coarse hair

Photo: Kenneth Willadt/

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Coarse Hair
The Challenge: Your hair is dry, possibly curly, and literally a handful. Whatever you do to control it seems to inspire further rebellion.

The Best Cut: You have two options. Chop off the frizz and go pixie short, or aim for a shoulder-length (or longer) style that will let the weight of your hair keep frizz under control. Long layers cut with scissors (never a razor!), starting two inches from the ends, minimize pouf and relax curls.

The Best Shampoo and Conditioner: Shampoo can be drying to your coarse hair, so don't use it every day. (When you do wash, choose a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo.) Condition, though, as often as possible. Conditioner seals the cuticle of each hair shaft so it's less susceptible to the water in the air that causes frizz. On no-shampoo days, brush your hair before you get in the shower, wet it, and apply conditioner. Mix the conditioner with a few drops of pure olive oil in your palm before you work it through from roots to ends, says New York City hairstylist Lisa Chiccine.

The Best Styling Regimen: Apply a silicone serum (look for dimethicone or cyclopentasiloxane on the ingredient list) while your hair is still wet. "Take the time to apply the serum in one-inch sections so the silicone is distributed evenly," says River Lloyd, hairstylist at Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in New York City. If your hair is curly, add a little gel to the silicone serum and use your fingers to shape the curls.