It’s time to ditch the straighteners – curly hair is back in fashion.
So curly hair is fashionable again. The style lords say this every couple of years, but curly hair hasn’t been properly fashionable since T’Pau times. And they never mean properly curly hair; they mean just slightly undulating. But it’s really happening. Tight, natural afro, corkscrew, wild, shaggy, out-of-control barnets – all of them are genuine style statements. Curly girls of the world, unite. This is our time.
The Daniel Galvin salon in Selfridges in London even has a curly hair menu of cuts and styles specifically for twisty hair. “Curly-haired models have been all over the catwalks,” says James Galvin, the salon’s artistic director. “It’s fantastic to see women with natural curls embracing them, instead of annihilating them with straighteners. In general, there’s a trend for less control and more individuality.” But those of us with curly/frizzy/spirally hair know that embracing natural hair is no easier than doing “natural” make-up. It requires effort to look effortless. Curly hair tends to be fairly dry, so getting bouncy, healthy curls means some investment in products.
The Galvin salon is using the excellent new Curl Idéal range from Kérastase, which includes a kick-ass hair mask (£29; kerastase.co.uk) that will soften dry, thirsty hair. The revolutionary product, for me, is the Cleansing Conditioner (£29), which cleans hair without stripping it of any natural oils. Co-wash products, as these hair cleansers are known, take a bit of getting used to. You have to smooth them on rather than scrub them up like shampoo, but you can wash your hair as often as you like and it won’t dry out.
Curly hair should be treated like dry skin, so look for products that soften and moisturise. To control frizz (but not too much – going a bit wild is the whole point), I love Goldwell Kerasilk Control Rich Protective Oil (£23.50; goldwell.co.uk). It’s a nongreasy oil that you can use on towel-dried hair before styling or air-drying (the kindest way to dry our hair).
Fashiony brand Bumble and bumble’s new Bb.Curl range has products to take care of every type of kink from waves to tightly wound. The shampoo (£23; bumbleandbumble.co.uk) is gentle and hydrating. I particularly love the Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil (£25), which prevents hair from doing that thing we hate: deciding to go fluffy after you’ve styled it.
Davines has a nice line in curly products. Its Love Curl shampoo (£14.50; liberty.co.uk) and conditioner (£15.75) boost the elasticity of wavy hair while the This Is A Relaxing Moisturising Fluid (£19.60) has an unwieldy name but does what it says on the tin.
Big, curly hair is often more fragile than it looks, so it’s worth trying a protective, leave-in product. The legendary (and I don’t use the word lightly) trichologist Philip Kingsley’s Curl Activator (£19; philipkingsley.co.uk) is brilliant for defending and defining curls and keeping them in place.