Know your curl

How to slay your natural curl

When it comes to styling natural curls, it usually goes one of two ways: you’re eitherleft with the perfect bouncy curls or it’s a frizzy mess that looks like you’ve been stuck in a steam room. At least for us! To guarantee the latter is never you, we spoke to natural hair GOD, celebrity hairstylist and Founder of the VERNON FRANÇOIS Collection, Vernon François. He’s the legend behind some of Solange and Lupita’s most iconic looks, and he’s sharing his secrets on how you should style and care for your natural curl. Here’s what we learned:

You need to know your curl

Vernon insists that “getting to know and understanding your hair, means you can then learn how to style it.” And, the key to doing this properly is to “know what tools, products, application, drying and styling techniques to use.” We swear it’s only by treating your curls in the right way, that you’ll get the very best out of them. Here’s Vernon’s breakdown of each type of curl and his tips and tricks on how to style them.

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Kinky Curl: Kinky hair is when each strand of hair is zig-zag shaped. It’s often quite dry because the natural oil which is produced at your scalp has an indirect journey to the ends. This is why Vernon says it’s essential to look for sulfate-free shampoos and do regular hair masks. He also recommends not using a hairbrush but instead to use a wide tooth comb to minimize damage.

Coily: Coily hair is one of the most versatile curl types. It can be very fragile because it tends to have quite a thin external layer. When it comes to styling this hair type you should always pat hair dry with a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt to help prevent breakage. It’s also a good idea to sleep in a silk cap or on a silk pillow to help retain moisture in your hair strands.

Spiral curl: If you have spiral curls, several strands of hair will group together and wind around themselves. The shape that it makes looks a bit like a corkscrew and, in theory, a pencil or a little finger could fit in the space in the middle. When styling this hair type, using your hairdryer on the cool heat is essential. This helps to reduce frizz and maintain shape and bounce.

S curl: Wavy hair is when the strands create an S shape. How much of an ‘S’ there is can vary; from being almost straight to a definite wave, or a visible S. This type of hair can tend to expose split ends and might lack volume, but it can also look very cool. It’s the hair type that works best for ‘beachy’ styles. Using a little bit of the Vernon François Mist, Nourishing Water, $16, or salt water and scrunching dry hair gives the best results.

No curl:  Straight hair is often quite strong and if it’s healthy it’ll be super shiny. When it comes to looking after straight hair, you really need to get regular trims. For styling, Vernon recommends drying hair upside down and moving the dryer in a circular motion to add some major volume.

Damaged: Hair damage can affect all types of hair and is usually a result of over styling, using heat incorrectly or by using too many chemical products on your hair. To replenish your hair, Vernon suggests avoiding any heat styling and instead using nourishing hair masks or rich products, like any of the products from the RE Vamp range.

How to care for your curls

  • If you’re planning on heat styling your hair Vernon told us that “setting your tong to super-hot won’t give you a quicker result and is most likely to cause damage to the hair”. So, Vernon’s advice for beautiful bouncy curls with heat is to “choose a warm setting and remember to protect with a serum or moisture spray first.”
  • Vernon believes that one of the most damaging things you can do to your hair is to leave the house with damp hair and expose it to cooler temperatures. We all know that water freezes when temperatures are very low. If this happens on the outside of your hair it can actually “damage the cuticle layer – the hair’s outside surface.” So, Vernon always recommends “planning ahead and giving yourself a little extra time when using heat rather than rushing. There are lots of tips for different texture types plus some super useful videos here.”
  • If there’s one product you should have on your shelf it’s a good hair oil. Especially if you have kinky and curly hair. Just like us, Vernon is a big fan of a DIY and likes to make his own treatments by mixing his fav oils with water so that they’re less heavy and more easily absorbed by the hair. His favorite oils to mix are Black Jamaican, Jojoba Oil and Argan oil.

Vernon is also a big fan of using Bantu Knots to create amazing, uniform curls. Check out how to do Bantu Knots and some gorgeous styling ideas here.