There are several products on the market made to target curly hairstyles, but that doesn't mean you should be layering them all on. According to Morgan Willhite, Creative Director at Ouidad, "Less is more because product build-up can cause hair to look lack luster." She recommends products that are easy to rinse out, like Ouidad Shine Glaze Serum ($20, Ouidad.com), for days when you don't have much styling time on your hands.
Willhite suggests that women with loose curls, like Emmy Rossum, wash their hair 2 to 3 times per week, tight curls should be washed 1 to 2 times per week, and kinky curls only need to be washed once a week. Joico Smooth Cure Shampoo ($11.95, Joico.com) is great for curly girls, since it's sulphate-free, which means it gently cleanses and reduces frizz.
According to Morgan Willhite, curls can lack nutrients, especially when they are dry and weather-damaged. Use a leave-in conditioner, like Ouidad's Moisture Lock ($22, Sephora.com) or L'Oreal's EverCrme Nourishing Leave-In Spray ($6.99, Lorealparisusa.com). These products will keep curls healthy, but are light-weight, so they won't weigh hair down.
To get curls that are well-defined, Willhite suggests the "Rake and Shake" Method. After washing hair, squeeze out the excess water and blot with a towel. Divide hair into four sections, and apply a curl-defining product, like Amika's Curl Defining Cream ($24, Beauty.com) or Matrix's Curl Super Defrizzer Gel ($16, Matrix.com), with your fingers. When you get to the ends of each section, gently shake your hair back and forth to create a curl movement. Once you have finished doing this to each section, allow the hair to air-dry or use a diffuser.
When you constantly have your hands in your curls, you are disturbing the natural pattern and causing frizz. Avoid touching your hair when drying it by using a diffuser, like the DevaCurl Dryer and DevaFuser ($149.95, Mydevacurl.com). Although this diffuser may look like some sort of alien hand, it is actually pretty genius and helps keep curls intact. Lorraine Massey, Founder and Co-Owner of Devachan Salon, also suggests anchoring the end of a hair section with a clip while drying for optimum curls.
If you're not in the mood for a tight curl, then try a more casual wave, like Kate Hudson. You can use a texturizing spray, like Sachajuan's Ocean Mist ($28, Sephora.com), to get the just-spent-a-day-on-the-beach look. Spray into wet or dry hair, and scrunch upward.