For the past few months or so since cutting my hair short, I've received numerous emails from you guys asking just how I style my curly waves. Being a relatively bone-straight hair girl myself, I've always been inclined to wear my hair with some type of curl in it, be it beachy waves or more defined spirals. We always want what we don't have, right?
That said though, I hardly consider myself much of a hair guru and in fact, I'm pretty darn lost when it comes to styling anything that takes more than 30 minutes in the morning (hanging head in shame). So hopefully, what follows is easy enough to replicate and adapt for yourself and your hair type.
As for my hair type? The "before" photo you see above is what my hair looks like with little to no styling done to it. Since my hair is very thick, I generally wash my hair in the evenings, drying it before I go to bed. This allows it time to relax, making it much easier to manage in the morning!
So without further ado...
1.) Before beginning, I'd like to note that I mentally divide my hair into three sections: left, right and the (dreaded) back section. I say "mentally" only because, while I've tried sectioning my hair with hair clips, I've found that I like sorting curled sections and non-curled sections apart by hand as it helps relax the curl and in the end, makes it look more natural. I suggest trying both ways and see what works best for you and what you're most comfortable with.
With that in mind, I take a 3/4" inch curling iron (I use this one by Conair) and start on my left side, with the top layers and face framing layers first, then make my way to the layers underneath. Since cutting my hair shorter, I've had to get used to taking much smaller chunks of hair to curl at a time. My general rule of thumb is to keep each section you curl right around the width of a pencil for top layers and a bit larger for bottom layers (about the width of a marker).
When curling, I always make sure to leave a small portion of hair (about 1/4") outside the curling iron's clamp and I curl toward the back of my head. I repeat this until I've curled much of the left side of my head. (Leave the back portion alone for now.)
2.) Now I comb through my curls with my fingers, making sure to separate them a bit. I don't spritz hair spray just yet though -- we'll save that for later.
3.) and 4.) At this point, I repeat what I did on the left side to the right side, making sure to still curl toward the back of my head. Which brings me to the aforementioned back of the head. This section kills me every time but luckily, since we're going for a more relaxed overall wave, it doesn't need to be perfect. Just try to keep the same size sections as you were on the right and left sides and you'll be surprised at how quickly you eventually get the hang of it (I promise!).
Once I think I've covered all my bases, I usually enlist the help of the man friend to check the back (important to make sure that whoever you ask is actually looking and not checking their iPad or some other distraction instead).
After this, I leave the curling iron plugged in, do another round of finger combing and go about my morning. Since I like to let the curls fall and relax naturally, I find that the best time to spritz hair spray is right before I leave, about 15 -20 minutes after I've finished curling. Sometimes, I'll do a few last minute touch ups and re-curl the top layers if I want more definition, otherwise, I'm ready to head out the door!