Celebrity Hairstylists Share Their Top Tips for Embracing Natural Curls and Coils

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This article first appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

One highlight during quarantine: celebrity hairstylist Takisha Sturdivant-Drew teaching The Today Show’s Sheinelle Jones how to do a twist-out on national TV. “So many people appreciated seeing her journey of transforming from straight hair to embracing her natural texture,” says the stylist. “When women couldn’t get to the salon, many of them had to learn how to style themselves, and they’re continuing to do so today. I think it’s a great change in a very healthy way.”

Sephora beauty director Myiesha Sewell says black women like herself tend to visit salons very frequently to upkeep their hair, but due to the pandemic, they’ve had to take things into their own hands, literally. “More time at home means those of us with curly and coily textures now have more time to care for our hair, as our wash days and moisturizing routines can be extensive. Being in isolation allowed for more experimentation and more time to get to know our hair, which is the key to loving it.”

From curls to braids, there has been lots of added texture all around, and stylists are welcoming the shift. “We really had no choice,” says celebrity hairstylist Nai’vasha. “It’s an important moment of self-care and becoming one with who you are.”

Curl Care

Anu Prestonia, hairstylist and beauty innovator for Anu Essentials, has received a lot of outreach on social media and via texts and phone calls from friends and clients wanting tips and suggestions for styling and caring for their natural hair. “My primary tip is to take the time to know your hair,” she says. “What works for the girl on YouTube may not work for you, particularly if your hair is a totally different texture.”

The first thing to consider is your current cut, which should support your curls, celebrity hairstylist Kim Kimble says. “A great cut will ensure your natural hair has a good shape, which will make it easier to style and maintain,” she adds. Second, stock your product arsenal with moisture, moisture and more moisture. Sturdivant-Drew tells her clients who are thinking about going natural, that natural hair is very dry, so it’s very important to keep it moisturized. “Use a serum and a leave-in conditioner, and use heat while conditioning the hair to lock in moisture,” she recommends. “Curls should be hydrated at all times.”

Style Savvy

When it comes to styling curls, these are the top looks pros love right now.

Sturdivant-Drew loves the curly hair look with bangs, which she continues to wear today. “I also love structural curly cuts, textured bangs, coil locs, curly wet wash and gos, the go-to afro puffs, and multi-colored curls, or just the ends.”

“I love seeing accessories like gold or pearl bobby pins in curly hair to really dress it up,” says Kimble. “I also think we’ll see many looks that incorporate hair pieces like extensions, clip-ins and ponytails.”

Prestonia’s favorite look is what she calls “the high/low,” where the hair is much longer on the top than the sides and back. “There are so many versions of this style that it almost looks different on every person who wears it,” she says. “Some wear their hair cut very close to the scalp with this style, while others wear it fuller on the sides and back.”

Moisture Must-Haves

Dove Amplified Textures Twist In Moisture Shaping Butter Cream ($7)
Celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen’s latest obsession is Dove Amplified Textures, “which is a great line for enhancing the natural beauty of textured hair,” she says.

adwoa beauty Baomint Moisturizing Curl Defining Gel ($32)
“This gel is a great way to get all the moisture you need with more hold and definition,” says Sewell.

Carol’s Daughter Monoi (Repair + Protect) Multi-Styling Milk ($22)
Sturdivant-Drew likes this leave-in conditioner because “it protects hair from up to 450 degrees of heat, as well as strengthens and moisturizes all hair types and textures.”

Playa New Day Mist 3-in-1 Style Refresher ($24)
People are pretty familiar with the concept of dry shampoo, but on the flipside, Sewell says those with curly hair typically need a “wet” dry shampoo. “Water-based sprays like this one are easy ways to add moisture to the hair, remove unwanted odor, reset your style, and remove any unwanted creases in the hair.”

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