If there’s one thing naturalistas covet for their curls, it’s major volume. But curls that fall flat after a tedious wash and styling routine can feel like a cruel joke.
Dealing with curls that lack body and bounce can take the fun out of flaunting your natural crown. This is especially frustrating as your mane matures and loses density, or if you had fine-textured hair to begin with. But there are several ways you can fake the fullness — from layering your locks to undergoing a color transformation. Here’s how:
1. Get a curly cut
The right haircut can do wonders for flat curls, adding dimension and volume. “It’s the ability to create mass, connection and cohesion that gives the hair the fullness that can be absent when curlies go too long without haircuts, or [when the] hair gets too long [and] no longer connects,” says Aishia Strickland, educator and tight curl expert. Additionally, hair that’s all one length can appear flat and weighed down and could probably use some shape. “It’s best to create a round, layered cut for the most volume and dimension,” says Larry Sims, celebrity hairstylist who’s worked with Janet Jackson, Gabrielle Union and Tracee Ellis Ross. Consult with your hairstylist to determine what kind of haircut best suits your length, density and texture.
2. Experiment with color
A clever way to create the illusion of fuller curls is to explore various color combinations that’ll deliver depth and dimension. For example, hair contouring is a trendy technique that can make your locks appear thicker by strategically placing light and dark colors around your tresses. Your hairstylist may use a combination of root shadowing (applying a darker shade to the roots), highlights (lighter sections of hair) and lowlights (darker sections of hair) for contrast. If you want the greatest amount of depth in a subtle way, lowlights can make all the difference. “Highlights can as well, but you’re going to get the most depth with lowlights,” Sims says. One caveat is that coloring your hair too often can weaken the strands. “For many, color thins out the hair over time due to the chemicals, and [not] everyone’s hair and scalp [can] handle it,” warns Mo Williams, natural hairstylist and owner of Such a Natural salon in Michigan.