I have naturally wavy hair—and while it can be a fun, carefree look during the summer, I frequently opt for sleeker options, like a stick-straight style or barrel waves created by way of a curling iron. That said, when I had the opportunity to enlist the expertise of celeb hairstylist Cynthia Alvarez, I jumped at the chance to learn how to style natural curls to their full potential.
The Bronx-bred beauty guru is known for working with high-profile clients, including Shakira and Alicia Keys (who she toured with at just 21 years old!). Cynthia recently teamed up with her preferred curl care brand—bio-based Sky Organics—to help us wavy-haired women give our sometimes unruly locks the TLC they deserve. Cynthia is a huge proponent of their Detangling Conditioner in particular, explaining to Mane Addicts that “My hair literally feels as smooth as butter once I apply it, detangling is a breeze in the shower and it adds so much shine and manageability to my hair.”
I was graciously sent the entire Curl Care collection, along with personalized tips from Cynthia on how to style natural curls (in the form of my long, coarse, medium-wavy locks).
“Sky Organics is a brand I admire due to my own personal experiences with harmful chemicals in haircare,” Cynthia explained before getting into the actual styling steps below. “I’ve been coloring my hair for over 10 years, and grew up using not-so-clean hair products due to the lack of affordability and access. It was honestly never a thought to me until a few years ago when I was diagnosed with a precancerous tumor resulting in having the right side of my thyroid surgically removed. My endocrinologist didn’t know why I got the tumor so I researched and sought holistic healthcare. It was then that I discovered so many women of color were experiencing the same thing and there was a link to relaxers and other harmful haircare products and treatments, including hair color. Sky Organics, being a clean, affordable and easily accessible brand is so important for all of us. It’s about time Curl Care became conscious of our wellbeing.”
Keep reading for Cynthia’s detailed tips on how to style natural curls. My final look is at the very bottom of this article. As noted, I used all Sky Organics products, but use whatever brand you’re comfortable trying. It’s also important to note that I let my hair air-dry, so perhaps a different result may have been achieved had I used a diffuser.
We so often neglect our scalp when we think of haircare, which is why I recommend using Sky Organics Castor Oil as a pre-treatment. Pour a quarter-sized amount in your hand and warm it up. Apply it all over your scalp and work the oil in using a scalp massager, as this helps to stimulate hair growth and blood circulation. A healthy scalp will lead to strong, healthy hair. You can leave this treatment on for as little as 20 minutes or as an overnight treatment.
Wash out the Castor Oil treatment with Wash Day Shampoo, followed by either the Detangling Conditioner or the Treatment Mask. I would recommend the Treatment Mask if you haven’t deep conditioned your hair in a month. It should be used at least once a month to provide reparative moisture to your curls. Leave on for 10 minutes.
Once you’re done rinsing your hair, dry using a terry cloth towel to prevent frizzy curls and retain definition. Part your hair in quadrants and apply the Bouncy Curl Cream starting from your ends to your roots using a raking motion, distributing the product with your fingers. Start with a dime sized amount of product and use more as needed to prevent your curls from being weighed down.
Once you’ve fully applied the Curl Cream to your hair, you can either air-dry or diffuse. I’m personally a fan of diffusing because it cuts down on styling time and adds a ton of volume. A tip I learned along the way is to never dry your hair completely using the diffuser, you want to dry it 90% and allow it to air dry for the remainder. Over-drying curls can create frizz and stiff curls.
For more product recommendations for girls with textured hair, click HERE for Black beauty editor-approved buys!