To Maintain Bouncy Curls, Try The 'Praying Hands' Method

At its best, curly hair is beautiful, bouncy, and alluring; at its worst, it's a frizzy, frantic mess. That's why keeping natural curls looking great is no easy feat. Unlike their straight-haired sisters, the curly set has to avoid brushing or combing their hair when it's dry, which will turn their 'do into a poufy "don't." Because curly hair is almost always dry — the scalp's natural oils don't easily slip down a spiral hair shaft — shampooing should be kept to a minimum. (So much for Mom's nagging about washing your hair every day.)  Bleaching curly hair can cause lasting damage if it's not done properly; for a super-light color, a good stylist will recommend doing the procedure in two separate sessions so as not to cause excessive breakage or frizz.

Though shampoo isn't a curl's best friend, regular conditioning and moisturizing is a must. Fortunately, there's a wealth of products available for all needs: conditioners, creams, gels, activators, mousse, and finishing sprays. Many of them are leave-in products, best applied right after washing to allow the hydrating ingredients to penetrate and maintain a soft look. But how can you be sure that you're getting all the goop where it needs to be? There's an effective technique that's so simple, it won't be long before you're doing it ... well, religiously.

Pray your product into your curly hair

Because of curly hair's rep for tangles and frizz, it's easy to assume that taming it takes a lot of time, effort, and product. In fact, just the opposite is true. It's simpler than you might think to keep curls looking great; the technique is everything. For instance, since curly hair tends to be dry, using a leave-in serum or curl cream will hydrate the locks and make them frizz-free. Using the "praying hands" method is one of the best ways to apply these products. Make sure your hair is very wet, as TikTok user @ringlet.riss demonstrates here. Put a small amount of your preferred cream or gel between your hands, then put a section of hair between your palms. Keeping your hands flattened, as if you were praying, slide your hands down the hair shaft. Move on to the next section and repeat; keep going until all your hair is coated. This method distributes the cream more precisely and thoroughly than scrunching it through.

Once the product is distributed, you can dry your hair as usual. If you use a blow dryer, a diffuser attachment will help keep your curls in shape. Better still, if the weather is warm, work a little moisturizing mousse or finishing spray into your hair and let it air dry. The less heat you use on curly hair, the easier it will stay soft and manageable.

Pineapple your hair at night to keep your curls in the AM

Another curly-hair dilemma is preventing the ringlets from getting squashed out of shape or frizzed out while you sleep. One solution is to switch out your cotton pillowcase for a satin one. This may seem like an unnecessary indulgence, but Curlsmith USA explains that it's actually a good investment. Unlike cotton, satin isn't absorbent, so it won't suck out the water and oils from your hair overnight. It's also low in friction, making it much less likely to break or pull your curls out of shape.

Another hair-preserving pre-bed hack is the "pineapple," embraced by curly girls like TikTok's @wavycurly. It's as simple as pulling your hair up to the top of your head and gathering it as you would a ponytail. Secure it with a cloth scrunchie, leaving your curls loose on top (hence the "pineapple" name). Depending on the length of your hair, you can also create a loose bun at the top of your head by wrapping the scrunchie twice and pulling your hair partway through the fabric. In the morning, undo the scrunchie; your curls should tumble down intact, with only a minimum of touching-up needed for your chosen style — be it disco curls or soft waves. Or just keep your hair up in the pineapple style for a casual but neat appearance. When it comes to curls, it's up to you to decide how tamed or wild you want to go.