How to Style Curly Hair: Breaking Down the Basics

We see stylish ringlets in your future.

Knowing how to style curly hair is something every curly haired girl needs to have down to a science. Curly hair has its own set of hair care rules that are distinctively unique from all of the other hair types. There’s texture and its reaction to certain weather conditions, water, product and much more that can make it particular when it comes maintenance. That’s why learning how to style curly hair is so important.

Having patience with your ringlets and giving them lots of love and care is extremely crucial to create bounce and movement, not to mention the element of frizz and having to keep your locks moisturized. Whether want to wear your hair down or are seeking a beautiful curly updo, these simple principles can save you time and have you loving your hair more than ever. Read on to discover how to style curly hair.

how to style curly hair natural looking curls
Gorgeous natural-looking curls.

1. Shampoo and condition your hair for your hair type.

Using the right shampoo and conditioner for your curly hair is key to getting the nourishment and moisture that your hair needs. Try TRESemmé Flawless Curls Shampoo and TRESemmé Flawless Curls Conditioner whose formulas can provide your curly hair with hydration as they target your dry areas.

2. Hair masks are the new normal.

Hair masks are another amazing way to nourish your curls from the crown all the way down to the shaft. Try Nexxus Humectress Moisture Restoring Masque, whose creamy formula can nourish your curly hair without weighing it down.

3. Don’t let your locks get weighted down.

Using a lot of products on curls can weigh it down and make curls look drab. Use key products like a some hair oil on the ends of your strands and a dollop of mousse like the Dove Style+Care Curls Defining Mousse to help you create some bouncy hair waves.

4. Diffuse the situation.

If possible, allow your hair to partly air-dry and then finish with a dryer that has a diffuser attachment. This will help enhance the appearance of your natural curls while giving your hair volume and body.

5. Let those curls fall.

Looking to wear curls in a sexy updo? Use bobby pins to keep extreme flyaways in place, but allow a few wild pieces fall naturally around the face. It will give the style a soft finished look.

6. Shake what your Mama gave you.

After hair is dried (air-dried is the best for less damage) and styled, throw hair around (you know like you’re in a lame romcom movie) to give hair a little bounce and to give it a nice “undone wild” look that you always see on the fashion runways. After all of that hard work, you owe it to yourself!


Use a microfiber towel.

Use a mircrofibre (not normal) towel to semi-dry your hair. It will remove excess moisture while reducing frizz.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t have one to hand? You can always use a clean cotton t-shirt instead. 


Section the hair.

Section your hair horizontally in half, starting just above your ears, and clip the top section up and out of the way.  

This will make the next styling steps easier as you can now access all layers of the hair. 


Use a moisturizing mist.

Starting with the bottom section of your hair, spray TRESemmé Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mist directly onto the mid-lengths and ends.

This will help tame any flyaways and prep the hair for additional products. Repeat the process with the top section of hair and finger comb through to distribute the product. 


Apply a smoothing cream.

Apply a small amount of Bed Head by TIGI On The Rebound Curl Recall Cream to the palm of your hand and apply it to the hair.

Concentrate on the mid-lengths and ends, ensuring you get both the top and bottom sections. 

Next, use your fingers to gently scrunch handfuls of curls upwards to add definition. 


Add a hair oil.

Lastly add a few drops of Nexxus Oil Infinite Nourishing Hair Oil to the ends of the hair and gently scrunch upwards with your hands. 

This last product will help lock in the moisture from the previous cream and spray by sealing the cuticles of the hair. 


Pin your hair back.

Pin random sections from the top of your hair upwards using metal clips, especially around your hairline.

By lifting the hair up, it will encourage volume and body throughout the drying process. No one wants flat curls, right?


Dry hair with a diffuser.

It’s finally time to dry your curls! To get the best definition, use a diffuser attachment on your hair dryer and go over the hair section by section.

Place the bottom of the curls into the diffuser and scrunch them upwards. Shake through any areas with your fingers to loosen the style. 


Add extra definition.

Now your hair is completely dry and full of curls, add extra definition with a curling tong.

Take thin, random strands of hair and wrap them around the heated curling tong to take your spirals up a notch.

Repeat around the top section of your hair until you’re happy with the final look.


That's it!

And… you’re done! Get ready to show off your stylish, frizz-free curls. 

how to style curly hair: All Things Hair - IMAGE - hair accessories
How to style curly hair: Use hair accessories! Credit:

1. Review your hair accessories

Inspect your bobby pins and make sure that the protective plastic tips are still on, as well as trying to select hairbands and ties that are seamless and snag-free. Why? Well, not only will this make achieving your hairstyles easier, but it will also limit any accidental damage caused by hair accessories while styling your curly mane.

2. Blow-dry with a diffuser

Be honest with us: when was the last time you used your hair dryer’s attachments? Believe it or not, you can make styling curly hair much easier if you start using a diffuser when blow-drying (yes, really!). It can help dry your hair and retain the shape of your curls, by evenly directing the heat on your mane. Just think about how much time you’ll save if you don’t have to tame post-blowout frizz – dreams do come true, after all!

3. Assess your appliances

We know that you might be attached to your trusty hair straightener and curling iron, but if you’ve had these heated styling tools for a significant amount of time, you might want to consider an upgrade.

While early straighteners were simply made of metal, there are now new versions with advanced materials (like ceramic and tourmaline) that employ ionic technology to limit hair damage and dryness. So really, there’s no excuse not to get one!

how to style curly hair: frizzy curls
How to style frizzy hair: Embrace the look! Photo credit:

4. Select haircare products designed for curls

This might sound like an obvious one, but try to use shampoos, conditioners, and styling products specially formulated for curly hair. These products are created with curly locks in mind and will help you care for them properly.

We particularly love Dove Advanced Hair Series Quench Absolute range, which is specifically designed for naturally wavy and curly tresses. Developed with formulas that help tame your wild textures, the products will help make your strands appear healthier.

5. Take it easy with your towel

Drying your hair with a traditional towel can easily lead to frizz if you have curly hair, so when you can, air drying is more suitable. However, if you do need to dry your tresses a little more quickly, gently squeeze the excess water out and dry your hair using a T-shirt, instead. The cotton will absorb the water, while its smooth finish will limit the amount of frizz!

6. Use your styling products on wet hair

Try applying your styling products while your hair is still wet, as this will help it to absorb and lock in moisture while keeping your curls defined. We suggest giving Dove Quench Absolute Intense Restoration Mask a go. Not only does it take just five minutes to work, but it can help reduce your precious styling time. Bonus!

how to style curly hair: All Things Hair - IMAGE - ombre curls
How to style curly hair. Credit:

Lock in moisture with hair oil

If you don’t lock in moisture with an oil it can lead to undefined, tangled curls (sigh!). Use one of our go-to natural hair oils to trap moisture in your hair.

Love your curls!

I usually let my hair do its own thing, I like to define the curls and then just see what happens! – Dani
How to style curly hair girl flicking hair back and forth
Calling all curly-haired queens! Credit: Kiefer McGinn

And last but not least: learn to embrace your curly locks! Learning how to style curly hair quickly can be made harder if you’re fighting your hair type and texture simultaneously. So, save yourself some time and energy, and simply love your curls, instead!


Start on clean, freshly washed hair.

Prime hair for curling with a moisturizing shampoo so your curls don’t frizz out. We like the conditioning formula of Dove Quench Absolute Shampoo and Dove Quench Absolute Conditioner, which give ultra nourishment but retains the bounce.


Create a center part.

Using a fine-toothed comb, part your hair in the middle. This includes any fringe you might have.


Apply a thermal protectant.

A heat protection spray, such as TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray, applied towards the root helps achieve a sleeker style after flat ironing and blowdrying — not to mention shield hair from any potential mechanical damage.


Iron the root.

Using a narrow flat iron for more precision, straighten the area surrounding your middle part, from the root to just above the ear. When straightening bangs, be sure to go all the way to the tips, ending with a slight soft bend. Be mindful of the hot tongs touching your scalp!


Grab some gel.

Apply a small amount of gel to fingers. We like the shiny, party-ready finish we get from TRESemmé TRES Two Extra Firm Control Gel.


Apply to the root area.

Using flat palms, apply gel to your root area, making sure hair is evenly coated all around.


Grab some mousse.

Mousse helps define your curls and give them extra body. We like how TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Mousse leaves hair with a nice bounce and no crunch.


Scrunch onto curls.

Using a light touch, gently apply mousse to your mid-lengths by scrunching them in. You can also opt to run moussed-up fingers through your hair and dry with a diffuser attachment in a pinch.


Create pin-curls.

How to style curly hair so that it holds its shape and structure? Employ some good ol’ pin curls, of course. Grab each spiral and tighten it by curling it up and around your finger.


Pin it up.

Secure each pin curl with some bobby pins.


Iron the curl.

For a runway-inspired bend, clamp each pin curl in between your flat iron for a few seconds for a more zigzag feel.



After repeating on all sections, you’ll find your head of loose curls has now become a volumized, textured look with a lot of personality. You’re all set!