The secrets to styling short curly hair

You may have little length, but it’s what you do with it that matters

Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / November 16 2018

Separately, curly hair and short hair are up there as the hardest hair type and trickiest haircut to style. Together? We don’t blame you for having concerns over how to style short curly hair or fearing the maintenance. But really, it’s not so bad. Just take a look at Zoe Foster Blake. The girl has schooled us all on how to style short curls recently, dishing up a wealth of valuable inspo and hair tips for styling a short curly bob. We’ve also seen the likes of Rita Ora and Rihanna try their hand at cute short curly hairstyles; and Lupita Nyong’o does very short hair like nobody else.

Basically, short curly hair shouldn’t be feared.

Hairstyles for short curly hair come in many different cuts – pixie crops, bobs, shags, afros… so there’s no one set of styling steps to fit all. But there are a few key tricks that will help you get your mop under control.


Get the cut right

When you have natural curly hair, you need to work with what you’ve got. As in, don’t go asking your hairdresser for a style that’s best suited to straight hair when you have thick curly hair, even if you have every intention of straightening your hair daily. You're just asking for a world of styling pain. “Curly hair needs weight on the ends for optimal curl,” says Virginie Gayssot, Head of Education for Franck Provost Paris, who adds that longer layered cuts with blunt edges are better to promote definition.


Air-dry whenever possible

“Ideally, curly hair should be left to dry naturally,” says Gayssot. “However, if it is cold or wet, you can use a diffuser (airflow facing downwards) attached to your hairdryer. This slower and gentler method of drying hair causes the least disturbance to the curls and reduces frizz.”


Use the right product formulas

Gayssot notes that you need to use products that have been specifically designed for curly hair. Zoe Foster Blake recently revealed her curly hair arsenal – start there if you don’t already have a strong line-up of curly hair products.


Don’t brush your hair

“Never brush curly hair, it will only go frizzy,” warn Gayssot. “Same goes for fine toothed combs: they stretch the hair, disturbing the curl pattern and promoting frizz.” Her advice? Use a wide toothed comb to remove knots, “then apply a spray of water to refresh the curls and piece into place with your fingers”. Try The Wet Brush Basin Detangling Comb.

The Wet Brush Basin Detangling Comb


Keep frizz under control

Curly hair and frizzy hair tend to go hand-in-hand. “Never rough-dry hair with a towel or dry hair with hot air. Use cold hair to close the cuticle and reduce frizz,” suggests Gayssot. Keratin-rich products will also keep curly hair healthy and less prone to frizz. Try Oaui Curl Shampoo.

Oaui Shampoo


Finish with a shine serum

Since curly hair tends to be naturally dry and coarse, it’s not as shiny as straight hair. “Use a shine serum for more light reflection and shine," says Gayssot. She recommend Kérastase Elixir Ultime Huile Originale, a versatile beautifying oil that nourishes, smooths and protects hair for sublime shine.

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Huile Originale
“Another tip: Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase for smoother, calmer curls in the morning!”
Virginie Gayssot
Franck Provost Paris
Head of Education

If you want more advice on how to manage your curly locks, follow these simple styling tricks every curly-haired woman needs to know.

How do you keep your short curly hair under control? What are your go-to curly hair products?

Main image credit: Getty

Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.