How To Get The Best Curls At Home According To A Celeb Stylist


curly hair tipsSource: Michael Kovac/ Getty Images

If you’re embracing your curl pattern during lockdown but are in need of some assistance in the #QuarantineCurl department, don’t worry, we got you! Well technically, celebrity hairstylist Irinel De León has you covered (seriously, just check out her curls!).

With salons closed for the foreseeable future, learning how to keep your locks nourished, hydrated, and protected is more important than ever. Luckily, Irinel spilled all of her essential scalp care tips, healthy hair growth hacks, and go-to styles to keep your curls in check. She promises that whatever your current curl ordeal, “There’s a solution to help your curls live their best quarantine life, so before this is all over, they’ll be ready for a new life of their own.”

Take Care Of Your Scalp

If there’s one thing hairstylists continually tell us, it’s that great hair starts with a healthy scalp. Irinel confirms that the same rule applies to curls, “One of my new favorite ways to care for my curls is taking care of my scalp!” She explains, “An unhealthy scalp can lead to dandruff, dryness, and irritation, so it’s important we reset using the right products.”

Caring for your scalp is particularly important during lockdown, because as you may have experienced, there’s an increased likelihood of an unhealthy scalp due to increased stress levels, less washing, and of course, a lack of salon-level haircare.

Irinel swears by the haircare line Ouidad, which carries a targeted range that has transformed her locks, “Ouidad has just launched their new Scalp collection and the products have not only changed the way my scalp looks and feels but has also improved my curl pattern as well.”

Irinel’s Scalp-Saving Routine:

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Step 1: “I start by using the Ouidad Ready, Set, Clean Scalp + Hair Rinse, $28, it’s a lightweight gelee that attaches to impurities and oil and lifts them off the strand, removing buildup, dirt, excess oil, and environmental pollutants from the scalp and hair without stripping away natural moisture or causing irritation. It’s also infused with biotin to help promote healthy hair growth.”

Step 2: “I follow with the Ouidad Heavy Lifting Bubbling Scalp Mask, $28, it cleanses the hair without scrubbing, stripping, or tangling my curls and rinses without leaving any residue.”

Step 3: “I finish by masking my hair with the Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Intense Hydrating Mask, $32, making sure that all of the strands are coated. Then, I twist my hair, so it trains the curls, apply a cap, and let it sit either overnight or for 20 minutes then rinse out.” Irinel adds that this mask is particularly beneficial for dry, damaged or over-processed curls as it’s packed with rich, hydrating oils that’ll restore the elasticity of your curls.

Step 4: “To style, I run the Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream, $26, through my hair, and let it air dry.” Another pro tip? Irinel also says that you should try to avoid touching your hair when it’s drying, as it can affect the texture.

Weave Tips:

Many hairstylists have advised their clients to remove their weaves and utilize this time to rejuvenate their scalp and curls. Irinel agrees, “I think since we’re all home these days, this is the best time to let your hair strands and scalp BREATHE! Take the weave out and give your natural hair some TLC.”

If you do decide to remove your weave, Irinel suggests “Giving your natural hair moisturizing hair treatments like the Ouidad Curl Recovery™ Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask, $44, as it will bring hydration, elasticity, and manageability back into the strands.”

Encourage Natural Hair Growth

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Quarantine is a perfect time to focus on your haircare goals, and for many (us included) that means encouraging natural, healthy hair growth. To stimulate growth, Irinel says “I love the OUAI Hair Supplements For Thinning Hair, $28, for people looking to grow their hair out; it’s jam-packed with vitamins to help promote hair growth.” We can vouch for Irinel on this one, the OUAI supplements have been our go-to for years!

However, Irinel does add “If you’re looking to take the more natural, homeopathic route, then using castor oil and mixing it with lavender oil will help with hair growth.” Although, be aware “results might take longer going this route.”

Take Care Of  Your Braids 

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If you’ve styled your curls in protective braids during lockdown, there are some haircare rituals you need to maintain, which will not only prolong the life of your braids but help maintain them. Here are Irinel’s recommendations:

Use sulfate-free shampoos: “If you’ve got your hair in box braids or any kind of tight braids as a protective style, you should still be cleaning your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. Use the pads of your fingertips to ensure even distribution and avoid disruption of your protective style, then follow with a conditioner.”

Keep your braids hydrated: “Keeping your protective style moisturized is also very important, as well as in between washes. To keep your locks hydrated, mist your favorite conditioner diluted with water onto your strands and scalp.”

Sleep on silk: “Sleeping on silk pillowcases helps prolong whatever style you sleep in because unlike cotton, it doesn’t tug or pull on the hair strands at night. Cotton pillowcases also absorb the moisture from both your hair and skin, therefore making silk a hugely popular option for women looking to preserve both!”

Take care of your edges: “Regular scalp massages with oils are great for stimulation and hair growth. You can use the same method mentioned above by using castor and lavender oil!”

How to Style Your Curls at Home

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Taking the time to style our hair has become a daily self-care ritual during quarantine. If you’re in need of some easy-styling inspo that’ll keep your curls in check while simultaneously nourishing your curls, check out Irinel’s go-to styles.

Easy Braids: “Slathering on a conditioning treatment and putting your hair in French braids or two normal pigtail braids will help your hair heal itself and gain its strength from any heat styling that was being done, pre-quarantine. Once taken down, you can rinse out the treatment and let your hair do its thing.”

Sleek Bun: “You can also wear your hair in a low sleek bun by using the naturals oils from your scalp. If your hair isn’t oily, then apply oil from the roots to the ends. Slicking your curls back into a bun will also help nourish the hair.”

We’re also in love with her pineapple hairstyle (tutorial above), which Irinel sleeps in each night.

Treat Your Hair With Oils

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During lockdown we’ve been masking around the clock. However, Irinel’s go-to treatment isn’t a mask but a hot oil treatment. She told us, “They used to be all the rave back in the day and it doesn’t come without a reason.” Adding “They’re a great alternative to help prolong getting a haircut since it’s a bit more difficult to do that these days.”

A hot oil treatment is exactly what the name suggests, and the benefits are major; “A hot oil treatment is a hair and scalp regimen that uses natural oils to protect and strengthen damaged hair with vitamins and nutrients,” says Irinel. Here’s how to do it at-home:


  • 1 Oz of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (hella-moisturizing)
  • 1 Oz of Castor Oil (boosts growth)
  • 1 Oz of Sweet Almond Oil (seals the cuticle and boosts shine)
  • 1 Oz of Jojoba Oil (promotes thickness)
  • 1 Oz of Virgin Coconut Oil (super hydrating)
  • 20 drops of Argan Oil (strengthens hair cuticle)
  • 10 drops of Peppermint Oil (detox and cleanse)


  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic cap

Directions: Irinel begins, “Mix the oils together in a large bowl, then transfer into the applicator bottle. Next, boil some water and place it into a separate bowl. Place the applicator bottle inside the bowl so the oil warms up.” If your applicator bottle is plastic do not use boiling hot water, and if you’re using glass, be careful not to burn your hands.

Irinel suggests to “Avoid placing oil in the microwave as this can kill off a number of the benefits of the oil. While the oil is heating up, part hair into four workable sections.”

“Now, test the oil on the outside of your hand to ensure the temperature is to your liking. Place a towel over your shoulders to protect your skin and clothing, then spray the first section with a little warm water and apply the oil from the roots to ends, making sure the strands and scalp are fully saturated. Massage into scalp for several minutes, going in circular and vertical motions.”

“Place your hair cap on and let it sit for 20 mins, feel free to apply heat to your head to add to the effect. Rinse and follow with shampoo and conditioner. For extremely dry and damaged hair, you can follow this routine every few days, otherwise, doing this one a month will help give your hair added moisture,” says Irinel.

Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Curls

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While there are many things you should do to protect your curls, there are some things you should avoid. Here’s a quick list of Irinel’s “Dos and Don’ts” for healthy, happy curls.

  • Don’t style using heat: “We’re all home trying to get through this, it’s one of the best times to just let your curls be and live naturally.”
  • Don’t tie your hair tightly when it’s wet: “Your hair is the most sensitive and vulnerable when wet, therefore pulling it back tightly will not only cause breakage, but it can also disrupt your curl pattern.”
  • Don’t put oil on wet hair: “Although we may sometimes feel like this makes our hair shiny and luscious, oil and water don’t mix. If you place both in a cup, it’s impossible, so oil should be saved for dry strands only. Applying oil to wet hair will make the hair greasy, not moisturized, and there’s a difference!”
  • Do play with styles: “Practice diffusing your hair and playing with different hairstyles! It’s amazing when we embrace our natural texture.”
  • Do prep your curls before bed: “For long-lasting curls, sleep with your hair in a pineapple, on a silk pillowcase, I have a video illustration of this up on my Instagram.

For more curl tips, check out our 5 curl myths that could be ruining your hair.