tutorial: how i style my naturally curly hair

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i’m finally doing this post for you peeps! i know so many of you have been commenting, emailing and tweeting, etc. asking me how i style my naturally curly hair. so here it is – a step by step tutorial on how i style my hair. not really a quickie but i wanted to get all the info in for you guys so it was clear what i do.

i wear my hair in a variety of ways, check out other hair-styling related posts here!

DO IT!:

  1. wash hair with moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. lately i’ve been using Jason’s shampoo (Whole Foods) and Giovanni conditioner (Whole Foods) and Rahua conditioner (Salons) on my dry ends.
  2. apply curl defining cream – i use various kinds, currently Pureology.
  3. blow dry your hair using a diffuser, flip upside down to start and make sure to not make a defined part and keep a lift at your roots. scrunch with your hand to help define the curls.
  4. after your hair is dry, use a smoothing serum to calm the frizz and protect from the heat of the curling iron. currently i’m using the Shea butter one by Organix (CVS).
  5. use a tapered-end curling wand (mine is a 4 in 1 by Cortex – posted about it here) to curl any straight pieces. make sure to alternate the direction of your curls to get a more natural look.



  • Bianca

    Yay! Love this. Good to know my hair isn’t crazy (I end up with random straight pieces too…thought my hair was just bipolar or something).
    Did you style your hair like this before you put it up in the Pink Rat Tail post? And did you use bobby pins, a clip or hair tie? (hahaha can you tell I like that style?)

    • mrkate

      thanks for your comment! def not bi-polar : ).

      for the Rat Tail post it was messy curly like my natural state and then I piled it on top off my head and really loosely made a loop ponytail with an elastic and pinned any pieces I wanted up, in place with bobby pins, and clipped on the pink rat tail and curled it to match my natural curl. The messier the better with that look!

  • Julia I Marchand

    Hey, just wanted to say that you are amazing! I love your blog, and that you embrace your curls :) my hair is quite similar, so its great to have some advice that applies to me. keep it up!

  • Katie S.

    YAYYYYYY thank you so much for doing this, us curly haired girls all really appreciate it!!

    • mrkate

      yaaay! good! curly rocks! xx

  • Sami

    Absolutely love this post! I have naturally curly hair myself!! Do you have any tips about styling the morning after? I find it impossible to find a balance between controlling the frizz/maintaining the volume and curls a day after washing it and sleeping on it…

    • mrkate

      Great! For sleeping I usually twist my hair into a very loose top bun and clip it in place so I don’t get crazy dreds in the back of my head. Then I use a smoothing serum for the frizz, re-curl any straight pieces with a curling iron and then bend over and fluff up my roots for some body… dry shampoo is good to give your roots some lift too!

  • http://twitter.com/OctoNoctua Natalie Webb

    Great tutorial! And yes, Pureology is really good stuff.

    I do hair for a living, and for my money, my favorite curl cream is from Moroccan Oil. It smells like heaven, is super moisturizing, and it just works. If you want to let the curls air dry, however (nice if you have tighter curls naturally), Paul Mitchell Round Trip is great. Work some into your hair, scrunch or arrange the curls as you like, and then DO NOT TOUCH until dry. And not much touching after that. Beautiful and glossy curls, and it eliminates the need for a smoothing serum after.
    Love your whole site, and please, never stop being so cute.  

    • mrkate

      Ooo, great tips! I’ll check out those products too! thanks! xx – kate

  • Hannah

    Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve been wondering how you get your hair to look so gorgeous. I’ve always created a part and it looks exactly how you said- plastered to the top of my head. I’m gonna try not to next time!

    • mrkate

      Great! So glad it’s helpful! Let me know if you have any more questions! xx

  • amandiee

    I use got2b double curling power to make my hair curly

  • Kelley

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. I’ve found it really useful. I have some of that Schwartzkopf styling powder, but I’m not totally sure how to use it. Do you have any tips?

    • mrkate

      Great! thanks! i use the powder in roots only – it’s too drying to use anywhere else. I sprinkle a little on my hands and rub it on the roots of my hair around my face and at the crown of my head to give it a little lift so it doesn’t lay limp when it’s freshly washed. hope that helps!

  • Ashley Lynn

    This is a great tutorial…you have gorgeous hair. do you put any product in your hair before you blow dry it? I know my curls would go nuts without something. WHat do you use? Thanks.

  • Rose

    Heyy, love the tutorial, love your hair! One question, I find it difficult to find the right styling product and my hair is similar to yours. The pureology stuff you use there seems to no longer be sold, so is so expensive! What other brands have you used/reccomend? many thanks :)

  • Morgan

    totally off topic–but who took these photos? really would like to use them.

  • Holly

    Hi Kate I LoVe your website and I you are my total insparation. This tutorial is great for me as like you I have naturally wavy hair. I was wondering if there was a way for me to quickly style my hair because i’ve got to catch the bus for school early so it doesn’t leave me much time for my hair
    thanks x