything that weighs the hair down will make it drop and leave your curls looking limp and lifeless.' Then all that hard work will be for nothing and you'll have "poodle" hair instead!
'To ensure your waves last, pin them up individually with grips then wear a scarf to bed,' continues Tony. 'This will help them stay more defined. If you find the front of the hair is going frizzy (in the morning), breathe onto your fingertips, and smooth fingers over this area.' The natural oils in your breath will help flatten out fluffy hair to leave your curls looking fabulous and frizz-free. Thanks Tony, fabulous tip and it won't cost you a penny!