Hair & Makeup

How to restore your curls

If you’ve reached for the hair iron less often of late, you are not alone. However, it can be difficult to get to grips with your texture if you are used to changing it. KEEKS REID talks to the experts about how to care for all curl types at home


It’s easy to fall into the habit of straightening your curls, coils and waves – I certainly did for years, despite stepping away from chemical straightening in my early twenties. Much of the time, it isn’t so much to do with the texture of your natural hair, but more due to the habitual way we style it. Nonetheless, continuous heat exposure for any curl pattern will change the texture and you might notice your hair loses its natural shape. The good news is that you can rescue your hair from the brink…

Coax back your waves

Though often left out of the curl spectrum, the way wavy hair behaves is more similar to curls than straight hair. It tends to take on a different pattern strand by strand, which is why, when not treated to conditioning treatments and serums, it can frizz and lead to unwanted volume and puffiness. If you have noticed your waves aren’t styling well, upping your light moisturizing products will help to coax your hair back into a smoother style. “It takes a few weeks for the hair to really go back to its former curl or wave,” says leading hairstylist Zoë Irwin. “When styling, use a light serum and always apply to wet hair, so it absorbs well. Ensure you spend time finger-curling and twisting each section before it dries,” Irwin advises. Do this and allow your hair to air-dry – you’ll soon see your natural waves come back to life.

How to keep curls voluminous

Similar care practices need to be applied to curly textures – from ringlets to corkscrews. Irwin suggests layers of light moisture should be chosen over heavy oils, which is a practice that needs to become a part of your daily routine. “If you think about your skin, you are consistently applying serums and moisturizers for hydration and care benefits – and it’s important to think about your hair in the same way,” she says. With regards to styling, diffusing curls is a sure-fire way of creating volume if you often face curls that fall flat. “When you’re diffusing the hair, make sure you spend time with the airflow on cold. Once the hair is drying, and it feels quite warm, switch to the coldest setting and spend just as long on each section. I find that this sets the hair in a really great way.” Allow your curls to diffuse in chunky sections to reduce the chance of frizz. You can gently break them apart once dry.

The best way to lock in moisture for coils

If you’ve been straightening your coily hair for years, you’ll know that your natural texture loosens over time, as it’s repeatedly subjected to heat. But this doesn’t mean it’s damaged beyond repair. It’s important to treat the heat-exposed parts of your hair gently – more so than the new growth at your roots – as it will be more prone to tangling and damage, particularly when it is wet. I find the best way to detangle is to use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb, and work your way up the hair towards the root. Coily hair tends to naturally lack moisture, so you should ‘cocktail’ your hair products to add maximum moisture and prevent further moisture loss. “My favorite cocktail is a curl cream with a tiny amount of styling gel and oil,” says afro and curly-hair expert Charlotte Mensah. “This allows for a supreme hold without leaving your hair dry and crunchy.” Personally, I find this trio the only thing that holds the definition from my twist-outs all day. For your care routine, Mensah advises using oils to seal in moisture. She also stresses how important it is to protect your hair at night to prevent dehydration and breakage – a silk headscarf, pillowcase or turban will prevent moisture loss and minimize friction.

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown