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How To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair


by Maddie Eisenhart, Digital Director & Style Editor

How To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical Wedding How To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical Wedding How To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical Wedding How To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical WeddingHow To: Edgy Updo For Naturally Curly Hair | A Practical Wedding

The Info—Stylist: Yesenia Guinea of Ketér Salon / Photography: Emily Takes Photos / Dress: Joielle

This hair tutorial might be my favorite yet. (I know I say that every time. Now it’s just extra true.) And not just because Chloe is rocking a faux version of the haircut I sport on the daily, but because it’s such an effortlessly edgy look for ladies with curly hair. And let’s face it, the words effortless, edgy, and curly seldom go together in the same sentence. Plus, for those of you who like to stay on the cutting edge (i.e., the word timeless isn’t in your wedding vocabulary), the asymmetrical thing is very in right now.

For this look, our stylist Yesenia wanted to work with the natural texture of Chloe’s hair (because it’s awesome), so she didn’t do any prep on top of what Chloe had done before leaving the house. For those of you who are unsure how to prep your curly hair, some general tips from Yesenia are:

Don’t Wash It: Don’t wash your curly hair every day. Shampoo dries out curls (I know there are some curly haired ladies in our readership who swear by not washing their hair ever and I want to hear from you guys). On days when you don’t wash, Yesenia recommends using conditioner instead. I thought this was going to make my curls really heavy, but it just makes them soft and manageable.

Use A Diffuser: If you’re going to use a blow-dryer on your curls, a diffuser will keep them from frizzing out. Yesenia also recommends investing in a good blow-dryer. For those of us who don’t have a few hundred dollars to spend, BaByliss has a good line of semi-professional hair dryers in the $50 range.

Curl Cream: Yesenia recommends finishing this look with curl cream, but you can also use a dollop on your damp hair to help shape curls. Just squeeze out a small amount, warm up between your palms and then run through your strands. Keep reading below for our recommendations on which curl creams are best!

Once you’ve prepped your curls, the key to getting this style to look edgy rather than messy is to give yourself a nice deep part before creating your French braid. I’ve affectionately come to refer to it as the 90s side part, because it’s far enough over that you’ll end up having to flip a bit of your hair to the other side a la Donna Martin (which, not that anyone’s asking, I killed in the fifth grade. But actually, this is a pretty good example of how far over you want the part to be).

From there, Yesenia simply created a French braid down the length of Chloe’s head, and then secured it at the back with bobby pins (tucking the bobby pins underneath the loose curls so that they are hidden). To finish the look, Yesenia recommends using your fingers to expand the curls a bit, adding curl cream and finishing with hairspray as needed. If you’re new to curl cream, try Bumble & Bumble Curl Defining Creme for fine hair, or for coarse hair they also make a Curl Calming Creme. (I personally use the curl defining stuff and it’s brilliant. It makes my curls really soft and pliable without making them greasy.)

And there you have it! An edgy cheat to achieving the side shave asymmetrical look all the kids are wearing these days. And the best part? You can easily adapt this to fit longer hair, or even give it a try with straight or wavy hair. (I think some long voluminous waves would look rad with this look.) Also, as someone who has had trouble managing their curls for, um, ever, I find that the asymmetrical look is very forgiving. So if you have unpredictable curly hair that doesn’t usually behave, I say lean into it and take advantage of the fact that this style looks great with a little bit of wildness to it.

Special thanks to APW sponsor Chloe Jackman for fabulously modeling this look. As you can tell, this look pairs nicely with a heavy dose of gumption and a huge grin. A little attitude doesn’t hurt either…

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    Favorite part: Maddie’s fifth grade photo :-)

    • Karen

      What??? I don’t see a fifth grade photo. Just curious.

      • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

        Click on the link embedded in the phrase “I killed in fifth grade” and the jpeg opens.

  • Stacy

    I am one of those curly-haired ladies who never washes her hair, not in almost a decade. I use only conditioner, and I comb it through with my fingers. Every week or so, I’ll give my scalp a good scrub with my fingertips when I’m in the shower, and that seems to keep any itchies away. I rinse it out, then use a leave-in and gel. Nowadays, I even sleep on it wet, flipped over my head on the pillow. I have found I wake up with a lot of body on the top of my head, and the bonus is I don’t have to blowdry my hair for an hour or go out in the winter cold with wet hair. Win-win-win!

    I’m so happy to see a tutorial specifically for curly girls!

  • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

    Wait, wait, I think I just had some sort of inspiration strike. All of you (lovably) insane people who claim they can get away with not washing their hair every day . . are you still getting it wet in the shower and putting conditioner on it? Just not shampoo? Because I have tried so hard to have the kind of hair that doesn’t have to be washed every day but then I was just taking a bath on the “off days” and my hair is a giant grease ball. AM I SUPPOSED TO BE PUTTING CONDITIONER ON IT AND RINSING IT JUST LIKE I WOULD NORMALLY???

    Also, totally cute hairstyle, and I want to be friends with Chloe.

    • Dusti

      Yes, I get it wet and conditioner it just about every day. I give my scalp a good rub/scrub with my fingers about once a week.

      Do you have curly hair that you’re trying to do no poo with?

      • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

        No, mine is stick-straight. Maybe that’s why it’s a giant greaseball? I mean, it gets gross and limp after about 18 hours; it’s disgusting.

    • Maddie

      I was the same way! Conditioning it every day has been a BREAKTHROUGH. It somehow keeps it from getting greasy, which makes no sense to me, but I’m not going to question. And then for days when I don’t feel like getting it wet at all and it *does* get a little greaseball-ish, I just throw some talcum powder in there. I toss it right on my roots, rub it in, and then shake it out really hard so that my hair isn’t white. Works like a charm, way less expensive than dry shampoo (and I think it works better too). Corn starch is a great alternative to baby powder too.

    • Caroline

      It depends, tht worksfor some people. I don’t wash my hair with shampoo. In the winter, I don’t get my hair wet more than every two weeks or so. Only if I get a chance to shower midday because it is too cold otherwise. I wear the curls with flaxseed gel in, then comb it out, braid it overnight, wear the second day curls, then maintain until I wet it again by combing and braiding overnight. In the summer, I get it wet every other day or so, because then I get cute curls everyday and it is warm enough to do so. I wash with a silicon free conditioner every month or so, or when my hair gets icky (from salt water or chlorine, mostly. Sweat actually rinses out fine if it’s light, if its heavy I’ll condition.)
      I did find there was an adjustment period, when my hair was really greasy, but I was wearing headscarves then anyways. Now, it’s so low maintenance, and affordable, I’m so glad I transitioned it.

      • http://www.sarahhoppes.com Sarah

        The conditioner method keeps your hair from getting greasy because, just like your face, when your hair is dry, it creates oil to compensate, but it overcompensates and makes you crazy. When it’s moisturized, it calms down with the crazy oil production. It’s the same reason really acne prone people (at least this acne prone person) have better luck washing with oil than with facial soaps.

    • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

      Yes! It’s totally revolutionary! Down with the shampoo, up with the conditioner!

      I am just now for the first time experimenting with the ever-elusive “2nd Day Hair” with mixed success.

    • meg

      OH. Here is the deal: hair gets addicted to being washed every day, and you have to literally break it of the addiction. It starts producing crazy amounts of oils to replace the oils you’re stripping out. I thought I could NEVER not wash my hair every day till it was explained to me. I literally would add half days, a couple hours at a time, etc.

      Now, years later I wash my hair about once a week? And instead of being a effed up frizz ball/ straight, it’s curly. Sometimes I’ll get it wet and do nothing to it. Sometimes I’ll condition it and not wash. But I’ve worked up to the point that I can go a week with out much of anything, because I literally broke my scalps addiction.

      CRAZY RIGHT?

      • Sarah

        And ya’ll have convinced me to not shampoo my hair tonight. (For 2nd night in a row.)

      • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com Erin

        I WANT TO BE YOU.

        Okay, I am going to start this. Gradual like!

    • Jessica

      Another “conditioner only” girl here- haven’t used shampoo in years. For me it’s really important to make sure any products I use are silicone free (no ingredients ending in -cone -conol or -xane) b/c silicone isn’t water soluble so it builds up if it doesn’t get washed out eventually. But as long as I avoid silicone, my hair thrives w/2-3 conditions/week, and rocking 2nd and 3rd day curls (or 4th and 5th day messy buns!) in between. I switch off between (silicone free!) gel and curl cream depending on my mood.

  • Rebekah

    I just want to say (and if this is taken in the wrong spirit or makes anyone feel bad, please take it down) that Chloe has absolutely fabulous breasts.

    And also this updo is great.

    • Dusti

      I can to comment just to ask what bra she was wearing… I am seriously in jealous awe.

      And of her hair… my hair is curly, but not that kind of curly so it doesn’t do the awesome stuff her hair is doing. It does its own awesome stuff, just not that.

      • http://www.stalkingsarah.com Stalking Sarah

        Yes seriously! The bra people!

        Could we please have a wedding day undergarments post? Because while mine is past, it would be nice to have some bra-vice to use for other formal occasions.

        • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

          Yes, please!

          FWIW Nordstrom’s lingerie ladies have been life-changing for me. (As is walking into a store and being confident that they’ll carry my actual size, not some BS sister size two bands too large. New philosophy, don’t look at places that don’t carry at least a 30DDD.)

          The bras are more expensive. BUT, I’ve had luck catching my favorites at Nordstrom Rack a month or two after buying a splurge.

        • meg

          OH. I was like, “Who the hell could write that.” OH RIGHT MADDIE.

          You guys. She took me post partum undergarment shopping (because sometimes you do not, in fact, want to let it all hang out, and postpartum is a *process*) and she started me off in a section of the store *I did not know existed.* WHAT?

          And not to brag, but the result is right here. UNDERGARMENTS!

          • chelle

            I could/would write a bra/undergarment post (I am a bra lady, with a bra store :) ). Just in general? For special occasions specifically?

            I need a teensy bit of direction as boy can I talk about undergarments, for far longer than anyone is really interested in. A Single Sarah may have fallen victim to this already, no need to subject the rest of you!

          • meg

            Chelle,
            Email us immediately, OMG. This is getting all magical and stuff in the late night comments. I sense a *roundupppppppp.*

          • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

            YAY CHELLE! (And I have not had nearly enough undergarments discussion as my sending you the nod clearly demonstrates :)

          • sarahdipity

            What section of the store was that? Because I could really use some help even though I am 6 months into the post baby process.

          • chelle

            Ok. Emailed. Thanks Single Sarah for pointing this out. I don’t make it to the comments very often and I sure do love me some underwear chat!

          • meg

            Maddie can fill you in, but that would be the support garment section. (Support WHAT? I said. Also, did you know there were a zillion kinds? I did not. TARGET!) Anyway, god knows they are not for every day, but every now and again, you know, a girl needs a short skirt and a little boost. Besides, they make you look like a 40’s pin up girl.

            I know, half of you know all about this and have a strong opinion one way or the other, but I was clueless. Postpartum for the… learning.

          • Amy March

            Please please also an informative PSA about boobs and bridesmaid dresses? My dear sweet smaller busted friends keep innocently saying stuff like, oh Its backless, so no bra, or, oh, you can just use tape right? They mean well, but my 34Gs require a bra.

          • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

            Amy March,
            YIKES! I don’t even understand what tape is supposed to do in that situation. Aside from being wrapped around a bunch to provide a painful awkward corset. But that probably ruins the backless dress too.

        • http://www.sarahhoppes.com Sarah

          I discovered the support garment section in high school and never looked back. Those babies work MAGIC!

          • Granola

            Also, can I just throw out this online store:

            https://trueandco.com/

            You answer questions about your size and your favorite bra and problems you’re having with fit (also whether you just got pregnant or had a baby, *ahem* Meg) and they make a whole shop of recommendations of bras just for you in the size that should fit.

            The first order you pick five bras and they send them to you to try on and you only pay for the ones you keep. I tried it and it’s kind of been life changing.

    • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

      Hear hear! Chloe, YOU are a vision. That dress. That purple with your skin tone. You look so luscious you make me want to switch teams!

      …On the hair topic-
      I also don’t wash my hair. Just conditioner, a microfiber towel and on cold/snowy/rainy days an old-timey hair drying blow-up helmet that makes me look like a cosmonaut in training.

      Thanks for the naturally curly beauty tip!

  • Kelly

    I have curly hair AND that is the dress I wore at my wedding! Yay for the whole post!

  • Carmen Miranda

    My hair is curly just like Chloe’s, if perhaps a bit fuller. I am struggling on how to wear my hair natural AND wear a veil on my wedding day. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • Dusti

      maybe pin it back on one side and have a cute little birdcage thing doing on?
      http://pinterest.com/pin/287808232407759492/

      • Carmen Miranda

        Thanks Dusti! Any ideas if I wanted to wear a more traditional veil?

        • http://www.sarahhoppes.com Sarah

          I wore a tulle veile with a headband, so I didn’t have to worry about fastening anything to my hair. That might have only worked because I chopped 98% of my hair off, though. I’m not sure if it would be as great an idea if I still had big thick curls. But it ended up looking like this- http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/01/hurricane-sandy-wedding/ and was really comfortable and no-fuss

          • Carmen Miranda

            Thanks for that, your pictures are super cute!

        • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

          I think they have the ones where you can pin the veil low in the back of the head (like, right about the nape, almost), which you could do with the hairstyle that Chloe is sporting above. Do you want to have the veil go over your face, or just in your hair/down your shoulders?

    • Maddie

      I loved what Yesenia did to Chloe’s hair for our last tutorial. She just took the curls and smoothed them a bit (no heat, just product) so that they laid down and made it easier to put something on top of her head.

      http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/08/how-to-smooth-curls-on-naturally-curly-hair-2/

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      I second what Sarah said above about the headband- and if you don’t want the look of a headband, choose something thin or an elastic one that will nestle down and be covered by your curls. I’d also suggest something custom- either something to craft yourself (that way you can experiment to see what works) or find a crafter who could help. Etsy has a lot of great options. (look up Pretty Good Things on Etsy, a shop run by Mary Pattavina. She does awesome hair stuff, and though her style is funky, she is a milliner by trade and has experience with attaching things to heads.)

      Just the opinion of a hair-obsessed straight-haired girl. Good luck finding a kick-ass option!

      • Carmen Miranda

        Thanks, will check out Etsy!

    • KC

      I would totally suggest grabbing a couple yards of plain white tulle from a fabric store (it tends to be around $1/yard) and messing with it extensively (pin it here, drape it that way; rubber-band it there, drape it the other way, cut it in a swoop, cut it square) until you find something you like that fits with the hairstyle you want. Then, either buy a veil that does what your best attempt did (in terms of length, drape, gathered-into-a-point or gathered-across-a-headband or whatever) or, if your tulle is still in decent shape, just make your own custom (maybe asymmetrical!) veil with the tulle and a glue gun and hair stuff based on your favorite arrangement.

      Cheap, low commitment, no worries about wrinkling or ripping (or hair-product-staining) something expensive while you try things out. :-)

      Hope you find something awesome!

      • Carmen Miranda

        This is a great idea, greatly appreciated!!!

  • Dusti

    Curly hair lady with no-poo over here.

    I use a cheap-o conditioner on my hair just about every day- I think its like Suave Naturals or something like that?

    I use shampoo ONLY if I’ve done some crazy elaborate hair style and my hair is coated in mousse and gel and hair spray (or the time there was glitter in it- used the shampoo then- so much glitter… so much shampoo)

    I even leave just a little of the conditioner in my hair after I’m done! For me it helps keep my hair juuuuust weighted down enough to be manageable.

    The important thing about curly girl no-poo is that it can be totally different for everyone. Cheap-o conditioner works for me, but for some people only one specific kind with no sulfates and extra olive oil or some such works.

    • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

      Agreed. My hair is one of the fussy, high-maintenance types that requires specific conditioners to be happy. A few years ago I tried to cut costs by switching to something more mid-level and quickly reverted to my expensive standby before the month was through.

      • meg

        Names please! What products are you using?

        • Emily

          I’m a curly haired girl with a pixie. I’ve gone fully sulfate free (shampoo and body wash). This is what works for me.

          Shampoo: Nature’s Gate, aloe
          Conditioner: Head & Shoulders deep conditioning
          Body wash: Nature’s Gate, pomegranate
          Face Wash: Alba Hawaii pineapple scrub

          I wash my hair 3 times a week, because the product I use with my hair short leaves a residue. I condition every day. It takes at least 2 weeks for your hair or body to adjust. And like others have said, waterworks for me might not work for you.

        • Jessica

          I love Jessicurl.com (great products, business ethic, hair tutorials and personalized customer service) and Devacurl products (and, if you’re in NYC and want to splurge, a cut at their salon Devachan can be life changing for a curly girl!)

  • Christy

    I don’t use shampoo, and my hair has never looked better!! I have looser, caucasian curls, and i use baking soda and water a few times a week, with a conditioner to follow. I use homemade flax/aloe hair gel with argan oil, and my hair is in the best shape it’s ever been! I highly recommend it to everone with curly hair!

    • Granola

      I have wavy-ish hair, but I can’t seem to get it clean when I don’t use shampoo. I think it’s because my water is so hard. Does anyone else have this issue? I used baking soda and vinegar for awhile but my hair just felt like it had this gross residue on it all the time and it would lay lifeless.

      • Christy

        I might change the ratios of baking soda/vinegar to water. I found that my hair did better with more baking soda than recommended, and, eventually, I stopped using ACV entirely. Try using just baking soda with maybe a bit of conditioner afterward, and report how it goes! :)

  • http://www.stalkingsarah.com Stalking Sarah

    What bra is she wearing with that dress??

    -A larger-chested girl with lots of bra-showing issues

  • Emily

    Off topic, but JUNO!

  • http://theambershow.net Amber Marlow, theAmberShow

    I never wash my hair. Well, every six weeks or so, I hit it with a teeny amount of shampoo, so ALMOST never. It’s amazing.

  • Hannah

    Okay, so I have a lot of questions about this no hair washing thing. I believe that it makes your curls look awesome…but does it get your hair clean? When I work out I sweat A LOT. Like drenched in hair sweat. If I don’t take a shower right away and my hair dries it gets all gross and gritty from the sweat. I’ve been tentative about trying this whole no-poo fad cause I’m skeptical that conditioner and a little head massage will get all that gunk out. I suppose I could just bite the bullet and try it out, but if anyone had any comments about this issue I would be much appreciative!

    • http://www.emilywenzel.com Emily

      I was hesitant too, so I switched to a sulfate free shampoo. It’s the sulfates that dry out your hair. Also, as Meg said above, you have to go slowly. Or do it cold turkey and understand that your hair is going to throw a hissy fit for 2-3 weeks. Or more. I find that most of the time a good wash will get out the gunk!

    • KC

      The gritty stuff is mostly salt, and salt is pretty water-soluble, ditto for most of the rest of the stuff hauled out by sweat. I’d suggest rinsing well with plain water, then conditioning and rubbing thoroughly (like you’d shampoo), then rinsing the conditioner out. If it still feels gunky (but seriously, it probably won’t), wash again with conditioner and see how it goes. What works best depends on each person and their head and their… smells… so it’s unfortunately a trial-and-error sort of thing. But a lot of stuff left behind by water evaporation can be removed with water, at least?

    • http://bigweddingsmallbudget.wordpress.com Barbra

      I am the same…I swear I only sweat from my head. I’m just in the beginning of this no-poo thing. I switched to the Loreal sulfate-free Evercurl line. I mostly scrub with the cleansing conditioner and use the regular conditioner for the ends. Then, about once a week, I’ve been shampooing with their shampoo. It has definitely felt clean, although a little greasier than before, but I think that will go away with time. And my hair is WAY wavier than it was before.

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  • Carla

    I have super curly hair but I have to use shampoo, I just use a sufate free shampoo and concentrate it on my scalp. I tried the no-poo thing on and off for over 10 years now (since it first became en vogue) and long-term my scalp suffered as a result. I still do conditioner washes, but I alternate it with a good scalp cleansing.

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