Caring for Curls: How to Keep Short Curls Bouncy

Caring for Curls: How to Keep Short Curls Bouncy featured image
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When it comes to curls, we all know that length can weigh them down. Thanks to the Curly Girl method and a host of other online hacks and tips, reviving your long curls has never been easier. But what about those with short cuts? Despite our common understanding, nixing your length isn’t an automatic curl revival, and plenty of us with bobs and lobs are struggling with weighed-down strands. Even the men in our lives with next to no length can have disrupted curl patterns in need of care. That’s why we asked the experts to deliver their sagest wisdom and best tips when it comes to caring for short curls.

Now let’s untwist some curl tips.

  • Christine Hall is Esteé Lauder’s head of R&D for hair care
  • Steven Picciano is a national artist for Goldwell
  • Elba Rodriguez is a John Frieda House of Frieda Stylist
  • Leysa Carrillo is a hair colorist & texture expert

Keeping Short Curls Healthy

A lot about curls feels universally true. Structurally, it’s more fragile than straight strands. As a result, people with curly hair tend to go through a lot of the same things.

“Curly hair tends to break easier, and it tends to break up the shaft, meaning that it tends to break shorter,” explains Esteé Lauder’s head of R&D for hair care, Christine Hall. “It also tends to lack moisture, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have an oily hair type with a curl pattern. It just takes a different approach.”

When you keep your hair short, you’re actually dealing with curls that haven’t had as much time to break and dry out. “Caring for curls is all about moisture and overall hair health,” explains Goldwell national artist Steven Picciano. “Shorter curls have more potential to be amazing as they simply have not had enough time for the hair to have breakage or start to feel dry.”

Beginning in the shower, curly hair tends to benefit from products that up the moisture and focus on rebuilding bonds. “First and foremost, water is your best friend,” Picciano adds. “Give an extra minute to just simply stand under the water and fully saturate your curls, then follow up with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.”

Beat the Crunch

Of course, when you start seeing the curls you want, you need to keep them touchable and soft.

“My clients are often concerned about keeping their curls bouncy, and gels have a reputation for being crunchy and flaky,” says hair colorist and texture expert, Leysa Carrillo. “Redken’s Acidic Bonding Curls Sculpting Curl Gel is a formula you can use on any texture and it creates an airy, bouncy result.”

You can also utilize products meant to ease frizz to keep your curls defined but soft. 

“To keep the life in short curls and help them bounce back to form and avoid the crunchiness, apply John Frieda Frizz-Ease Extra Strength Serum in sections to define and soften your curls,” says John Frieda House of Frieda stylist Elba Rodriguez.

Once you find a formula that works with your hair type, styling becomes quick and easy. “In all honesty, short curls have it made, as long as you take the time to create definition,” says Picciano.

Reviving Short Curls

Plenty of us don’t need to shampoo and condition every day. In fact, curly and coily hair types often benefit from having a set wash day and deep-conditioning routine. But keeping to a routine like that can have an unintended consequence: your curls can start to deflate as your natural oil builds up.

This is especially true for those of us with fine strands. “If hair is fine (meaning each curl is skinny), I would gravitate towards a mousse as a base product and layer a small amount of Curl Creme,” Picciano says. “KERASILK has an incredible lightweight mousse and curl creme that are divine. For thicker curls, a product like Goldwell Style Sign Bundling Gel or something with a bit more hold will work to keep curls shiny without excessive weight.”

If you’re experiencing deflation on your second or third day, opt for lightweight formulas designed to redefine your curls. “The second-day revival is so easy with a light mist of John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-In Conditioner followed by John Frieda Frizz Ease Secret Weapon Touch-Up Cream which helps redefine curl and lock in moisture and shine,” says Rodriguez.

Expert-Recommended Products

1 / 3

KERASILK Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner ($66)

Recommended by Picciano for providing the perfect amount of glide and hydration without weighing down curls, this bundle is the ideal way to start your short curl care in-shower. Tame frizz and nourish strands with antioxidant-rich shea oil for a more manageable curl.

BUY NOW – $66

2 / 3

Redken’s Acidic Bonding Curls Sculpting Curl Gel ($32)

Define and sculpt your curls with a gel that won’t flake or dry out with Redken’s latest innovation: the acid bonding line. This hydrating gel provides the high hold you love from a gel without any of the crunchy drawbacks.

BUY NOW – $32

3 / 3

John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment Leave-In Conditioner ($10)

Revive your curls and beat the frizz with John Frieda’s leave-in. A nourishing formula packs in vitamins A, C, E and green tea extract to keep hair healthy while the anti-frizz focus protects hair from heat and humidity while keeping the curl defined.



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