Women with ringlets have been fighting their fringe for far too long – or worse, straightening them. But advancements in product formulations, available at your local drugstore and salon, have made it easier than ever to embrace your natural hair texture.

We asked Melanie Fahey, assistant VP of creative, education, and product development at Ouidad to explain how to get the most of out your curls when you’re air drying them – and how to make them last.

Step 1: Suds up in the shower with curl enhancing shampoo and condition (yes, it must say “for curly hair” or some variation of that on the bottle!).

Step 2: Once out of the shower, it’s important to keep hair as damp as possible. Remove excess water from ringlets with your hands first, then loosely wrap them in a towel.

Step 3: Since curly hair equals thirsty hair, it’s crucial use styling products that are low in alcohol and high in moisture. And, the tighter the curl the more hydration that needs to be added. Look for gels and mousses with prickly pear cactus extract, which draws and seals moisture into curls for major conditioning or arnica extract that promotes long-lasting hydration. Aloe, a natural shrinking agent, can also help seal in hydration and give you va va volume (and definition!).

Step 4: Once you’ve applied your gel and mousse base for styling, use Ouidad’s famous Rake & Shake method to define your hair into curl-or-wave perfection. The simple technique requires finger combing small sections of hair and shaking the group of strands once you land at the tips.

Step 5: Allow your locks to air dry, touching them as little as possible, and then spritz a finishing product like hairspray onto your final look. Choose a spray that’s workable, buildable, and water-soluble so your hair doesn’t end up looking crunchy.

Step 6: Like a good wine, curls get better with age – as long as you follow these rules for extending the life of your look. Place longer hair in a soft, non-elastic band, and pull your hair into a “pineapple” pony to preserve it from losing its shape at night. Sleep in a silk scarf or on a satin pillowcase to prevent hair from frizzing or splitting out of curl shape.

xx, The FabFitFun Team