Insider Secrets: Curly Hair Commandments

End the war on frizz with these spiral-perfecting strategies

by Nikki Ostasiewski
Photograph: Istockphoto

Anthony Dickey, celebrity hair stylist and owner of Hair Rules Salon in New York has devoted his 20+ year career to mastering the mysteries of textured hair. He’s styled the likes of Minnie Driver, Sarah Jessica Parker and Michelle Obama (for the October 2008 cover of More Magazine) Here, he shares his tried and true curly hair rules.

Though shalt not flat iron
Shunning your natural wave pattern in an effort to look younger or more pulled together? Stop! "Curls can create a more youthful, softer look than pin-straight hair," insists Dickey.

Though shalt moisturize your mane
First off, ditch the conventional, oil-stripping shampoo."After 40, your hair becomes significantly drier," says Dickey. Look for a shampoo with hydrating properties like Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream ($22; hairrules.com) or Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Moisture Balance Shampoo ($7; drugstores). Using a better shampoo for your hair’s needs will make your conditioner more effective as well.

Though shalt stop the triangle top
Getting a flattering cut is crucial to making your curls work for you. In order to prevent a triangle-of-curls look, ask your stylist for a few subtle layers that start by the cheek bone. "This is a great way to soften your look" says Dickey. In addition, layering can add volume at the crown of the head, all the better to flatter your face shape.

Though shalt wear your hair any length you please
"It’s a misconception that shorter hair is more suitable as you age," says Dickey. While stick-straight, long hair runs the risk of making an aging face look drawn, curls impart a softer, more youthful look. The secret to keeping long, curly strands in shape after 40? A good cut and well conditioned hair.

Though shalt keep your hands off!
Achieving a defined curl pattern that is soft and natural (rather than hard and sticky) is key. Look for the new hybrid gels that contain conditioning ingredients and give a soft hold such as Hair Rules Curly Whip ($10; hairrules.com) or Sunsilk Captivating Curls Styling Cream ($6; drugstores). The trick to frizz-free, defined waves?  Apply your gel to soaking wet hair right when you get out of the shower. And then don’t touch it again until it dries.

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First Published June 24, 2010

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John Green07.15.2013

Where is a beauty salon in Corona NY? It's going to be my wifes birthday here soon, and I think she would really enjoy going to one.

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