Big curly strands are having their moment on social media with more and more people trying to achieve a springy mane. It’s almost like the big hair trends of the ’70s and ’80s are coming back with people embracing the disco era and high-teased rockstar hair. While those with straight or wavy hair will have to grab a curling wand or curlers to achieve a voluminous mane, curly and coily-haired folks have it a little easier. That doesn’t mean it’ll be a completely quick process.
If you want to embrace your natural hair texture and prove that big hair never really went out of style, keep reading this guide to learn how to style hair for fluffy curls. Here, explore how to tackle limp curls with the right hair techniques and discover the curly hair products you’ll want to use for fluffy and voluminous curls.
How to Make Curly Hair Fluffy and Voluminous
Step 1. On Wash Day Use a Moisturizing Shampoo and ConditionerWhen it’s time to wash your hair, shampoo and condition strands as regular with a focus on volumizing and moisturizing hair care. Products like Goddess Strength Fortifying Shampoo with Castor Oil and Goddess Strength Fortifying Conditioner with Castor Oil strengthen weak hair and combat dryness that can lead to breakage. This shampoo cleanses gently without stripping hair of the oils it needs while the conditioner introduces castor oil, black cumin seed oil, and ginger to moisturize dry strands.
If you’re dealing with extremely dry hair, consider using a pre-shampoo treatment like Goddess Strength Ultra Shield Pre-Poo with Castor Oil. This pre-poo adds a layer of protection over hair to minimize breakage while the moisturizing formulation detangles strands for an easier shampoo and conditioner process. It’s good to use detangling products like this to avoid ripping hair while you comb or brush through it.
Between wash days — when you don’t have time to completely wet your hair — use a styling spray to revive curls and wet hair enough to manipulate it again. You’ll also want to make sure you’re wrapping your hair at night to preserve your curls for easier styling in the morning.
Step 2. Use Lightweight Styling ProductsThe type of hairstyling products and how much you use them are a very important part of achieving soft and fluffy hair. You’ll want to use lightweight products like hair foams, water-based hair gels, and hair mists to add moisture and hold to curls (more on that in the next section). When styling dry hair, slightly wet it with a conditioning product that’ll add moisture and reactivate curls.
Mist your hair all over with Hair Milk Refresher Spray to soften and detangle curls for better manageability. This spray is nourishing and conditioning and can be used on dry or wet hair. If you use a thick styling cream or hair gel with a strong hold, your curls may look more defined but these products ultimately weigh down strands and could lead to crunchy curls. This doesn’t mean you should skip out on styling products, you’ll still want to use them for nourishment and moisture that minimize dryness and frizz.
Section hair before applying any product to guarantee even distribution without clumping strands together. Use a small amount of product to avoid build-up that may result in the need to wash your hair sooner than desired. As you apply the product, lightly rake your fingers through the hair to separate curls. Then, finger coil hair by wrapping pieces of hair around your finger to encourage a more defined curl pattern.
Step 3. Diffuse, Diffuse, DiffuseUse a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment to speed up the drying process and set curls in their most defined state. As an extra measure, before drying hair, lightly spray it with a product like Monoi (Repair + Protect) Multi-Styling Milk to add a layer of heat protection up to 450 degrees.
Try not to touch your hair with the diffuser as you dry it, just pass the tool over your strands and let the slight heat do its thing. As your hair becomes more dry you can go into the scalp with the dryer and scrunch hair with the diffuser for more volume.
Step 4. Shake and Pick Curls OutAfter your curls are dry, give your hair a good shake. Have some fun with it and play your favorite song to shake your head to. Then, flip your hair over, run your fingertips up to the scalp, and shake the strands between your fingers. This will separate any curls that are clumped together and promote more volume.
You can also use a wide-tooth comb to pick at the underside of your hair to elongate strands and give hair even more volume. These tricks help combat shrinkage (the thing responsible for curls drying compact) that may be keeping curls and coils tightly together.
How to Style Fluffy Curly Hair
If you follow the guide above you’ll be set for soft, fluffy, and voluminous curls, but you probably want more details on one specific part; styling. One of the most important steps is to use lightweight styling products to add moisture, maintain curl definition, and minimize frizziness.
You’ll want to skip using any heavy hair creams or gels that can weigh curls down, or worse, leave curls feeling crunchy and flaky with product build-up. Stick to water-based products (meaning the first ingredient is water) for lightweight hold and definition. For soft, fluffy, and voluminous curls consider the following products.
Hair GelsUsing hair gel to style curly hair is all about balance to avoid the dreaded crunchy curl that looks good, but can feel brittle. You’ll want to use gel to achieve the volume part of a fluffy and voluminous look to give curls the lift and hold they need. Reach for a hair gel like Coco Crème Curl Shaping Cream Gel With Coconut Oil which will define and hold curls without leaving strands feeling stiff. Formulated for very dry hair, this gel also offers curls the moisture of a leave-in conditioner with the hold of a gel, all in a lightweight formula.
Hair FoamsAs you go through the day your hair may change based on the weather and activities you do. To keep your hair looking as fresh as it did when you first styled it use hair foams that’ll add a lot of hold without weighing down strands. Try Wash Day Delight Hair Gel to Foam Styler Aloe, which offers 48 hours of frizz control and hold while hydrating curls. Use a small amount on wet hair to allow the product better absorption and lightly detangle strands as needed.
5 Popular Hairstyles and Haircuts for Fluffy Curls
Picked Out CoilsThe beauty of fluffy curls is that you don’t have to have perfectly sculpted curls if you don’t want to. By your third day of having voluminous curls, lightly brush your hair for an intentionally frizzy look. To limit unwanted flyaways, use a hair oil after brushing your hair for a softer look and feel. Apply a dime-size amount of Goddess Strength 7 Oil Blend Scalp & Hair Oil to your tresses and work your fingers through the strands to further detangle and nourish the hair.
Voluminous Fluffy LayersVoluminous hair is easy to do if you already have layers. The very art of cutting curly layers allows hair at the top of the head to feel lighter with tighter curls. Style your layers with added volume by sectioning hair before drying or adding hair care products to guarantee those front pieces get their own attention.
Side Part Soft WavesAs popular as the middle part is, curls instantly look more voluminous when styled with a side part. That has a lot to do with the light hair flip of the side part that makes hair look fuller. When diffusing your hair for soft, voluminous curls be mindful of your hair part so you can limit manipulation after drying. You can still part your hair after it’s dry, however, it may not keep that hold.
Fluffy Shag with VolumeA shag haircut takes voluminous layers to a new height (no pun intended) with more hair trimmed in varying levels for a rounded shape that eliminates the triangle head that leaves hair flat at the roots and fluffy at the ends. Ask your stylist to cut curly hair dry or slightly damp to better determine hair length.
Faux Hawk with Fluffy BangsPick out a few hair clips and barrettes to accessorize your hair for a soft glam look that’ll amplify voluminous curls. Use the Mimosa Hair Honey to maintain a soft look while slightly slicking down the sides of the hair. These parts will create a faux mohawk (fauxhawk) that you can pin down with clips. Fluff up the hair around the fauxhawk to increase volume. And if you decide you like the look, commit to the mohawk vibe and get the sides of your hair shaved for a tapered fade.
4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Caring for Fluffy Curly Hair
Limp curls are the ruiner of fluffy and voluminous hair. While there isn’t anything wrong with flat-looking curls it’s usually not the look those with curly and coily hair desire. Think through your hair care routine to see if you’re making any of these mistakes that result in limp, lifeless hair.
You’re Over Cleansing Your HairWashing hair too frequently is already a big no-no if you have curly hair since it can lead to an extra dry mane that feels brittle. When hair is washed too often the natural oils are stripped from the strand which makes curls look flat, lifeless, and frizzy. The International Journal of Women's Dermatology (AAD), recommends those with curly hair wash only when needed — aka when the scalp starts to feel extra itchy from impurities like too much product, dirt, and oil.
You’re Drying Your Hair WrongAs established earlier in this guide, you’ll want to dry your hair with a blow dryer diffuser or a microfiber towel to promote volume for soft and fluffy curls. If you just throw your hair up into a towel without styling your hair you won’t have as much control over the results. You could still have fluffy hair, but it may look more frizzy than anything.
Your Hair is Too Dry When Applying Styling ProductsIn general, those with curly and coily hair should avoid applying styling products to dry hair. If you apply styling products to already dry hair or strands that aren’t wet enough you won’t be able to manage curls as well. Dry curls that are picked apart can end up frizzy and with more flyaways since the resting curl pattern is being disturbed.
Additionally, applying product to too-dry hair can lead to oversaturated strands that feel greasy or look flat. Ultimately, it’s best to apply styling products to wet hair when wanting fluffy, voluminous hair. The only exception is when using refresh sprays. These products are designed to revive and lightly wet hair to add moisture for manageable curls.
You’re Not Using a SealantAfter you’ve followed a routine for fluffy and voluminous hair don’t forget to finish your hair off with a sealing hair care product. By using a lightweight oil or shine serum you can lock in moisture and add a slight sheen to curls. Try Born to Repair Reviving Hair Oil with Shea Buttern to target damaged hair and split ends that may cause frizz with your final look. Formulated with shea butter and jojoba, coconut, olive, Amazonian nut, and Babassu oils it helps soften hair and minimize flyaways as a last step in your routine.
Once you’ve got the right technique and hair care products that work for you, achieving fluffy and voluminous hair is easy. You’ll be ready to embrace your curly and coily hair with a soft style after every wash day and moments in between.
Next Up: How To Scrunch Your Hair For Defined Curls