How to Refresh Your Curls After Wash Day, According to a Pro

Plus, what might be keeping your curls from staying put in the first place.

A good curly hair day is a beautiful thing. However, a good curly hair day that continues into day two, three, four, and so on—without laborious styling each morning: That’s bliss. For some of us, getting waves and curls to maintain their definition and shape past wash day can be a struggle, but there are simple tricks for styling and refreshing that will make all the difference.

Before learning how to refresh curls, though, there’s one piece of curly-hair styling advice that hairstylist Ona Diaz-Santin swears by: “Do it right the first time.” She asserts that the amount of time and care you put into styling your curls on wash day will directly reflect how long those curls will stay put in the days after. When it comes to applying product to freshly washed hair, Diaz-Santin points to a few things that can make or break the longevity of your curls.

For starters, make sure you’re using a product that is right for your curl type—not just the kind your favorite curly-haired influencer uses. (Learn more about how to find out and care for your curl type here.) Then, when it comes to product application, Diaz-Santin explains that sectioning is really important. Whether you use foam, cream, or gel, she recommends applying the product in sections of no more than one inch to ensure thorough and even distribution. It’s also important to make sure you apply the same amount of product to each section by paying attention to how much you’re putting on your fingers each time. From there, she recommends air-drying and sleeping on a silk pillowcase at night to avoid extra friction on the hair.

When you take care of styling your hair on day one, your curls should last much longer than usual without the need to wet your hair down and start all over again. Sometimes, however, like after taking an impromptu nap on the couch or wearing your hair in an updo, a curl refresh is just necessary. Keep reading to learn Diaz-Santin’s best tips for giving your curls the boost they need in between washes.

How to Refresh Your Curls:

1. Find a curl refresher spray.

A common tactic for refreshing next-day curls is to add more water to the hair. However, Diaz-Santin advises against this, explaining that this can simply dilute the product that’s already in the hair, further breaking the hold of the curls and creating more frizz. Instead, she loves using curl refreshing sprays for their ability to add more definition and shine without adding lots of extra weight on the hair. Her favorite products are the Sebastian Twisted Curl Reviver Spray and the Bumble and bumble Curl Pre-Style/Re-Style Primer.

2. Section your hair.

Though you aren’t completely restyling your hair, sectioning is still important when refreshing curls so that you can ensure even distribution of your hair products, Diaz-Santin says. Instead of dividing your hair into small one-inch sections, she recommends applying the spray to sections of about two to three inches, starting with the bottom layers of the hair and working your way up to the top. For fine or thin hair, Diaz-Santin recommends three to five sprays per section; coarse or thick hair can receive up to eight sprays.

3. Distribute your hair product gently.

While you may use the finger-raking method to apply your product on day one, you shouldn’t use this technique when refreshing your hair since that will pull out the definition and cause frizz. Instead, Diaz-Santin recommends using the pads of your fingertips to gently pat the product into your hair without breaking up your curls.

4. Let your hair air dry.

After applying the curl refresher spray throughout your hair, use a microfiber towel or T-shirt to scrunch out excess moisture. Then, let your hair air dry, and enjoy your bouncy, refreshed curls.

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