No. 1: Do Your Haircut Homework
Does this mean I can be Lupita Nyong'o now?
To figure out your best look, schedule prep time with your stylist so they know in advance how to give you the best do possible. "I have my clients come in and have a consultation," says Vernon Francois, the celebrity stylist to Lupita Nyong'o, Uzo Aduba, and Kerry Washington, as well as the founder of a his namesake hair-care line. "Come in with how you normally wear your hair," he adds, noting that this step will help your stylist better understand your style.
No. 2: Change the Way You Shampoo
Giving new meaning to "dry shampoo."
"It's really great to put [shampoo] on hair dry to lift moisture out," Francois says, like excess oil and product buildup.
Don't forget a quick scalp massage while you rinse!
Before you hop in the shower, run a dime-sized amount of your favorite shampoo through dry strands, focusing on saturating the hair with the cleanser from root to end. Then, rinse!
Pure-Fro Shampoo, $36, vernonfrancois.com.
Triple Nutrition Curl Nourish Shampoo by Garnier Fructis, $4, walgreens.com.
Quenching+ Coconut Curls Shampoo by OGX, $6, target.com.
No. 3: Consider Hair Contouring
Seems scary, looks great.
Hair contouring doesn't mean applying different shades of makeup to your strands, it's just a fancy way to say shaping. "Depending on the levels of your hair—whether it's kinky, curly, or coiling—I cut hair dry," Francois says. He contours with a four-blade scissor around the head to tailor the look to the person.
Went from virtually no shape to round!
Reshaping the hairline can also allow your curls to fall nicely along your face. Francois notes that this is a great way to frame an Afro, long or short!
Don't forget about the party in the back.
No. 4: Use Heat
Streeeetch out those curls.
OK, so we don't recommend using a ton of heat on your pretty curls, as that can cause damage. But when you want to stretch out the coils a little bit, follow your wash with a blow-dryer and your fingers. "Use the hair dryer to manipulate the heat and the texture," Francois says.
No. 5: Moisturize and Protect
A spray moisturizer is a great, lightweight product for daily use.
Whether you have color-treated, dry, or dense hair, giving it moisture will keep strands healthy, shiny, and feeling good. But products alone won't help you reach your hair goals. "We all want to retain moisture for our curls to shine and look great, but how you go about doing that sets you up for having better hair," Francois says. "Have a healthy diet, with a lot of the omega-rich fish oils that are really good for hair." And as always, get your fill of water to stay hydrated from the inside out.
Re-vamp Moisture Spray, $37, vernonfrancois.com.
Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray by Briogeo, $20, sephora.com.
Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist by SheaMoisture, $8, target.com.
No. 6: Feel Good, Look Good
The IRL version of a great emoji.
You can use all of the tools and styling creams you want, but sometimes having a great hair day can all amount to your mood and confidence. "If you're not in a good mood, I'd advise you to don't do your hair," Francois says. "Put some music on, feel good, and I'm a true believer about energy because it filters through." Something that helps is massaging your products in, just to ease some tension.