How to Style Wet Curly Hair

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Time is often your biggest enemy in the morning. Do you ever remember the time when you wake up, take a shower, and still be able to blow dry and style your hair with your favorite hairstyle for the day? 
You’re not alone. A lot of women today find themselves rushing through the morning to try to get to work on time and avoid the morning rush on the road. Whoever has the time to do some styling?
In most cases, being able to blow dry your hair is already a luxury in itself. Hence, most women are left with wet hair to work with. Not the best canvas to produce a beautiful hairstyle you’d be proud to wear all day, right? It’s frustrating and seems like hopeless. Of course, you can’t skip a shower but you can use our hair styling products to make up for the lack of blow drying and the usual styling. That’s why we’ve created this guide on how to style wet curly hair to help you make the most of your limited time and still look your best when you step outside!

Understanding Curly Hair Types

Before we get into how to style wet curly hair, it’s essential that you understand the different types of hair. After all, curly hair is as varied as it is beautiful, with each type possessing its own unique set of characteristics.
There are generally three main types of curly hair: wavy (type 2), curly (type 3), and coily (type 4), each with subcategories that further define the curl pattern.

  • Type 2, or wavy hair, tends to have a gentle, tousled texture. Type 2A is slightly tousled, 2B shows a more defined wave, and 2C waves are more pronounced with a potential mix of curls.
  • Type 3, or curly hair, features a more defined loop or spiral pattern. Type 3A curls are loose and shiny, 3B curls are medium-sized with more volume, and 3C consists of tight corkscrews or coils.
  • Type 4, or coily hair, is known for its tight kinks and z-shaped pattern. Type 4A has dense, springy coils, 4B has a less defined pattern with a z-shaped texture, and 4C has the tightest coils that can be very fragile.

Recognising your hair type is crucial because it influences how your hair interacts with styling products and techniques. For instance, type 2 hair may require lightweight products to enhance waves without weighing them down, while type 4 hair might need more hydrating and heavier products to define curls and retain moisture.
With an understanding of your specific hair needs, let’s get into how to style wet curly hair below.

How to Style Wet Curly Hair

From choosing the perfect curl enhancer to determining which low-maintenance hairstyle you should use, there’s a lot that goes into styling wet curly hair – let’s begin with product selection, though.

Product Selection

Choosing the right styling products is paramount for managing wet curly hair. The goal is to find products that provide definition and hold without sacrificing moisture or causing damage.
You have to determine how to style your wet hair depending on the natural hair type. If you have straight hair, towel dry your hair before applying a leave-in conditioner. Better yet, use one of our specialised conditioner for curly hair.
Meanwhile, curly-haired women must spritz on a texturising spray and anti-frizz serum before beginning styling. Make sure the spray is evenly applied throughout the hair. Also, try scrunching the hair to ensure you can get more volume from the styling prep.
For type 2 wavy hair, look for lightweight mousse or gel that encourages wave formation without the crunch. Apply these products to damp hair and scrunch gently to boost your natural waves.
For type 3 curly hair, cream-based products or curl-enhancing lotions work well to define and moisturise. These products should be raked through wet hair to ensure even distribution and encourage clump formation for bouncy, defined curls.
Type 4 coily hair benefits from heavier creams, butters, or oils that seal in moisture and provide sufficient weight to elongate and define tight coils. These products should be applied in sections and smoothed down the hair shaft to prevent frizz and promote definition.
Regardless of your hair type, always opt for alcohol-free formulas to avoid drying out your curls. Additionally, consider the porosity of your hair – that is, your hair’s ability to absorb and hold moisture. Low-porosity hair may require lighter, liquid-based products to prevent build-up, while high-porosity hair can benefit from richer, more emollient products that help retain moisture.No matter what products you’re looking for – be it a curl enhancing shampoo, curling irons, curling wand, or anything in between, you can trust My Haircare & Beauty to deliver quality solutions that help you look and feel your best daily. Get your essentials today and then let’s discuss detangling below.

Detangling Techniques

Detangling is a critical step in styling wet curly hair, as it can prevent breakage and ensure even product distribution. Always start detangling from the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots to minimise stress on the hair shaft.
For wavy and loose curly hair types, using a wide-tooth comb will help to gently work through knots. For tighter curls and coils, you may find that using your fingers is the best way to detangle without disrupting the natural curl pattern.Before you begin detangling, apply a generous amount of a detangling conditioner or a specifically formulated detangling spray to provide slip, making the process smoother and less damaging. Remember to be patient and gentle – rushing through this step can cause unnecessary hair breakage.

Styling it Down

Try twisting your hair for a few minutes before releasing it and leaving it down. This is an excellent trick for styling straight, wet hair because you can create more bounce and beautiful, soft curls. A leave-in revitalising spray can also give it that nice finishing texture.
Another trick you can try if you want to let your hair down is to part it in the middle. Simply tuck hair behind the ears and you’re good! You can even try adding a headband or scarf into the mix for improved styling!

Styling an Updo

A very important tip to remember when styling wet hair in an updo: make sure to detangle the strands! Or else, your hair can be exposed to breakage or splitting when it gets knotted up as you are creating an updo. Also, some of the smaller hairs tend to stand up or form a flyaway when you put it up, so make sure to apply a curly hair cream. Another good product to use is a gel or mousse to give staying power to your hairstyle.
One updo you can try is a sleek, high bun. Start by gathering hair on top of the head and twist it to form a bun. Use 1 or 2 elastics (depending on hair length or thickness) to secure the bun. You can also add some personality to your bun by pulling out short hairs on the sides for a face-framing effect.
But if you prefer a low bun, simply create a ponytail to start and keep it around the back of the nape. Start twisting until you reach the ends and able to form a bun. Secure the ends with a bobby pin or elastic to form a low bun.

Enhancing Curls and Reducing Frizz

To enhance your curls and keep frizz at bay, it’s important to apply styling products to wet hair. This locks in the hair’s natural moisture and helps to define your curls as they dry. Products like curl creams, gels, and leave-in conditioners can be applied to soaking-wet hair immediately after showering.
For an extra boost in curl definition, techniques such as ‘squish to condish’ can be effective. This involves squishing conditioner into the hair and rinsing it out with water while scrunching, which encourages curls to form. 
After applying your styling products, you can also use a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt to scrunch out excess water without causing frizz.
If you’re using a gel, once your hair is dry, you might notice a hard cast around your curls. This can be gently scrunched out, leaving soft, defined curls behind. For those with coily hair, using heavier oils or butters can help to reduce frizz by sealing in moisture and adding weight to the hair.

Overnight Styling Methods

Styling your hair overnight can be a great way to save time in the morning and wake up with beautifully defined curls. Protective styles such as braids, twists, or ‘pineappling’ (gathering your hair at the top of your head) can prevent tangles and maintain curl pattern while you sleep. 
Before bed, apply a leave-in conditioner or styling cream to damp hair, and choose a style that works with your curl type. For looser curls, a loose braid can help maintain wave without flattening. For tighter curls, twists or Bantu knots can preserve the curl shape and even give more definition.
Always sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase to reduce friction and moisture loss. If you prefer, a satin bonnet or hair wrap can also protect your curls from frizz and breakage. 
In the morning, gently unravel your hair and shake out the curls. If needed, apply a light oil or serum to add shine and reduce any frizz.

Final Thoughts on How to Style Wet Curly Hair

That concludes our detailed guide on how to style wet curly hair. This entails understanding your specific curl type and selecting products tailored to its needs. 
Apply a detangling conditioner and gently work through knots with a wide-tooth comb or fingers. Use curl-enhancing products on soaking wet hair to define curls and lock in moisture. 
Scrunch with a microfiber towel to remove excess water without causing frizz. For overnight styling, apply a leave-in conditioner or cream and choose a protective style suitable for your curls. Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase to prevent moisture loss. In the morning, unravel gently and apply a light oil for added shine.
If you want to learn more about how to curl hair, explore our blog. We have resources on curly hair myths, how to wash curly hair, choosing your conditioner vs shampoo, and more.
But beyond educational insights, remember that My Haircare & Beauty is your one-stop shop for the curly hair treatment and other products you need. Whether it be the best curling iron or best hair curlers, the best shampoo and conditioner for hair loss, or anything in between – we’ve got the most trusted brands and their top products in our catalogue.
So, what are you waiting for? Now that you know how to style wet curly hair, you can feel confident in overhauling your routine and stepping out of the house looking your best on any given day!

Established in 2008, My Haircare & Beauty have not only established ourselves as a trusted name within the retail world, but also for our ability to deliver on-trend, dynamic services and advice to our loyal clientele.

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